Travel insurance for Coronavirus (Covid 19)

Travel medical insurance for visitors stranded in the USA because of Coronavirus

It is heartbreaking that so many people are stranded due to COVID-19 with many borders closing and travel plans forced to be altered. At American Visitor Insurance, we are committed to getting you the best insurance coverage we can in these uncertain times. Of particular note, INF insurance is offering travel health insurance plans with coverage for Coronavirus in the USA, Canada and Mexica.
While many insurers are NOT covering COVID-19 and even voiding policies due to the global pandemic, INF insurance is a REAL option for travelers stuck in the US and needing insurance coverage. The INF travel insurance policy is good if you are replacing an existing travel policy that has expired or maybe you didn't have an insurance policy to begin with. International students in the US, Snowbirds from Canada or the UK, tourists from European nations, even US green card holders can purchase these plans. Note that the INF Traveler USA visitors insurance plan ONLY offers coverage in the US, while the INF Elite Network Insurance can be used in the US, Canada, and Mexico (even by US citizens who ordinarily reside outside the US). The INF Traveler USA plan is quite affordable and many travelers and students are even buying this plan to complement their existing insurance option if it has limitations in coverage for COVID-19. Please know we are here to help you make the best, informed decision to get coverage even for COVID-19! Let us know how we can assist you. Feel free to contact us by email or phone at any time.

International travel and the impact of Coronavirus for worldwide travelers

The world has looked on in dismay and shock as Covid 19, the coronavirus (officially SARS-CoV-2) began in China and has swept all over the world. This outbreak has disrupted international travel very significantly and highlighted just how connected a world we now live in. Many parts of China, South Korea, Iran and now Italy are completely locked down even to domestic travel. The virus has now spread to many states in the US, particularly in Washington state. Airports and airlines across the world are implementing screening measures for the disease to protect passengers and destinations. Perhaps now, more than ever, the need and usefulness of travel health insurance is highlighted. We hope to give some information for people with travel plans already set and those considering traveling about how to protect yourself medically and monetarily from this changing situation.

Coronavirus or Covid 19 : Background of the Virus and Disease it Causes

The SARS-CoV-2 virus is one of a family of viruses known as coronaviruses, so named for the crown-like structures around their enveloping membrane. This family of viruses includes our common cold, seasonal flu viruses, SARS (Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).
The name stands for Sever Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) which describes the disease it causes. CoV for coronavirus family. It gets the 2 because it is closely related to the original SARS outbreak which happened in China in 2002. Sometimes you will see it called nCoV which stands for novel coronavirus. It is novel because it has never been in humans before and so no one will have immunity to it. The SARS-CoV-2 virus is zoonotic in origin (that is, it originally crossed species from, we think, bats to humans, so it has an animal origin), but is now passed person to person. The SARS-CoV-2 virus causes the disease called Covid 19. COVID stands for COronaVIrus Disease and 19 because the outbreak began in 2019.

Covid 19 Outbreak

While the disease began in China, it has quickly spread to many parts of the world. Current hotspots include Iran in the Middle East, a European hotspot in Italy, and a significant hotspot in South Korea. New cases are now slowing in China due to the extraordinary measures they are taking to isolate sick individuals and prevent spread and of the disease. However, cases outside of China are increasing markedly. Many of these highly affected areas are trying to contain and delay the spread of the disease. Italy has recently taken more extreme measures by shutting down schools and requesting people work from home. While these are areas with the most cases we currently know of, individuals diagnosed with the new virus are popping up around the globe on a daily basis.

How does Coronavirus spread and how can I protect myself?

Experts are not completely sure how the virus is spreading. Clearly the virus is spreading person to person and they think the virus can live on surfaces for some period of time. It is likely the virus can spread through coughing and sneezing and live for some time on a person’s skin (if they touch their nose or nasal discharge). Medical professionals are suggesting we maintain social distance between each other to prevent person to person spread by touch (stay at least 1 meter apart) and not to shake hands, hug, or kiss in greeting each other.

We must avoid touching our eyes, nose or mouth, particularly while out in our communities and wash our hands before eating and when getting back home. An alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol can be used if you can’t access soap and water for hand washing. Avoid contact with people who are sick and if you are sick yourself, stay home and self isolate. If you think you do have this disease stay indoors, contact an appropriate medical facility by phone to get directions on what to do. It may not be a good idea to rush to a hospital or clinic if it is not necessary and in doing so expose yourself or others to infection.

Should I travel during the Coronavirus outbreak?

There are some places that one should not travel to if one can avoid it. US citizens have travel restrictions given by the US Department of State. A level 4 warning tells us not to travel to that destination. Of course, we are free to ignore these advisories, but it is reasonable to consider their information. As of writing this blog, China, Iran and South Korea are on level 4 warnings, or "Do Not Travel" warnings. Italy and is at level 3 which is "Reconsider Travel". Japan and Hong Kong are listed as level 2 which is "Exercise Increased Caution". The CDC maintains similar lists with its recommendations. The highest of which is usually level 3 and is "Avoid Nonessential Travel".

Individuals in high risk groups should probably avoid travel into countries and communities with community spread of this virus. The data informs us that older individuals (over age 60) and particularly those with co-morbidities (like heart failure and COPD) will be likely be more negatively affected by this disease (that is, get a more sever form) and are more likely to die of the disease. We only know this from information that has come out of the outbreak in China and it is important to remember that there is much that remains unknown about this virus and the disease it causes.

Can I buy travel insurance to cover me in case I do get sick with the Coronavirus or Covid 19?

This is a very good question. The answer is, “It depends”. It depends upon where you wish to travel. Here at American Visitor Insurance, we are happy to provide top options for health insurance for travelers available in the US market. However, since all our companies are US-based companies, many of them use the US Department of State or Center for Disease Control (CDC) warnings when determining coverage. For the US Department of State, the level of warning is at 4 or “Do Not Travel”, then policies we offer generally will NOT cover you and some even for things completely unrelated to the coronavirus. Barring the level 4 warning, however, you can get coverage and that coverage will include coverage for coronavirus illness. If, for example, you purchase a policy for your trip to Italy which is currently at level 3, but while you are traveling, that level is changed to 4, you are generally STILL covered since you did not travel against advice of the warning. Moreover, you would generally be covered for coronavirus illness should that occur. The same is true for CDC warnings. For CDC, the level 3 warning may exclude coverage from many companies. However, there are some differences between companies, so for specifics, please see some specific guidelines from our providers below.

Of particular note, trip cancellation policies available to US citizens and residents allow for trip cancellation due to your own illness or quarantine as part of their normal cancellation policy. You can also purchase many plans with a "Cancel for Any Reason" (CFAR) option (it is included in some) which will return 75% of your travel investment should you simply decide that you don’t wish to risk the trip or some other situation occurs outside your control that, does not allow normal cancellation of your trip, but still keeps you from taking your trip (for example, your best friend, who is not traveling with you, is sick and you want to stay home and help her). There are four plans that we offer with CFAR coverage: Travel LX insurance, Round Trip Choice Insurance and Round Trip Elite Insurance. The first one is offered by IMG and to get the CFAR coverage they must be purchased within 20 days of the initial trip deposit. The last two offer CFAR coverage as a rider which increases their cost. Note that not all plans are available in all states.

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US travel insurance providers for Coronavirus (Covid 19) coverage

INF travel insurance

INF travel insurance coverage for Coronavirus is straightforward. The coronavirus will be covered as per any new sickness in the policy since it is not explicitly excluded. Note that their plans only offer coverage in the US and Canada.
INF Traveler USA visitors insurance Covers Coronavirus for Visitors Already in USA INF provides insurance coverage for any COVID-19 infection and it will be covered fully by INF Traveler USA as a new sickness. INF Traveler USA is available to visitors who are already in the United States and does not have any restriction on the length of time the visitor has been in the US. INF Traveler USA will cover COVID-19 infections for major in-patient hospitalization, need for oxygen cylinders, and medication or other miscellaneous expenses required to treat the Coronavirus.

International Medical Group (IMG)

For new policies starting after March 11, 2020, there is no coverage for COVID-19 disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) in announcing coronavirus as a pandemic has designated the entire world a “level 3” travel zone. Since the coronavirus and COVID-19 is now a known threat (not an unknown possibility), it will no longer be covered by IMG policies. However, if your IMG policy had already started prior to the March 11th announcement and it was NOT to travel into a level 3 travel area (at the time of travel), you will be covered for COVID-19 and that coverage will continue on renewals to that policy. If the travelers visits the country that the CDC, WHO or US Department of State has issued an alert to not visit, the coverage for coronavirus will be excluded. The Patriot travel insurance will not offer coverage benefits if the traveler visits the country after the alert has been issued. If the traveler is already in the country before the alert was issued, then the insured may be covered.

Seven Corners visitors insurance

Seven Corners visitors insurance coverage for sickness arising from Coronavirus is like any other sickness with the exclusions as in the policy details. One of the main exclusions is not to travel to a level 4 country as noted by the US Department of State. Travel to a level 4 country will void the policy from that point forward meaning that no benefits will be paid for any condition or claim. Additionally, the Political Evacuation or Political Repatriation must be arranged by Seven Corners Assist. Failure to utilize Seven Corners Assist will result in the denial of benefits.

Travel Insure international travel insurance

The USI global medical policies have an exclusion based on the CDC Warning to avoid travel (level 3). Travelers who contract coronavirus in areas with a level 3 advisory will not be covered for coronavirus illness. If your travel began under a level 2 advisory and changed to level 3 during your trip, you will be covered even if they contracted it after the updated warning was issued.

TokioMarine HCC

On March 11, 2020, the U.S. Department of State issued a Global Level 3 Travel Advisory urging U.S. residents to reconsider traveling abroad to any country. If you are an Atlas Travel, Atlas Premium, Atlas MultiTrip, or Atlas Group policyholder, this activates your political evacuation benefit as long as your location has not been under a level 3 or higher advisory in the past 10 days, or prior to your arrival.
If the CDC Issues a Level 3 Travel Warning for the Location Where You Are Currently Traveling: Coronavirus-related expenses will be covered for up to 10 days following the date the level 3 warning is issued, given that your expenses do not arise directly or indirectly from another policy exclusion.
Once 10 Days Have Passed from the Date the CDC Issued the Level 3 Travel Warning for Your Current Location: You will no longer be covered for coronavirus-related expenses. You will still be covered for all other eligible expenses.
TokioMarine HCC travel insurance will cover sickness arising from novel Coronavirus as an eligible illness, unless the virus has been contracted in a location for which the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Warning. Further there is a policy exclusion if the CDC has issued a level 3 Travel Warning if a) the warning has been in effect within the 6 months immediately prior to your date of arrival, or b) within 10 days following the date the warning is issued you have failed to depart the country or location.

Trawick International travel insurance

TRAVEL MEDICAL Plans do not require that you purchase the insurance before you leave on the trip. The TRIP CANCELLATIONS Plans do require it is purchased before you leave.
The plans available for a US Citizen is Safe Travels Outbound or Safe Travels Outbound Cost Saver - these are pay and claim plans.
Plans available for people in the USA- that are not US Citizens, US Residents or Greencard Holders are Safe Travels USA, Safe Travels USA Cost Saver, Safe Travels Comprehensive, and Safe Travels for Visitors to the USA. These plans require pre-certification for the virus.
The plans available for people who are stuck in a country that is not their home country and not the USA - Safe Travels International - this is a pay and claim plan.

* The policy covers COVID-19 subject to the terms and conditions of the policy normal limits and policy conditions including pre-ex, so if you already have the virus - it will not cover you. If you are in the incubation period when you buy, it will be considered pre-existing condition.
* Testing for COVID-19 will be covered under your policy if you are sick, are referred by a medical practitioner and it is carried out at an approved facility, subject to the terms and conditions in your policy.
* In the event that a test proves positive and requires treatment, members can be assured that all associated treatment costs would be covered under the normal benefit limits and terms of their policy. Please ensure these are pre-authorized with the GBG Assistance team.

Global Underwriters travel insurance

Global Underwriters travel insurance offers coverage for coronavirus as any new sickness. If it is pre-existing, then it's excluded. That is of the travelers is infected before the plan effective date, the travel insurance will treat it as pre-existing and will not offer coverage for it.
The coronavirus testing would be covered if a medical physician deems it necessary that the insured fits the criteria for the test and the insured is effective on the policy during the time of the testing. The medical expenses would be covered as well during the time of the policy and if the signs and symptoms started during the effective date of the policy and will be paid per the parameters of the policy.

While the language of coverage is generally similar across the industry, there are some variations in coverage and which advisories are heeded between US visitor insurance providers that offer coverage for Coronavirus (Covid 19). Travelers should carefully compare and understand the different travel insurance policies before purchasing visitor medical insurance for coronavirus to make sure they are protected.
There are many US visitor insurance plans offered by top rated insurance providers that offer coverage for Coronavirus (Covid 19) under specified terms and conditions. Travelers should carefully compare and understand the different travel insurance policies before purchasing visitor medical insurance for coronavirus.

Geoblue travel insurance

GeoBlue will cover, with no cost-share to members, medically-necessary, prescribed diagnostic testing for the virus, known officially as COVID-19, consistent with U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) guidelines. This coverage includes the cost of the COVID-19 test, physician/doctor consultation fee and associated costs related to administering the COVID-19 test.
GeoBlue will waive prior authorizations for medically-necessary, prescribed tests and covered services related to COVID-19, consistent with CDC guidelines.
Per the CDC determination, the countries namely China (January 6, 2020), Japan (February 19, 2020), South Korea (February 24, 2020), Iran (February 28, 2020), Italy (February 28, 2020) have transitioned from locations with no foreseen events to a notable, current foreseen event in action. There is no impact to Trip Interruption coverage for eligible members who purchased a GeoBlue Voyager plan prior to the listed dates and have travelled or are planning travel to one of the listed countries; members who meet this criteria may use the Trip Interruption benefit as needed ($500 max). If a member purchased a GeoBlue Voyager plan after the listed dates above and has travelled or is planning travel to one of the listed countries, the Trip Interruption coverage benefit will not be available as the outbreak is classified as a foreseen event.

The international travel insurance available for Trip Cancellation are:

Trip cancellation insurance - Cancel for any reason (CFAR)

Most travelers often plan a trip or vacation well ahead of time. A planned trip involves expensive airline tickets, hotel reservations and cruise bookings. Due to the Coronavirus (Covid 19) outbreak, CDC, WHO or other government agency have issued travel alert to not visit a few countries. This is a serious condition that may force a traveler to cancel travel plans made in advance. The Trip Cancellation insurance with the "Cancel for any reason" benefit comes to your rescue. The travelers can cancel their expensive ticket bookings, hotel reservations and other expenses using this benefit. Trip cancellation insurance will help to receive majority of the trip investment expenses spent on a vacation. Most of trip cancellation insurance plans also cover emergency medical expenses and accidental injuries. Therefore it is advisable to buy the Trip Cancellation insurance with "cancel for any reason" while planning a trip or a vacation. You can use our compare trip insurance quotes to review quotes of trip cancellation insurance plans.

The Round Trip Series by SevenCorners is a three-tiered series of plans with good, better, best plan with, Round Trip Choice, and Round Trip Elite. The Round Trip Choice, and Round Trip Elite have an optional benefit that is the 'Cancel for any Reason' which is available at additional cost. It pays 75% of your prepaid, non-refundable trip payments. Coverage must be purchased within 20 days of your initial trip deposit, you must cancel 2 days or more before your departure, and you must insure all nonrefundable prepaid trip costs. You must also insure the cost of subsequent travel arrangements added to your trip within 15 days of the payment/deposit for each of those arrangements.
NOTE: Round Trip Elite insurance is not available to NY and Florida residents.
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Round Trip International offers comprehensive trip cancellation insurance for non US residents traveling outside their home country for up to 30 days. However it doesn't have the 'Cancel for any reason' optional benefit.

The iTravelinsured insurance have no exclusion for medical expenses for Covid19 virus. Any medical expenses incurred due to CoronaVirus will be covered by Itravelinsured insurance. However cancellation of the trip due to CoronaVirus is not covered unless you have purchased the 'Cancel for any reason insurance' benefit which is offered by the Travel LX insurance and you purchased this plan within 20 days of the initial trip deposit.
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As ever, we wish you safe and healthy travels!

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