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The Best Pandemic Travel Insurance

Even if you're vaccinated, it's a good idea to protect yourself and your trip by purchasing insurance that covers Covid-related issues.

Pandemic Travel Lukas Souza/Unsplash

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The pandemic is not over, even if you are fully vaccinated. That’s why you may want to consider travel insurance for your next trip that covers Covid-related medical care and medical evacuation coverage, particularly if your travels will take you to a country not known for its top-notch health care.

Be sure to confirm the medical coverage requirements of your destination country before visiting. Some places abroad require the purchase of specific medical coverage before you’re allowed to visit.

We used data provided by Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison website, to evaluate the best pandemic travel insurance providers based on their trip cancellation and medical benefits. We favored issuers who offer so-called cancel-for-any-reason coverage.

Cat 70

Highlights: Cat 70’s Travel Plan offers the best coverage of the top features we look for in pandemic travel insurance. It’s Covid medical coverage is primary, meaning it trumps whatever coverage your own health plan offers. And it offers the highest medical coverage limit—$500,000–among the insurers we rated. This policy also offers 100 percent reimbursement on trip costs due to Covid-related cancelations.

Potential drawbacks: We found none.

HTH Worldwide

Highlights: Similar to Cat 70, HTH Worldwide’s TripProtector Preferred plan offers up to $500,000 in medical coverage per insured person and full trip reimbursement in case of a Covid cancellation. This is also a primary medical insurance plan.

Potential drawbacks: In most cases, you’ll have to add cancel-for-any-reason coverage within 10 days of making your trip deposit, although some plans extend that deadline to up to 21 days.

Related: Compare over 22+ Travel Insurance Companies

Tin Leg

Highlights: Tin Leg’s Gold Plan offers $500,000 in Covid medical coverage per person and a full refund on Covid-related trip cancellations.

Potential drawbacks: We found none.

USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services

Highlights: Like the other issuers on our list, USI Affinity’s Diamond Plan offers up to $500,000 in Covid medical coverage per insured person and full trip reimbursement in case of a Covid-related cancellation.

Potential drawbacks: We found none.

Tips for Pandemic Travelers

Before taking off on a business trip, a holiday getaway or a long-overdue vacation, make sure you:

  • Check government requirements at your destination. Some places may insist that you wear a mask in certain areas, be tested for Covid-19 or adhere to other public health rules in order to visit.
  • Monitor Covid-19 data. In advance of your trip, closely monitor whether infection rates are increasing or decreasing at your destination. If rates are on the rise, you might want to reconsider taking the trip.
  • Get tested. Even if it’s not required where you’re going, consider getting tested for Covid-19 before you leave home. This is particularly important if you’re not vaccinated or if you’re experiencing Covid symptoms. Pre-trip testing might prevent you from spreading the virus. You also should get tested within three to five days of returning from your trip.
  • Pack pandemic essentials. Among the items that should be in your bags are face masks, facial tissue, alcohol-based hand sanitizer, disinfectant wipes and a thermometer.
  • Limit your international itinerary. Until the pandemic ends, it’s wise to limit your travels abroad to no more than a couple of countries. By doing so, you decrease the chances of contracting or spreading the virus to others.
  • Scope out the health care system. Ahead of your journey, check out the availability of medical care and Covid testing where you’ll be staying. Also, see whether your health insurance will cover any of the care or testing you would receive at your destination.

What to Look for in a Pandemic Travel Insurance Plan

When you’re shopping for pandemic travel insurance, play close attention to the following four elements of the coverage.

  1. How does the plan cover health issues related to Covid? Keep in mind that some plans don’t include coverage for all medical problems that arise from contracting Covid.
  2. How much coverage do you need? Consider buying at least $100,000 in emergency medical and medical evacuation coverage in case you must go elsewhere for Covid treatment while you’re traveling.
  3. Should you get cancel-for-any-reason coverage? Standard travel insurance doesn’t reimburse you for every type of trip cancellation. For example, you might decide to cancel your trip because a country where you’re planning to travel suddenly institutes a travel ban. However, standard coverage might not take effect in that case. But cancel-for-any-reason coverage would provide at least some form of reimbursement in this situation.
  4. Which non-pandemic benefits are available? While it’s important to take into account how a travel insurance plan would address matters related to Covid, don’t forget to look at other coverage. This includes coverage for travel hassles such as missed connections, flight delays and lost baggage.

Related: Compare Travel Insurance Quotes For 2021

Methodology

We used data provided by Squaremouth to evaluate pandemic travel insurance policies based on available Covid medical coverage, coverage limits whether the coverage is primary or secondary to your own medical insurance policy and whether it offers cancel-for-any-reason coverage, which generally adds about 40 percent to the policy cost. We, however, gave the most consideration to whether the policy specifically offers trip cancellation and interruption coverage if the insured person contracts Covid.


John Egan is a freelance writer, editor and content marketing strategist in Austin, Texas. His work has been published by Experian, Bankrate, National Real Estate Investor, U.S. News & World Report, Urban Land magazine and other outlets. 

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