3 travel insurance tips to help ease coronavirus woes

Unless you bought travel insurance before January, you won't be covered for coronavirus. Here are other ways you can protect your pocket.

Updated

Travel plans have been thrown up in the air for thousands of people as the coronavirus continues to spread across the world. And, unfortunately, most travel insurance policies won’t cover it.

However, all is not lost. Whether you’ve already booked a trip or you’re planning one in the near future, there may be some steps you can take to reduce your risk of financial loss.

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1. Contact your credit card provider

Did you pay for your holiday ages ago and use a credit card to do so? If so, you might find that you have some travel insurance that you didn’t even know about.

Some premium credit cards offer complimentary travel insurance, which, in certain circumstances, could kick in to help with the cost of coronavirus-related claims.

You’ll have to contact your credit card company to see how it’s handling the situation, but you may find that you have some protection. Remember, you’ll probably only have a case if you used your credit card to pay for the trip before January 2020.

2. Consider CFAR insurance

Planning to head overseas in the next few months but worried the situation might worsen and you may have to cancel your trip? It might be worth considering “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) insurance. CFAR insurance is not the same as travel interruption or emergency medical insurance. This means won’t lose out if you change your mind.

CFAR insurance does have a couple of catches, though:

  • Usually, you’ll have to purchase CFAR insurance at the same time that you buy your trip, or within 48 hours of booking.
  • Usually, you won’t be able to get CFAR insurance if your trip is in less than a week’s time.

It’s not very common but you can ask you insurer if they offer it. Despite the restrictions, CFAR is still a great option if you’re thinking about booking a trip but are worried you might have to cancel it further down the line. Standard travel insurance wouldn’t reimburse you, but CFAR could cover some of your cancellation expenses.

3. Contact your service providers

If you’ve already paid for your trip but you’ve decided not to go – and you’re not covered by your travel insurance – it’s worth contacting your service providers directly to see how they can help.

Some airlines are already offering refunds or vouchers to customers who were planning on travelling to severely-impacted regions, including China, South Korea and even some areas of Italy. As the coronavirus spreads, it’s possible that more countries will be added.

You might not be able to get a full refund, but you may be able to change your flight to another destination or move it to later in the year. Alternatively, if you want to cancel altogether, you might just be charged a fee, rather than lose the full price of the ticket.

Several hotel chains have also offered refunds for cancelled bookings, or are introducing more flexible rebooking policies, as the coronavirus continues to disrupt travel plans.

Unfortunately, these tips won’t be helpful for everyone, but you might be one of the lucky ones who can claim some money back or protect your pocket from future expenses.

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