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As I’m sure everyone would agree, COVID took the world by surprise, and we’ve all learned so much. But in my opinion, there are four key takeaways that travelers in particular have learned throughout the pandemic:

1. COVID knows no land borders and doesn’t discriminate.
2. The rules and restrictions for countries, cities, airlines, hotels and various other companies can change at a moment’s notice.
3. If you booked travel through a third-party website, it was close to impossible to get your money back or reach a customer service agent.
4. Most travel insurance companies didn’t cover COVID because it was classified as a viral epidemic and epidemic’s always been an exclusion.

Fortunately, for the last 18 months, travel insurance companies have been working furiously to expand their coverage. Allianz Global Assistance, for whom I have worked as a brand ambassador with for years, has long been a world leader in travel protection. To rectify this matter, Allianz refiled their products to make COVID a permanent accommodation. They first rolled out this protection for their single trip options and have now included it in one of their annual products.

The details are below but if you buy an annual plan, like I get every year, you are covered for 365 days on any trip 100 miles from home. On top of that, if you or a travel companion contracts COVID, you can cancel your trip, or if you’re on your trip, your medical expenses are covered or if you’re asked to quarantine, you have trip interruption benefits.

What You Need to Know
To see if your plan covers COVID, look for “Epidemic Coverage Endorsement” on your Declarations of Coverage or Letter of Confirmation. For plans that now include the new Epidemic Coverage Endorsement, your plan may now include epidemic-related covered reasons under some or all of the following benefits:

-Trip Cancellation, if for example you must cancel your trip after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
-Trip Interruption, if for example during your trip you are specifically named and individually ordered to quarantine (not including generally or broadly applicable quarantines).

-Travel Delay, if for example you are denied boarding based on a suspicion that you are ill with an epidemic disease such as COVID-19.
-Emergency Medical Care, if for example you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and need to be hospitalized while traveling.
-Emergency Transportation, if for example you’re diagnosed with an epidemic disease such as COVID-19 while you’re traveling and you require an emergency medical evacuation.

Here are a few more important things to know: If you cancel or cut short a trip because you’re afraid of becoming ill with COVID-19, or because a travel advisory has been issued for your destination, that will not be covered by Allianz’s travel insurance plans.

Benefits may not cover the full cost of your loss. All benefits are subject to maximum limits of liability, which may in some cases be subject to sublimits and daily maximums. Be sure to review your plan carefully to understand what limits apply to your plan.

If your destination requires proof of travel insurance with COVID-19-related benefits, call Allianz at 1-866-884-3556 so they can provide a summary letter of plan benefits.

It’s important to note that customers are responsible for being aware of the requirements for travel to, from, and within their destination(s), including any minimum insurance coverage requirements.

One of the best things about Allianz is that they have offices around the world and their assistance team is available to help customers. If you have questions about your destination’s travel requirements or if you need medical help, you can contact them by phone or via the free TravelSmart app.

If you’re looking for some real-world scenarios for how benefits may apply under Allianz plans containing the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement, then check out this blog post on their website. Here, they provide examples of Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Travel Delay, Emergency Medical Care and Emergency Transportation.

Here’s a sample scenario: “You’ve booked an adorable cottage for your family vacation to Sanibel Island, Florida. Three days before you’re supposed to leave, your spouse begins to feel unwell. You anxiously await his test results, then learn he has COVID-19. Your first concern is for his health; your second concern is all the money you’re going to lose on this vacation. It’s too late to get a refund. Can your travel insurance with the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement help?”

No matter which insurance company or plan you choose, it’s imperative to read the fine print to know what is and isn’t covered. Believe me, I know it’s boring and no fun but it can save you a lot of money and aggravation. I can tell you from experience that the best thing about buying travel insurance is the peace of mind that comes with knowing you won’t have to shell out huge amounts of money if things don’t go according to plan.

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4 Comments On "Travel Insurance and COVID-19: Allianz's New Epidemic Coverage Endorsement Explained"
  1. BTS|

    Which annual Allianz travel insurance plan do you think is the best?

    1. Johnny Jet|

      I would do AllTrips Premier that should cover a whole household

  2. Donald Palazzo|

    Unfortunately, the Allianz Epidemic Coverage Endorsement makes the Allianz policies much less useful for international travel these days. As you point out, if “a travel advisory has been issued for your destination, that will not be covered by Allianz’s travel insurance plans”. When I called Allianz for clarification, the representative confirmed that “travel advisory” includes a level 3 or level 4 advisory from the U.S. State Department. A quick look at the map on the state department web site (https://travelmaps.state.gov/TSGMap/) and the accompanying list of countries by threat level shows that all but 12 or so countries in the world are not at Level 3 or 4, mostly in Africa. Even worse, this means that all claims for trip cancellation, trip interruption, travel delay or emergency transportation are excluded if you have travelled to, from or through any of those countries on your trip, even if the claim has nothing to do with COVID. Other insurers also have exclusions for travel advisories, but they typically are less sweeping. Buyer beware.

  3. Marie B|

    I bough the insurance as part of the ticket purchasing on the aa.com website as I was expecting disruption this summer.
    I had 2 flights cancelled on the second leg of my trip home. One was due to lack of crew availability. The second rebooked flight was cause by weather delay. A Wednesday flight got rebooked for Thursday morning. After that got cancelled it got rebooked for Saturday. I am hoping my claim will be covered because both conditions have been met – greater than 6 hour delay and cancelled for weather.
    If it was only due to lack of crew availability the claim would be denied they told me.
    What kind of plan would cover cancelled flights if there is no crew? This Allianz plan would not because it is not specified in the policy. We know there are fewer available pilots and the chances of cancellation
    For that reason are on the rise.

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