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Global travel has been greatly impacted by the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, with airlines canceling flights as new confirmed cases of the virus continue to be reported across the world.
Many U.S. carriers, including United, American and Delta, have also suspended their travel to China, citing decreased demand — meaning that travelers are rethinking their original plans. But some of those travelers might be curious to know whether their travel insurance — if they got any — covers such a cancellation.
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An expert with Squaremouth, a travel insurance review and comparison site, recently explained to Fox News what is covered by most policies — and, more importantly, what isn’t — when it comes to outbreaks.
According to the experts, cancellations due to outbreaks, or fear over an outbreak, are not covered under a standard travel insurance policy.
“Under a standard travel insurance policy, an outbreak occurring at a destination is not a covered reason to cancel a trip. Likewise, fear of traveling in any circumstance is never covered,” Squaremouth said in an email to Fox News.
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But while canceling a trip over outbreak concerns is usually not covered, some policies, if purchased before the viral outbreak became known, do cover emergency medical and medical evacuation benefits if a traveler falls ill or is quarantined due to the outbreak. Policies purchased after the outbreak was reported, however, usually do not provide the purchaser with cancelation benefits.
The only workaround for fear or uncertainty in travel is to upgrade the standard travel policy to the “Cancel for Any Reason” policy, which covers a broader range of concerns.
“Typically we only recommend this upgrade if a traveler has a concern that a standard policy doesn’t cover, such as fear or uncertainty. In this case, the time-sensitive Cancel for Any Reason benefit would allow the traveler to cancel their trip and receive a partial refund if they decide they do not want to travel due to the outbreak,” Squarespace advised.
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As far as travel insurance covering a canceled flight, the flight must have been canceled for one of the reasons outlined in the purchased policy.
“In this scenario, an airline choosing to cancel flights because of the outbreak won’t be covered by most policies and the burden would fall on the airline to compensate the traveler for their losses,” the email read.
As of Monday, the coronavirus outbreak has killed 361 people and infected 17,205 others.
United, American and Delta are among the airlines that have canceled all flights to mainland China. Travel waivers have been extended to those affected.
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The U.S. State Department had further issued a Level 4 advisory (Do Not Travel) for the entire Hubei province, the capital of which is Wuhan.
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