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Travel Insurance and Epidemics

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Seems like a good time to ask this question.   I am not trying to be an alarmist - I genuinely wouldl like to understand what happens in this circumstance.     I purchased travel insurance and also have coverage with my Chase Saphire Reserve card.  I've reviewed the terms and conditions and neither seem to cover epidemics (or they are not specifically called out as an allowable reasons for trip cancellation or interruption).     I have a 16 day TA in April to Europe and then an additional 10 days on land.     Anyone know what happens if cruises or flights are canceled for this reason when it comes to trip insurance?   This is happening in China right now and tour operators have begun to send trip cancellation notices to customers through at least February.  I certainly hope this situation doesn't get any worse, but I'm hesitant to spend anymore on this trip when it comes to lodging and tours until I understand what - if any- reimbursement I would receive secondary to travel bans or restrictions caused by an epidemic.    Is there a chance I am going to eat all of the money I've spent so far if this virus spreads to the areas I am scheduled to travel to?

 

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I've seen several recent articles mentioning that the vast majority of travel insurance policies do not cover pandemics like this Coronovirus.  Several CC posters are lamenting that their Asia sailings have not been canceled, and they wish they were. I can fully understand their upset.

 

If I were in your situation for Europe, I would not worry too much. Most of the passengers on a TA will not be from China although 1/3 (2,000) passengers on our Mediterranean cruise in November were from China!  That shocked me.  Of course, a person from any country could be the carrier, but I suspect most of western and central Europe will be very diligent in their response. 

 

For the first time, we have decided to bring face masks on our Caribbean cruise which is in early Feb.. I may choose to wear it on the plane or even on the cruise. I'm not getting hysterical, just proactive with my usual diligence with lots of hand washing and good hygiene.  

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1 hour ago, Cb2534 said:

 I have a 16 day TA in April to Europe and then an additional 10 days on land.     Anyone know what happens if cruises or flights are canceled for this reason when it comes to trip insurance?  

 

1 hour ago, Cb2534 said:

This is happening in China right now and tour operators have begun to send trip cancellation notices to customers through at least February.

If the TA cruise is cancelled by the cruise line, the cruise line will provide you a full refund. There would be no need for an insurance claim.

 

Once in Europe, if the flights for your 10 day land portion are cancelled by the airline due to a medical quarantine, they too should offer you a refund with no need for an insurance claim.

 

If you make the decision to cancel your TA cruise and the all of the arrangements for the 10 day land portion, and the air / hotel vendors are not sending cancellation notices (with refunds) due to a health epidemic and your insurance does not cover health epidemics, the costs are on you.

 

 

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RCL isn't going to cancel their TA to Europe unless the world goes into a crazy pandemic. We have seen SARS and Ebola scares that impacted some travel, but going to Europe is likely not going to see many problems unless things spiral out of control.

 

I can see the cruiselines starting more serious screening measures at embarkation, but many people medicate themselves if they are sick to reduce their fever.  China probably needs to put a ban on their citizens traveling, period.

 

I just read that the US is bringing home all of its diplomats stationed in China. They are scheduling chartered flights, so they know how serious the problem is. I would cancel any travel to China or even Asia at this time.

 

As far as most western countries like in North America, other viruses like flu have killed more people than this newer virus. I'm stepping up my usual travel precautions, but I'm not panicking. 

 

 

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One thing not mentioned so far is the possibility the State Dept. might at some point issue an advisory saying that travel to certain areas is unsafe or strongly discouraged.    See if your insurance policy has any wording covering this scenario.   If any situation is not specifically stated as 'covered' in your policy then you would very likely not be reimbursed.       

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@Cb2534

 

Howdy! emo22.gif

 

Thank you for your new thread on the Ask a Cruise Question forum that is for general questions about cruising. 👍  

 

Since your topic is travel insurance I have moved your thread to the Cruise/Travel Insurance forum where it will be on-topic.

 

I sincerely hope this will be helpful and glad to have you aboard Cruise Critic! emo35.gif

 

Happy sails,

 

Host Kat emo32.gif

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Just renewed my MedJet policy this morning and got this on their web site:

MEDJET SERVICES ALERT


 

Due to government imposed travel restrictions resulting from the Coronavirus, 
MEDJETASSIST and MEDJETHORIZON services are currently suspended in the following countries:

  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan
  • Macau

 

Services to additional countries may be restricted in the future.


 

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On 1/26/2020 at 10:00 AM, Suzanne123 said:

Just renewed my MedJet policy this morning and got this on their web site:

MEDJET SERVICES ALERT


 

Due to government imposed travel restrictions resulting from the Coronavirus, 
MEDJETASSIST and MEDJETHORIZON services are currently suspended in the following countries:

  • China
  • Hong Kong
  • Taiwan
  • Macau

 

Services to additional countries may be restricted in the future.


 

Thanks for this information. It looks like if you travel to China, you will need the US government to get you out and I saw that the individual has to pay for it  AND that was only for their own employees. Bottom line: now is not the time to travel and cruise in China!

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This situation would seem to underscore how valuable Cancel for Any Reason trip insurance can be.  This would mean that no matter what happens, if you personally are unwilling to risk overseas travel (or any travel, for that matter) based on current conditions you control the ability to cancel.

 

Something to think about for those who are contemplating booking today for the future, and the importance of a close read to the terms and conditions and available options of policies.

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We are scheduled to leave for an (almost) two week trip - on February 28, 2020. We are flying into Hong Kong (Cathay Pacific Airline) from NYC and then to Vietnam for a week long cruise through Vietnam and Cambodia (AMAWaterways). After another two days in Cambodia, we are flying back to Hong Kong - staying for three nights and then back to NYC. So...... we are in total limbo! While travel is being restricted into and out of mainland China, Hong Kong is not on the mainland. Honestly, if I knew that the trip would be covered, I would cancel. I can't imagine going on this trip and worrying every time I hear someone cough! Does anyone have any insight? advice? in the same boat??? 

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1 hour ago, jozuko said:

We are scheduled to leave for an (almost) two week trip - on February 28, 2020. We are flying into Hong Kong (Cathay Pacific Airline) from NYC and then to Vietnam for a week long cruise through Vietnam and Cambodia (AMAWaterways). After another two days in Cambodia, we are flying back to Hong Kong - staying for three nights and then back to NYC. So...... we are in total limbo! While travel is being restricted into and out of mainland China, Hong Kong is not on the mainland. Honestly, if I knew that the trip would be covered, I would cancel. I can't imagine going on this trip and worrying every time I hear someone cough! Does anyone have any insight? advice? in the same boat??? 

From everything I have seen, it looks like the only way insurance will cover your situation is if you have Cancel For Any Reason coverage.  There may be some policies that would treat your cancellation as a covered reason, but I have taken a look at a few policies that I have used in the past and none would treat this as a covered reason.  I assume you have read your policy and called whoever sold it to you to be sure.  If someone has a policy that would cover cancellation due to epidemics or pandemics, I hope they post the information.

 

Good Luck.

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I hope this is the right thread for my addendum to the question. The Costa Smeralda, with thousands of passengers, is being quarantined. I tried calling AIG (where I have insurance for my upcoming cruise), but gave up after being on hold for 35 minutes. 

 

What happens if you're on a cruise ship like the Smeralda, where the whole boat and everyone on it gets quarantined, as far as travel insurance? Does anyone know? I have something called Travel Guard Plus, if that helps. But for example, if I was on that cruise, not only would I be missing ports, but if the quarantine is long enough, one could miss the travel arrangements to get home (planes, trains).  

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37 minutes ago, Ellis1138 said:

I hope this is the right thread for my addendum to the question. The Costa Smeralda, with thousands of passengers, is being quarantined. I tried calling AIG (where I have insurance for my upcoming cruise), but gave up after being on hold for 35 minutes. 

 

What happens if you're on a cruise ship like the Smeralda, where the whole boat and everyone on it gets quarantined, as far as travel insurance? Does anyone know? I have something called Travel Guard Plus, if that helps. But for example, if I was on that cruise, not only would I be missing ports, but if the quarantine is long enough, one could miss the travel arrangements to get home (planes, trains).  

To get a definitive answer, read your plan certificate and then try again to get in touch with AIG or whoever sold you the plan.  That said, I think there is a good chance you would be covered for Trip Interruption in the situation you describe.  I found a copy of the certificate for Travel Guard Plus from 2017. I don't know if terms have changed or if any of the terms vary by state of residence.  The one I found says:

 

TRIP CANCELLATION AND INTERRUPTION
The Company will reimburse the Insured a benefit, up to the Maximum Limit shown in the Schedule or Declarations Page if an Insured cancels his/her Trip or is unable to continue on his/her Trip due to any of the following Unforeseen events:

. . .

(f) the Insured or Traveling Companion is hijacked, quarantined, subpoenaed or required to serve on a jury;

 

Here is a link:

https://webservices.travelguard.com/Product/FileRetrieval.aspx?StateCode=CT&ProductCode=101838&PlanCode=P1&CountryCode=US&EffectiveDate=2017-09-23T01:29:38&FileType=PROD_PLAN_DOC

 

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4 hours ago, Ellis1138 said:

I hope this is the right thread for my addendum to the question. The Costa Smeralda, with thousands of passengers, is being quarantined. I tried calling AIG (where I have insurance for my upcoming cruise), but gave up after being on hold for 35 minutes. 

 

What happens if you're on a cruise ship like the Smeralda, where the whole boat and everyone on it gets quarantined, as far as travel insurance? Does anyone know? I have something called Travel Guard Plus, if that helps. But for example, if I was on that cruise, not only would I be missing ports, but if the quarantine is long enough, one could miss the travel arrangements to get home (planes, trains).  

As I understand it

Your policy requires "Trip Delay" to be in excess of 12 hours. So, if they only hold the ship for 11 hours, then you have no claim.

Trip Interruption on the other hand "The Company will reimburse the Insured a benefit, up to the Maximum Limit shown in the Schedule or Declarations Page if an Insured cancels his/her Trip or is unable to continue on his/her Trip due to any of the following Unforeseen events: (f)the Insured or Traveling Companion is hijacked, quarantined, subpoenaed or required to serve on a jury; 

 

So, how do I read that?

Have you been officially quarantined and if so under what or who's authority? Let's say the insurance company agrees that you've been quarantined. Well,,,, you'd be covered up to 150% of your losses up to your policy limit. But what are your "out of pocket" losses? You might be entitled for that 1 day on the ship and any missed excursion minus any refund,,,, AND has the cruiselines given you any OBC to offset the issue.? 

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1 hour ago, klfrodo said:

Have you been officially quarantined and if so under what or who's authority? Let's say the insurance company agrees that you've been quarantined. Well,,,, you'd be covered up to 150% of your losses up to your policy limit. But what are your "out of pocket" losses? You might be entitled for that 1 day on the ship and any missed excursion minus any refund,,,, AND has the cruiselines given you any OBC to offset the issue.? 

I don't think anyone knows for sure what will be covered until someone files a claim. Even though I did not say it, I was focusing on the OP's  "if the quarantine is long enough, one could miss the travel arrangements to get home (planes, trains)".  I would hope this would be covered.  In addition, other items such as the ones you mentioned might also qualify for reimbursement.

  • Days spent in quarantine
  • Missed excursions 

As you say, if they are reimbursed for these or any other covered expenses, then the insurance will only pay for the loss, less any reimbursements from the cruise line or other source.  If the reimbursement is not in cash or something that can be converted to cash (i.e. refundable OBC), then I don't know what will typically happen.

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8 minutes ago, Jersey42 said:

I don't think anyone knows for sure what will be covered until someone files a claim. Even though I did not say it, I was focusing on the OP's  "if the quarantine is long enough, one could miss the travel arrangements to get home (planes, trains)".  I would hope this would be covered.  

You are correct. There are many If's, ands, or buts.

Did the "Trip cost" include the price of airfare? If so, then ticket change fees and any increased cost of tickets would probably be covered "up to policy limit". If they used miles or points for their air travel,,,, well,, since points or miles have no cash value, these would not be covered.

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Thanks, everyone. I'll keep trying to contact AIG, although it's just a hypothetical question. I just like to have enough insurance and to be prepared.

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Update: I posted a few days ago about cancelling my Amawaterways rive cruise - Vietnam to Cambodia (traveling in and out of Hong Kong). At the time of my post I was told that insurance would not cover the cancelation (due to the spread of the coronavirus). We decided to cancel exactly 31 days out in order to be certain of recouping (at least) 50% of the cost of the cruise. Well....great news...today Ama came through with a travel credit voucher for the remainder of the trip (the other 50%) to be used on a future cruise. Also, since Cathay Pacific has canceled all flights from Newark to Vietnam, we got that $$ back to! We are still out the cost of the travel insurance (what a waste!) and the cost of the Visas, but overall, we are happy. So, hats off to Amawaterways for doing the right thing!

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3 hours ago, jozuko said:

We are still out the cost of the travel insurance (what a waste!)

What policy did you buy?  Some, if not many, insurance companies will let you transfer the policy to another trip if you cancel your trip and have not made a claim. It certainly will not hurt to ask.

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Another update - thanks to Jersey42 - I got my money back from my Trip Insurance in the form of a credit that I have two years to utilize. I sent an email to customer service at insuremytrip.com (where I purchased my AIG Insurance Policy) explaining that I cancelled my trip but that I had not and would not be making a claim on the policy. I provided documentation showing that I had cancelled  and that my flight had been refunded and that my cruise had been refunded (half in $$ and half in a credit) and I requested a credit. I got emails back the next day from insuremytrip and AIG that they had issued me a credit! So shout out to Jersey42!! 

And now, instead of a cruise down the Mekong River in Asia, I will be hanging on a beach in Cancun. It's better than nothing!

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If a pandemic is issued and my insurance does cover pandemics BUT cruise line is still running cruise (2 weeks out pr SJ ) I wonder if I cancel if I would be covered.  Hmmm ? 

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I read all the fine print on my Visa Premium rewards travel insurance coverage, no coverage for epidemics or pandemics for trip disruption or cancellation. 

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On 2/13/2020 at 9:26 PM, Jersey42 said:

What policy did you buy?  Some, if not many, insurance companies will let you transfer the policy to another trip if you cancel your trip and have not made a claim. It certainly will not hurt to ask.

That's awesome! We booked through Insure my Trip, and although our policy does allow us to cancel in the event of a CDC warning against travel, we wouldn't need to use it as Celebrity is offering cancel for any reason up to 48 hours in advance, and our air is refundable. So our only loss if we do cancel would be the cost of trip insurance! Nice to know we can get that covered, too.

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