Travel insurance policies commonly include exclusions for pandemics and epidemics which includes viruses such as SARS, Avian and Swine Flu.
In order for these exclusions to be relied upon, the insurer must be able to demonstrate that the virus fits within an exclusion. They must be able to provide evidence such as Department of Affairs & Trade, WHO warnings and medical evidence.
Whether an insured is covered depends on which policy they have taken out and what date they purchased it. Also, whether cancellations are covered depends on when the travel policy cover was taken out. If it was after the COVID-19 was deemed to be a public health emergency, then it won’t be covered.
Travel insurance policies may cover insured's who cancel the remainder of their trip if they were already in the country before DFAT raised its travel advice to a Level 4 however after that date, cover will not be extended due to the exclusion which is in most if not all, travel policies.
Medical expenses: some travel policies will cover insured's in the affected region for medical expenses related to COVID-19 if they commenced the travel before DFAT advisory was lifted to Level 4.
Does travel insurance cover COVID-19?
Cover for medical expenses and cancellation caused by epidemic - only if already in the region before the insurer issues a travel alert or DFAT raises travel advice level to “Reconsider Travel” or “Do Not Travel”.
Note: between 20 January to 24 January 2020, most travel insurers had issued a travel alert which triggered the “travel advice” exclusion.
For corporate travel: is more likely to be covered if travel insurance was taken out before the outbreak started.
For leisure travel: is likely to be more restrictive than corporate and may include exclusions for “Epidemic” (including a pandemic).