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The COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic has caused a serious and unprecedented disruption in the global travel industry. As the number of confirmed cases of people affected by the virus and the number of deaths continues to rise, international travelers are increasingly worried about their medical and financial protection if they happen to contract the infection while they are away from their home country.
Many international travelers are currently stuck in the US because of travel bans and are highly concerned about their visitors’ health coverage status. Visitors with non-US travel insurance plans procured in their home countries cannot renew or extend their plan because they have already arrived in the US (their destination country).
Because of this, they are considering appropriate US health plans that will provide them financial protection for their extended stay in the US. Many visitors are also realizing that their existing travel insurance plans do not cover the risk from pandemics such as coronavirus.
As of April 1st 2020 Safe Travel USA Comprehensive Visitor Insurance plan can cover COVID-19 as any other illness as long it is not a preexisting condition.
Visitor Guard® Insurance Reaches Out to Travelers
In this time of widespread concern and confusion, Visitor Guard® is receiving a constant stream of calls from visitors who are already in the US and those who have a planned trip to the US.
The travel insurance provider has taken the initiative to address the most pressing questions visitors are having right now. Visitor Guard® is committed to helping international travelers make informed choices for their financial protection while they are away from their home country at this time.
Pallavi Sadekar, Client Services Executive at Visitor Guard®, said: “It is a no brainer for travelers to protect their most valuable asset – health – while traveling to foreign countries. It is important to understand what is covered, and even more important to know what is not covered.”
Top Questions from Visitors
Visitors Currently in the US
- Will my policy cover coronavirus testing?
- Is treatment, including hospitalization, due to coronavirus included in my insurance policy?
People Planning to Visit the US
- Can I buy insurance to cover treatment for corona virus related illness?
Visitor Guard® Answers Coronavirus-Related Travel Insurance Issues
Travel medical plans can provide coverage (as per the schedule of benefits of the policy) for COVID-19 related care if you have purchased and entered the destination country prior to either:
- The CDC issuing a Warning Level 3 (avoid nonessential travel) for your destination country.
- A government agency of your home country publishing or issuing a travel warning or Emergency Travel Advisory regarding your destination country.
Eligible Medical Expenses that may be considered for coverage include, but are not limited to, charges for illness, injury, or medical evacuation. The policy does not offer coverage for costs associated with preventive screening i.e. if the policy holder does not have symptoms and requests a doctor to order a test for the virus.
If a member is ordered into quarantine from a government official authorized to make such an order prior to or during your trip or first become ill while traveling, coverage may be available for emergency medical, medical evacuation or trip interruption as per the policy benefits.
Visitor Guard® Plan Recommendations for Coronavirus Coverage
When you are purchasing travel insurance coverage for your forthcoming visit to the US, or you are already present in the US as a visitor and need to buy health insurance, you must first check to see if there are any exclusions on pandemics.
If there is a specific mention, then most likely the insurance will not cover you for coronavirus related illness. If there is no specific exclusion for epidemics, then the insurance company will have some guidelines on how they would cover coronavirus related illness.
Sadekar reminds visitors that “every travel medical insurance plan will come with its own exclusions and restrictions, even if it may cover coronavirus related illnesses.”
Therefore, review your policy carefully whether it covers your treatment for coronavirus related illness and whether it will pay for repatriation. Even if you are not buying a new policy, but renewing an existing policy, you should ask questions to your insurance provider about coronavirus coverage.
If you are planning to travel to the US, no matter what your home country may be, you should also consider adding CFAR (cancel for any reason) coverage. This will allow you to cancel your trip 48 hours prior to departure and reimburse up to 75 percent of your prepaid costs.
Looking at the current uncertainties, it makes sense that if you miss a flight due to coronavirus quarantine or decide to cancel your flight, your policy should cover you,” said Sadekar.
Choose Visitors Insurance from Visitor Guard®
Visitors insurance from Visitor Guard® can cover emergency health expenses, prescriptions, tests, and in and outpatient services, and tests. With the growing threat of coronavirus pandemic, travelers to the US should protect themselves financially against the risks of coronavirus related illness or trip disruption