How Will COVID-19 Affect Visitor Insurance Now and Later?

10 August 2020 |

Travel insurance plans now offer COVID-19 coverage for those who have or may be affected.

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has grounded travel since many countries continue to maintain travel restrictions, many of which may likely extend to 2021. Of course, this will have implications for travel insurance.

Existing plans may be affected and since COVID-19 will likely be somewhat active when travel resumes, the virus may have an impact on coverage. This post will take a look at the effects the coronavirus will have on your parent’s visitor coverage both now and in the future.

The Longest Month of the Year

March 2020. It will likely go down as one of the most memorable times in recent years, both now and in the future, for the wrong reasons. It was when COVID-19 brought the world to a standstill – countries worldwide closed their borders, millions lost their jobs, caseloads and death tolls spiked and anxieties rose.

For many travelers, however, the coronavirus literally left them in foreign countries, with little, if any assistance from their homelands. It was not uncommon to hear stories of people who had been stuck at a vacation spot for months after the initial shutdown began.

The experience of those travelers brings today’s discussion under a sharp focus. What role does vacation insurance play when a global pandemic (or event) leaves people isolated thousands of miles away from home?

Vacation Insurance in Times of a New Threat

As one would expect, there weren’t any dedicated insurance plans to cover the costs and losses travelers would face as the pandemic unravelled. It was a new threat. Some countries made provisions to evacuate their stranded citizens on repatriation flights, but of course, there were limits as to how many people could be returned home.

This left many wondering – what would happen to those who couldn’t get a flight back home? What happens to those who have suffered ongoing issues as a result of being stranded?

Initially, no one really knew how to react. Insurance companies were no different, so many of these travelers simply had to think for themselves. Many existing travel plans had no way to actually provide coverage for travelers who were affected by the pandemic. More concerningly, insurance companies didn’t provide specific plans to cover those who got sick with COVID-19 while traveling.

Fortunately, that has changed. There have been modifications made to existing insurance plans that have provided travelers with a safety net, and will likely continue to do so if COVID-19 or any pandemic were to re-emerge.

Visitor Insurance With COVID-19 Provisions

Safe Travel USA Comprehensive offers visitor insurance which does not exclude coverage for COVID-19 and can cover COVID-19 as any other illness as long as it is not a pre-existing condition. It has served as a lifeline for visitors to the US who have insurance plans that don’t cover them from pandemics. Many concerned travelers wondered whether the plan would cover things like coronavirus testing or hospitalization.

The plan covers the following:

  • Charges associated with illness, injury and medical evacuation
  • Testing for patients with possible COVID-19 infections as required by the medical practitioner to treat an illness.

There are stipulations of course and the plan doesn’t cover all factors relating to the coronavirus. For example, it does not cover preventative screening or antibody testing for asymptomatic individuals who have not been exposed to the virus.

Nevertheless, this visitor insurance plan for COVID-19 has demonstrated the need for flexibility in coverage and how this need can be addressed.

What Will Visitor Insurance for COVID-19 Mean for the Future

We’re still far away from being “in the clear” of the COVID-19 pandemic. Although many countries have seen dramatic decreases in their caseloads and death tolls, many others are seeing sharp spikes and resurgences. 

What we do know is this: the pandemic will have a lasting presence for a long time. What that means for insurance providers, of course, is expanding their coverage for those who might be affected. Travel will likely resume before the pandemic is completely resolved.

That means travelers will need protection against unforeseen occurrences (in this case, possible COVID infections) for months or years to come. There could likely be an increase in coverage plans for COVID-19, with more options available to travelers. However, given the scenario right now many insurance companies offer visitor insurance with exclusions for pandemics in general.

If that is to be the case, we will likely be at the forefront of offering such lifelines to travelers.

Looking for assistance to choose visitor insurance for your parents? Get in touch with us so that we can answer your questions!

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