For many of us, the Spring and Summer will mean weddings, graduations, and vacations. We won’t just be “springing forward” our clocks in preparation—many of us will also be booking a lot of travel arrangements. In light of growing concerns regarding COVID-19 (“Coronavirus”), I began wondering what the uncertainty meant for my upcoming trips (besides nearly-empty flights and lots of hand sanitizer). Although there can be a lot of misinformation out there regarding the virus, I have compiled here a few tips so all of us can make sure we know whether or not our trip is covered.
Buying New Travel Insurance – Many folks might be considering newly purchasing travel insurance in light of growing uncertainties. This may not be as effective as you may think. Most policies exclude coverage for “foreseeable events,” and although it might seem like Coronavirus happened overnight, many insurance providers are setting distinct dates for when Coronavirus-related changes became “foreseeable.” Often, these are earlier than you might think, and many insurers are setting these dates in late-January. This means, if you did not purchase your policy prior to the designated date, your Coronavirus related claim is likely not covered. Nonetheless there are other ways your trip might be covered…
Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) Coverage – This is a specific type of policy you can purchase through most insurers who provide travel insurance. Some folks might think “cancellation” coverage constitutes “cancel for any reason” coverage, and this is not so. Because of this, it is important that you look for this specific language when trying to buy this coverage. Even if you do hope to purchase CFAR coverage, it is important you review the relevant policy exclusions to make sure a Coronavirus-related cancellation would be covered. Even some CFAR policies will nevertheless exclude cancellations related to “pandemics or epidemics.” Check your policy for these “magic words” before purchasing!
Unsuspected Coverage – What many people do not know, is that several credit card issuers actually include travel insurance with every travel related purchase. It’s important to check with your credit card issuer and review the resulting policy if it is something that credit card includes. If your card does provide coverage, be sure to review the types of coverage described above. Most notably, you may have unknowingly purchased your trip with a travel insurance credit card prior to the “foreseeability” date, which may mean you’re covered!
Overall, when making a major travel purchase it is important to consider travel insurance options carefully and to fully review any policy before making a selection. When in doubt, consult your friendly neighborhood insurance lawyer, (and wash your hands!)
Travel safely, everyone!
Kathryn Jackson is an Associate in PK Law’s General Litigation Group where she focuses her practice on insurance defense. Prior to joining the firm as an associate, she served as a summer associate and law clerk in the firm’s General Litigation Group. She can be reached at 443-275-0640 and firstname.lastname@example.org.