In the wake of the COVID-19, many people are cancelling their trips. Even the Indian government has banned all commercial international airlines to operate to India until further notice. As per the advisory issued by the Indian government, “No scheduled international commercial passenger aircraft shall be allowed to land in India from March 22, 2020, until further notice.” All this is being done as an effort to curb the outspread of COVID-19, which has already spread to 192 countries around the world and has infected more than 3,40,000 people out of which more than 14,500 people have lost their lives.
As more cases of novel coronavirus arise in countries across the globe, anyone with international travel plans is likely to have concerns about their safety and wellbeing. Some may simply choose not to travel, but will they still be concerned if they are able to claim on their travel insurance for any financial loss or costs incurred? The short answer is – probably yes. Usually, every travel insurance policy has its own terms and conditions, so you will be required to look into the policy terms and conditions of your insurance plan. To be on the safer side - if you have a trip booked, make sure you have got travel insurance as well. Do not wait until nearer to your departure date. This is crucial as travel insurance provides a trip cancellation cover, which allows you to claim non-refundable expenses of your trip if you have to cancel the trip for specific reasons.
The reasons usually include hospitalisation or death of insurers or their immediate family, but some insurer's also cover cancellations in case of epidemics, government advisory, and natural calamities. However, it’s worth stressing that this reason for cancellation may only be accepted if you bought your travel insurance before any announcement by the government about the destination concerned. However, not all insurers accept these reasons for cancellation, so it is always important to check with the insurer before you buy a travel insurance policy.
Moreover, people who have bought travel insurance will be covered for medical expenses that arise from contracting the disease overseas. The pandemic declared by WHO is a clear indication that we all are living in an increasingly scary world, as this is not the first time the organisation has issued a public health emergency. In the last five years alone, the world has witnessed outbreaks of increasingly dreadful viruses namely - H1N1 Swine Flu, Zika, Ebola, Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Nipah that claimed hundreds of lives in different parts of the world.
As a responsible traveller, you must know that having an international insurance policy that covers you outside of your home country is very important as in case you get sick or injured during your trip, travel insurance is there to protect you. Besides health scares, travel insurance also covers you for travel inconveniences like baggage or passport loss, flight delays, and cancellations. As travel advisories can be issued for many different reasons, you need to understand if your insurer covers you under that particular situation. Usually, travel advisories are issued by a government agency or organisation advising caution and providing safety information for those travelling to or visiting a specific country, region, or destination.
The author is the Chief Business Officer - Policybazaar.com