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Does Travel Insurance Cover For Coronavirus?

Updated: Feb 13, 2020


This has resulted in fear among the public with masses stocking up on rice, canned food and toilet papers.





I don't quite understand the notion of stocking up toilet paper....perhaps some people like to be more prepared for different kinds of emergencies.


Jokes aside, does travel insurance cover the coronavirus?


Disclaimer: The information provided below is based on the companies I frequently work with. As such, if the insurance plan you have is not on the list, it is better to check directly with the company or the agent that serves you. Information is accurate as of this writing, 10 Feb 2020.



1. AIG

AIG Singapore will honour claims arising from this event, subject to the terms and conditions of the policy. If your policy was issued prior to:


  • 22 January 2020, 0001 hours for insured(s) travelling to Wuhan

  • 27 January 2020, 0001 hours for insured(s) travelling to the rest of Mainland China


2. Aviva

According to the company's website, Aviva will cover if the policy was purchased before 20 Jan 2020.




3. MSIG

According to the company's website, MSIG will cover


for trips to or passing through these destinations if the policy or trip is purchased on these dates or later: 22 Jan 2020 for Wuhan, 23 Jan 2020 for Hubei Province, 27 Jan 2020 for Mainland China (excluding Hong Kong, Macau & Taiwan). As the situation develops, cover to other areas are subject to change. Please refer to Singapore Ministry of Foreign Affairs for the latest update.


MSIG also has some Q&A on its website. You can refer to the website for more information under the header "Events Affecting Cover".


4. NTUC

According to the company's website,


5. Sompo

Travel policies that are purchased after

  • 22 Jan 2020 (8pm) to Wuhan and Hubei and

  • 27 Jan 2020 (7pm) to rest of Mainland China


will not be covering any claims arising directly or indirectly from Novel Coronavirus outbreak, as it is considered as a known event. Claims unrelated to the event will be covered according to our policy terms and conditions.



6. Tokio Marine

According to the company's website,


Our policy will not cover any claims arising from this outbreak, if the person is traveling against the travel advice of any government authorities, unless the trip had already commenced prior to the issuance of the travel advice. Also, we will not cover for any cancellation claims arising from the outbreak for travel policy purchased and/or expenses incurred after 11 January, as the outbreak is deemed a “known event” from then on.


Additional Notes

There is some crucial information that you need to know prior to making any claims even if you have purchased the policies prior to the respective dates.


  • Not all insurance companies will cover your Trip Cancellation benefits to China. Some insurers may refund you the premiums instead (if there are no claims).

  • If you are claiming under the Trip Cancellation benefit, you may want to liase with the airline and lodging companies first to see if you can get a refund. Some insurers will require proof (can be via email for some insurers) to show proof that you are not benefitting from this event.

  • Yes, lodging for the trip may be covered too.

  • Some insurers do cover Trip Cancellation to other countries too during this period. Refer to the case study below for reference.

  • The terms and conditions apply to annual plans as well. Hence, if you have bought annual travel plans before the respective dates, you may be entitled to the benefits covered.

  • Insurers reserve the right to change their policy Terms and Conditions. As such, to be on the safe side, always get a black and white from the insurers that they will cover your claims.


Case Study

I have a client who had a family vacation to Taiwan this month. She purchased an annual travel policy from one of the companies above in December 2019.


She asked if she were to cancel her family trip, will the insurer cover the cancellation fee for the airline tickets and lodging.


According to the insurer, they will be unable to reimburse for trip cancellation to Taiwan, but we will allow claims related to coronavirus, including medical, should the client proceed to travel to Taiwan.



Conclusion

The Coronavirus is a "known event" and most insurers will have a different stand. As such, it will depend on insurers if they wish to provide the Trip Cancellation benefits. Some insurers will refund the premiums to customers if there are no claims.


It is a difficult time for both insurers and travellers. Insurers' hotlines are likely to be swarmed with customers' queries and customers will feel frustrated having to wait for a long time to get information from the insurers.


And it is times like this you should get your advisors to help. That is why I always feel it makes more sense to engage an advisor for insurance-related matters (even if it's travel insurance) because he/ she is in the best position to navigate you through this turbulent period.


If you have other queries regarding the claims or insurance-related matters, feel free to reach out to me here.


Stay safe and healthy people!

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