Naturally there are a number of concerned travelers who are planning to travel to China over the next few months. Even just the thought of going through major hubs such as Singapore could mean you are at risk of coming in contact with someone who has the Coronavirus.
If you have taken out a Travel Insurance policy, it will depend on the Policy Wording if it will provide the cover – so please check this carefully as they are all different.
Some policies (as a generalised comment), particularly quality Corporate Travel policies provide coverage if the Policy was taken out before the outbreak started, whilst many Leisure Travel policies have a total exclusion in place for pandemics.
Now that we know about the outbreak, any trip that is booked to China moving forward, will unlikely be covered. It is therefore important to monitor the situation carefully, and make a call based on the information available and your own risk appetite.
The majority of Insurers are watching the “Smart Traveller” website, which currently advises to “Exercise a high degree of caution in Hong Kong”. With regards to Travel claims and the cancellation of trips, the only claims that will be considered are for all travel to, from or through Wuhan Province, China, that were booked before 05:00pm 22nd of January 2020. If the trip was booked after this date, there is NO cover, as this may be considered ‘foreseen’.
From a business perspective, it’s important to implement risk management strategies to ensure staff are kept safe and the potential impact on the business is kept to a minimum. As a precaution, anyone that returns from the region should be wearing quality masks, and should discuss with their employer to work from home for 14 days if this is a suitable option.
So the question remains, should I cancel my trip?
Although the panic is understandable, experts advise travelers not to put their holiday plans on hold just yet. It is an emergency in China, but has not yet become a global health emergency. However, in recent news the Australian Government has raised its travel level for the Wuhan province in China to 5 (five) – do not travel.