There has been, understandably, a lot of uncertainty about future travel plans. While we might be able to book a holiday for 2021 and 2022, we may not be able to get an insurance policy to ensure we feel secure.
Since March 2020, many companies have suspended sales of both domestic and international travel insurance due to the Federal Government’s travel ban.
Many cruisers are in the midst of planning their 2021/22 cruise or rescheduling their cruise for next year.
If you’re one of them, and you don’t like to take off without travel insurance, you may want to consider the options before purchasing.
“At this time there is limited availability in Australia of international travel insurance for future travel, where available, dates of commencement and products may differ,” says Lisa Kable communications and public relations manager of Insurance Council of Australia.
Australia’s travel ban has recently extended to September 17, 2020 and many insurers say they will use the travel ban as a guideline to decide when they will resume sales of travel insurance.
InsureandGo isn’t selling policies until the Overseas Travel Ban determination from the Australian Government is lifted.
“We are temporarily ceasing to issue new international travel insurance policies and will do so until the Overseas Travel Ban determination from the Australian Government is lifted. This ban is currently in place until the 17th September 2020. We will review this position in line with future government decisions,” says InsureandGo on its website.
At 1Cover, “We are considering the impact of the government’s ‘Do Not Travel’ ban, and in line with this policy are not issuing new travel insurance policies in the next 30 days,” writes on their website.
“We are hoping to be able to sell domestic policies within the next week. International policies will depend on international restrictions the govt has in place,” says the customer service representative at 1Cover.
“Our underwriters made the decision to cease the sale of policies. We are only able to cover customers for a certain period of time so they decided to cease selling policies that customers potentially are unable to use due to the travel ban.”
Meanwhile Travel Insurance Direct left an open-ended deadline to their cease of sale of new travel insurance policies.
“At this stage, we can’t say with certainty when we will be able to start selling international travel insurance again. We will continue to monitor the situation closely and will advise travellers once we resume issuing new travel insurance policies,” Travel Insurance Direct said on its website.
So who is still currently selling travel insurance?
Buying travel insurance for your next holiday could have just become more complicated than going back to your usual insurer and hitting pay.
Booking your holiday first and buying travel insurance later when your usual insurer comes back online seems like an option. But it is not ideal, as you could be missing out potential policy benefits during this waiting period.
The Insurance Council of Australia also recommends travel insurance be purchased when a trip is paid for. So who is still selling?
A sample of providers who are still offering travel insurance include Cover More, NRMA, World2Cover and RACQ, says Mitchell Watson, head of research and ratings at Canstar.
“Each of these providers outline the impacts of COVID-19 and ‘Do not travel’ warning on any cover purchased at this time,” says Mr Watson.
Insurers like Fast Cover are also offering policies for any domestic and travel from October 1, 2020. Their customer representative also revealed that they are able to make exceptions for a couple who were booked on a Kimberley cruise departing before October. However, travellers would have to call their office for details as they have to manually process the quote.
Ms Kable says that COVID-19 related costs, losses and expenses will not be covered by travel insurance in the future.
“Known events and pandemic, epidemic, infectious disease exclusions will exist in future travel insurance policies as they have done in most travel insurance policies available prior to COVID-19,” says Ms Kable.
But outside of COVID-19 there are still a multitude of unforeseen circumstances that could occur when you go overseas. Travel insurance can help you, for example, if you need medical assistance or evacuation, if you have to cancel your plans, if you lose your luggage, or if you get charged car rental excess. If your circumstances are covered under your policy and an exclusion does not apply, you are likely to have cover under the policy, says 1Cover.
Cruisers rescheduling their holidays to 2021 caught in limbo
Some cruisers who are rescheduling their holidays to 2021 have also found themselves out of travel insurance coverage.
Ramsgate Travel told Cruise Passenger that their insurer CHI Travel Insurance is not allowing them to issue any new policies until 1 July 2020. At this stage they are still waiting for confirmation that this will not be delayed.
Clients who are postponing their holidays have also found that their travel insurance cannot be extended beyond six months.
“It is very difficult when a client is wanting to move their booking from 2020 through to 2021 and they cannot be covered by travel insurance. We have many clients who had coverage for pre-existing medical conditions and this coverage for pre-existing cannot be extended for 12 months,” says Justine Sealey Managing Director of Ramsgate Travel.
“This is no use if someone was booked to travel to Alaska as it is a seasonal cruising destination. Also don’t forget that clients take these policies out 12 months prior to the departure date. To complicate matters even more, CHI has changed underwriters from Allianz and effective July 1, 2020 will be underwritten by Hollard.
“Of course we have been encouraging clients to rebook – yet sometimes this is a much harder sell as clients stand to lose a large amount of money if they are not insured, hence prefer a refund and to start a fresh in coming months when they can be insured.
“Particularly older clients who worry and are unsure of their health situation in 12 months. Some clients have commented – if the insurers do not think it is safe to travel, then we best hold off!”
Meanwhile at Good2Go, they have stopped selling travel insurance to new customers but existing customers who want to adjust their travel plans could ask the insurer to change the dates of their single trip insurance to anytime up to December 2021.
This can be done provided that no claims have been submitted against their policy. It will not charge the customer if the new trip includes the same destination and duration as the previous plan.