Declared a global pandemic and a national emergency in the US, Coronavirus has claimed over 90K lives and infected over 1.6 million people in the US. The number is growing at a steady pace and several restrictions have been put in place to stem this deadly spread. All international travel is temporarily suspended, different degrees of quarantine enforced and norms on social distancing established.
One critical feature associated with travel is visitor’s insurance. As scores of travelers were caught unawares by the rampant spread of this virus, having visitor’s insurance has become all the more important today.
As travel restrictions are gradually easing off and international borders are reopening for flights to and from the US, it is very important to know how to get medical coverage for Coronavirus. We cover what is and isn’t covered when it comes to Coronavirus Visitor’s Insurance when traveling to the US.
While most insurance plans that have already been purchased before Coronavirus was declared a global pandemic do not provide coverage, they still cover for issues unrelated to Coronavirus. This means insurance companies view the coronavirus as a foreseen event that has a reasonable expectation to occur! This approximate date that most insurance companies are adhering to is in and around January 21, 2020.
Which Visitor’s Insurance Plan Covers For Coronavirus
When it comes to visitor’s insurance coverage for Coronavirus, there are two distinct categories -
Travel Medical Insurance
The first thing to do before planning a trip is to check for any travel advisories in place for your country of destination since most insurance plans do not provide insurance coverage if a travel advisory is in place. Currently there is no travel advisory in place for the US.
The following plans will cover Coronavirus related treatment and services when traveling to the US:
- The new Cover America Gold insurance plan is the world's most comprehensive visitors insurance plan that covers Covid-19 like any other illness. From screening to repatriation, new Cover America Gold policy covers all Covid-related medical expenses, if the policy was purchased before contracting the virus.
- It provides for a quarantine indemnity/stipend as long as there is formal documentation from a state health official or certified doctor requiring the beneficiary to quarantine.
- It provides coverage from 5 days to 365 days and is renewable and cancellable.
- This plan covers for urgent care copays and has a high coverage especially for people over the age of 70.
- Please ensure you educate yourself with all the policy details and coverage before you BUY Cover America Gold
- These plans offer medical coverage including coverage for pre-existing medical conditions in travelers coming to the US.
- Both INF plans may cover for Coronavirus provided the plans were purchased before contracting the virus.
- While INF Elite is a comprehensive plan and pays a percentage of the medical bill, it offers 100% free Telemedicine benefit, i.e. a way to receive treatment and diagnoses over the phone.
- INF Premier is a limited plan and pays a pre-fixed cost for the medical expense, but also provides 100% free medical advice on the phone.
- Both these plans can be purchased without a time restriction for purchase.
- For more details and purchase plans options these plans can be accessed from here.
Besides, providing medical coverage, your trip to the US itself should be protected. Trip insurance not only protects the cost of the US trip should it be a non-refundable ticket-fare or cancel the entire trip itself. In certain policies, you can be entitled to almost 75% of the cost of the trip costs, if eligible. It is important to talk to a licensed agent to understand the details of this feature.
Most trip insurance plans that were previously purchased will not be applicable now since Coronavirus has already been declared a pandemic. However, all future upcoming trips it would be prudent to purchase a Cancel For Any Reason Insurance that protects your trip costs.
Things To Remember
- The insurance plan should cover the entire cost of the trip. This cannot be purchased for partial costs of the trip
- The insurance must be bought within a stipulated time frame of the purchase of your trip to qualify as a CFAR. This time frame varies with each plan and should be confirmed at the time of purchase.
- Cancellations should be made within 48 hours or more of the trip. Cancelling closer to the date of the trip might not be eligible for the insurance claim.
FAQs About Coronavirus and Medical Insurance
Q. Will your insurance plan cover you during the trip?
A. If you contract the Coronavirus during your travel to the US, you might have some coverage depending upon the policy plans of your individual visitor’s insurance plan. This depends upon how your medical insurance provider evaluates the illness as a foreseeable or non-foreseeable event.
Talk to your insurance provider about the details of your plan coverage.
Q. Will you be covered for missed flights?
A. Some eligible insurance plans might cover benefits like food and stay if your connecting flight is missed due Coronavirus. This is also contingent upon the airline. It is important to confirm these benefits before boarding your flight to the US, both with your visitor’s insurance provider and airline.
Q. Some airports have additional screening in place to ensure only asymptomatic travelers are boarding the flight. Will you be covered if you miss your flight because of this?
A. No, visitor’s insurance does not cover for delayed or missed flights due to airport security measures.
Q. Can you postpone your flight because of a Coronavirus-related reason?
A. Each insurance provider and the plans they offer evaluate this differently. A Cancel For Any Reason trip insurance may allow cancellations under certain conditions. You may have to arrange a postponement with your airline instead.
Disclaimer: Information provided here is for informational purposes only. You should consult a licensed insurance agent to verify details of coverage and eligibility before making purchase of a policy.