Required Travel Insurance May Become ‘New Normal’

Berry Islands, the Bahamas

Travel insurance comparison site Squaremouth says that required insurance may become the new norm after 18 countries have begun mandating it for post-pandemic travel.

Furthermore, several cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Disney and MSC have announced similar prerequisites for unvaccinated pax.

Caribbean destinations are leading the push for required insurance. Six of the top 10 international destinations visited by Squaremouth’s customers are Caribbean nations. Three of those: Costa Rica, Turks and Caicos and the Bahamas, already require travel insurance. Jamaica and Aruba do as well.

Costa Rica specifically has the strictest requirements, mandating unvaccinated visitors purchase $50,000 in emergency medical coverage and $2,000 in quarantine lodging coverage.

As for the cruise lines, insurance requirements range from $10,000 - $25,000 in emergency medical, and $20,000 - $50,000 in medical evacuation coverage. However, the site does recommend travellers purchase even higher limits for cruise travel, given the costly nature of medical service onboard a ship in the middle of the ocean, to say nothing of a potential evacuation.

According to Squaremouth, 80 per cent of all travel insurance policies purchased since the beginning of the pandemic have included coverage to cancel a trip. Overall, the company estimates that this additional travel insurance should cost about 4 per cent of the total price of the trip.

As Open Jaw has previously reported, the pandemic has highlighted the value of Cancel for Any Reason insurance, which is having its day in the sun. Squaremouth reports a 524 per cent increase in policies purchased with the Cancel for Any Reason upgrade, which allows travellers to cancel their trip up until 2 days prior to departure and receive 75 per cent reimbursement.

The company does caution that the mandatory insurance now required by these countries might not be enough on its own as it only covers medical emergencies that occur in the destination.

All insurance and travel requirements are in flux: both for entry to countries, as well as ship embarkation and even activities once a traveller arrives. Advisors should consult cruise line and destination websites for the latest, accurate information for their clients booking trips and purchasing insurance.

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