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Buying travel insurance? Here's what you should include and how much it could cost

How to find travel insurance that offers COVID coverage
Posted at 3:10 PM, Oct 17, 2021

(WXYZ) — American travelers have had to make many adjustments during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent AAA survey of more than 1,110 people, about 31% of U.S. travelers say they are more likely to purchase travel insurance for trips planned between now and the end of 2022 – specifically due to the pandemic.

They want to protect the money they invested in their trip and plan for any health problems that might pop up.

Jeanne Duggan's whale watching trip to Alaska got canceled because of the pandemic. Travel insurance policies in the past did not cover epidemics or pandemics, but AAA said some providers have begun introducing new plans.

"The policies that we at AAA sell in conjunction with Allianz have special coverages for COVID," Debbie Haas, the VP of travel for AAA - The Auto Club Group, said.

She added that policies can include coverage should you get COVID-19 before you travel but after booking your trip or even while you are traveling.

"Travel insurance is best purchased at the time of booking your trip, because then you have the opportunity to cover the widest range of benefits," Haas said.

In 2019, Haas was in California on a hiking trip and had a blood clot. She ended up in the hospital.

“My travel insurance covered all of my out-of-pocket costs. And they were substantial because, in the course of a weekend, I racked up $60,000 in medical costs," Haas said.

So, what should people look for when shopping for travel insurance? Haas said some of the most popular coverage options include:

  • Trip cancellations
  • Trip interruptions
  • Travel delays
  • Lost or damaged luggage
  • Medical coverage
  • Medical transport

She said the biggest benefit of insurance is peace of mind.

How much can travel insurance cost? Haas said it depends on what you decide to cover, but a rough rule of thumb is paying about 10% of the cost of your trip for a fairly comprehensive package.

She recommends that you work with a travel adviser to get that cost down to what fits your particular needs.