What is the Coronavirus?
The Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) is a respiratory illness caused by a new virus, first reported in December 2019 in Wuhan City in China, and has disrupted travel all over the world. Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat and shortness of breath. The virus can spread from person to person however good hygiene can prevent infection.
Based on what we know, those most at risk of serious infection are people with compromised immune systems, the elderly and people with chronic medical conditions.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) characterised COVID-19 as a pandemic event on 12 March 2020. The Australian government updated its travel warnings due to the coronavirus on 18 March 2020, stating that no Australian should travel overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic and anyone currently overseas should return home.
Most travel insurance policies exclude epidemics and pandemics under a General Exclusion. This means when the WHO declared a pandemic, it is not only new policies that are affected, but also those who are currently on trip.
Do TravelCard Leisure and Business Class for Employees policies cover the Coronavirus?
Like many travel insurers, TravelCard’s Leisure International, Leisure Domestic and Business Class for Employees travel insurance policies unfortunately do not cover any claims arising directly or indirectly from an actual or threat of an Epidemic or Pandemic.
While we always look at individual claims based on their own particular circumstances, as a rule there is no cover provided where the reason for the claim is related to a pandemic– like COVID-19. This includes policies that were bought prior to COVID 19 becoming a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.
Although if you do have a claim, you should always reach out to your travel insurance provider, as each claim is assessed on its own merits.
How would we recommend seeking reimbursement for your travels?
- Talk to your travel provider – We recommend customers contact their Travel Providers in the first instance to determine the options available for having travel expenses refunded or travel arrangements altered. Most booking agents are waiving cancellation fees or offering credits for future trips.
- Talk to your airline – Most airlines are allowing customers to change flights with no charge, however if the airline is unable to assist and you are a TravelCard policy holder please contact our 24/7 on-trip team on +61 7909 2777 and we’ll see what we can do to help.
- Bookings directly through airline – Most airlines are giving customers who hold tickets for domestic and international travel the ability to cancel their booking and retain the value as travel credit. Please visit the airline websites directly for accurate and up-to-date information. As of 16 March, Qantas and Jetstar are offering travel credit until 31 March for travel booked up to 31 May 2020 – so it is important to contact them as soon as possible to ensure you are able to secure this credit.
- Talk to your accommodation provider – Many accommodation providers are issuing statements waiving cancelation fees or offering credits for future stays.
Remember that most credit notes can be used on any route so if you cancel your trip to a Bali and are not sure when you’ll be headed there next, that’s not necessarily a problem – credit notes can usually be used on an alternative route, for example Sydney to Melbourne, and are valid for 12 months.
Where can I find out more information?
In the instance of the coronavirus, information is changing very quickly, especially when it comes to travel. We are closely monitoring the smartraveller.gov.au website and also the WHO website, to ensure we are giving the best possible advice to our customers and partners.
On our website, we have information relating to new policy purchases, and our social media is also a great way for us to communicate with our customers and brokers. If you are a TravelCard customer and need to get in contact, please contact us on 1300 123 413 and we will be happy to assist.
This is a rapidly changing situation. For further information on the coronavirus and the DFAT Advice Levels please see the following websites:
- Smart Traveller: https://www.smartraveller.gov.au/news-…/coronavirus-covid-19
- World Health Organisation (WHO): https://www.who.int/emergen…/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
To make it easier for you to take steps to minimise your losses, provided below are links to some airlines, hotels and travel companies with their latest COVID-19 advice and refund policies.
|Flights||Hotels||Booking Sites||Travel Agency||Holiday Tours|
Air New Zealand
TCA Insurance Services Pty Ltd (TCA) ABN 76 621 476 220 is an authorised representative (AR 1262773) of the Insurer, The Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd (Hollard) ABN 78 090 584 473 (AFSL 241436). Any advice provided by TCA in relation to the TravelCard Real-Time Insurance products and the TravelCard is general advice only. Please consider the Combined Financial Services Guide & Product Disclosure Statement and the TravelCard Terms & Conditions (available at www.travelcard.com.au) before deciding whether they are suitable for you.