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FOX43 Finds Out: Is trip insurance worth the price during the Coronavirus outbreak?

Some people are nervous to travel during the Coronavirus outbreak. FOX43 Finds Out when trip insurance is worth the price and when it won't help.

YORK, Pa. — Trip insurance companies say they've seen an increase in traffic since the Coronavirus outbreak began, with a lot of people asking "Am I covered?" 

FOX43 Finds Out

The Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan is a floating quarantine zone.

More than 100 people on board have tested positive for the coronavirus.

"I just think for some reason it's really hitting the cruise industry more this time, said Vickie Everhart, CEO of Krouse Travel.

She was on the Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship that had a Coronavirus scare when it recently docked in New Jersey.

"Before we ever got off the ship, the news reports were already going out about the ship that had returned to New Jersey with suspected cases of the coronavirus. I found out through the news, I didn't find out on board until much later," Everhart said.

Some people on the Anthem of the Seas ship were screened for the coronavirus.

All of those tests came back negative.

Everhart says it was status quo on the cruise ship and she had no concerns.

"No problems, no problems at all."

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Cruise ship quarantines are not new

She also says it's typical for medical staff on a cruise to quarantine someone with a fever.

"That's just a precaution again so that whatever it is that they have doesn't spread through the cruise ship."

She says this is a protocol every cruise ship takes, long before the coronavirus. 

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Pennsylvania travelers don't seemed concerned

The travel agent says her clients in Central Pennsylvania don't seem overly concerned about the outbreak of the virus on cruise ships.

"We haven't had one cancelation."

She recommends anyone traveling right now should buy travel insurance, especially if you're going on a cruise.

Make sure you know what you're buying though.

InsureMyTrip looks at various travel insurance companies.

 It found, since the coronavirus has been what's called a "known illness" since January 22nd, people who buy travel insurance now may not be covered.

Meghan Walch, project manager for InsureMyTrip said, "Typically that would be considered an unforeseen illness and would be covered by some companies and we do have other companies who won't cover it because it is a known issue."

If you're quarantined on a ship for an extended period of time and can't work, don't rely on trip insurance to help with that.

"Unfortunately no, loss of pay, stuff like that, isn't covered under travel insurance policies," said Walch.

People can also buy "Cancel for any reason" coverage.

That gives people up to 2 days before departure to cancel.

However, again, since coronavirus is a known illness - the fear of coming down the virus - may not be enough of a reason for you to get a partial refund.

However, the cruise line may offer you something instead.

"Some of the people who get quarantined, for example, will get a refund, a partial refund," said Everhart.

Be sure to check with a cruise line first, to see if they're offering any refunds or other itineraries if you would rather travel at another time.

Even so, the travel agent says people just need to ask questions and know their rights.

The travel agent said, "I don't think it's really going to prohibit people from doing the kind of travel that they want to do."

Something else to note, even if you have the world's best travel insurance - you likely will not get a full refund.

Most of those cancel for any reason insurance policies, cover anywhere from 50 to 75%.

Cruise line policies

Princess Cruises: Please refer to our Notices and Advisories page linked here: https://www.princess.com/news/notices_and_advisories/

Because of the extraordinary circumstances onboard Diamond Princess, Princess Cruises will refund the full cruise fare for all guests including air travel, hotel, ground transportation, pre-paid shore excursions, gratuities and other items. In addition, guests will not be charged for any onboard incidental charges during the additional time onboard.

Princess Cruises will also provide guests with a future cruise credit equal to the cruise fare paid for the voyage which ended on February 4.

Princess Cruises also confirmed that although all gratuities will be refunded back to guests the company will ensure crew members receive their designated gratuities for the work performed.

Guests have been provided a letter delivered to their stateroom with details on how to process this refund.

Royal Caribbean: We are closely monitoring global developments regarding the coronavirus, and we are fully focused on protecting the health and safety of our guests and crew.

 After consultation with CDC, WHO and other public health authorities, we are implementing several measures to protect guests and crew. These steps are intentionally conservative, and we apologize that they will inconvenience some of our guests.

 Until further notice, all ships in the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. fleet will adopt these health screening protocols:

  1. Regardless of nationality, we will deny boarding to any individual who has travelled from, to or through mainland China or Hong Kong in the past 15 days. These guests will receive full refunds.
  2. There will be mandatory specialised health screenings performed on:
    1. Guests who have been in contact with individuals who have travelled from, to or through mainland China or Hong Kong in the past 15 days;
    2. All holders of China or Hong Kong passports – regardless of when they were last in China or Hong Kong;
    3. Guests who report feeling unwell or demonstrate any flu-like symptoms;
    4. Any guest presenting with fever or low blood oximetry in the specialised health screening will be denied boarding.
  3. These standards also apply to all employees, crew members and contractors of RCL.
  4. We have cancelled all China and Hong Kong sailings through the end of February. Guests on cancelled cruises will also receive full refunds.

 We have rigorous medical protocols in place to help passengers and crew members who feel unwell while sailing.

 Our protocols include professional medical treatment; quarantine of unwell individuals from the general ship population; and intensified ship cleaning, air filtration, and sanitisation procedures.

 We are assessing developments constantly and will update these measures, as needed.

 Guests with questions may contact the customer care department of our individual cruise lines.

Carnival Cruise Line: Protecting the health and safety of our guests and crew is our top priority.  We are closely monitoring the evolving situation with respect to Coronavirus.  Our medical experts are coordinating with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) and have implemented enhanced screening, prevention and control measures for our ships, guests and crew. 

All booked guests who have traveled to/from or through China, Hong Kong and Macau in the 14 days prior to their departure will not be allowed to sail.  Please note that Hong Kong and Macau are not currently subject to a Level 3 CDC travel health alert.  However, an increasing number of countries and local health officials are restricting or denying entry to persons that have traveled from, or through these two locations in the last 14 days (including transiting through an airport), particularly if they have symptoms of respiratory illness.  Therefore, we are adopting this same standard and are contacting booked guests ahead of their departure to alert them and have also implemented procedures at all our homeports.

Norwegian Cruise Line: The safety, security and well-being of our guests and crew is our number one priority. We have proactively implemented several preventative measures outlined below due to growing concerns regarding Coronavirus infections in China. We will continue to consult with The World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and take appropriate additional action as needed. 

 Policies currently in place include:

  • Any guest that holds a Chinese, Hong Kong, or Macau passport, will be unable to board any of our ships, regardless of residency.
    • Except U.S. Alien Residents holding an Alien Resident Card (ARC), also known as a "Green Card” traveling on itineraries that sail from a US port and end in a US port. 
  • Guests who have traveled from, visited or transited via airports in China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 30 days of their voyage embarkation, regardless of nationality, will not be allowed to board any of our vessels. The standard incubation period recognized by the WHO and U.S. CDC for this virus is 14 days.
    • Guests who are denied boarding will be issued a refund when they provide proof of travel.
  • The recent Hong Kong port closure will result in itinerary modifications and we will share the revised itinerary as well as further details as they become available.
  • Prior to the port closure in Hong Kong, we implemented non-touch temperature screenings for all passengers embarking from this destination and any guest who registered a body temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius or higher, were not allowed to board. Guests on these voyages were also subject to temperature screenings when returning from shore excursions at ports of call.
    • Guests who were unable to sail due to a high temperature were advised to open a travel insurance claim with their insurance provider.
  • For all guests, we will continue standard pre-boarding health reporting and evaluation. Any guests who appear symptomatic are subject to pre-boarding medical evaluations including but not limited to temperature checks as deemed necessary.
  • Any guest who exhibits symptoms of any respiratory illness while on board will be subject to additional screening at our onboard Medical Center and may be subject to potential quarantine and disembarkation.
  • We have implemented additional cleaning and disinfection protocols on board all voyages. These protocols will be enforced in addition to our already rigorous sanitization standards in place.
  • Any of our crew members that hold a Chinese, Hong Kong, or Macau passport, will not be allowed to board any of our ships, regardless of residency.  In addition, crew members who have traveled from, visited or transited via airports in China, including Hong Kong and Macau within 30 days will not be allowed on board our ships.
  • Singapore and the Philippines are not currently allowing Chinese nationals to disembark at their ports. Guests with a Chinese passport who are traveling on voyages that disembark in one of these regions will not be allowed on board our ships. If additional port restrictions are put into place we may have to modify this policy as needed.
    • Guests who are denied boarding due to this will be issued a refund.

 The above measures will remain in effect until further notice and are subject to change at any time as we evaluate the situation and continue to consult with local health authorities as well as the WHO and U.S. CDC. 

At this time, we have made a number of itinerary changes and none of our vessels are currently calling to ports in mainland China.  We also have the flexibility to alter our itineraries as needed to avoid areas of concern. All itineraries that call in mainland China for the next six months are currently under review and we will communicate any itinerary revisions as soon as possible. As always, we will closely monitor the situation and take appropriate action as necessary.

We apologize for the inconvenience to any guests affected by these measures put in place to ensure the safety and well-being of all our guests and crew. 

For frequently asked questions and information regarding the Coronavirus, please visit the following websites:

·         WHO Travel Advice

·         United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (U.S. CDC)

·         European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC)

·         CLIA Coronavirus FAQs

·         CLIA Public Health and Medical Policy

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