Coronavirus (COVID-19); Effects on Travel and What Can You Do

FAQ’s: Coronavirus (COVID-19) Effect on Traveling

Are my travel plans affected due to the COVID-19 outbreak?

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued numerous travel warnings and nonessential travel is highly discouraged in general. In case you are planning your trip in the coming months, your travel plans might be changed or canceled. The U.S government is discouraging its citizens and residents from all international travel. Some airlines are offering to reschedule flights free of cost to avoid unnecessary trips to affected areas. It’s important to check with your specific airline or travel provider about what their cancellation or refund policies are.

How are travelers from countries with a Level 3 Travel Health Notice being screened when they enter the United States?

At airports, travelers may be screened for COVID-19 symptoms such as fever, cough or trouble breathing, and they may be asked questions about their travel and possible exposure to COVID-19. Travelers without symptoms will be told to stay home, monitor their health, and practice social distancing. Travelers with symptoms will be directed to receive additional screenings and care.

After arriving from a country with a level 3 travel health notice related to COVID-19 when can I return to work?

Currently, all travelers arriving from a country or region with widespread ongoing transmission of COVID-19 (Level 3 Travel Health Notice) should stay home for 14 days after their arrival. At home, they are expected to monitor their health and practice social distancing. To protect the health of others, these travelers should not go to work, or school, or otherwise leave their home for any reason (other than seeking health care) for 14 days.

What to do if you’re stuck abroad right now with the coronavirus?

If you are stuck overseas it’s imperative that you have proper international travel medical insurance to protect yourself financially against any medical care costs incurred for treatment overseas for COVID19. It’s key that you ensure that the plan does not restrict benefits for epidemics or locations with travel advisory alerts. Adequate travel health coverage will cover in case you need to be quarantined or treated for COVID-19. You should have your coverage purchased as soon as possible because coronavirus is asymptotic in many people and if it’s discovered that you contracted previously to the purchase of the plans start date, it will not be covered and insurance companies will use that point to deny coverage. Also, note all plans can be extended as needed since we are not sure how long the travel bans will last at this point.

If I am quarantined and am tested for coronavirus, is that covered under travel insurance?

This would not be a covered benefit because it falls under the preventative health category which is not eligible for coverage on any general travel medical insurance plan.

What is the travel ban? Where does it apply? How long will it last?

Several countries, including the USA, are restricting inbound travel as a way to mitigate the coronavirus. On March 11th, the USA barred entry of all foreign travelers who have visited Iran or China in the past 14 days. The ban expanded to include several European nations on March 13th. These countries, known as the Schengen Area, are Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. The ban, since March 16th, has now extended to travelers from the United Kingdom and Ireland as well.

The ban applies for 30 days, but it’s reasonable to expect the duration and nations affected to change, given how fluid the situation is. Our predictive models indicate that travel bans will continue for longer than 30 days based on the exponential growth at this early stage of the pandemic as well as the number of untested people in the USA.

Will carriers refund tickets?

At the moment, a lot of carriers are giving vouchers (to be redeemed later). It very much depends on the specific airline or travel carrier.

How can you stay safe/healthy?

Minimize your non-essential travel, follow the directives of local health officials, and if you have to leave your home country, protect yourself with a Cancel for Any Reason policy that includes travel medical protection against a contraction of infectious diseases. A Cancel for Any Reason policy allows travelers to recoup up to 75% of their trip cost, but those plans have specific time windows (of anywhere between (14 to 21 days after initial trip deposit) to be purchased.

What can I expect when departing back home amidst the coronavirus pandemic?

Most countries are conducting screenings of passengers leaving their region. Before getting on a flight out of the country, your temperature will be taken and few questions will be asked about your travel history.

What should I expect when landing in the United States?

The US policies are subject to change with the ongoing spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. You might be subject to a screening at the airport you arrive at, but given that the situation is evolving these protocols are changing today.