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Resources,  Travel Insurance

How to Research & Compare Providers for COVID-19 Coverage

COVID-19 coverage is still available, but finding the right provider can be tricky. We’ll introduce you to two companies we work with directly, plus an aggregator platform you can use to research & compare prices, benefits & coverage on your own. Includes links to generate quotes & purchase policies.

It’s still possible to find providers for COVID-19 coverage, and your ultimate decision comes down to several factors:

  1. Where you are in the travel process: Consideration, active planning, or currently overseas.
  2. Your motivation for securing coverage: Do you need to cancel existing travel plans because of COVID-19? Or are you thinking about planning a future trip, and want to ensure protection for your personal health, safety & financial liability?
  3. Your level of financial risk: How much do you have invested, and how much can you expect to recover—if needed—before relying on the safety net of travel insurance?

Our last post covered a long list of considerations for travel insurance as it relates to the current outbreak, including:

  • Key dates & milestones
  • How travel insurance companies are responding
  • Trip cancellation because of COVID-19
  • Benefits you may still be able to receive
  • Premium & specialized coverage: cancel for any reason (CFAR); emergency evacuation & transport services
  • Coverage terminology: known events, covered events, covered reasons, exclusions, unforeseen events, etc.

In this post, we’ll focus on the process of researching, comparing & purchasing travel insurance. Specifically, identifying policies & providers for COVID-19 coverage.

Quick links:

With travel insurance, it’s always important to carefully read a policy’s wording for a full description of coverage. Benefits vary significantly by policy and provider. When you have questions, call the provider, or ask a qualified insurance expert to advise you. Now more than ever, it’s in your best interest to be crystal clear on what you may or may not be covered for.


How to find providers for COVID-19 coverage

In general, shopping for travel insurance is confusing. Common pitfalls include paying for coverage you may not need, or not getting coverage that you actually do need.

But finding providers for COVID-19 coverage, specifically? This pandemic has set a new bar for uncertainty. Now more than ever, it’s critical to carefully read a policy’s wording for a full description of coverage.

It’s important to note that many companies offer a 10- or even 15-day cancellation window (called a “free look period”) which entitles you to a refund, should you wish to cancel the policy. Typically, the conditions are that you haven’t filed a claim or departed for your trip yet.

I’m scared to travel.

This is something on many travelers’ minds at the moment, so let’s address it up front. Unfortunately, “fear of travel” is never a “covered reason” for trip cancellation. If you need to cancel your trip and the only reason you have is “I’m scared to travel right now,” the travel insurance company will deny your reimbursement claim—under standard policies.

To cancel purely out of fear, you’ll need a “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) policy.

Revisit our last post if you need to review “covered reasons” or any other important coverage terms: known events, covered events, exclusions, unforeseen events, or the distinction between being directly affected vs. indirectly affected.

How much will a policy cost?

Policy costs are typically driven by some combination of personal factors (age; health) and trip-related factors (duration; destination; trip cost). In many cases, these factors also determine exclusions or limitations you might be subject to. Reflected as a percentage of your total trip cost, you’ll find:

  • Standard policies in the 4-6% range
  • Premium policies (like CFAR) in the 10-12% range

So, for a trip that includes $5,000 in non-refundable expenses, you can expect to find standard policies in the $200-$300 range, and CFAR policies in the $500-$600 range. Reminder: these are estimates.

Cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage

With a CFAR policy, you can cancel because you’re afraid to travel, and still receive partial reimbursement for your non-refundable trip expenses:

  • Cancel for a NON-covered reason, and you’ll typically be reimbursed 75% (sometimes 50%).
  • Cancel for a covered reason, and you should still be reimbursed 100%.
  • Cancellation timeline: In either case, you may also need to cancel your trip at least 2 days prior to departure.

CFAR is an upgrade, and you do pay a premium for this added cancellation flexibility. On average, CFAR policies cost 40% more than standard policies.

Check the policy details for specific timelines & requirements, and contact the provider directly when you have questions.

Before your search: helpful info to have on hand

The process of researching policies and generating quotes always involves a bit of personal and trip-specific information. Most inputs are pretty standard: where you’re from, where you’re traveling, departure date, return date, etc. Below are two questions you may be asked, which warrant some explanation:

1. “What is the cost of your trip?” (option of total trip cost or cost per traveler)

With some providers, trip cost is a driver of policy cost. In these cases, you need to provide a “trip value” in order to receive a quote.

Since you may not know your actual total trip cost until months later, you may have to estimate. However, it pays to be accurate. Learn more here.

2. “When did you make your first booking?”

Some providers offer time-sensitive upgrades (like CFAR) or other benefits (like pre-existing medical condition waivers). For example, with CFAR, You usually have to purchase your policy no later than 14-21 days after making your first payment towards the trip. That could mean the date you purchased flights, booked hotels, or paid a deposit to a tour provider.

By answering this question, the platform can determine whether you or not you qualify for these options. They will deliver different results based on how long it’s been since you incurred your first trip expense.

Squaremouth: travel insurance aggregator

Squaremouth lets you research, compare, and purchase nearly 100 different travel insurance policies from 23 different providers—all in one place. We’ve tested several of the major aggregators, simulated quotes, and compared their functionalities. Ultimately, we find Squaremouth to be the most intuitive and user-friendly.

How it works

Enter some basic personal & trip-specific info, and Squaremouth will quickly generate a list of policies that match your coverage needs. The results include benefits, costs, and other essential information to help inform your decision. Custom search tips:

  • CANCEL FOR ANY REASON filter — limit your search to CFAR policies only.
  • CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC filter — search specifically for policies that include some form of COVID-19 coverage.
  • CRUISE filter — search for cruise-only policies. Some offer CFAR upgrades anytime before you’ve made your final trip payment.

Buying a policy

When you secure your policy through Squaremouth, you pay the same price as purchasing directly from the provider, with added benefits.

For example: claims still need to be filed directly with your provider. But if you are unhappy with how the provider handles your claim, Squaremouth’s team of licensed claims adjusters will investigate your case and mediate with the provider on your behalf.

Visit this page to learn more, or generate a quote here.

Squaremouth travel insurance button 468x106

World Nomads: the company we use

I first used World Nomads back in 2013, and we’ve used their travel insurance exclusively since 2018. They’re also one of the few companies that will sell you a policy if you’re already traveling.

World Nomads does not offer CFAR coverage. However, their policies do not have a pandemic exclusion for U.S. residents. What does this mean? Per World Nomads, it means “you may make claims arising from the COVID-19 for the benefits specified in your policy.”

Refer to these FAQ’s to learn more, or check out our recent post: Does World Nomads Travel Insurance Cover COVID-19?

If you’re planning to travel later this year or if you’re currently overseas without coverage, World Nomads may be worth looking into.

How to purchase World Nomads coverage

Visit this page to learn more about World Nomads, or use the tool below to generate a free travel insurance quote for your next trip.

Global Rescue: leader in emergency evacuation coverage

Travel insurance and emergency evacuation coverage are not the same thing.

“Travel insurance protects travelers from financial loss resulting from canceled trips, lost baggage, medical expenses and some medical evacuation expenses. Medical evacuation is a service used to deliver a traveler to life-saving care that may not be available at the traveler’s location.”

– Dan Richards, CEO and founder of Global Rescue

Since 2004, Global Rescue has provided critical life-saving services to over 1 million members—including the US Ski Team, NASA, and National Geographic. They specialize in field rescue & emergency evacuation services, available through a membership model. Memberships cover you both overseas and at home, and can shield you from potentially life-altering evacuation & medical transport costs—if and when travel insurance or personal health insurance might not.

How can a Global Rescue Membership help you during the COVID-19 pandemic?

  1. Specialty medical aircraft — access to isolation-equipped air ambulances to transport COVID-19 patients
  2. Virtual support overseas — if you’re quarantined out of country, or not permitted to leave an area, Global Rescue provides safety advisory & virtual healthcare services as long as you need them, and even after you return home.
  3. Domestic medical support from your own home — 24/7/365 access to video consultations with board-certified, licensed physicians who can prescribe meds and order labs & imaging in all 50 states.

If you’re unable to physically travel to a doctor…or you don’t want to risk exposure in a hospital…or you’re one of the millions sheltering in place right now…point #3 could be of value. It’s also unique to this discussion, since you won’t be relying on travel insurance while sheltering in place.

Global Rescue logo black red

Signature Travel Insurance (backed by IMG)

Global Rescue has recently added travel insurance to their offering, making them a one-stop-shop for emergency evacuation coverage (worldwide) plus financial protection for all your other travel expenses (overseas). CFAR coverage is available with their Signature PLUS plan.

Important: By design, their travel insurance policies complement their memberships, so they do not include emergency evacuation coverage benefits. With this structure, you eliminate redundancy in coverage, as well as cost. Summary of plan options:

  • SIGNATURE: standard plan — available anytime before your departure date; purchase within 20-day window to receive a pre-existing medical condition waiver at no cost
  • SIGNATURE PLUS: premium & time-sensitive plan — only available within 20 days of first trip expense; includes all standard benefits, plus CFAR coverage, IFAR (“interrupt for any reason”) coverage & a pre-existing medical condition waiver.

How to purchase Global Rescue coverage

  • Emergency Evacuation Memberships range from 7 days up to 5 years, with different pricing for individuals, families, students & seniors. Learn more here or enroll on our partner page.
  • Signature Travel Insurance has 2 plans available, including a time-sensitive CFAR option. Learn more here or generate a quote on our partner page.

Global Rescue Memberships benefits summary, emergency evacuation coverage


Further reading & additional resources

These resources may support your efforts to find the right providers for COVID-19 coverage, or otherwise answer questions about the current state of travel in 2020.

  • Squaremouth | Coronavirus Outbreak: Provider Position Statements (visit this page then click on the “Coronavirus Outbreak” box) summary of COVID-19-specific coverage for all Squaremouth providers, listed by provider.
  • Squaremouth | The Traveler’s Guide to Travel Insurance for the Coronavirus (visit this page then click on the “Coronavirus Outbreak” box) benefit-by-benefit breakdown; for some benefits, you’ll find specific providers for COVID-19 coverage, within the Squaremouth network. So you can use this tool to research, then jump straight into purchasing a policy, if it sounds right for you. As of this writing, the latest update was March 25, 2020. Three sections:
    1. Buying Guide for Travelers Looking for a New Policy
    2. Coverage Guide for Travelers Who Already Have a Policy
    3. Coronavirus Travel Insurance FAQs
  • World Nomads | FAQ’s: What you need to know about travel insurance and the COVID-19 outbreak — questions 1, 2, 7, 11, 16, 17, 19 & 20 were particularly useful, for us.
  • World Nomads | Travel Alerts: Lockdowns, border closures, and other restrictions focuses on major lockdowns, border closures, and air traffic suspensions on a country-by-country basis. As of this writing, the latest update was March 24, 2020.


As always, please reach out with questions or comments.

Until then, we wish you all a safe & healthy shelter-in-place for the weeks to come…



▾ When you’re ready to travel again…maybe we can help ▾

Family vacations…group friend trips…honeymoons…we’ve got you covered. If you don’t have the time to research and plan your own trip, we’ll take care of the details, so you can focus on the good stuff!

  • Visit our Plan A Trip page and set up your free 30-minute Discovery Call.
  • Check out our Resources page for some of the best trip-planning tools we use daily.

Disclosure: travelhelix belongs to the World Nomads Partner Program, Global Rescue Partner Program and Squaremouth Travel Partner Program. We do receive compensation if you purchase a travel insurance policy or enroll in an emergency evacuation services membership by clicking via the links on our website. If you’ve found this info useful and plan to purchase a policy, please consider booking through our site—thank you!

Disclaimer: The travel insurance information provided above is a brief summary only. It does not include all terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions of the travel insurance plans described. Coverage may not be available for residents of all countries, states or provinces. Please carefully read your policy wording for a full description of coverage.

Our company is not a licensed financial service provider, and is not certified to sell financial products or offer financial advice. The decision of whether or not to secure coverage is your own, as is the decision of which company to buy from. Should you wish to purchase travel insurance or emergency evacuation coverage via links on our website, such products or services will be governed by terms & conditions solely determined by the providers themselves. It is your responsibility to be fully acquainted with the terms & conditions regarding the use of these products or services prior to, and after, your purchase.

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