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Travel Insurance and Coronavirus

Travel Insurance and Coronavirus - All You Need to Know

The coronavirus pandemic has made us take a second look at our priorities and responsibilities. The world suddenly looks like an unknown place. While we will eventually get over these tough times, the dent COVID-19 will leave in our minds would take ages to repair. More than anyone else, it is the travellers who are most vulnerable to the risks associated with COVID-19.

What Is Travel Insurance?

Travel insurance covers almost all types of emergencies a traveller may face during a journey. Anyone travelling in an aeroplane or a train to a domestic or international destination can get travel insurance.

Train Travel

For train travels in the Indian Railways network, a passenger can buy an INR 10 lac accident cover at a premium of less than one rupee. The insurance covers everything from train accidents to robberies.

Air Travel

International air travellers may buy two types of policies.

1. Basic - The basic policy covers all medical expenses arising out of medical emergencies either during the plane journey or at a foreign location affected by COVID-19.

2. Comprehensive - A comprehensive travel insurance policy covers the following types of issues that may arise during the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Medical Care - Travel insurance policies include medical coverage such as visits to doctor, medicines, ambulance services, and emergency hospitalization. Insurers also take steps to return the policyholder to his/her home country if the situation goes out of hand.
  • Cancelled Trip - In these uncertain times, a trip may get cancelled due to various reasons like health issues, a sudden lockdown, or government travel ban. A travel insurance policy will compensate you for the loss.
  • Baggage Loss - A travel insurance policy covers all kinds of partial or complete damage to your luggage. It also includes loss and the theft of luggage, personal travel documents like passport and identity proof.
  • Flight Delay - The insurer will pay you in cases where the flight gets delayed.
  • Personal Liability - A travel insurance policy takes care of a policyholder's legal expenses if he or she gets embroiled in a legal controversy in a foreign country.
  • Emergency Evacuation - Travel insurance will pay for transportation if the need for evacuation arises.
  • Assistance and Cover During Incidence of Hijacking - If an aeroplane, train, bus, or ship gets hijacked, travel insurance will pay you for any damage caused due to the incident.

What Is the Impact of Coronavirus on the Travel Industry?

The travel industry has borne the biggest brunt of restrictions imposed due to COVID-19. As airline services and hotel bookings stand cancelled, there has been a flurry of travel insurance claims during the past couple of months.

According to a report published by the World Travel and Tourism Council, the travel industry is poised to witness a loss of 75 million jobs and $2.1 trillion worth of revenue. The cumulative losses of airlines may be anywhere around $250 billion.

Coronavirus has hit the tourism, hospitality, and insurance industries hard. Many countries have imposed restrictions on travelling. Except for urgent business and diplomatic travel, all other trips stand cancelled. While all other industries are looking at the government to bail them out, the insurance industry is taking additional measures to minimize the impact of coronavirus.

What Is Excluded from a Travel Insurance Policy During COVID-19 Pandemic?

Sensing danger amidst the coronavirus epidemic, most insurance companies have either changed their existing policies or included new clauses to their current policies.

A few such changes are as follows:

  • Many insurance companies have stopped selling travel insurance policies. You should check the insurer's website and enquire whether the plan you seek on the website is active or not. Also, if you buy a policy today, it might not cover you instantly. Check the waiting period well in advance before purchasing travel insurance.
  • Some insurers have started imposing more restrictions on travel cover due to deadly contagious diseases like the coronavirus. They are excluding such diseases from their travel insurance policies. It is better to check whether the insurer covers such infectious diseases, especially if you have any underlying health conditions.
  • Due to COVID-19, the 'Cancel For Any Reason' policies are fast disappearing or changing its nature. Check the insurance policy's terms and conditions before hitting the 'buy' button.

Things to Keep in Mind Before Travelling During Coronavirus Pandemic

While almost all leisure travels have taken a backseat, some business or official travels are still on. Before setting off on a journey amidst COVID-19, take care of the following things:

  • Travel Only When Necessary - Almost all countries affected by coronavirus are advising people to avoid all non-essential travel. Keep an eye on the latest developments regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. Visit the official government travel websites of the respective countries you wish to visit and find out whether travelling is restricted or unrestricted.
  • Event Cancellations - Before booking tickets, check whether the event you wish to attend has been rescheduled or postponed or cancelled. With COVID-19 spreading fast, most establishments and business houses are either cancelling or postponing their business plans. Knowing the status of an event in advance will save you a lot of trouble later on.
  • Unavoidable Travel - Despite knowing that there may be disruptions during the travel, you might not be able to avoid travelling. In such a situation, follow the advice issued by the World Health Organization from time to time. Make sure to inform your insurance provider before embarking on the journey. Understand your insurance policy's terms and conditions regarding coronavirus and ensure sound medical coverage.


The world is no more the same place it was before COVID-19. From being optional, travel insurance has moved to be mandatory. If you have any health issues, it is better to stay at home. If that's not an option, carefully review your travel insurance policy for a safe trip. The coronavirus pandemic is unprecedented. Stay updated with the latest guidelines before buying a travel insurance plan.