Last minute travel insurance that covers COVID could be lifesaver for holiday trips

ByJason Knowles and Ann Pistone WLS logo
Monday, December 20, 2021
Last minute travel insurance covering COVID could be holiday lifesaver
COVID cases are surging in Illinois and around the country, and travel insurance could help travelers who are impacted by the virus over the holidays.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Travel insurance offers options over the holidays as COVID cases once again surge and some holiday plans may be changing last-minute.

Travel insurance gives you flexibility and options in case you have to travel at the last minute due to COVID, or get stuck at your destination if you have to quarantine.

Despite concerns about the omicron variant, more 109 million people will travel during the holidays. AAA said that's up 34% from last year.

If you're worried about COVID, you can add travel insurance up until one day before your departure.

"With its variants out there, it's important to look at travel insurance. If you would like to have coverage, if you contract the virus and need to cancel our interrupt your trip," sad Meghan Walch, an insurance expert at

Their site aggregate travel insurance options from other insurance companies.

"You'd want to look and see if the policy covers unforeseen illness," she advised.

Walch said you need to make sure the insurance specifically says you are either covered for an unforeseen illness or see if it specifically mentions COVID-19. You can't add the insurance after you contract COVID-19.

Also check if you're covered once you're at your destination. Some plans can offer you additional lodging and meals if you get stuck and have to quarantine while you're on your trip.

So what's the cost?

"Typically, we see a comprehensive travel insurance plan cost anywhere from 4% to 10% of your prepaid nonrefundable trip cost," Walch said.

However, you should always read the fine print. The Better Business Bureau said it's received thousands of complaints related to travel insurance during the pandemic. Most were due to a policy not covering a cancellation caused by COVID-19 and travel bans to certain areas.

The BBB recommends that before you buy, look to see what paperwork will be required to file a claim. Sometimes a doctor's signature will be needed for an illness. And call the insurance company to confirm what specific coverage you will be getting.

Travel insurance will most likely not cover you if you are healthy and just afraid of traveling.

You can purchase "cancel for any reason" insurance which would reimburse you no matter what. However those plans need to be purchased within 10 to 21 days of booking your trip.