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Coronavirus: Can credit card travel insurance help?

Posted: 5 March 2020 11:43 am
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If your credit card includes travel insurance, it's unlikely that you will be able to make a claim (with a few exceptions). Here's our roundup of what's what.

Have you been forced to cancel a trip due to coronavirus? Unfortunately, unless you bought travel insurance months ago, you won't be able to claim for lost costs. However, there are a few instances where you just might be covered.

If you have a credit card which includes complimentary travel insurance, there is a possibility that you might still be covered for some coronavirus-related claims, but this will depend on which insurer your credit card uses and when you booked your trip.

Most credit card insurance policies in Australia are underwritten by one of three major insurers: Allianz, Chubb, or Zurich Australia. All three have now issued statements in relation to the COVID-19 outbreak and how it impacts their policies.

While the terms of conditions of insurance can be quite confusing to understand, we've broken down what each insurance company has said so far below, and which issuers they work with, so you can try and get a better understanding of what's going on. And of course, if you need further information, contact your credit card company or the insurer directly.

Remember: Always refer to your product disclosure statement (PDS) or credit card complimentary insurance booklet for the terms, conditions, limits and exclusions.

Insurer Credit card providers
Allianz ANZ, Bank of Melbourne, BankSA, Bendigo Bank, BOQ, Citi, Coles, HSBC, IMB, ING, NAB, St.George, Suncorp, Virgin Money, Westpac
Chubb American Express, Macquarie Bank, Qantas Money, Woolworths
Zurich (Cover-More) CommBank, Bankwest

What Allianz says

Situation Outcome
You're currently travelling and entered into a policy before 6pm AEST, on 31 January 2020 If your pre-booked travel arrangements have been affected, and you have a travel insurance policy that does not exclude claims arising from an epidemic or pandemic, you may be able to claim.
If you haven't departed yet and entered into a policy before 6pm AEST, on 31 January 2020 If your pre-booked travel arrangements are cancelled, delayed or rescheduled as a result of Coronavirus, and you have a travel insurance policy that does not exclude claims arising from an epidemic or pandemic, you may be able to make a claim.
If you entered into a policy for travel after 6pm AEST on 31 January 2020 It is expected that you would have an awareness of Coronavirus and the possibility of issues arising which could affect travel. For these policies, claims that arise due to Coronavirus will be assessed in accordance with your policy wording, but exclusions and limits on cover may apply.

What Chubb says

All claims will be assessed and cover will depend on the type of plan and your individual circumstances. Coverage for a "known event" or "foreseen circumstance" may not be included.

Date Incident
5PM AEST on 22 January 2020 The incident in Hubei province, China is considered a "known event"
9AM AEST on 2 February 2020 The remainder of mainland China is considered a "known event"
4pm AEDT on 2 March 2020 COVID-19 is considered a "foreseen circumstance"

Chubb also states that you will not be covered for any loss or expenses if the Australian government has issued a 'do not travel' warning for the region you're visiting.

If a 'do not travel' warning is issued after the policy issue date, and you want to cancel a trip or part of a trip due to the warning, expenses will likely be covered.

What Cover-More says

If you have travel insurance with Cover-More via your credit or debit card, the coronavirus is considered a 'world event' and is excluded. In other words, there is no cover available.

Cover-More will not pay for "claims caused by, or claims arising from, an epidemic, pandemic or outbreak of a contagious disease or any derivative or mutation of such viruses, or the threat or perceived threat of any of these."

What else do I need to know?

In addition to the conditions above, there are some other restrictions that might stop you from claiming. These include:

  • Some credit card travel insurance policies will only pay out if you purchased a certain amount of your trip using that particular card.
  • Some companies require you to activate your travel insurance before it can be used.

Whether you think you might be able to claim or not, it's still worth contacting your credit card company - or the insurer - to find out for sure.

Other quick ways to save money

Are you worried about your finances during this time? Don't forget to review your bills - spending a little time on admin, could save you over the weeks and months to come.

Here are some guides on how to save some money on your daily expenses. There are plenty of things you could do, from checking your energy rates, switching to a low-interest credit card, or simply dropping parts of your insurance that you don't need.

Picture: GettyImages

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