Emirates will discontinue COVID-19 travel insurance after Dec. 1

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Traveling during the pandemic means that travelers have to be prepared for just about anything, including catching COVID-19.

Many airlines have focused on emphasizing health and cleaning initiatives, and several —including Emirates — rolled out COVID-19-related insurance plans to reassure skittish travelers. But now, the airline is discontinuing its multi-risk insurance policy (which included COVID-19 coverage) for tickets purchased after Dec. 1, 2021. The news was first reported by the Dubai-based Khaleej Times and confirmed by Emirates.

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“This decision was made after a review of customer usage and feedback since Emirates first introduced its industry-first complimentary insurance cover,” Emirates told the Khaleej Times.

The policy was eligible for customers who purchased an Emirates ticket on or after Dec. 1, 2020, with a ticket number beginning with 176. Benefits included up to $500,000 for overseas medical expenses and emergency evacuation, up to $7,500 for trip cancellation for nonrefundable costs if the traveler is diagnosed with COVID-19 before the trip and a generous $150 per day per person for travelers required to quarantine. Travelers don’t have to fill out a separate form and are covered whether they booked through the Emirates website, contact centers or travel agent.

The removal of this policy represents a significant change in the travel industry: Travel providers are eager to get back to normal and have begun rolling back pandemic-era perks.

Still, it’s important to note that this expiration hasn’t gone into effect just yet, so you’re still covered under the plan if you have an Emirates flight coming up this month. Additionally, you’d still be protected even after the Dec. 1 cutoff date as long as your ticket was booked before Nov. 30, 2020.

Before the pandemic, tourists might not have thought much about travel insurance, dismissing it as a cash-grab. Now, it’s become a necessity (and a requirement to enter specific destinations). If you don’t have an Emirates flight planned this month and won’t be covered under the expiring policy, there are still ways to safeguard your trip.

My colleague, TPG senior reporter Katie Genter, put together a helpful guide for booking the right policy for COVID-19 coverage. I’ll link to it here, but there are some pretty essential takeaways.

First, if the Emirates news impacts you, you’ll want to make sure to insure your travel plans with a policy that specifically covers COVID-19. This is extremely important as many standard comprehensive insurance policies won’t reimburse insured expenses if you cancel your trip due to COVID-19-related concerns — and you’ll be on the hook for the costs.

Secondly, if your travel booking is nonrefundable, you may want to consider buying a comprehensive travel insurance policy and adding optional, cancel-for-any-reason protection. (Not all travelers will qualify for this plan, however.)

Finally, it may be beneficial to take a look at insurance marketplace websites, such as InsureMyTrip.Your insurance options will vary depending on your destination, trip duration and many other factors, but this site can help narrow down the many insurance options out there. I’ve used the site several times on trips to Mexico and Thailand and found affordable and comprehensive plans for my travel needs. It has a pretty user-friendly interface, and travelers looking for COVID-specific coverage only have to select “Top Picks for COVID-19” to display your options.

Featured photo by Zach Griff/The Points Guy.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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