By: Liz Adams, Director of Personal Client Relationships
Due to the ongoing worldwide pandemic, traveling is complicated and unpredictable right now. Some places are welcoming tourists, while others are not so accommodating. Keeping up with the ever-changing restrictions and testing protocols for every country, state, and city can be daunting.
These traveling conditions make purchasing adequate travel insurance more important than ever. Depending on where you’re going, having travel insurance may even be a requirement.
Some countries require travel insurance
The country you are visiting wants to ensure that you have the proper means to stay in their country and quarantine if you were to contract COVID-19. Understandably, they do not want to absorb the financial burden of treating uninsured tourists. Based on a recent Forbes article, here is a list of popular travel destinations that are now requiring forms of travel insurance:
Anguilla: Fully-vaccinated travelers are welcomed into Anguilla. All visitors must apply for approval to travel to Anguilla and show proof that they have health insurance that covers COVID-19 medical expenses.
Aruba: Visitors are required to purchase COVID-19 travel insurance from the Aruba government. Your own travel insurance can supplement Aruba visitors insurance, but it cannot replace it.
Bahamas: All international visitors over the age of 18 are required to get a Bahamas Travel Health Visa. The cost of COVID-19 health insurance is included with the cost of the visa and includes trip interruption coverage of $500 per day to a maximum of $7,000 and COVID-19 emergency medical expenses up to $50,000. The cost of the visa varies for vaccinated and unvaccinated travelers.
Bermuda: Visitors are required to have a travel insurance policy that covers COVID-19 medical emergencies. If you do not have coverage, you will be responsible for all COVID-related health and accomodation costs.
Cayman Islands: Visitors are required to have coverage for COVID-19 medical expenses.
Costa Rica: Requires proof of COVID-19 medical insurance for unvaccinated adults with a minimum of $50,000 in coverage for COVID-related medical treatment and $2,000 for lodging expenses due to COVID-related illness. Fully vaccinated adults and minors can enter without travel insurance.
French Polynesia: Visitors are required to buy travel insurance with COVID-19 coverage, or must sign a declaration to pay all medical costs if they contract COVID-19.
Jamaica: Travelers must pay a mandatory $40 fee as part of the “Jamaica Cares” program to cover COVID-related medical expenses. The Jamaica Cares program includes travel medical insurance up to $100,000 per person and on-island health coverage up to $50,000.
St. Maarten: Travelers must buy COVID-19 insurance from the St. Maarten government. The cost is $15 for ages 15 and older and free for children age 14 and under.
Thailand: Visitors are required to have at least $100,000 in travel medical insurance that covers COVID-related medical expenses.
Turks and Caicos: Visitors must provide proof of a travel insurance policy that covers COVID-related medical expenses.
The bottom line is, each country’s restrictions are different, so it’s important that you research and follow their guidelines on the travel insurance and protocols the country requires. Without proper coverage, they may send you right back to the U.S.
Not all travel insurance policies are equal
Every travel insurance plan is different, and each plan can package together a variety of valuable benefits from medical evacuation to hotel stay benefits. Generally, travel insurance offers coverage for medical emergencies and evacuation, trip interruption, trip cancellation, and lost, damaged or stolen luggage.
Travel medical insurance is especially valuable for international travelers right now. Travel insurance fills the gap where your U.S. health plan may have limited or no coverage. For instance, if you were to contract COVID-19 while abroad, access to proper medical care and coverage would be crucial. Travel medical insurance can cover ambulance rides, doctor and hospital bills, outpatient prescription drugs and other medical expenses. Travel insurance policies can be purchased to cover a stand-alone trip or to cover an entire year if you travel frequently.
It’s important to be prudent when shopping for a travel insurance policy. Believe it or not, some travel insurance policies actually exclude coverage for a virus! You can get into hot water if you’re not actually covered.
Also, it’s critical to note that trip cancellation coverage does NOT typically cover you if you change your mind about taking the trip. Trip cancellation provides coverage for trip expenses if you cannot take your trip for a covered reason, such as an airline cancellation. The covered reasons vary depending on your policy.
Protect against the unexpected with travel insurance
An experienced insurance agent can advise you on the best travel insurance policy for your travel needs. At Kemmons Wilson Insurance Group, we offer travel insurance programs tailored to your needs and your destination. Contact us to discuss protection against the unexpected.