COVID-19 – what you need to know

As the world and Australia watch the evolution and spread of COVID-19 coronavirus, there are many questions that arise, particularly in connection with travel to international destinations. The following Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ’s) have been developed to assist in providing clarity on situations you may find yourself in, and how those situations relate to travel insurance.

All coverage is assessed on the standard terms and conditions of your policy, which is located in the relevant Combined Financial Service Guide and Product Disclosure Statement (PDS). The definition provided under the section titled ‘What is a Medical Condition’ may be of particular relevance in these circumstances.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has also provided comprehensive FAQ’s which can be found here - https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/q-a-coronaviruses

I am currently travelling overseas

1. What coverage do I have for COVID-19 coronavirus under my RACV travel insurance policy?

   a) For customers whose policies were issued before 20 January 2020 at 7am (AEST) for travel to any country; or

   b) For customers whose policies were issued after 20 January 2020 at 7am (AEST) and before 31 January 2020 at 7am (AEST) for travel to any country (excluding China); or

   c) For customers whose polices were issued after 31 January 2020 after 7am (AEST) for travel to all other countries. 

Overseas Medical

If you contract COVID-19 coronavirus while overseas, and as a result are hospitalised or are held in quarantine overseas, you may be covered for overseas medical expenses and associated expenses under Section 2 of the policy, provided you had not entered into in a ‘Do Not Travel’ region at the time. If you are then deemed unfit to travel there may be limited cover relating to rescheduling your trip.

Please contact the emergency assistance team on 61 2 8055 1699 for assistance, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

All coverage is assessed on the standard terms and conditions of your policy. The definition provided under the section titled ‘What is a Medical Condition’ may be of particular relevance in these circumstances.

Other sections of the policy

   a) For customers whose policies were issued before 20 January 2020 at 7am (AEST) for travel to any country; or

   b) For customers whose policies were issued after 20 January 2020 at 7am (AEST) and before 31 January 2020 at 7am (AEST) for travel to any country (excluding China).

If the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) issues a ´Do Not Travel’ while you are overseas that affects your travel plans there may be cover under Section 1 for rescheduling your trip. There may also be cover under Section 1 if another country restricts your entry whilst you are on your trip.

Under section 4 Emergency Expenses, there may be cover for the sudden death illness of your close Relative in Australia or overseas Travelling Companion, due to COVID-19 coronavirus.

All coverage is assessed on the standard terms and conditions of your policy. The definition provided under the section titled ‘What is a Medical Condition’ may be of particular relevance in these circumstances.

   c) For customers whose polices were issued after 31 January 2020 after 7am (AEST) for travel to all other countries.

The policy you purchased does not include cover for the COVID-19 coronavirus under the terms and conditions of the policy as described in the PDS made available to you prior to policy purchase. COVID-19 coronavirus was a known circumstance when you bought your policy.

Any claims relating to government restrictions including Do Not Travel are also not covered.

2. What coverage do I have under my RACV travel insurance policy for events that are not related to COVID-19 coronavirus?

Any policy purchased, regardless of when the purchase date was, may have coverage for other events under all sections of the policy. Please refer to the RACV PDS for the standard terms, conditions, limits and exclusions. Some examples include: your passport is stolen in Canada, an earthquake in Greece, or your luggage delayed in Indonesia for 20 hours.

I have not started my trip

Cover for Section 1 Cancellation and Lost Deposits and Section 10 Financial Default starts on the day your policy is issued. Cover for all other benefits commences on the day your trip begins.

3. What coverage do I have for COVID-19 coronavirus under my RACV travel insurance policy?

   a) For customers whose policies were issued before 20 January 2020 at 7am (AEST) for travel to any country; or

   b) For customers whose policies were issued after 20 January 2020 at 7am (AEST) and before 31 January 2020 at 7am (AEST) for travel to any country (excluding China). 

Medical in Australia

There is no medical coverage within Australia under any section of the policy. This means if you contract COVID-19 coronavirus: medical, ambulance or hospital expenses will not be covered.

Cancellation

The policy you purchased includes cover for the COVID-19 coronavirus under the terms, conditions, limits and exclusion of the policy as described in the PDS made available to you prior to policy purchase. You may need to either cancel or reschedule/defer your trip. The most common examples include:

You contracted COVID-19 coronavirus before your trip began; or

The country/location you are travelling to now has imposed quarantine periods once you arrive; or

The country you are travelling to has closed its borders; or

The Australian government has upgraded the travel warning on smartraveller to 'Do Not Travel' for the country you are travelling to; or

The cruise provider has cancelled upcoming sailings; or

The airline provider has re-routed your flight.

In the first instance please contact your travel provider/s to discuss any actual or proposed changes to travel plans for trips booked up until 31 August 2020. Your travel provider can provide you with more information about your options for adjusting your travel itinerary or obtaining refunds or credits.

There is no cover for a change of plans resulting from you changing your mind or due to the fear of contracting COVID-19 coronavirus.

   c) For customers whose polices were issued after 31 January 2020 after 7am (AEST) for travel to all other countries

Medical in Australia

There is no medical coverage within Australia under any section of the policy. This means if you contract COVID-19 coronavirus: medical, ambulance or hospital expenses will not be covered.

Other sections of the policy

The policy you purchased does not include cover for the COVID-19 coronavirus under the terms and conditions of the policy as described in the PDS made available to you prior to policy purchase. COVID-19 coronavirus was a known circumstance when you bought your policy. Any claims relating to government restrictions including Do Not Travel or quarantine periods are also not covered.

4. Is cover available if the Australian government says not to travel to a destination?

   a) For customers whose policies were issued before 20 January 2020 at 7am (AEST) for travel to any country; or

   b) For customers whose policies were issued after 20 January 2020 at 7am (AEST) and before 31 January 2020 at 7am (AEST) for travel to any country (excluding China)

If the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) issues a ´Do Not Travel’ while you are overseas or before you depart that affects your travel plans, there may be cover under Section 1 for rescheduling your trip. There may also be cover under Section 1 if another country restricts your entry whilst you are on your Trip.

   c) For customers whose polices were issued after 31 January 2020 after 7am (AEST) for travel to all other countries 

The policy you purchased does not include cover for the COVID-19 coronavirus under the terms and conditions of the policy as described in the PDS made available to you prior to policy purchase. COVID-19 coronavirus was a known circumstance when you bought your policy. Any claims relating to ‘Do Not Travel’ restrictions are not covered.

General Questions

5. I want to buy a travel insurance policy today to cover COVID-19 coronavirus. Am I covered?

Overseas Medical

The only cover available is for Overseas Medical under Section 2. This benefit commences when you are on your trip. If you contract COVID-19 coronavirus while overseas, and as a result are hospitalised or are held in quarantine due to testing, you may be covered for overseas medical expenses and associated expenses under Section 2 of the policy, provided you had not entered into in a ‘Do Not Travel’ region at the time. If you are then deemed unfit to travel there may be limited cover relating to rescheduling your trip.

Please contact the emergency assistance team on 61 2 8055 1699 for assistance, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

All other sections of the policy including Section 1 Cancellation Any policy purchased after 7 am (AEST) 31 January 2020, does not include cover for the COVID-19 coronavirus under the terms and conditions of the policy as described in the PDS made available to you prior to policy purchase. COVID-19 coronavirus is a known circumstance that would give rise to a claim.

General

6. Does my policy have a General Exclusion for an Epidemic or Pandemic?

The policies do not include a General Exclusion specifically for an epidemic, pandemic or infectious disease. Our policy excludes cover for any known circumstance that would give rise to a claim. COVID-19 coronavirus was declared a global health emergency by the WHO (World Health Organisation) on the 31 January 2020. Therefore, coverage will based on your date of purchase of your policy.

7. Should I contact my travel provider/s?

Yes, we encourage all affected customers to contact their travel provider/s to discuss any actual or proposed changes to travel plans. Your travel provider can provide you with more information about your options for adjusting your travel itinerary or obtaining refunds or credits.

8. Where can I find other updates and information?

Stay up to date on travel information for COVID-19 coronavirus from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Smart Traveller website and World Health Organisation (WHO).

9. Can I still make a claim for consideration?

Yes, please refer to the How to Claim link at the bottom of the page.