Coronavirus pandemic exposes gaps in travel insurance coverage

NORFOLK, Va. — For many people, travel insurance has been little more than a box that pops up on a booking site to offer some cheap peace of mind.

But the coverage’s limitations have been brought into stark relief during the coronavirus pandemic, leaving would-be travelers frustrated over denied claims for hundreds — if not thousands — of dollars.

Plane tickets, vacation homes and other excursions are going uncovered even though some say they couldn’t have reached their destinations because of ski resorts shuttering, beaches closing and governors urging everyone to stay home.

Ed Svec, 67, said he was shocked when his insurance company rejected his claim for a $5,100 condo rental in Colorado that he booked for a late-March ski trip but had to cancel because the resort was closing.

“I was being advised by the governor that people in my age group should stay away from the area,” said Svec, who lives outside Cleveland. “But then the decision was made for us.”

Basic travel insurance policies generally don’t cover pandemics or fears of getting sick. And plans often have a very specific list of covered reasons for cancellation, such as losing a job or a terrorist attack.

Although the policy language isn’t new, many who purchased plans assumed that virus-related cancellations were covered. Others complain the policies are difficult to understand…Read more>>