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The pandemic has shifted the way Americans are traveling—and even the hurdles to get into international destinations. Countries around the globe now have travel insurance requirements for Covid-19-related expenses before you can gain entry.
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Here’s what you need to know as you start using your passport again.
Understanding Other Countries’ Travel Insurance Requirements
Some countries are mandating that visitors buy travel medical insurance that covers Covid-19.
“With Covid-19 still a factor in the safety of international travel, many countries understand there is a financial risk that is associated with a person contracting the virus and needing treatment, especially if they are not a resident,” says Ronni Kenoian, a spokesperson for InsureMyTrip, a travel insurance comparison provider. “Travel insurance provides a way for the countries to allow travelers in their borders while still protecting their country from a financial burden.”
According to Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison site, the required travel insurance for Covid-19 typically includes coverage for medical expenses in case you contract the virus during your trip. Insurance requirements may also include specific coverage for the extra costs of quarantining in case you test positive for Covid-19 while traveling.
Note too that many countries require a recent negative Covid test for entry and sometimes additional forms like health questionnaires.
Breaking It Down: Travel Insurance Requirements by Destination
Anguilla: All incoming visitors must provide proof that they have health insurance that can cover Covid-19 medical expenses.
Aruba: All incoming visitors are required to purchase Covid-19 travel insurance from the Aruba government.
Bahamas: There is a mandatory Bahamas Health Travel Visa fee that varies in cost based on length of stay. It provides the health insurance mandated by the Bahamian government.
Bermuda: All visitors must have an insurance policy that can cover Covid-19 medical emergencies.
Cambodia: All visitors must have insurance that will cover at least $50,000 for Covid-19 treatment.
Cayman Islands: Incoming visitors must have a travel insurance policy for Covid-19 medical expenses.
Chile: Visitors must show proof of a health insurance policy that provides coverage for Covid-19.
Costa Rica: As of Aug. 1, unvaccinated travelers must provide proof of travel medical insurance with $50,000 in coverage for Covid-related medical treatment and $2,000 for quarantine lodging expenses while in Costa Rica, in case you’re quarantined and unable to return home as scheduled.
French Polynesia: Visitors must purchase travel insurance with coverage for Covid-19, or must sign a declaration to pay all costs if they contract Covid-19.
Israel: Visitors must have medical travel insurance with coverage for Covid-19.
Jamaica: Visitors are required to pay a mandatory insurance fee earmarked to cover medical treatment for Covid-19.
Jordan: All travelers must purchase a travel insurance policy that covers Covid-19 medical expenses.
Lebanon: Travelers must show a travel insurance plan that covers any Covid-19 medical treatment.
Nepal: All tourists must have a travel medical insurance policy that includes coverage for Covid-19 medical benefits and repatriation.
St. Maarten: The government of St. Maarten has a system for selling mandatory Covid-19 insurance that tourists must buy in order to gain entry into the country.
Thailand: All travelers must have at least $100,000 in travel medical insurance to cover Covid-19 costs.
Turks and Caicos: Travelers must show proof of a travel insurance policy that covers Covid-19-related medical costs.
Ukraine: All visitors must buy an insurance policy through an insurance company registered in Ukraine that covers the cost of Covid-19 treatment.
Why Are Countries Mandating Covid-19 Travel Insurance?
Many countries are enforcing mandatory travel medical insurance policies so they are not hit by the financial burden of treating uninsured tourists. Many require coverage for the entire duration of your stay.
If buying your own travel insurance policy meets a country’s requirement, make sure your policy covers Covid-related expenses.
“This can include hospitalization or a diagnosis—and in the event of Covid-19, would include any related treatments,” says Megan Moncrief, a spokesperson for Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison provider. “The important note here is that this benefit, like all travel insurance benefits, is for unexpected occurrences. It will not cover a routine visit or checkup, or standard prescription refill.”
Travel medical benefits will also cover injuries and other illnesses that happen on your trip, so it’s good coverage to have even without a requirement. U.S. health plans often have little or no coverage abroad, and Medicare doesn’t cover health care outside the U.S.
When Do You Buy Insurance from the Destination Country?
In most cases you can purchase travel insurance from a company of your choice, says Moncrief. Some countries require the policy to be purchased directly through them.
“Specifically, the Bahamas provides their own mandatory travel insurance policy for a fee prior to entry,” she says. “Aruba also requires $75,000 in medical coverage for contracting Covid-19, and this must be purchased directly through their government.”
What Happens if You Arrive Without the Required Insurance?
If you visit a country requiring travel insurance and don’t have a policy, you are not granted entry into the country, says Moncrief.
“We recommend you check with your destination to understand the requirements and purchase a policy ahead of time to avoid the risk of not being allowed entry,” she says.
More Travel Insurance to Consider
When you’re buying a comprehensive travel insurance plan you can get important coverage types in addition to medical insurance. Here’s what to look for:
Trip cancellation coverage can reimburse you 100% for non-refundable deposits you lose if you have to cancel the trip for a reason covered by the policy, such as an illness or injury of a traveler, or a death in the family.
Trip delay and interruption coverage can reimburse you for extra costs if you miss part of your trip because of a delay, such as a late flight, or if you have to cut your trip short and return home.
Baggage loss covers more than just luggage that never shows up at your destination. It can also cover damaged baggage and the theft of your belongings during the trip.
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