Since the emergence of COVID-19, most vacation travel has come to a halt, with countless cancellations of flights, cruises, lodging and other travel arrangements.

The Maine Bureau of Insurance warned housebound would-be travelers Friday that most travel insurance they may have purchased in advance does not cover cancellations due to a pandemic.

“For those trying to plan trips later this year and into next, this is an important point to keep in mind,” said state Insurance Superintendent Eric Cioppa in a news release. “Epidemic and pandemic coverage is usually excluded from travel insurance coverage.”

With most commonly purchased travel insurance policies, that means those who plan a trip and then cancel because they are simply concerned about the possibility of getting sick will not receive compensation through their travel insurance policy.

For those prevented from traveling due to an illness other than a pandemic-related illness, the most common policies will likely provide coverage, the bureau said. Similarly, those who get sick during their travels with an illness other than a pandemic-related illness may be covered.

In the case of the current coronavirus pandemic, airlines have voluntarily made arrangements for ticket holders to change their plans without paying a fee, and hotels, inns and rental lodgings usually have cancellation timelines during which all or a portion of funds will be returned, the release said. For those planning future trips, careful review of those contractual timelines should help.

“Remember, don’t rely on travel insurance to cover all contingencies, and check the language in any policy you are considering to be clear about what is and is not covered,” Cioppa said.

Consumers with questions about insurance matters can obtain information and assistance from the Maine Bureau of Insurance by visiting maine.gov/insurance, calling 800-300-5000 (TTY 711), or emailing [email protected]


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