COVID-19 has thrown many travel plans into disarray in 2020 & beyond. If you were one of the many Australians with a trip booked, hopefully you had travel insurance, and you are able to claim on some or all of your losses.
However, that will depend not only on what your policy covers, but also when you bought the cover.
- People who bought travel insurance before COVID-19 became a ‘known event’ may be covered for medical expenses that arise from contracting the disease overseas and may even be covered for cancellation expenses.
- People who bought travel insurance after the disease was a known event may not be covered for medical or cancellation expenses relating to contracting the disease, or from changes to travel plans that result from quarantine measures, for example.
Will your travel insurance cover COVID-19?
- As of 18 March 2020, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade updated alert levels to “Do not travel” for all destinations. On 25 March, this was escalated to a travel ban.
- If your travel insurance policy excludes cover for pandemics or epidemics, or you bought the policy after COVID-19 became a known event, then your travel insurance won’t cover losses you’ve incurred as a result of coronavirus or the coronavirus travel bans.
- Speak to your Broker before cancelling your trip, because if they won’t cover cancellation, rearranging your holiday dates to a later time may be a more cost-effective option.
- If your travel insurance policy includes cover for pandemics or epidemics, and you bought the policy before COVID-19 became a known event, then you should be covered.
When does an event become a ‘known’ event?
Insurance is intended to protect you against the unknown, so once an event becomes known, it is usually too late to buy insurance to cover you for that specific event.
When an event becomes ‘known’ it is a grey area, however it is generally when publicised in the media or on official government websites. Insurers’ definitions can vary, so check with your Broker on when they cut off cover for a specific event.
Once Local & International Travel returns to “normal” it will be essential to review your Travel Insurance Policy to understand the coverage, Exclusions and the impact of “restricted coverage” due to Pandemics.