Travel insurance protects us from financial loss from unexpected or unlikely events such as medical evacuation, flight cancellation, or stolen luggage. But what do travel insurers do when a known event like COVID-19 threatens people’s travel plans?
Ever since the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic, insurers have treated it as a ‘foreseen’ event excluded from standard policies. Some insurers cover cancellation when a policyholder becomes sick from COVID-19 prior to travelling or emergency medical costs when a policyholder contracts COVID-19 while travelling. However, no standard policy will reimburse you if your travel plans are cancelled because of general circumstances related to the virus, such as government travel restrictions.
The good news is that many insurers continue to offer the Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) option, which is available as an add-on to standard plans and allows travelers to cancel their trip for any reason not otherwise covered in their base plan. Most CFAR plans cover you for 50-75% of your losses, but the important thing is that this includes cancellations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Of course, you should always read the fine print for exclusions before purchasing.
With all this in mind, here are our top 10 best travel insurance providers for 2020, including details on their COVID-19 policies.
SquareMouth is a comparison site that lets you compare prices, coverages, and exclusions from 22 insurers at once. While there are several contenders to the title of best travel insurance marketplace, SquareMouth is the best for finding insurers that cover COVID-19 cancellations. When you begin your search, you’ll actually see a filter for ‘coronavirus pandemic’ (alongside other popular filters like medical evacuation, pre-existing medical, and hurricane & weather). Insurers are constantly changing their policies in response to COVID-19, so it’s good to know SquareMouth has all the most up-to-date information.
TravelInsurance.com is another popular travel insurance marketplace. It currently lets you shop policies from 11 insurers, five of which offer Cancel For Any Reason riders. The great thing about TravelInsurance.com is that it offers extensive details about each insurer’s exclusions, so you don’t have to waste time going to multiple websites to get all the details. On the search results page, you’ll see a button titled ‘COVID-19 FAQs under each insurer’s logo which gives you the breakdown on exactly what is and isn’t covered.
Nationwide is a major travel insurance carrier known for offering single-trip and annual plans. It too has responded favorably to the coronavirus pandemic. It offers coronavirus cancellation if you contract COVID-19 prior to your trip, emergency medical if you become sick with COVID-19 during your trip, and CFAR coverage. To qualify for a CFAR reimbursement, you must purchase your coverage within 21 days of the initial trip deposit and you must cancel your trip more than 48 hours prior to scheduled departure.
HTH Worldwide has a worldwide network of elite, English-speaking medical professionals in 180 countries. Therefore, if you ever find yourself in the unfortunate situation of needing medical attention abroad – whether for COVID-19 or any other reason – you’ll be thankful for having coverage from HTH. Furthermore, HTH also offers CFAR coverage. To qualify for a CFAR reimbursement, you must purchase your coverage within 15 days of the initial trip deposit and you must cancel your trip more than 48 hours prior to scheduled departure.
AXA is a large travel insurance company offering three types of plans: Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Platinum policyholders are also offered the opportunity to purchase CFAR coverage. To qualify for a CFAR reimbursement, you must purchase your coverage within 14 days of the initial trip deposit and you must cancel your trip more than 48 hours prior to scheduled departure.
AIG Travel Guard is known for offering highly customizable and flexible travel insurance policies that suit all sorts of situations. Therefore, it’s no surprise that Travel Guard continues to offer CFAR coverage that includes reimbursement for cancellations caused by COVID-19. To qualify for a CFAR reimbursement, you must purchase your coverage within 15 days of the initial trip deposit and you must cancel your trip more than 48 hours prior to scheduled departure.
Allianz is the largest travel insurance provider in the United States, and it’s easy to see why when you consider that it has 10 types of plans. Whether you’re taking a single trip, multiple trips, or need year-round coverage, Allianz has you covered. However, the downside to having so much choice is that the reimbursements are lower. Even with the best policy, Allianz only offers $50,000 coverage if you need emergency medical treatment during your trip for COVID-19 or other reasons.
Travelex has a reputation for paying out for more types of events than other insurers, so it was surprising when it stopped offering CFAR policies after the COVID-19 outbreak. With that said, Travelex is still a solid option for travel insurance. If you trip is cancelled for reasons that are included in the policy, it will pay out 100%. Better yet, if your trip is interrupted for covered events, it will cover up to 150% of the cost.
World Nomads is the travel insurance provider of choice for people who love adventure, covering around 200 extreme sports. Most sports are covered under its standard policy, although a handful (like bull riding, bouldering, and deep-water soloing) are only covered if you fork out for the premium Explorer plan. World Nomads covers cancellations or medical emergencies when you contract COVID-19, although it doesn’t offer CFAR coverage for government-mandated travel restrictions.
Tin Leg is an insurance carrier owned and operated by the industry experts at SquareMouth. It offers flexible and generous policies, with a choice of six plans covering up to $500,000 in medical emergency costs. If you’re worried about needing medical attention for an unforeseen illness while abroad, then you can’t do much better than Tin Leg.