COVID-19: Consumer Protections for Travelers
The Coronavirus disease is making many travelers reconsider their plans. Can you get a refund? What does insurance cover?
I do not want to travel because of Coronavirus concerns. Can I get a refund from my airline or cruise line?
Contact the airline or cruise line directly to find out what their policy is on cancellations. The Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs cannot intervene in company policies regarding refunds.
Cancelling flights to destinations where there are no travel restrictions will likely result in paying the full penalty.
Passengers booked on to a flight that has been cancelled by the airline because it no longer wishes to operate the flight, are entitled to a full refund. However, you will likely not be able to recoup “consequential” losses.
In some cases, trip cancellation insurance can protect your financial investment in a trip if you need to change your itinerary in the event of an international outbreak.
Trip cancellation insurance might help ensure you are able to make a last-minute cancellation or change your itinerary in the event of an international outbreak. Be sure to check the fine print to see if your coverage includes disease outbreaks at intended travel destinations and what any restrictions might be.
Will my credit card travel insurance cover any trip cancellations or changes from coronavirus?
It depends, the question is whether you choose to cancel a trip, or if you have no control over the decision and the choice is made for you.
Credit cards will cover a canceled trip when you meet “covered situations” which typically include:
- Accidental bodily injury, loss of life or sickness experienced by you, a traveling companion or an immediate family member
- Severe weather that prevents the start or continuation of a trip
- Terrorist attack or hijacking
What is “cancel for any reason” (CFRAR) coverage?
If you are concerned that the coronavirus may affect your travel, it is recommended to purchase “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) coverage.
Cancelling a trip out of worry or fear is not enough to be reimbursed for a canceled trip.
What are the eligibility requirements for CFAR coverage?
CFAR insurance must be purchased within 21 days (sometimes even within seven to 14 days) of paying for your trip.
You also cannot cancel any later than 48 hours before your departure and will only be reimbursed up to 75 percent of your prepaid, nonrefundable trip cost. States are responsible for regulating U.S. travel insurance and will vary state to state.
CFAR coverage policies are typically expensive and might add about 50 percent to the price of a basic policy.
A typical travel insurance policy does not cover a traveler’s decision to cancel a trip due to fear or worry about visiting an area affected by the coronavirus.
County of Los Angeles Department of Consumer and Business Affairs. Last change: March 10, 2020