As you can probably imagine, I have spent a not-insignificant amount of time handling questions about Coronavirus. It is spreading quickly and has made it to America, as of this writing, 11 Americans have died, and hundreds have tested positive for the virus. So I want to spend some time addressing your concerns. Today we are going to discuss whether or not you should cancel your future travel plans by answering three basic questions.
First, let us learn a little about Coronavirus. Caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, it is also known as Covid-19. Signs and symptoms of the illness respiratory and flulike (coughing, sneezing, and fever). If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is best to go to your doctor to get tested. Coronavirus spreads by droplets so that it can be very contagious, and you can infect others without knowing. Most cases are mild, and about 98% of people that get the virus to recover completely. It's the 2% that die that is so scary. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) puts Coronovirus about 20 times more deadly than the flu. Fortunately, the flu is far more infectious than Coronovirus.
Now that we had done a little background, let us get to the crux of the matter. Should you cancel your upcoming travel plans? Well, I can't make that decision for you. It is a personal one, but I do have a few questions for you that might help you come to the best choice for you. We will go through each in turn.
1. Were you traveling to a profoundly affected area?
2. Are you part of a high-risk group?
3. Does travel insurance cover trip cancelation?
Were you scheduled to go to an area that has been profoundly affected?
The CDC has four levels of travel advisories, and as of this writing, these are the countries affected by each:
Watch Level 1 Practice Normal Precautions: Hong Kong is the only destination under this level
Alert Level 2 Practice Enhanced Precautions: Japan is the only country at this level
Warning Level 3 Avoid Nonessential Travel: China, South Korea, Iran, and Italy are all currently at this level.
Warning Level 4 Do Not Travel: as of now, no countries are under this level at all.
If you don't see your destination listed at all, there is no reason medical rationale for not traveling.
Are you part of a high-risk population?
As I said earlier, 98% of the people that contract Coronvirus will fully recover. But this is a pretty severe illness; the CDC reports that 1 out of 5 people infected will need medical intervention. Nadeen White, a physician and travel blogger who focuses on health and travel issues. asks, "Are you elderly or have a chronic medical condition or are immunocompromised? Do you care for someone elderly or immunocompromised? If the answers are yes, then you might want to rethink your travel plans." Indeed, you would want to cancel if you were going to any destination listed above.
Does Travel Insurance cover trip cancelation?
If you are considering canceling your trip, and you purchased travel insurance, you need to call the company directly before you do anything. Depending on the policy you bought, cancelation may not be covered. For instance, if you were planning on going to Costa Rica (a country that has had 0 cases of Coronovirus) canceling due to the virus would most likely NOT be covered by your insurance even if you were a high-risk individual. An insurer told me on Monday, that fear of travel is not covered reason for cancelation. Even with a note from your physician stating you can't travel, you might have a long battle to receive a refund from an insurance company. So before you cancel anything, you need to know exactly how much money you would be losing.
I will be traveling soon; I am heading to Cabo this month. I do have insurance, but I am still planning on going. Travel can be scary, even without a looming virus, but I won't allow that to take away my joy of exploring. My next post will discuss the ways you can prevent infection. In the end, you must make the right choice for you. If you have any questions regarding your upcoming trips, please give me a call.
Click Here if you want to read my simple tips for taking your power back from Coronavirus.