The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the many benefits of protecting your trip with travel insurance but securing the right coverage policy won’t be any less important after the pandemic subsides.
“Whenever we experience events that impact travel, consumers become more focused on how travel insurance may be able to help,” says Daniel Durazo, Director of Communications at Allianz Global Assistance USA. “Smart consumers and their travel advisors should learn how travel insurance can help cover losses for non-refundable, pre-paid expenses and add peace of mind to trip planning.”
While travel will continue to be limited this summer and in the months ahead as travel suppliers slowly resume operations and destinations gradually reopen, research shows a strong demand for travel, even if people aren’t venturing as far from home.
According to the latest Travel Intentions Pulse Survey (TIPS) conducted by MMGY Travel Intelligence, 36 percent of Americans plan to take a domestic leisure trip in the next six months. Many are likely to take a road trip, with 68 percent of U.S. travelers indicating that they feel the safest traveling by personal vehicle.
“For Americans planning road trips this summer, a great way to be covered and save money is to consider a product which covers trip cancellations and trip interruptions but doesn’t include coverage for medical emergencies as health insurance policies may cover domestic illnesses and injuries,” added Durazo.
Travel insurance expert and CEO of online travel insurance marketplace AardvarkCompare, Jonathan Breeze echoed that advice.
“Consumers planning to travel within the U.S. should review their current healthcare policies to determine which benefits might be active while traveling,” Breeze told ExpertFlyer. “The benefit of a travel insurance policy is that it can pick up medical costs while on the road, as well as cover medical evacuations, as required.”
The right travel insurance policy can also cover trip interruptions due to a breakdown, car accident or weather-related threats such as a hurricane.
As for COVID-19 specifically, losses due to the pandemic are not covered under most plans. However, Allianz is currently accommodating claims for emergency medical care for policyholders who become ill with COVID-19 on their trip as well as trip cancellation and trip interruption in the event that a customer contracts COVID-19 before or during their trip.
Insurance providers are also giving customers more flexibility at this time. For example, Allianz is allowing travelers to move the dates of their policy to match a rebooked trip taking place within 770 days of the day they purchased their policy and temporarily allowing customers to cancel their policy if their travel supplier cancels their trip due to COVID-19.
Even in a post-pandemic world, protecting your investment will be paramount given the unforeseeable nature of travel and the countless variables that can potentially derail your experience.
“Travel can be unpredictable, so we always suggest that travelers buy travel insurance at the same time they book their trip. This provides consumers with the longest possible period of coverage and helps make sure they take advantage of valuable coverage for existing medical conditions,” says Durazo.
“You never know when lost bags, flight delays, illness or other unexpected occurrences may happen and put a damper on your vacation. Travel insurance may reimburse financial losses from these and other covered events, and it can assist with emergency medical care and provide peace of mind so you can enjoy your trip to the fullest.”
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