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Your guide on choosing the best travel insurance in 2021

While globally, more people are vaccinated, traveling is still largely unpredictable. You don’t know if there’s going to be a next wave at your destination, or if the government will be extending the quarantine. Given that, securing comprehensive travel insurance is more important than ever to protect your physical, mental, and financial health. In this Pacific Prime Latin America article, you’ll get a bird’s eye view on how to choose travel insurance, and what is or isn’t covered amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Frequently asked questions on how to choose travel insurance during the COVID-19 pandemic

From COVID-19 tests to travel advisories, it’s not easy navigating the constantly changing waters of travel requirements. In this section, you’ll find answers to your frequently asked questions on how to choose travel insurance during the pandemic.

1. What are vaccine passports or vaccine certification?

Designed to restore the freedom of travel, these (usually) one-piece documents display the traveler’s vaccination status, as well as other relevant information. Some EU countries have already started to issue COVID-19 passports. Others, however, are in the testing stage or are still considering their implementation. These will grant you entry into certain countries and you may be exempted from COVID-19 tests and more, depending on the country.

2. Will insurers demand vaccine passports or vaccine certification?

As these documents are new to the scene, it’s best to check with both your insurer and your departure and arrival countries for their travel requirements. Travel insurance is subject to change depending on the government. Having said that, some cruises are already requiring potential passengers to show proof that they’ve taken the jab.

3. Do travel insurance companies cover pandemics?

All travel insurance companies will cover medical expenses for COVID-19-related incidents while you’re on holiday if your destination isn’t on the non-essential travel advisories as of your date of departure. However, many wouldn’t cover non-medical COVID-19-related claims. For example, flight or hotel cancelations are usually not covered.

Also, most insurers won’t provide cover if you travel to places where there are no travel corridors with your country of residence, or places that aren’t approved for travel by your country. With that said, a few specialist providers continue to offer insurance to no-go destinations.

4. What if the government advises against travel to my destination after I’ve arrived? Will my policy become invalid?

Have you bought insurance before departing? If so, your policy should still stand. Check with your provider before buying a policy and only go for insurers who are prepared to offer cover in similar situations.

5. Does my insurance cover trip cancellation or disruption resulting from COVID-19?

Most travel insurance companies will cover urgent medical care and repatriation during the pandemic. However, they likely won’t cover non-medical-related costs resulting from COVID-19 such as flight or hotel cancellations. Asking for a refund or postponing your trip with your airline, hotel, or tour operator is a good move.

6. Does your insurance cover you if you want to cancel the trip because of COVID-19?

Short answer: it depends. Most of it appears to hinge on whether you knowingly go against government advisories or not. For instance, you won’t be covered if you knowingly booked a trip to a country on your government’s non-essential travel advisory listand then changed your mind.

With that said, according to Defaqto, the majority of plans in the UK will cover cancellation due to positive COVID-19 tests before travel. Similarly, a last minute change to government advice that forces you to cancel your holiday will be covered.

On that note, be aware of the “disinclination to travel” exclusion. Simply put, it is deciding not to travel when the government has not warned against going to your destination country. For instance, if your government deems your destination safe for travel on the day of your departure but you’ve decided not to go, then it qualifies as “disinclination to travel”. As always, this depends on your insurer, so check with them directly.

7. Will my insurance still be valid if I have to quarantine for longer than expected while abroad?

Are you extending your stay because of reasons beyond your control? Some insurers will automatically extend your policy and even cover the costs of your stay.

8. Should I take out insurance for a domestic trip or weekend away?

As mentioned, travel rules are unpredictable these days. Thus, we recommend securing the best travel insurance plan you can get your hands on before hopping on a flight. Almost all annual travel insurance covers such trips. The majority also cover holiday cancellations if you’re tested positive for your pre-travel covid test.

Tip: Check for rules regarding the length of your trip. Flexible booking terms for airlines and hotels may be your best choice.

Choosing the right insurance policy for 2021

With your health on the line, it’s crucial to choose the right travel insurance policy. Read on for a few quick tips on how to choose travel insurance. We also have a brief guide on finding the best health insurance in Mexico and Latin America.

  • Identify your insurance needs. Ask yourself the following questions. Are you traveling to a country not on the “approved” country list? Do you have any pre-existing conditions? Is this a one-off or annual trip? It will be much easier to choose the right plan if you know what you’re looking for.
  • Read the fine prints and do your research. Does it cover every base? Is it written clearly? Call your insurer if you have any questions. Read up on recent customer reviews to find out whether the insurer regularly delivers on its policy.
  • Comprehensive disruption cover is key. It reimburses delays, enforced stays, or missed departure.
  • Consider ‘cancelling for any reason’ cover. This provides the greatest flexibility when it comes to cancelling trips. It might be worth upgrading to the ‘cancel for any reason’ policy. Reimbursement is usually around 50% to 75% of pre-paid, non-refundable trip cost. Of course, this will increase the premium as well.

Protect yourself and your family with COVID-19 travel insurance

Regardless of whether you’re vaccinated or not, traveling comes with a lot more risks these days. As a result, securing the best travel insurance plan is the best decision you could make for you and/or your family. This is just so you can, for example, check out the top 3 destinations to explore in Mexico with peace of mind.

Pacific Prime Latin America has more than 20 years of experience in the insurance brokers industry. We are more than happy to help you find the perfect plan that balances your budget with your needs. Compare travel insurance quotes online with our free quotation tool! Chat with our team of insurance experts today for personalized advice!

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Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime Latin America
Serena Fung is a Senior Content Creator at Pacific Prime, a global insurance brokerage and employee specialist serving over 1.5 million clients in 15 offices across the world. With 2+ years of experience writing about the subject, she aims to demystify the world of insurance for readers with the latest updates, guides and articles on the blog.

Serena earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of British Columbia, Canada. As such, she is an avid advocate of mental health and is fascinated by all things psychology (especially if it’s cognitive psychology!).

Her previous work experience includes teaching toddlers to read, writing for a travel/wellness online magazine, and then a business news blog. These combined experiences give her the skills and insights she needs to explain complex ideas in a succinct way. Being the daughter of an immigrant and a traveler herself, she is passionate about educating expats and digital nomads on travel and international health insurance.
Serena Fung