travel insurance for the coronavirus

Why You Should Enroll in Travel Insurance
Before Your Spring Break Trip

Insurance Professionals of Arizona | March 9th, 2020


Who doesn’t want to get away on spring break? Spring break vacations, whether you’re a family or a college student, are an American tradition. In 2018, 53% of millennials planned on traveling for the break, and 42% of families get away. But this year, with the CDC issuing travel warnings about the coronavirus, cruise ships stuck in ports, and general concerns about flying and germs, more travelers are wondering if they need travel insurance.

If you’re planning a spring break trip, here’s what you need to know about how to protect yourself from the unexpected.

What Is Travel Insurance?

You’ve probably seen the question – do you want to protect your flight? – after booking a ticket online. Or, your travel agent has suggested you talk to your insurance agent about purchasing travel insurance. But what, exactly, do you get for the policy?

Travel insurance, like other forms of insurance, covers you when things go wrong. You can purchase both basic and comprehensive policies, depending on your budget, needs, and how much you spent on the trip. You have to buy in advance of your trip.

Sales of travel insurance rose 20% year-over-year in 2018, with most travelers buying per-trip coverage. But insurance agencies also sell multi-trip coverage for frequent travelers (though no one trip can last longer than 30 days), and annual policies.

travel insurance for coronavirus over spring break
What Does Travel Insurance Cost?

The cost of travel insurance averages between 4% to 8% of the total trip’s price.  A policy that covered a $4,000 vacation to Nice, France, would cost between $160 to $320.

Make sure that you know what you’re buying. If you click “yes” to protect your trip after purchasing a flight on an online site, you’re only purchasing flight insurance.

What Does Travel Insurance Typically Cover?

Travel insurance covers five categories of risks that can happen on a trip: 

1. Trip cancellations
2. Medical and major medical
3. Expenses related to canceled or delayed flights
4. Lost Luggage
5. Emergency evacuations

 If you buy a comprehensive policy, it’ll cover even more possibilities. 


1. Trip Cancellation Coverage


Trip cancellation coverage reimburses non-refundable travel expenses such as airfare, hotels, and rental cars, up to your policy’s coverage limit. Insurers won’t pay out if you just decide you don’t want to go. Instead, they list covered events. These typically include:

  • A death in the family
  • Natural disasters that impact your trip
  • Jury duty or a court subpoena
  • A serious accident just before your trip
  • Involuntary military service

Note that your insurance probably won’t provide coverage if you cancel “just in case,” for example, in case of a coronavirus outbreak. Keep in mind that trip cancelation coverage only reimburses prepaid, non-refundable expenses. If you can get your deposit back from the hotel, travel insurance won’t pay you back for it.

trip cancellation insurance for the coronavirus
health insurance while traveling on vacation

2. Medical & Major Medical


What if you slip on the deck of your cruise ship and break a leg? Medical reimbursement helps pay medical bills if you have a trip-related injury or illness. They could also cover the cost of an ambulance ride to the hospital, or medical evacuation to get you home.

3. Cancelled & Delayed Flights


If a snowstorm delays your flight out of Boston, will travel insurance pay for a hotel room? It will if the delay is six hours or longer. This policy coverage reimburses unexpected expenses due to covered circumstances such as:

  • Natural disasters and severe weather
  • A crime committed against you or someone you’re traveling with
  • Lost travel documents or I.D.
  • Civil unrest
  • Strikes that impact your airline carrier
delayed flight insurance
lost luggage insurance

4. Lost Luggage


Did you land in Florida, but your luggage landed in New York? Whether it’s lost, stolen, or damaged, you’ll need help replacing it. Travel insurance also covers instances if it’s stolen out of a hotel room or left behind on one leg of your trip.

5. Emergency Evacuations


While travel insurance won’t pay out if you proactively cancel your trip due to coronavirus or another potential threat, they will pay to get you out of there. In the case that an emergency evacuation becomes necessary – such as an airlift off a cruise ship if you become ill, or a medical flight home – insurers coordinate with providers and pay them directly.

emergency evacuation insurance

Other Stuff Travel Insurance Covers

In the same way that you customize auto insurance to the type of car you drive, the miles you drive each year, and your risk profile, travel insurance is customizable.

While standard policies cover the beginning and end of a trip, what if you need to fly home unexpectedly in the middle of spring break? Policies that include trip interruption clauses would pay for the cost to fly home. 

If you’re renting a car, you can extend your policy to protect it from a collision, damage, or theft. While you could buy car rental insurance, it might not reimburse you for items stolen out of your rental car. Like your luggage. 

The coverage limits and reimbursement amounts you select can be customized to match the trip’s expense and risk level. More comprehensive policies, however, will have higher premiums. Work with your insurance agent to determine the best options for your circumstances.

travel insurance does not cover bungee jumping
What Will Travel Insurance Exclude?

If drug or alcohol use leads to your injury, travel insurance won’t pay for those medical bills. They also won’t reimburse you if you go parasailing or bungee jumping. If you booked through a website and the hotel or rental property doesn’t match the photos, a discrepancy in expectations isn’t enough to file a travel insurance claim.

When Would You Need Travel Insurance?

Spring break travelers don’t have the flexibility to shift your vacation by a week. School will be back in session. You’re also traveling during peak travel times, so traffic in and out of airports will be heavy, and you could miss a flight. There’s more risk of trip interruptions, delays, or cancelations than at other times of the year. 

If you’re trying to decide if buying travel insurance is worth it for you, think about the following:

  • Could you afford the cost of an overnight hotel stay if you miss a connecting flight or your flight is canceled?
  • Could you pay for medical bills incurred in a foreign country or out-of-network?
  • Are you traveling to or from a place known for weather-related delays and cancellations?
  • Do you have inflexible travel dates?

If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, travel insurance could be a worthwhile investment. Experts at Insurance Professionals of Arizona can put together a simple, hassle-free quote in minutes.