COVID-19 changed our travel plans in 2020, to put it lightly. Shutdowns, travel restrictions, stay-at-home orders, and a worldwide lockdown all converged to cancel our trips and leave us crazed with cabin fever. Fortunately, now that restrictions are starting to ease up, we’re beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel and many are itching to reschedule vacation plans and jumping at the chance to travel.
Even so, ramifications from COVID will continue to impact all aspects of our trips. As we’ve said before, travel insurance is no exception.
Many countries have raised their minimum coverage requirements for tourists. If you are planning an international trip this year, you need to be in-the-know about how the pandemic has impacted travel insurance. In this article, we want to try to answer a few of the big questions.
Why Has COVID-19 Caused Some Countries to Raise Coverage Limits?
Currently, many countries have raised their health insurance limits for travelers to cover COVID-19 treatments. O ver the past year, there have been many instances of tourists getting the virus during their stay in a foreign country and requiring medical care as a result. When they did not have the proper insurance, countries were forced to cover their healthcare. This has resulted in many countries not only adjusting their minimum insurance requirements for travelers, but requiring them to include coverage for COVID-19 treatment.
Many countries will deny access to tourists entering their borders unless they show proof of medical and hospitalization coverage. If travelers do not have the necessary insurance requirements, they will be required to buy insurance from a local insurance provider to cover the duration of their stay.
Know Thy Coverage
It is crucially important that travelers understand what kind of coverage they actually have. In our experience, many people are mistaken in their knowledge about their health insurance. Try it out on yourself: Do you know whether your domestic health insurance plan covers emergency medical visits outside the U.S.?
Furthermore, original Medicare does NOT cover emergency healthcare services outside of the U.S., and according to the U.S. State Department, few health insurance companies in the U.S. will even pay for an emergency medical evacuation back to the U.S.
In other words, since it’s very likely that you will need to get additional coverage before you travel, it’s important that you fully understand what your current insurance actually includes so that you know what else you need. If you are planning to travel but are unsure about what your plan covers while you’re abroad, be sure to talk to your health insurance provider—or simply contact us. We’re always available and delighted to help.
What Countries Have Raised Limits?
As we’ve said, many countries have changed their policies concerning travel insurance for tourists within the past year. While every country has been affected differently by the pandemic, the net result has been adjusted coverage mandates for tourists. For some countries, the required coverage is extremely high—up to $100,000! Others require you to show proof of health insurance that will cover the duration of your stay, while some even require that the health
coverage be purchased locally in their respective countries when you arrive.
Here is a list to show how the pandemic has impacted insurance limitations for certain destinations (details are subject to change, so be sure to check with us for any updates before you travel):
Countries currently requiring a high amount of coverage due to the pandemic:
- To gain entry, travelers must prove to have at least $100,000 in medical travel insurance that can cover COVID-19 related treatment.
- Costa Rica
- Tourists must prove to have at least $50,000 in medical insurance to cover COVID-19-related treatments and coverage for at least $2,000 for quarantine lodging expenses.
Countries with no amount of coverage specified but still requiring proof of insurance for COVID-19 medical expenses:
- St. Maarten
- Turks and Caicos
Countries requiring you to purchase a local health insurance package to cover COVID-19 treatment:
Due to the ongoing nature of the pandemic, travel insurance requirements are constantly changing. Do yourself a favor and be fully prepared for your trip by making sure that you are informed. Research the health insurance requirements for your destination, and make the proper arrangements to ensure that your vacation is hassle-free.
How Can I Find Out What I Need in My Travel Insurance Plan?
Unsure about where to start with travel insurance? Let us help! As travel insurance specialists, we can help you figure out exactly what kind of coverage you’ll need based on the specifics of your trip. Plus, our services are free for you—you only pay for your insurance—and we can help you find the best deal so you can save even more!