Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Does Travel Insurance Cover Points

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Are Frequent Flyer Miles Covered By Travel Insurance

Travel insurance does not cover a pandemic

So what is insurable when using frequent flyer miles to fly? Non-refundable fees and taxes associated with the miles. Most flights are a little more than we expected, when you add in baggage fees, state and federal taxes and other miscellaneous fees. All of these are insurable.

Also, any money you are required to spend to make up the difference in ticket price can be covered. For instance, you have accumulated 5,000 free air miles, however your trip will require 8,000 to book. Youll need to purchase the additional 3,000 miles in order to book the flight, so that cost is insurable. Just remember to save any receipts showing the amount you paid out of pocket for the additional air miles.

How To Find A Plan That Covers Covid

First of all, you should look in the exclusion section to see if pandemics or epidemics are mentioned. If so, youll need to shop around for a different policy, said Tunnah.

Even though travel insurance companies may offer COVID-19 sickness coverage, they typically dont offer benefits for every circumstance.

Every policy is different, so youll want to get a good grasp of a plans coverage before you purchase it, Tunnah explained. Some of the questions you should ask yourself are: Does the plan cover emergency medical and evacuation expenses if I contract COVID-19? What are covered reasons for cancellation? What if my trip is delayed or interrupted because of a COVID-19 event?

If youre getting confused from reading the legal jargon of a policy, you can contact the customer service department of your travel insurance company, Tunnah advised. Representatives should be able to provide plain English explanations of coverage and help you identify a plan that meets your specific trip needs.

To see multiple options in one place, InsureMyTrip has a COVID-19 coverage tool that allows you to compare different policies.

Heres what you should be looking for according to the company:

Some Countries Are Requiring Mandatory Insurance For Entry

Even in pre-pandemic times, many countries required travelers to have personal medical insurance to visit . Now, with pandemic concerns, some countries are instituting mandatory COVID-19 insurance for entry.

The Bahamas is one example. Travel health insurance is required for all incoming visitors and the cost for the mandatory insurance is included in the price of the Travel Health Visa all tourists are required to apply for before entry. Aruba is another example where COVID-19 insurance is purchased onsite at arrival and mandatory for entry.

Note that these insurance coverage policies just are for medical coverage, so travelers will still need additional coverage to cover non-health-related expenses such as travel delays or lost baggage.

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Why You Should Buy Travel Health Insurance

  • Your Canadian health insurance may not pay your medical fees while you are outside Canada
  • Your provincial or territorial health plan may cover none, or only a small part, of the costs of your medical care abroad. It will never pay your bills up front
  • Foreign hospitals can be very expensive and may require immediate cash payment
  • In some countries hospitals and clinics will not treat you if you do not have enough insurance or money to pay your bills
  • The Government of Canada will not pay your medical bills

What Types Of Travel Insurance Are There

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While policies can differ a lot in terms of cover, they will generally fall into one of the following categories:

  • Single trip covers you for a one-off trip for a set period of time.
  • Annual/multi-trip covers you for as many trips as you take within a whole year. Typically more cost-effective than the single trip option if youre taking more than two holidays within that period.
  • Backpacker/gap year provides cover for multiple destinations over an extended period. You might need to add cover for the kinds of activities you plan on doing, such as adventure sports, work or volunteering.
  • Winter sports specialist cover if youre going skiing, snowboarding or other winter sports. These are considered by insurers to be high-risk activities and so are excluded from most standard policies.
  • Worldwide there are usually two types of worldwide policy those that cover the US and those that dont.
  • European not always clear cut, as some policies cover areas that arent technically in Europe.
  • Family covers two adults plus up to four children travelling together. Suitable if your children are 18 or younger and live full-time with you.

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Checklist: What To Look For When Reading Your Policy

When reading your policy, pay attention to the following:

  • Does your insurance cover medical care related to COVID-19? What are the restrictions or limitations in this regard?
  • Is your destination excluded from your coverage? Does your insurance cover destinations with a level 3 or level 4 advisory from the Canadian government
  • Are emergency medical repatriations covered?
  • What is the maximum length of your stay?
  • Do you have the option to extend your contract in an emergency?
  • What is the maximum amount covered by your insurance?

What Exclusions Should I Know About

Even the best travel insurance cards have their limitations.

Whether you qualify for trip cancellation insurance, for example, depends on the reason for the cancellation. If its raining in Cancun and you decide not to go even though its perfectly safe to fly, dont count on being reimbursed. The same goes for a businessman who cancels his trip because of a meeting he has to attend.

Also, people with preexisting medical conditions and those participating in certain sports may not qualify for coverage.

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What Travel Insurance Does Not Cover Related To Covid

Standard travel insurance does not cover trip cancellation due to fears or concerns about traveling during the coronavirus pandemic or any other epidemic. Standard travel insurance will not offer trip cancellation for government mandated travel restrictions either. Many travel insurance companies offer Cancel for Any Reason coverage at an additional cost, which allows you to cancel your trip for any reason, including fears of traveling during the COVID-19 pandemic. It is important to note that CFAR upgrade must be purchased within a set number of days from your initial trip payment and you must insure 100% of your pre-paid and non-refundable trip costs in order to be eligible.

Cancel For Any Reason Insurance Could Be Your Best Option

Does travel insurance cover a coronavirus-related cancellation?

Cancel for any reason, also known as CFAR in the insurance industry, is an add-on to certain traditional trip insurance policies.

While travel insurance policies can offer a range of inclusions not every eventuality is included in all insurance policies. For example, some trip insurance plans cover employment layoffs while others do not. Some policies may have robust emergency medical coverage while competitors dont. Thats why its so important for you to select a plan that meets your specific needs for each trip.

One commonality among insurance policies? A long lists of exclusions. Thats where a CFAR policy comes into play.

InsureMyTrip strongly recommends travelers strongly consider a CFAR upgrade, said Walch. This upgrade offers the most trip cancellation flexibility and is the only option available to cover fear of travel .

If eligibility requirements are met, reimbursement is typically up to 70% of the pre-paid, nonrefundable trip cost. Just be aware that this add-on will increase the cost of the plan, Walch advised.

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What Are My Rights If My Flight Is Cancelled

If your flight is cancelled , then your airline must offer compensation. Each airline will have their own processes, so you should check their website, or give them a call, to find out what you need to do.

Depending on the circumstances of the cancellation, youll either be entitled to compensation directly from the airline, or through claiming on your travel insurance policy. Check your policy wording for details on whether youre covered.

If the airline are the ones who cancel the flight, they have an obligation to offer you an alternative flight or a full refund. If you decide to rearrange your flight, the airline should work with you to find suitable dates and will then simply transfer your booking. Your airline may offer you a voucher/credit for the cost of your flight, but youre under no obligation to accept this, and are well within your rights to demand a full cash refund.

If the airline is forced to cancel the flight, due to circumstances outside of their control, then you may not be entitled to compensation. If this ends up being the case, then you should then look to make a claim on your travel insurance policy.

American Express Platinum Credit Card

The American Express Platinum credit card is my personal favourite travel credit card and now that Ive read the fine print about their insurance when redeeming reward flights, I love this card even more.

If the cardholder is making a redemption via their American Express Membership Rewards Points and charge all the extra expenses such as taxes to their American Platinum card then they would be insured for the following:

  • Out of Province/Country Emergency Medical Insurance
  • Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption Insurance
  • Flight and Baggage Delay & Hotel/Motel Burglary Insurance
  • Lost or Stolen Baggage Insurance
  • Travel Accident Insurance
  • Car Rental Theft and Damage Insurance

To be clear, you would have to claim your travel through the American Express Membership Rewards travel portal for your travel insurance to apply.

Oddly enough, according to the American Express insurance handbook, youd also be covered for the car rental theft and damage insurance under the following condition.

A Cardmember is covered if they receive a free rental as a result of a promotion, where they have had to make previous vehicle rentals if each such previous rental was entirely paid for with the card and the applicable taxes for the free rental have been charged to the card.

This means, as an example, that you would be covered if you use Hertz points to redeem a free car rental if all of your Hertz rentals to accumulate the points were charged on the Amex Platinum card.

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Health Crises That Begin Before You Purchase

As with natural disasters, trip insurance may generally cover losses due to global health emergencies, but you must make the purchase before the crisis is a known event. According to SmarterTravels Ed Perkins: Your best bet for recouping costs is cancel for any reason insurance purchased before was a known event. The date from which the event is known varies depending on the insurance company for COVID-19 its largely been January 21 through 27. Most travel insurance policies wont cover cancellation due to fear of a pandemic, so if you want to use insurance to protect your paymentsparticularly nonrefundable airfaresmake sure its a cancel for any reason policy.

With nonrefundable air tickets, your recourse is either to rely on the airlines generosity or buying cancel-for-any-reason insurance. Most policies exclude foreseeable contingencies, or existing threats like already-known pandemics.

Capital One Travel Insurance

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Capital One provides only basic travel accident insurance on all credit cards they issue. That doesn’t offer coverage for trip interruptions, so if your flight is canceled or you have an emergency that causes you to miss a flight, Capital One will not reimburse you for your trouble. Before you pay for your next trip with a Capital One credit card, be sure to consider other travel insurance options.

Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card

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You Can Only Receive Compensation If Trip Cancellation Is For A Covered Reason

It seems almost silly that I have to say this, but if your travel insurance does cover miles and points, claims can only be made if you cant travel for a covered reason. Thats to say, you cant just change your mind about traveling and expect to be compensated .

Look at the trip cancellation section of your insurance policy and see what insured events it covers. This typically includes situations like accidents or medical emergencies that prevent you from traveling. If one of these events causes your trip to be cancelled and your miles and points cannot be recovered, then yes, you can claim the value from your insurer.

Bmo World Elite Mastercard

The BMO World Elite MasterCard distinguishes itself for award trip insurance since their coverage requires that the full or partial cost of your ticket has been charged to the account. This means that you would be covered if you redeem for an award flight using your BMO Rewards points or another program if you pay the fees and taxes with the BMO World Elite Mastercard.

This feature makes the BMO World Elite card a very popular card amongst the points and miles enthusiasts.

The BMO World Elite card offers the following insurance:

  • Out of Province/Country Emergency Medical Insurance
  • Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption Insurance & Trip Delay
  • Flight and Baggage Delay & Personal Effects
  • Baggage and Personal Effects Loss & Damage Insurance
  • Travel Accident Insurance

You can read the full Cardholder Agreement here.

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How Much Does Cancel For Any Reason Coverage Cost

Cancel for any reason coverage typically adds 40% to the cost of your base travel insurance price.

Keep in mind, travel insurance typically costs between 5% to 10% of your total trip cost. For example, if you paid $5,000 for your trip and your base policy was $500 , you might pay an additional $200 for CFAR coverage.

How Does Travel Insurance Work For Existing Medical Conditions

Travel insurance: What it covers, what it doesn’t

The concept of “reasonably foreseeable events” gets complicated when you’re talking about existing medical conditions. For instance, if you’ve been treated in the past for back problems, and then a slipped disc forces you to cancel your trip, is that something you should have foreseen?

Here’s how we look at it. Travel insurance from Allianz Global Assistance does cover most existing medical conditions if you insure the full cost of your trip within 14 days of paying your first trip deposit and if you’re medically able to travel when you do so. We define an existing medical condition as an illness or injury that you, a traveling companion or family member were seeking or receiving treatment for, or had symptoms of on the day you purchased your plan, or at any time in the 120 days before you purchased it.

This means that again, timing is everything. To make sure your existing medical condition is covered, get your doctor to certify you’re medically able to travel beforeyou buy travel insurance. And don’t wait to buy coverage make sure you purchase your plan within that 14-day window after making your first trip payment .

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What Kind Of Credit Card Travel Insurance Do Issuers Offer

Consumers can expect the terms of their credit card travel insurance to vary from issuer to issuer, as well from card to card. In our table summaries, we highlight credit cards that provide outstanding travel insurance benefits. If you don’t see your card listed anywhere under its respective issuer, the card may have limited or no travel insurance coverage.

Getting Money Back On Travel Costs Without Insurance

Getting your money back on flights in a pandemic

If the airline has cancelled or delayed flights due to a pandemic, it’s considered an event that is out of their control and the airline will have a policy providing compensation for cancellation or delay.

Familiarise yourself with the policy in case you need to remind the airline of their terms and conditions because they won’t necessarily volunteer the information to you.

For the policies of Australian domestic airlines, read our advice on coronavirus flight refunds.

Getting your money back on accommodation in a pandemic

Your rights for accommodation bookings are covered by Australian Consumer Law and you have access to consumer guarantees, the same as for any other goods or services.

  • Booking sites generally have their own terms and conditions. If you used a booking site, you should deal with them, not the end-point service provider. The booking site should still be subject to Australian Consumer Law.
  • If you booked accommodation through a third-party provider like Airbnb or Booking.com, persist with your cancellation via that third party, since it’s unlikely you’ll be able to enforce the Australian Consumer Law on the overseas accommodation provider.
  • If you paid by a credit card or a Visa or Mastercard debit card, you also have a right to a if the accommodation provider hasn’t provided the service.

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When Should I Purchase Travel Insurance

There are many different travel insurance providers and policies, making it challenging to compare independent travel insurance and head-to-head. So, instead of comparing these two, Ill consider when you should purchase travel insurance in this section. Then, Ill consider when credit card protections may be enough in the next section.

Remember if you want to quickly compare policies for your next vacation, you can use a travel insurance aggregator like InsureMyTrip.

Here are some reasons you may want to purchase travel insurance for a trip.

Your Travel Insurer Declined Your Covid

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Read your travel insurance Product Disclosure Statement. In the first instance, it’s up to you as the policyholder to establish that you have a valid claim under the policy terms and conditions. That generally means handing in lots of documentation.

Then it’s up to the insurer to decide if your claim is valid and that there are no policy exclusions that should be applied.

If you disagree with the insurer’s decision regarding your claim, raise a complaint via their internal dispute resolution service.

If you don’t get a satisfactory result from the insurer’s internal dispute resolution, escalate your complaint to AFCA.

Travel insurance should protect your safety

In an AFCA dispute, some travellers cancelled a trip to Great Britain and Ireland on 5 March 2020 amid increasing concerns about COVID-19.

Their Auto & General policy covered epidemics, but the insurer denied their claim on the basis that there was no travel ban in place at that time the Australian government travel ban didn’t come into effect until 25 March.

AFCA ruled that the travellers’ decision to cancel the trip was necessary for their safety

The travellers were aged in their 60s, making them potentially more vulnerable to serious ill health if they caught the virus that causes COVID-19. AFCA ruled that the policy covered epidemics and that the travellers’ decision to cancel the trip was necessary for their safety. This means the Insurance Contracts Act 1984 doesn’t allow the insurer to decline the claim.

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