The coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis has caused major disruptions throughout the world. People’s ability to travel and the tourism industry have been hit particularly hard, as many are being forced to cancel or reschedule trips. While many credit cards offer travel insurance that one might assume would help with situations like this, the fact is that many credit card companies are considering this pandemic ineligible for insurance. However, there are some alternatives available if your card’s insurance policy is not covering you.
Your travel plans won’t be the only aspect of your finances to be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Talk to a financial advisor about your plans today.
What Does Credit Card Travel Insurance Cover?
If your credit card offers built-in travel insurance when you use it to purchase parts of a trip, you can typically file a claim and regain most, if not all, of your money for a given expense. However, you’ll only be able to file a claim if you cancel or postpone your trip for an eligible reason.
While specific reasons vary by card and issuer, they typically include injuries and illnesses, severe weather and terrorism. Most credit card travel insurance also covers orders given by a medical professional that you should not travel. So if you’re sick with coronavirus, or your doctor specifically advises you not to travel, you’ll probably be eligible to make a claim.
What Doesn’t Credit Card Travel Insurance Cover?
Unfortunately, there is a long list of things that credit card travel insurance usually does not cover. Some of these include change of plans, financial circumstances, disruptions caused by war and preexisting medical conditions. Most importantly during the coronavirus crisis, epidemics and global pandemics are likely to fall on the list of non-eligible cancellation reasons.
You’re also unlikely to be covered through your credit card if you simply decide not to take your trip because you and your family are nervous about the prevalence of coronavirus and any related disruptions. For example, if you’re worried about your return flight being cancelled and you decide not to go on your trip at all, you probably won’t be eligible to make a claim and recoup your money. It’s important to contact your issuer to see what their current policies are, as well as what else they can do to help.
What to Do If You Aren’t Covered
Many people are having to cancel trips due to medical emergencies stemming directly from coronavirus. However, the majority of travelers cancelling their plans are doing so because they’d rather not take the risk. But this is often an ineligible reason for cancelling a trip. That said, you still have several options at your disposal.
Almost every airline and hotel chain is currently letting customers change or cancel reservations free of charge. If you’d like to change your reservation to a different date, you’ll likely be able to without paying anything more than the difference in price.
For those that want to cancel outright, you’ll typically receive a full refund or voucher. The specifics of these terms will differ depending on the airline or hotel chain. Still, you’ll likely be able to remedy the situation without having to rely on your credit card travel insurance.
The same is often true with more niche travel expenses, such as tours, safaris or other adventures. Try reaching out directly to these companies to see if they’re offering vouchers or refunds to travelers.
Reach Out to Your Card Issuers
While a pandemic might not be an eligible reason in the eyes of card issuers, these are unprecedented times. As a result, they may be willing to work with customers and be more flexible with their terms. Plus, with so many flights being cancelled, hotels closing and excursions being put on hold, you may be able to find a covered reason for cancelling your trip.
Many issuers have yet to state a plan to relax their claim eligibility criteria. However, American Express, Citi, Chase and other major card issuers are encouraging customers to reach out. They’ll likely be able to help discuss options when it comes to cancelling, paying for or rescheduling trips. It’s very possible that these companies will make exceptions because of the current extenuating circumstances.
Credit card travel insurance is always a good option, especially during the COVID-19 global pandemic. If you contract coronavirus or a doctor advises you to avoid travel, you can probably file a claim. Make sure you’re familiar with the full list of eligible and ineligible reasons before you do, though.
Credit card travel insurance won’t cover you if you simply decide to cancel your trip out of caution. But don’t fret. It’s important to contact your card issuer to see what your options are. Even if you aren’t able to take advantage of your card’s travel insurance, you’ll likely have several other options when it comes to getting your money back.
Credit Card Tips
- Credit cards are just one aspect of your overall financial picture. Consult with a financial advisor in your area to build a financial plan that accounts for all of your financial needs. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with local financial advisors in just five minutes. Get started now.
- If you love to travel, it’s important to keep up on which credit cards are offering the best rewards opportunities. SmartAsset’s comprehensive list of the top travel credit cards is the perfect place to start.
- If you’re having trouble paying bills, a balance transfer or 0% interest credit card is worth looking into. SmartAsset has done the research to figure out the best balance transfer and 0% APR cards on the market.
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