Will travel insurance cover you if you catch COVID abroad? Here's what to look for in your policy

Many companies now offer specific COVID travel insurance. As you plan your trip, here's what to look for while choosing a policy.

ByRenee Koury KGO logo
Friday, December 3, 2021
Will travel insurance cover you if you catch COVID abroad?
Many companies now offer specific COVID-19 travel insurance. As you plan your trip, here's what to look for while choosing a policy.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The new travel restrictions announced Thursday may be just the beginning of tightened rules -- not only in the United States, but other countries too. If you're traveling in the next few weeks, especially abroad, experts say be ready for more limits, even border closures that can disrupt your trip.

So will travel insurance cover you?

This may be a time to get some insurance. There are specific COVID-19 policies that cover everything from a potential quarantine, to medical expenses to canceled tours. And with the new rule requiring a negative test result within 24 hours to come back home, experts say plan now.

RELATED: How omicron COVID-19 variant is changing holiday travel plans

Globetrotters were just beginning to come out of isolation, when the new variant brought a fresh set of travel restrictions. And experts say be ready for even more rules during the holiday travel rush ahead.

Travel insurance CEO Omar Kaywan says some countries may enact new restrictions, or even close borders if the new variant spreads.

"We are walking into the next six weeks of complete uncertainty. There's a lot of last-minute decisions that are being made, a lot of restrictions are being put in place by many countries," he says.

VIDEO: Travelers react to 'stress' of new omicron variant, possibility of new restrictions

Travelers at San Francisco International Airport had strong reactions to the omicron variant, some of whom, were hearing about it for the first time.

New rules already require passengers to show a negative COVID test within 24 hours of their flight back to the U.S.

"This is something that they need to plan, and they need to start as soon as possible, wherever their destination is to book their appointments ASAP, because this is a requirement. and you will not be essentially getting on a plane coming back home, if you don't have your proof of negative COVID-19 test," Kaywan says.

A positive result could mean being stranded overseas in quarantine. Border restrictions may mean losing money for tours, lodging and transportation.

However, many companies offer specific COVID-19 travel insurance.

If you're going overseas, check for policies that cover:

  • Expenses in case you are quarantined
  • Medical coverage if you get sick from COVID
  • Cancelations for lodging, tours transportation and airfare
  • Finally, look for policies that let you cancel for any reason, such as not wanting to travel during a COVID surge.

"From what we've seen in the last couple days people are continuing with their travel plans and they'll see how it goes and what it's going to end up being," Kaywan says.

One thing that's still to be announced: what type of rapid test will be acceptable within that 24-hour window. 7 On Your Side will keep checking so you're ready if you're traveling over the holidays.

Take a look at more stories and videos by Michael Finney and 7 On Your Side.

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