Canceling a trip due to COVID - will travel insurance cover this?
March 26, 2023 5:50 PM   Subscribe

I've already asked the travel insurance company, but they just said to submit a claim and they will either approve it or deny it, 14 days later (which is long after my scheduled trip). Should I just go?

I have COVID - today is day 8. I am not very sick and haven't needed care beyond isolating at home. I would like to cancel my trip (scheduled to depart tomorrow morning) because I believe it is the responsible thing to do while still testing positive. But if I knew that the travel insurance would not reimburse me for the trip, I would consider putting on an N95, distancing whenever possible, and going on the trip. Once I get there I can stay alone in a hotel and spend time alone outdoors.

The travel insurance is through Allianz and includes epidemic coverage, which covers cancellations due to COVID. But I don't know yet if just testing positive for COVID is enough to get the claim approved, or if I have to have been treated by a medical professional or hospitalized to qualify. The airline has been unable to help me because their "critical illness waiver" requires that I have been critically ill, and having a mild-but-current case of COVID does not count. It seems that the travel system is now expecting people to just travel with COVID.

Does anyone have experience that might indicate how likely I am to get reimbursed for my cancelled trip in these circumstances? To be clear, I would prefer not to go, but I am struggling with the possibility of missing the trip AND losing the money.
posted by TrixieRamble to Travel & Transportation around Cancun, Mexico (7 answers total)
Best answer: Allianz's faq says
- Which types of COVID-19 test results can be accepted as proof of illness?

To confirm COVID-19 illness, we require a physician's diagnosis or confirmation, or the verified record of a positive molecular (e.g. PCR) or antigen COVID-19 test performed by a third party testing service provider.
posted by BungaDunga at 6:02 PM on March 26 [1 favorite]

If this is through a Chase credit card, I had a situation last year where I got covid in the middle of an international vacation, was stuck outside the US for an additional week, and got jerked around for months uploading the same documents to their shitty online portal over and over again before finally having everything denied. You might have more luck cancelling the whole vacation vs trying to claim trip interruption but you would definitely need some kind of doctor’s note.
posted by katiec at 6:26 PM on March 26

The travel industry definitely expects that people are traveling with covid now unless it's severe enough to put them in the hospital. I would assume you won't get any money back if you cancel. It's between you and your conscience, at this point, unless you are traveling to one of the vanishingly small number of countries that still has any sort of government interest in whether people entering have covid. Honestly I'm not sure there are any countries anymore that require entry testing.
posted by potrzebie at 7:14 PM on March 26

Their FAQ also says:
- If I’m diagnosed with COVID-19 but I’m asymptomatic, would Trip Cancellation benefits apply?

Even if you or a traveling companion are asymptomatic, proof of a positive COVID-19 test or confirmation of a COVID-19 diagnosis by a doctor would be accepted as verification of illness and may be coverable under Trip Cancellation. For more information, please refer to the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement within your plan details.
Of course, "may be coverable" is the key there. You're not asymptomatic, right? Do you have a doctor's diagnosis/positive test conducted by a doctor? That's your best shot if you decide to cancel. They're never ever going to give you a straight answer until you claim it and they make a decision, so you are taking a risk. It depends on how much time and effort you're willing to put into it afterwards potentially fighting with them to get it approved versus how much the trip costs and how much you'd be missing out on by going but basically self-isolating.
posted by tubedogg at 9:59 PM on March 26

You have to have been tested by a doctor or other party, that's clear in the FAQ linked above, not just self-testing. Even then, they are unclear about whether or not you're covered and I wouldn't be surprised if they apply a test that is equivalent to the guidelines for going back to work. In your case, my guess is they would be unlikely to approve your claim, but it's definitely a gamble and you can only know for sure by lodging a claim :-(
posted by dg at 10:45 PM on March 26

Best answer: Travel insurers are really pissing me off with this gargabe. There's really no way to tell which way your claim will go, but be the squeaky wheel. State, in a supplement to your claim if need be, that you are testing positive and not cancelling travel will expsore people to a wildly transmissible virus.

With my weary epidemiologist hat on, I will ask you (beg you?) to please not travel while testing positive. Even with an N95 mask on, there are going to be people you encounter on your journey who cannot avoid it and who are immunocompromized. I would say the same thing to you if you had the flu, or even a cold, but I will remind everyone in earshot that the pandemic is not over and there are still people who are having a difficult time mounting an immune response to it. Kind thanks for your consideration here. And good luck with the claim.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:50 AM on March 27 [13 favorites]

A PCR test is your best bet for a couple of reasons:
1. They are more widely accepted than rapid tests as confirmation of COVID status
2. You will stay positive on a PCR a lot longer than a rapid test

Generally speaking a PCR test done 10 days ago might not cut it; you'll want a recent one. This may require a trip to Urgent Care.
posted by rednikki at 2:12 PM on March 27 [1 favorite]

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