Travel Insurance and COVID-19
Travelling, insurance & COVID-19
Travel Insurance, COVID-19, Worldwide lockdowns and border closures. Are things looking up?
David Sykes , a young entrepreneur digital nomad answered a few questions to help our readers
We know all too well just how decimated the world of travel has been because of the pandemic but with countries now starting to open up their borders, travelling the world is now once again a possibility and when better to travel than now.
After 18 months of lockdowns, many people are taking the plunge and escaping the hot UAE summer to pastures new to chill out and leave the stresses of UAE life behind.
What is the one thing that you never travel without?
When I first started travelling, I never left home without my electronic equipment, computer, phone etc but nowadays my priority is something that I hope I will never use which is travel insurance. When the pandemic hit, I was stuck in Bangkok airport with nowhere to go. Flights were being cancelled and very little information was being fed down to us. Luckily, I had a travel insurance policy that included a service which helped me with costs for flight cancellations and accommodation. Nowadays, a comprehensive travel policy is the first thing I make sure I have, and I always carry paper copies of the policy and all the telephone numbers I may need for the trip.
What are the main types of cover you go for when buying travel insurance?
In today’s climate, it is more important than ever to have a policy that will cover your own personal needs. Even if travel insurance is not mandatory in the country you are visiting you should always make sure that you have a policy that has the appropriate protection to cover your medical bills especially Travel Insurance with COVID 19 cover. The costs of medical treatment in parts of the world, can run to thousands of pounds even for simplest of things, and in some countries, you cannot gain any treatment without a valid insurance policy.
What about if you’re not planning to travel internationally, do you still have travel insurance?
Because of how much I love to travel, I take out an annual policy, so it covers me even if I plan to travel in my home country. Many policies nowadays offer cancellation cover and quarantine cover just in case I am not able to go on vacation because of an accident, injury, or illness. With the current COVID-19 numbers still rising, many people are having to unexpectedly isolate, either at home or when they get to their destination and so having quarantine cover allows me that little added protection and let’s face it, travel insurance really is affordable to everyone.
Have you noticed any difference in travel insurance since the pandemic hit?
Since the pandemic I have seen so many changes to travel insurance. When COVID-19 became a pandemic, many insurance companies withdrew their products and at first it was difficult to obtain a policy that suited my needs; but more recently, I have noticed that new covers had been added to policies such as quarantine costs.
I can only stress to people that before you buy any travel policy, make sure that you read the terms and conditions over and over again so that you understand and acknowledge what is and isn’t covered before you consider buying one especially if it’s a renewal of your old policy.
I recently read that customers of insurance found changes to their terms and covers based on the last time they bought a policy and it is a fact that over time, many insurers have developed new and additional covers specific to Covid-19. Insurance companies now have to deal with additional risks such as customers having to isolate if they are tested positive at their port of arrival, and in some cases, changes to their onwards travel journeys so make sure that your policy will cover and protect you in every eventuality.
Do you compromise on price when buying travel insurance?
In the past, I purchased the quickest and cheapest policy that was available to me but nowadays I never compromise on cost, it’s just not worth it. Travel insurance is cheap in comparison to what could happen if you are taken ill whilst away from home especially if you need medical assistance. Life is full of hazards, and you may be the most careful of people but when you see medical costs for COVID-19 running into hundreds of thousands of dollars do you really want to save US$30 on a travel policy that could eventually cost you US$100,000 in medical bills?
Do you ever add on the additional covers such as winter sports or SCUBA Diving?
That’s a simple one, if I am going to be SCUBA diving then yes, I add it on, I don’t ski or snowboard but if I did I would definitely take out additional cover. Over the many years of diving around the world, I have found that some dive companies won’t take you SCUBA Diving unless you have adequate dive insurance and, in some instances, their daily insurance policy is much more expensive than my whole trip insurance. It just makes sense to get cover for the types of activities you are planning to do whilst away.
Do you have any tips for readers when booking a holiday this year?
Follow country guidelines for the country you are visiting. If it looks like the country’s COVID-19 numbers are increasing, then steer clear. Its common sense really that if a country is struggling then they will need the medical resources available to treat their own people.
Always book your accommodation in advance and I always use a credit card to do so as there is often additional protection for you.
Always make sure you have a comprehensive travel insurance that suits your specific needs.
And finally, enjoy your trip but be safe. We have all been in lockdown for so long now that we have become complacent with COVID-19. Even if you are double jabbed with a COVID-19 vaccine remember to wash your hands and if a country requires you to wear a mask then do so.
If you would like more information on any of the travel products that YallaClick offers just visit YallaClick.com.
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