Now that vaccines are beginning to roll out, travelers are eager to get a jab and get back out into the world. One thing that has changed as our freedom of mobility has been limited is that travel insurance is more important than ever.
Like with most other things in the world, policies have undergone some changes to better protect travelers from things such as COVID-19 and other unforeseen problems that could be encountered.
In order to help navigate the new world of travel insurance, TravelPulse spoke to Daniel Durazo, director of marketing and Communications, USA, for Allianz.
TravelPulse (TP): What are the key things that travelers need to know about travel insurance for 2021?
Daniel Durazo (DD): Travelers should see some significant changes to travel insurance in 2021 as the industry works to meet the changing needs of consumers during an increasingly uncertain time.
In 2020, Allianz rolled out important temporary accommodations to help travelers who became ill with COVID either before their trip began or while they were traveling. The company also allowed customers to cancel their travel insurance policy for a full refund when their trip was canceled by their travel supplier due to COVID.
For 2021, Allianz is considering product enhancements that will provide consumers with the confidence they need to book their next trip and hopefully provide the travel industry with a much-needed leg up as it looks to turn the corner.
TP: How will the vaccine affect insurance policies? Do all policies now cover COVID-19? Will premiums rise due to COVID-19?
DD: The roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines in the U.S. is a significant development for the travel industry’s recovery and a key factor in customers feeling more confident about booking trips in 2021.
Just before news broke about the delivery of approved vaccines to the United States, we found that 58 percent of our surveyed customers said a proven vaccine would make them feel safe to travel again.
In 2020, Allianz announced important temporary accommodations to provide coverage to customers who became ill with COVID either before their trip began or while they were traveling.
For 2021, we are considering COVID-related product enhancements that will help consumers navigate an increasingly uncertain environment as they consider booking their next trip. It is still too early to tell how these new product enhancements will impact the cost of travel insurance.
TP: Are there specific policies that you would recommend for domestic and international travelers or specific features travelers should look to when purchasing?
DD: While trip interruption and cancellation benefits are important for domestic and international travel, emergency medical coverage and transportation is especially important for international travel.
Many domestic healthcare plans (including Medicare) are not accepted out of the country. A plan with emergency medical benefits can cover the cost of your emergency medical treatment, and our Travel Assistance Team can help manage a customer’s care and determine if they’re in an appropriate facility. Emergency medical transportation is also important when traveling out of the country.
An air ambulance to the U.S. from the Caribbean can cost $15-25K, $40-$75K from South America, $65-$90,000 from parts of Europe and $165-$225,000 from Australia. Medical evacuation benefits could cover these costs.
TP: Who should travelers turn to for advice when deciding on an insurance policy?
DD: If you’re not sure what the best plan is for you, a trusted travel advisor can be a great resource to help you determine the best benefits for protecting your trip investment.
Allianz’s customer service is also available 24/7 (866-884-3556 or via the TravelSmart app) while plan comparisons are available.
It’s also important to know that Allianz offers a 15-day free look on all of its products. Meaning, if you review your policy and decide it’s not right for you, you can switch it for a different product or cancel it within 15 days of purchase for a complete refund.
Source Article: Travel Pulse