But what happens if you cancel? Will you lose your money or will it be covered?
Under most standard trip cancellation policies, a travel advisory or simply being worried about traveling are not valid reasons for reimbursement.
“Standard travel insurance is very valuable, but not in the context of the coronavirus,” said Stan Sandberg, co-founder of TravelInsurance.com. “If you have concerns about what may happen traveling to your destination, that isn’t insurable. Because underwriters are pricing risk. They can’t price the risk of fear.”
Viral outbreaks, epidemics and pandemics are not on the risk list, either.
But there are travel insurance policies that will give you some peace of mind — and a good bit of your money back — if you decide to cancel your trip for a reason like coronavirus. Here’s what to look for.
Death in the family, hurricanes, even unexpected jury duty are all covered reasons for cancellation under most standard travel insurance policies. Concerns about a disease outbreak? No.
But one kind of policy — a Cancel for Any Reason, or CFAR, insurance policy — might cover you.
“A Cancel for Any Reason policy becomes relevant because it is the one kind of policy that can get you some cancellation coverage due to coronavirus,” said Sandberg.
A CFAR policy is a luxury upgrade to a standard travel insurance policy, so it’s pricey. CFAR policies come at a premium of about 40% to 60% more than standard travel insurance. And with as much as 50% or 75% of the trip costs reimbursed, you wouldn’t even get all of your trip covered, said Sandberg.
“But you can cancel just because you decide you don’t want to go,” said Sandberg. “If you are fearful or uncomfortable traveling to a destination you can get coverage with a CFAR.”
But be aware that CFAR upgrades aren’t available on all policies nor to all travelers.
CFAR policies have several rules and restrictions.
First, because of insurance regulations in New York state, residents there are not eligible to purchase this upgrade to their insurance.
Next, the entire cost of the trip must be insured — not just the airfare. Also, if canceling under a CFAR policy, that decision must be made more than 48 hours prior to departure.
If you are not a resident of New York and can purchase CFAR insurance, the policy must be bought within a cert