It is always a good idea to use a credit card that throws in complimentary travel insurance when making travel purchases. If you have done exactly just that before the now-pandemic status COVID-19 took over the globe and our lives, you might be wondering if your credit card travel insurance will be able to get you off the hook if you were to cancel your trip due to coronavirus fears.
Most travel-oriented credit cards on the market that offer complimentary travel insurance when you charge your travel purchases to your credit card provide coverage for things like travel accidents, auto rental collision damage waiver, baggage delay, and trip delay. Some also offer additional benefits such as travel and emergency assistance services, which may or may not include coverage for emergency evacuation and transportation expenses and emergency medical assistance expenses.
But of course, terms, restrictions and exclusions apply, so scrutinize your credit card agreement carefully to find out what specific coverage your credit card offers as these benefits can vary depending on the credit card you hold. Also, in general, the higher-end credit cards may even come with trip cancellation/interruption coverage - the exceptional benefit that lets cardholders enjoy greater peace of mind when booking travels.
Are these benefits enough?
While the above-mentioned benefits are likely sufficient in ‘normal' times, even high-end credit cards that offer the benefit that is trip cancellation/interruption coverage won't come in very handy if you were to ask for reimbursements for a canceled trip just because you are afraid of catching the COVID-19 coronavirus.
That said perk can come in useful only if you were to actually be sick or injured, which in both cases aren't that pleasant either. With the rapidly evolving COVID-19 situation, most credit cards that offer the trip cancellation/ interruption coverage benefit should kick in if you or your travel companion have to be quarantined, as verified and ordered by doctors, hence preventing you from enjoying your trip as originally planned.
Keep in mind different credit cards have different terms, restrictions and exclusions. The best thing you can do on your end is to contact your credit card issuer to check and/or file a claim. But before you contact your credit card issuer, do check with your airline, hotel or third-party travel booking platform to see if any refunds or changes in reservations are available.
As of time of writing, many airlines and hotels are offering more flexible booking options, with some going the extra mile to let affected customers cancel their trips without penalty while offering full refunds. Majority of airlines and hotels are letting customers change their reservations without forking out change fees, too.
If you are still planning to travel, you might want to consider getting a separate travel insurance that offers ‘cancel-for-any-reason coverage', just in case your travel plans get derailed since the COVID-19 crisis is evolving quicker and deeper than the world's population would like.
As always, before you make your travel insurance purchase, read the fine print to check what's the maximum amount that can be reimbursed if you canceled your trip and if the coverage applies to coronavirus-related cancellations! Bear in mind most insurers would already have excluded coverage pertaining to coronavirus-related cancellations since the pandemic is so widespread and no longer ‘an unforeseen circumstance'.