Coronavirus Information Center

Travel Insurance Impacts

We want to keep you informed of what the Coronavirus outbreak means for travelers in terms of travel insurance coverage. As a broker, we work closely with our carrier partners, and we have compiled their position statements on this situation below. (Look for your plan's name.)

As always, we advise our travelers to read their plan documents or description of coverage thoroughly to understand what coverage they have. If you have any questions about your plan or coverage, please call us at 1-800-937-1387. Our licensed customer service team is available Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Eastern Time.
 

Understanding Travel Insurance Coverage:

Travel insurance is intended to protect against the unexpected, or unforeseen circumstances. Once the coronavirus outbreak spread, it was no longer “unforeseen.” Read more...

Most carriers have a documented date between January 21-24, 2020 when the virus was deemed as “foreseen.” This means that policies won’t cover cancellations, interruptions, delays, etc. related to the coronavirus for individuals who purchased their policy AFTER that date. If you purchased your plan PRIOR to that date, you must read your policy and review the covered reasons to see whether you have coverage, but most plans don’t cover epidemic, pandemic, disease outbreak, etc. Regardless of purchase date, most insurance plans will still provide coverage if someone contracts the coronavirus and cannot travel or is quarantined.

Questions & Answers

If my trip is canceled, can I get a refund of my travel insurance premium?

If your travel supplier cancels your trip completely and provides a full refund of trip cost, you may request a refund of your travel insurance premium. (If you have a plan underwritten by Starr--Trip Care Complete, Explorer or Voyager plans--see the Starr FAQs in the Insurance Carrier Positions section below. The Starr position on refunds differs from the information in this response.)

If you voluntarily choose not to go on your trip, but the travel supplier will still be running the trip, you are not eligible for a refund of your travel insurance premium.

To request a refund of your travel insurance premium, you must submit:

  1. A letter from the travel supplier stating that they canceled the trip and gave you a full refund of your trip cost. The letter must be addressed to the insured traveler.
  2. An invoice showing your trip refund.
  3. A statement in writing—email or letter—to USI Travel Insurance Services (contact info below) stating that you have not and will not make a claim on the current plan. This statement can be in the body of the email to USI Travel Insurance Services with your travel supplier letter and refund invoice.

We will then start the process for the plan cost to be refunded. (Note: USI Travel Insurance Services is not involved in any trip refunds for cancelled trips; that is handled by the travel supplier.)

Refund requests should be sent to customer.care@usi.com.


My travel supplier canceled my trip and issued a voucher for future travel. What do I need to do with my travel insurance policy? If I choose not to take the trip in the future, can I receive a refund on my policy?

In the event that your trip was cancelled and you were issued a voucher for a future trip instead of a refund, you must transfer your travel insurance dates to your new trip dates. You can do so by calling Travel Insurance Services customer service (1-800-937-1387). If you don’t yet know your new trip dates, select some placeholder dates in the future and transfer your plan to these dates, then when you confirm your new trip dates, again transfer your plan to these new dates. Keep in mind that you must transfer your trip dates BEFORE your originally scheduled trip departure date, and trip dates can only be changed if you have not filed any claim.

Note: Each of our carriers has certain time frames in which you need to schedule new trip dates:

  • Crum & Forster/United States Fire (Travel Insurance Select plan) – New trip dates must be departing by 12/31/2022
  • Starr (Trip Care Complete and Explorer plans) – New trip dates can be for travel up to two years from original departure date. Must select new trip dates by 5/31/2020 (placeholder dates may be selected if new trip dates are not yet known)
  • Nationwide (OSU Travel Secure plan) – New trip dates are no more than 18 months from your original trip dates
  • Generali (National Geographic Travel Protection plan) – New trip dates must be within 24 months from the plan purchase date

If you were offered a voucher for a future trip but decide to forego this option and not take your trip, your travel insurance plan will not cover a trip cancellation claim in this scenario, and we are unable to offer a refund of premium since you weren’t given a full trip refund by your travel supplier. (However, if you purchased Cancel For Any Reason coverage, you may file a claim under that provision.) Our industry is highly regulated and we must comply accordingly. Thank you for your understanding.


What are my options if I’m scared to travel?

No travel insurance plan will provide coverage because someone has a fear of traveling to their destination – it’s simply not set up for that. If you want coverage for that possibility, you would have to buy a specific plan upgrade called Cancel For Any Reason, or CFAR. CFAR allows you to cancel for any reason at all, and recoup 75% of your pre-paid, non-refundable trip costs, provided you cancel 48 hours or more prior to your scheduled departure. CFAR must be purchased within 14 days (for Trip Care Complete) or 21 days (for Travel Insurance Select) of your initial trip deposit or payment. If you miss that window, you are ineligible for the CFAR upgrade, which is standard practice for all travel insurance plans. CFAR coverage typically costs 40-55% more than the base plan cost and other restrictions may apply.


With travel being unpredictable now, what are my options? Do I have to risk losing my travel investment?

If you plan a trip that involves an airline, cruise line, or tour operator, talk to those companies about the cancellation and refund policy. For many travelers, their first recourse should be to get a refund from these travel providers if their trip is canceled. In general, these providers will refund your money if they cancel the service you bought from them.

For example, if an airline cancels all flights to France, they will refund the ticket prices for anyone booked on a flight. The same goes for hotels and other travel services – please read their cancellation and refund policies carefully, or call the provider. Many airlines and hotels are waiving or reducing cancellation or change fees given the concern from their patrons. We encourage you to read the fine print or contact your travel provider.


Is travel insurance still important or useful?

If you felt travel insurance was important before the outbreak of the Coronavirus, you will find it to be just as important now. Travel insurance will still cover you for all the possibilities it was designed for – cancellations or trip interruptions due to illness, accident or death in the family, certain weather issues, mechanical breakdown of an aircraft that causes delays or a missed connection, baggage loss or delays, emergency medical expenses, emergency medical evacuation, and more. Our insurance plans include 24/7 travel assistance services, giving you access to support and answers anytime, anywhere in the world so you can feel more at ease while away from home. Refer to your policy for specific details and don’t hesitate to call us if you have any questions.


Insurance Carrier Position Statements

Plan: Travel Insurance Select

Insurance Carrier: Crum & Forster/United States Fire

Download the Coronavirus FAQs for the Travel Insurance Select plan. (PDF)

The Travel Insurance Select plan does not have a specific Trip Cancellation or Trip Interruption peril tied to a CDC Warning. Therefore, the main eligible coverages would be:

  1. A person traveling in an affected country who becomes ill, in which case emergency medical expense or emergency medical evacuation coverage may apply, or
  2. Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) – this option must be purchased as an upgrade within 21 days of your initial trip deposit/payment. Other conditions apply – see plan details.

Crum & Forster considered this to be a foreseen event on 01/23/2020.


Plans: Trip Care Complete, Explorer, Voyager

Insurance Carrier: Starr

Download the Coronavirus FAQs for the Trip Care Complete plan. (PDF)

The Coronavirus is not a Natural Disaster as defined in Starr’s Leisure Travel Policy and so, regardless of the named travel warning and timing for purchase of the policy, there is no coverage for interruption, delay or cancellation unless the member purchased CFAR. “Travel insurance may not provide coverage for an event if the policy is purchased after the event becomes known and foreseeable.”

Starr considered this to be a foreseen event on 01/22/2020.


Plans: Study USA-HealthCare, Visit USA-HealthCare, WorldMed, InterMedical

Insurance Carrier: HCC

An insured individual is eligible for treatment of Coronavirus provided they do not contract the Coronavirus in a country for which there is a CDC Warning Level 3. This is the specific exclusion, which will apply should a new CDC warning be issued for another country:

Exclusion language:
Charges resulting from a disease outbreak in a country or location for which the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 Travel Warning if:

  1. the warning has been in effect within the 6 months immediately prior to your date of arrival, or
  2. you have failed to depart the country or location within 10 days following the date the warning is issued.

Plan: Ohio State University Travel Secure

Insurance Carrier: Nationwide

Download the Coronavirus FAQs for the OSU Travel Secure plan. (PDF)

Nationwide considered this to be a foreseen event for travel to China starting on 1/24/20, and for travel worldwide starting on 1/31/20.


Plans: MedEvac200, Custom Group plans

Insurance Carrier: Global Underwriters

Policies will continue to provide medical and evacuation benefits as shown in the policy language for covered illnesses or accidents.


 
  FAQs for the Travel Insurance Select plan   FAQs for the TripCareComplete and Explorer plans

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CDC Info for Travelers

Visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for the latest information.