Press-Releases

U.S. Senator: Travel Insurance Must Waive Exclusions During Coronavirus

Senator Markey cites unfair and misleading advertising

U.S. Senator: Travel Insurance Must Waive Exclusions During Coronavirus

As the U.S. State Department announces a worldwide travel advisory asking U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) wrote to the United States Travel Insurance Association (USTIA) calling on American travel insurance companies to provide coverage to consumers who purchased travel insurance plans but whose claims related to the coronavirus are being denied.

As many Americans follow the advice of public health officials to shorten or cancel their trips, consumers are turning to the travel insurance policies they purchased with the expectation that unexpected changes to their travel plans will be covered. But these travelers are discovering that, unless they fall ill from coronavirus, the insurance plans they purchased will not cover coronavirus-related claims.

This is even more concerning to Americans overseas who have been forced to pay exorbitant prices for flights to return home in response to sudden changes such as the Trump administration’s European travel ban or a foreign country’s quarantine or lockdown.

“Individuals who travel now are placing themselves and others at legitimate risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus,” said Senator Markey. “Insurance companies should not be in the business of effectively encouraging travel in this emergency situation by refusing to honor travel insurance policies when consumers wish to cancel or change travel plans because their lives, and the lives of others, depend on it.

“For the health and financial security of the many Americans who are only now discovering the limits of the travel insurance policies they purchased, it is time for your industry to act and waive exclusions that foreclose coronavirus-based claims.”

In his letter, Senator Markey says: “What travelers are experiencing today is more than a vague or general ‘fear of travel.’ Individuals who travel now are placing themselves and others at legitimate risk of contracting or spreading the coronavirus. Insurance companies should not be in the business of effectively encouraging travel in this emergency situation by refusing to honor travel insurance policies when consumers wish to cancel or change travel plans because their lives, and the lives of others, depend on it.”

A copy of Senator Markey’s letter can be found HERE.