People wearing masks pass by a China's flag with a virus image as South Korean protesters call for a ban on Chinese people entering South Korea. Picture: AP
People wearing masks pass by a China's flag with a virus image as South Korean protesters call for a ban on Chinese people entering South Korea. Picture: AP

Will your travel insurance pay out for coronavirus claims?

By Staff reporter Time of article published Feb 3, 2020

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Coronavirus, declared a global health emergency by the World Health Organisation, has raised concerns in both the insurance and tourism industry.

There have been 170 people have died from the virus in China and more than 7 000 cases confirmed, according to WHO. 

Local health authorities revealed that measures were put in place to keep South Africans safe from the virus. With the coronavirus outbreak in China, many people had to cancel or postpone their travel arrangements to the affected countries.

Old Mutual Insure insurance expert, Christelle Colman said travel insurance covers the unforeseen, not events travellers are already aware of. 

She said many policies will not cover pandemics as a general rule. However, certain insurers may still pay out cancellation benefits provided your policy was purchased before a warning was issued. 

“Travel insurance will cover cancellation if it is due to public transport services being cancelled or diverted as a result of the virus outbreak. It will also cover the unused portion of the trip if the client is already overseas and the trip has to be cut short as a result of the outbreak.

If the public transport services are not cancelled or diverted, travel insurance will refund 50 percent of the costs subject to conditions that the cancellation must be at least 48 hours before the trip date,” said Colman. 

She said if you travel to an affected country and contract the coronavirus, your medical costs, in most cases, would be covered. 

If travellers end up in a medical emergency overseas due to the virus, the insurer is likely to do everything they can to assist you.

“Travellers should contact their airlines and travel providers, as many have begun accommodating those who want to modify, delay or cancel their itineraries to China,” said Colman. 

The cover not only includes the cost of medical treatment but also provides support and updates to family members where appropriate.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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