The travel industry is adapting to the current situation with corona insurance. What is supposed to offer holidaymakers more security is confusing and not complete. We give tips on what customers should pay attention to when booking.
It is not so much the questions about the next destination that occupy vacationers’ mind at the moment. They are happy when travel opportunities appear on the horizon anyway, because the corona virus has the world in its grip. And so a topic comes to the fore that is about as exciting as a ride on the regional train: travel insurance in times of pandemic.
According to consumer advocates, the many unanswered questions surrounding cancellation options and insurance coverage are a major contributor to the current reluctance to book. Examples: Can I cancel my package tour at no cost if I or a family member comes down with Covid-19?
Will my trip cancellation insurance cover the cancellation costs if I have to go into domestic quarantine shortly before departure? Who pays if my vacation stay is extended due to quarantine? And does the travel health insurance cover me if I have to go to hospital because of a Corona infection?
Check offers from tour operators and insurance companies
In order to offer vacationers more planning security, numerous insurers have adjusted their benefit catalogs over the course of the past year. The protection ranges from Covid 19 supplementary policies to the extension of the insurance conditions of already existing contracts.
The requirements for travel cancellation and also for claiming travel health and travel interruption insurance have been revised. Anyone who wants to be adequately insured must compare the specific offers that insurance companies and tour operators jointly provide.
With some tour operators, the new Corona insurances are included free of charge in the travel package. For example, the “Covid protect” insurance cover offered by TUI and some of its subsidiaries such as Airtours and Ltur is currently an obligatory part of the vacation – i.e. already automatically integrated into the booking. This currently applies to any vacation with departure until the end of October 2021.
The insurance covers outpatient or inpatient treatment costs in the event of a Covid 19 illness during the vacation. The accommodation costs for a possible quarantine in the destination country are also reimbursed, as are rebooking fees or the costs of a new flight ticket.
However, anyone who has to cancel their trip because they are in quarantine at the time of departure is not insured – still a relevant point in Germany. This is because it is relatively easy for travelers to get into quarantine shortly before their vacation through contact with an infected person.
Additional protection to travel cancellation insurance
Insurance cover in the event of quarantine in the event of suspected infection, both before the start of the trip and at the destination – this is offered, for example, by a Corona travel cancellation and interruption insurance policy from Hanse Merkur. According to the provider, the additional protection can be taken out as a supplement to an already existing travel cancellation insurance.
Tour operators such as Olimar offer the Corona additional protection with reservation of a travel resignation cost insurance inclusive. Independently of an illness is insured with the Portugal specialist thereby in the apron also a positive Corona test.
Cancellation and rebooking costs, not used travel achievements as well as possible additional costs are refunded – for example, if the airline refuses the transportation because of increased body temperature. The company advertises with the slogan “Carefree booking summer 2021”.
International travel health insurance is important
Lufthansa, Austrian Airlines and Swiss have agreed two insurance packages with AIG Europe. “Travel Care” and “Travel Care Plus” can be booked on the airlines’ websites, for example. The range of benefits includes compensation for quarantine at the destination and travel cancellation and interruption insurance due to a Covid 19 illness. The Plus variant additionally covers treatment costs and emergency medical repatriation.
Independent experts advise people to check carefully which risks are actually covered. The new Corona insurance policies offered by travel providers are not all-inclusive packages, says Robert Bartel of the Brandenburg Consumer Center. They should rather be seen as a supplement to existing insurance cover. A good foreign travel health insurance, for example, is important anyway. The annual policy usually doesn’t cost very much.
It can become problematic if the travel health insurance refuses the achievement, if with reservation already a travel warning for the destination country was present. Tiana Preuschoff, legal advisor at the Consumer Center of Lower Saxony, advises checking one’s own contract in this regard.
Otherwise important: The costs for a medically reasonable return transport should be taken over. A quarantine locally and the additional costs for a longer stay as well as the compensation for not used travel achievements would have to cover vacationers however with a travel interruption insurance, so Preuschoff. Combination policies are often offered: Trip cancellation plus interruption.
If Corona significantly impairs the trip
However, Stiftung Warentest (magazine “Finanztest,” issue 1/2021) clarifies: “In our view, travel cancellation insurance is not a must – not even in Corona times.” A policy could be worthwhile at most for families with children and seniors, because with them health often something can come in between.
Consumers should then check whether the pandemic event is insured, because this is not the case with all providers. In the Corona crisis, a fee-free cancellation is possible in part anyway, even without cancellation insurance.
However, it can happen that package holidaymakers with their desire to cancel meet with incomprehension from the organizers: Because fear alone is not considered a reason for cancellation. If, on the other hand, there is a travel warning, the vacation can be canceled free of charge, even without insurance.
And not only that: If the restrictions caused by the pandemic significantly affect a trip, free cancellation is also possible, as travel lawyer Paul Degott explains – even without a travel warning.