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Where do travel insurers stand with coronavirus?


Four hundred people register with DFAT to be evacuated from Wuhan

Australian research and financial comparison site, Canstar says that Australians may not be covered for claims associated with coronavirus. 

 

In an analysis of travel insurance policies, Canstar found “some variation” in approaches to epidemics, pandemics and virus outbreaks. 

 

AAMI, CGU and Southern Cross Travel Insurance are among the companies that would not pay for claims caused by an epidemic, pandemic or outbreak of infectious disease, while CGU and HBF offer insurance for those who bought their polices before any alerts were issued. 

 

Budget Direct was one of the insurers that would cover the costs of travel cancellations, according to Canstar, “if customers were unable to travel because of restrictions placed upon them during or after an epidemic”. 

 

 

Cover-More also offers cover "for medical expenses under many of our travel insurance policies, if a customer travelling overseas contracts the coronavirus and is hospitalised".

 

"This is in line with Cover-More’s focus on high-quality emergency medical assistance for Australian travellers overseas," the travel insurer told Traveltalk in a statement.

 

"However, even if medical cover is available to you for this event, there may not be cover for travellers’ cancellation or amendment of travel plans and other additional expenses as a result of the coronavirus epidemic."

 

Canstar finance expert Effie Zahos urged travellers to read their PDS or talk to insurers to clarify what’s included and excluded in a policy.   

 

“Whether or not you’re covered can come down to when you took out your policy and whether you travelled before or after a travel warning was issued,” Ms Zahos said.

  

“Always be sure to look up your destination on Smartraveller and make sure you are aware of any risks or safety advice.”

 

Meanwhile, 400 people have registered with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) to be evacuated from Wuhan, where the virus originated, to Australia, SBS reported. 

 

According to the ABC, one mooted plan is to use Christmas Island as a quarantine area. 

 

"We're preparing a plan for an operation to provide some assisted departures for isolated and vulnerable Australians in Wuhan and the Hubei province," Prime Minister Scott Morrison said today. 

 

Currently, five people are in Australian hospitals for the virus, but chief health officer Brendan Murphy said they are all in a stable condition. 

 

This morning, the Federal Government increased its travel advice to all of China from "exercise normal safety precautions" to "reconsider your need to travel".

 

 

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Written by: Mark Harada
Published: 29 January 2020


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