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Travel Insurance and COVID-19: The Epidemic Coverage Endorsement Explained

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As a world leader in travel protection, Allianz Global Assistance is singularly focused on travelers’ concerns. That’s why we recently made changes to some of our most popular travel insurance plans to include epidemic-related covered reasons (benefits vary by plan and are not available in all jurisdictions).

The new Epidemic Coverage Endorsement adds covered reasons to select benefits for certain losses related to COVID-19 and any future epidemic. To see if your plan includes this endorsement, please look for “Epidemic Coverage Endorsement” on your Declarations of Coverage or Letter of Confirmation. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply.

For plans that now include the new Epidemic Coverage Endorsement, your plan may now include epidemic-related covered reasons under some or all of the following benefits:

  • Trip Cancellation, if for example you must cancel your trip after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Trip Interruption, if for example during your trip you are specifically named and individually ordered to quarantine (not including generally or broadly applicable quarantines). See below for details.*
  • Travel Delay, if for example you are denied boarding based on a suspicion that you are ill with an epidemic disease such as COVID-19.
  • Emergency Medical Care, if for example you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and need to be hospitalized while traveling.
  • Emergency Transportation, if for example you’re diagnosed with an epidemic disease such as COVID-19 while you’re traveling and you require an emergency medical evacuation.

Here are a few more important things to know:

  • If you cancel or cut short a trip because you’re afraid of becoming ill with COVID-19, or because a travel advisory has been issued for your destination, that will not be covered by our travel insurance plans.
  • Benefits may not cover the full cost of your loss. All benefits are subject to maximum limits of liability, which may in some cases be subject to sublimits and daily maximums.  Be sure to review your plan carefully to understand what limits apply to your plan.
  • If your destination requires proof of travel insurance with COVID-19-related benefits, please call us at 1-866-884-3556. We can provide a summary letter of plan benefits. Please note, customers are responsible for being aware of the requirements for travel to, from, and within their destination(s), including any minimum insurance coverage requirements.  If you need to increase your plan’s coverage limits to meet your destination’s minimum requirements, please call us at 1-866-884-3556

Even if your specific travel protection plan does not include the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement, certain limited-time COVID-19 claim accommodations may still be available. Read our COVID-19 coverage alert for details.

Remember that our Assistance team is here to help customers. Whether you have questions about your destination’s travel requirements or you need medical help, contact Assistance by phone or via the free TravelSmart™ app. For frequently asked questions relating to travel insurance and COVID-19, see our COVID-19 FAQ page.

Here are real-world scenarios for how benefits may apply under plans containing the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement.

Trip Cancellation When You’re Diagnosed With COVID-19

Scenario: You’ve booked an adorable cottage for your family vacation to Sanibel Island, Florida. Three days before you’re supposed to leave, your spouse begins to feel unwell. You anxiously await his test results, then learn he has COVID-19. Your first concern is for his health; your second concern is all the money you’re going to lose on this vacation. It’s too late to get a refund. Can your travel insurance with the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement help?

Yes, if your plan also includes Trip Cancellation benefits. A serious illness suffered by the insured person, a traveling companion or a family member is a covered reason for trip cancellation. The Trip Cancellation benefit can reimburse you for nonrefundable, prepaid trip costs, up to the maximum benefit in your plan, if you must cancel your trip for a covered reason.

The Epidemic Coverage Endorsement specifically includes an epidemic disease, such as COVID-19, as a covered illness. The standard conditions apply. A positive COVID-19 test or diagnosis by a physician is considered verification of illness, even if the traveler is asymptomatic.

The Epidemic Coverage Endorsement also includes the serious illness of a family member who’s not traveling with you. Your trip cancellation can be covered if a family member is diagnosed with COVID-19 (or another epidemic disease) and their illness is considered life-threatening by a doctor or requires hospitalization.

Please note, coverage only applies to plans that include the applicable benefit and covered reason.  All benefits are subject to maximum limits of liability, which may in some cases be subject to sublimits and daily maximums.  See your plan for details.

Emergency Medical Care for COVID-19 While Traveling

Scenario: You’re traveling to visit your mom in Guatemala City. On your sixth day there, you awake with chills and a fever. You call us for assistance, and we recommend a highly regarded private hospital nearby. There, you’re diagnosed with COVID-19. You’re hospitalized as your condition grows worse. How can your travel insurance help?

If your plan includes the Emergency Medical Care benefit and the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement, then you can be reimbursed for costs for emergency medical care for COVID-19 or another covered illness, up to your specific plan’s maximum limit for the Emergency Medical Care benefit.

This benefit is especially important if you’re traveling overseas. For example, hospitals in Guatemala (as in many other countries) may require payment before you can be treated, and may not accept your U.S. health insurance.1 If you need to be admitted to a hospital for inpatient care for longer than 24 hours, Allianz Global Assistance can guarantee or advance payments, where accepted, up to the limit of your emergency medical/dental coverage.

Please note, coverage only applies to plans that include the applicable benefit and covered reason.  All benefits are subject to maximum limits of liability, which may in some cases be subject to sublimits and daily maximums.  See your plan for details.

Emergency Medical Transportation If You Are Diagnosed with COVID-19 While Traveling

Scenario: After months stuck at home, you decide it’s time for a radical change of scenery. You book a tiny beach bungalow in the town of Xcalak, on Mexico’s Costa Maya, and settle in for a week of fishing and sunbathing. Five days into your trip, you come down with a fever and begin feeling short of breath. The local clinic diagnoses COVID-19, but they’re not equipped to treat you. How can your travel insurance plan with the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement help?

If you’re diagnosed with an epidemic disease such as COVID-19 while you’re traveling and you require an emergency medical evacuation, then your Emergency Transportation benefit can help. Our medical team will consult with the local doctor. If they determine that the local medical facilities are unable to provide adequate treatment, then our team can arrange and pay for emergency medical transportation to the nearest appropriate hospital.

This benefit also includes medical repatriation. That means that once you’re ready to return home and continue your recovery, our team can arrange and pay for your transportation home, with medical accommodations if medically necessary.

Please note, coverage only applies to plans that include the applicable benefit and covered reason.  All benefits are subject to maximum limits of liability, which may in some cases be subject to sublimits and daily maximums.  See your plan for details.

COVID-19-Related Travel Delays

Scenario: You’re at the airport, about to fly to Seattle to see your sister. Ten minutes before your flight departs, you realize you’re at the wrong gate! You’re standing at A-6 and you should be at A-36. You sprint through the airport and make it to the end of the boarding line. Then the gate associate takes your temperature. “101,” she says. “I’m sorry, but you won’t be able to board.”

You try to explain that you’re hot because you were running. You took a COVID-19 test the day before, and it was negative. It’s no use: the airline won’t let you board. Now what?

Certain Epidemic Coverage Endorsements include a denied boarding covered reason under one or both of the Travel Delay and Trip Interruption benefits.  For customers with that covered reason included in their Epidemic Coverage Endorsement under Travel Delay or Trip Interruption, if a travel carrier denies you boarding based on a suspicion that you have a contagious medical condition, including an epidemic disease such as COVID-19, that can be a covered reason under the applicable benefit(s). This covered reason also applies if your traveling companion is denied boarding.

Please note that your benefits will not cover you if you don’t comply with the rules or requirements of your travel carrier or your destination! If, for instance, you’re required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test, and you don’t have it, then your travel delay benefits can’t help you.

So how can travel insurance help? Your Travel Delay benefits can reimburse you for eligible expenses incurred during your delay, such as meals, transportation and lodging. Your Trip Interruption benefits can reimburse reasonable additional transportation expenses to continue your trip — such as, for instance, a ticket on a different airline — or accommodation and transportation expenses incurred while staying longer than expected. If you’re unable to continue your trip, then your trip interruption benefits can also reimburse you for your unused, non-refundable trip costs.

Please note, coverage only applies to plans that include the applicable benefit and covered reason.  All benefits are subject to maximum limits of liability, which may in some cases be subject to sublimits and daily maximums.  See your plan for details.

Trip Interruption When Individually Ordered to Quarantine Due to COVID-19 Exposure

Scenario: While you are on a cruise, the crew of your cruise ship is conducting random COVID-19 testing of passengers. A passenger who is not part of your traveling party but with whom you have had close contact tests positive for COVID-19. As a result, you or your traveling companion are ordered to quarantine while on board. Other passengers who are not close contacts of the ill passenger are allowed to continue freely moving about the ship as normal. Can travel insurance with the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement help?

Yes. If you or a traveling companion are individually ordered to quarantine before or during your trip because you were exposed to an epidemic disease, such as COVID-19, that can be a covered reason for Trip Interruption. Certain conditions must be met, however. For instance, benefits for quarantines only apply when an eligible traveler is specifically named and individually ordered to quarantine (not including generally or broadly applicable quarantines such as state “shelter in place” orders). Let’s say you must cancel a trip because your entire town or state (or your destination) is placed under stay-at-home restrictions. This would not be covered under your plan.  Other conditions and limitations apply.  See below for details.*

How can the Trip Interruption benefit help in a situation like this? If you have to interrupt your trip or end it early due to a covered reason, we can reimburse you for your unused, prepaid, non-refundable trip costs. This benefit can also reimburse you for additional accommodation costs and/or transportation costs during the interruption, or incurred to continue your trip or return home.

Please note, coverage only applies to plans that include the applicable benefit and covered reason.  All benefits are subject to maximum limits of liability, which may in some cases be subject to sublimits and daily maximums. Benefit may not cover the full cost of your quarantine. See your plan for details.

Trip Cancellation When Individually Ordered to Quarantine Due to COVID-19 Exposure

Scenario: A day before your planned vacation, you learn that you’ve been exposed to someone with COVID-19 at your workplace. Pursuant to a state directive, you are ordered to quarantine for 14 days, preventing you from taking your trip as planned. Can travel insurance with the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement help?

Yes, if your plan also includes Trip Cancellation benefits. If you or a traveling companion are individually ordered to quarantine before your trip because you were exposed to an epidemic disease, such as COVID-19, that can be a covered reason for Trip Cancellation. Certain conditions must be met, however. For instance, benefits for quarantines only apply when an eligible traveler is specifically named and individually ordered to quarantine (not including generally or broadly applicable quarantines such as state “shelter in place” orders). For example, if you must cancel a trip because your entire town or state (or your destination) is placed under stay-at-home restrictions, this would not be covered under your plan. Other conditions and limitations apply. See below for details.*

Please note, coverage only applies to plans that include the applicable benefit and covered reason. All benefits are subject to maximum limits of liability, which may in some cases be subject to sublimits and daily maximums. Benefit may not cover the full cost of your quarantine. See your plan for details.

Have questions? We’re here to help.  Contact us anytime with questions about the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement or how travel insurance can help with certain losses relating to COVID-19.

*- Benefits for quarantines only apply when an eligible traveler is specifically named and individually ordered to quarantine by order or official directive of a government, public regulatory authority, or the captain of a commercial vessel on which that eligible traveler is booked to travel during the covered trip, based on that eligible traveler’s exposure to COVID-19. The benefit does not cover travel restrictions (whether or not they are referred to as “quarantine”) that apply generally or broadly (a) to some segment or all of a population, geographical area, building, or vessel (including without limitation shelter-in-place, stay-at-home, safer-at-home, or other similar restriction), or (b) based on to, from, or through where the person is traveling. Coverage may not cover the full cost of your quarantine and is subject to applicable benefit limits. Read your plan documents for details.

Availability of Epidemic Coverage Endorsement, including specific benefits and covered reasons described here, varies by product and by state.  Products may not include all benefits or covered reasons described here.  See your plan for details on what your plan includes. Benefits may not cover the full cost of your loss.  All benefits are subject to maximum limits of liability, which may in some cases be subject to sublimits and daily maximums.  Be sure to review your plan carefully to understand what limits apply to your plan.

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Citations
  1. Travel.State.Gov

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Mar 12, 2021