Travel Insurance & Coronavirus COVID-19 FAQs

What you need to know about travel insurance and the COVID-19 outbreak

Before you buy travel insurance

Unlike many other companies, World Nomads does not have an endemic or pandemic exclusion for policies purchased by U.S. residents, which means that you may make claims arising from the COVID-19 for the benefits specified in your policy.

These benefits include emergency medical and trip interruption coverage for you personally or a travel companion who contracts the COVID-19 or goes under quarantine when traveling. They also include travel delay coverage should your scheduled transportation be set back for at least six hours for say, a border closing or travel ban that has been announced during your trip. Things you may get reimbursed for include doctors’ visits and hospital stays, and certain pre-paid travel arrangements that get disrupted as a result of the infection or the delay of your common carrier.

If you unexpectedly catch COVID-19 at home before you leave for your trip, you may also be eligible for trip cancellation coverage, which represents compensation for any pre-paid non-refundable travel expenses such as flights, hotels, and excursions.

For plans, such as World Nomads, that don’t have pandemic/epidemic or known event exclusions, travel insurance can help with emergency medical treatment for unexpected sickness, including the COVID-19. Unforeseen illnesses, including when you’re placed under quarantine, are also covered reasons for other parts of World Nomads’ policies. You may be eligible for Trip Interruption benefits if your travel arrangements have changed mid-trip because you’ve contracted the COVID-19. Or you may qualify for Trip Cancellation coverage if your doctor advises you not to travel after diagnosing you with COVID-19. 

If you’re on your trip and a border closing or government or physician-mandated quarantine delays your transportation by at least six hours, you may also get reimbursed for expenses you’ve incurred because of the delay. These costs could include local transportation, meals, and accommodation and necessary phone calls. 

Fear of travel is never a covered reason for any type of coverage. In no instances can you get reimbursed for canceling your trip because you’re worried about how the COVID-19 outbreak may impact your travels. So, maybe you’ve already booked your trip months ahead and the uncertainty of the current situation is making you nervous. Coverage for trip cancellation would not apply in this case. 

In most cases, World Nomads plans also don’t provide coverage for events surrounding the COVID-19 outbreak for which you aren’t directly affected by the sickness. Examples: a conference you were planning to attend was canceled; you need to cancel your trip because flights out of your destination were shut down; you changed your mind about having your honeymoon in Italy because of the lockdown; your tour operator has canceled the trip before your departure.

World Nomads’ plans for U.S. residents do not have a cut-off date after which coverage related to COVID-19 is no longer available. However, coverage under our plans is limited to when you (or a travel companion and in some cases, a family member) get personally sick or quarantined because of COVID-19. There’s also coverage for in-country expenses when your common carrier gets delayed by at least six hours for example, because of a border closure or quarantine imposed by a doctor or the government. You can't get reimbursed for expenses related to canceling or interrupting your trip because a travel ban is announced or when travel services such as flights or tours are canceled because of COVID-19. However, travel bans do not invalidate your policy altogether. It is still in effect during your coverage dates, and you may make a claim for anything that you're covered for, as specified in your policy.

In COVID-19-related matters, World Nomads’ plans cover you primarily in four areas: 

1) Prior to traveling, if you, your traveling companion or a non-traveling family member contract COVID-19 or get quarantined, the plan benefits cover trip cancellation, provided that the events occurred after you purchase your policy and your coverage goes into effect. 

2) If you or your travel companion contract COVID-19 while traveling, you may be covered for emergency medical expenses and medical evacuation when deemed necessary for your treatment. 

3) Under the trip interruption clause, World Nomads plans may also provide coverage for any travel arrangements you’ve had to change or reschedule because of you or your travel companion getting infected by COVID-19. 

4) During your travels, you may be able to make a claim for travel delay coverage if your common carrier has been delayed six hours or more. Possible reasons for the delay include when a border has just closed or a government or physician-mandated quarantine imposed.

No, World Nomads does not offer a Cancel for Any Reason upgrade. Having to cancel your trip last minute because of COVID-19 can be inconvenient and expensive. Instead of purchasing the costly upgrade offered by other insurance companies, you may want to check with your airline, hotel, or tour operator first to see what their policies are regarding travel during the COVID-19 outbreak. In these unusual times, they’re being more flexible – loosening up their cancellation policies or offering refunds, credits for future travel, or alternate dates so that customers can stay safe and travel at a time when they're feeling more comfortable.

If you're waiting to book, it’s easy to purchase a World Nomads travel insurance policy at the last minute. Although the trip cancellation benefits won’t apply to COVID-19-related events (unless you become sick or quarantined before your departure), you can get other important benefits, such as emergency medical, that can protect you should you get infected with COVID-19 when traveling. 

That depends. If your strict isolation is imposed by a government authority or physician to prevent the spread of disease, then the plan will provide benefits under the Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption or Travel Delay sections of your policy. A “shelter in place” mandated by the government falls under the definition of a covered quarantine on a case-by-case basis. Generally speaking, you must be under strict quarantine for at least 24 hours  that means complete isolation (not leaving your home for the grocery store, going outside for exercise, traveling, etc.).  However, many healthy people are choosing a self-imposed quarantine, which does not qualify for coverage. Voluntary quarantine or an embargo preventing you from entering a country do not represent covered risks under your policy.

If you are currently traveling

World Nomads offers a range of benefits but the ones that pertain to COVID-19 are as follows:

Trip Cancellation: If you’re already traveling, you may not need this benefit but it is solely for the case when you, a travel companion or family member contract COVID-19 prior to your departure and is declared medically unfit to travel by a physician. 

Emergency Medical and Evacuation: You may get reimbursed for medical treatment, such as doctor’s visits and hospital stays, and for transportation to a nearby hospital if a doctor sees it as necessary. You may also be transported home to recover or continue your treatment, also upon doctor’s advice. Be sure to call the 24/7 Emergency Assistance team for the proper approvals.

Trip Delay: There are many reasons why your common carrier may get delayed, and World Nomads provides coverage when the delay is at least six hours. Possible COVID-19-related case scenarios could include border closures, travel bans or government-mandated quarantines that could cause disruptions to your original scheduled flight or other method of commercial transportation. You can make a claim for pre-paid non-refundable accommodations that ended up going unused and expenses that you’ve incurred as a result of the delay, including meals, lodging, important phone calls, and local transportation.   

Trip Interruption: You may have to change the course of your trip because you got infected with the COVID-19. This benefit may cover pre-paid, non-refundable travel arrangements such as hotels and excursions, and one-way airfare to return home.

Be sure to read your policy in entirety to get an understanding of any additional conditions and exclusions. The relevant sections of your policy should mention “quarantine” or “sickness.”

Whether you haven’t left yet or are already at your destination, this is an event our policies don’t have coverage for if you want to cancel or interrupt your trip. Contact your airline to see what your options are. If you don’t get re-booked on a flight within six hours of your original departure time, collect any receipts for any expenses you make as a result of the delay: food, lodging, phone calls, as well as any non-refundable pre-paid accommodations that you’ve had to forfeit. You can make a claim under your travel delay benefits for any applicable expenses. For more on what World Nomads policies cover related to COVID-19 events, refer to “Is COVID-19 covered by World Nomads travel insurance?

First and foremost, seek medical treatment. If you’re not sure where to go, contact our Emergency Assistance team, who can direct you to appropriate care. They’re available 24/7 and can give you the advice you need about how to get from wherever you are to a decent hospital.

Remember to follow the World Health Organization (WHO) advice regarding health and hygiene practices. Reduce your contact with other people as much as possible, wear a mask to prevent spreading the infection and wash your hands thoroughly and regularly.

Follow the local advice and also check the CDC website for more recommendations.
Contact your airline as well – they may be making special arrangements to return travelers to their home destination. Depending on the carrier's country of origin, they may be canceling flights, in which case you need to know as soon as possible so you can make alternate arrangements.

Travelers returning from countries with widespread or ongoing transmission may be directed to certain airports. Travelers without symptoms may be asked to stay at home and monitor their health for a period of 14 days. Travelers with symptoms will be directed to additional screening and medical care.  

While we’re concerned for the safety and health of our travelers, you won’t be able to get trip cancellation or trip interruption benefits because a travel warning or travel ban has been issued; travel restrictions are not covered risks under these sections of your plan. However, that does not mean that your policy has been invalidated. While you’re traveling, your travel insurance remains in effect and you can make a claim for anything that you’re covered for, as specified in your policy wording. If you’re having trouble returning home from abroad, read “How can travel insurance help if I’m stranded at my destination?" 

As many countries are closing borders and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, many travelers are re-arranging their plans to return home or preparing to spend extended time abroad.

If during your travels, a country on your itinerary closes its borders and scheduled flights are canceled as a result, you may have Travel Delay coverage for meals, lodging, local transportation, and essential phone calls up to the maximum benefit amount specified in your policy.

You may also reach out to the 24/7 Emergency Assistance team who are at your disposition to help you out in a crisis; the team may have information on how to leave the country you are visiting and keep you posted on any government measures to return Americans home.

World Nomads’ Emergency Assistance team, available 24/7, can help you in any type of crisis even if you’re traveling in a part of the world with heightened risk. If you’re feeling unwell, you can contact them for assistance on getting the appropriate medical care. They can also help with advances to pay emergency medical expenses and transfer records to your treating physician at home.

Also, your World Nomads policy remains in effect as per the terms in your policy wording. COVID-19-related provisions include emergency medical and trip interruption coverage for the policyholder who has contracted the virus. Other types of coverage unrelated to COVID-19 also provide valuable benefits.

If your plans have changed

When it comes to COVID-19-related matters, World Nomads provides trip cancellation benefits when you, a travel companion or close family member contract the virus or get ordered to go under strict quarantine by a physician or the government before you leave for your trip. World Nomads’ trip cancellation coverage protects you for a number of other risks, which you can read about in our Help Center article.

You can’t cancel your trip and get coverage for the following reasons:

  • Travel bans or border closures – when a government restricts the movement of residents or entry to tourists
  • Fear of travel because of the uncertainty of the situation or because things are getting worse
  • Cancellation of flights, tours, cruises, hotels or travel from other providers
  • Voluntary quarantines or stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders that do not require strict isolation
  • Cancellation of events such as weddings, festivals or conferences because of COVID-19

Contact your travel providers to see what their cancellation policies are and if they could offer you alternative options should COVID-19 disrupts your plans. If you don’t end up traveling, you can request a refund of your unused travel insurance policy or an amendment or travel insurance credit to cover you on a future trip. To see if you qualify, read “Am I eligible for a refund?;” “How do I apply for a travel insurance credit?;” “Am I eligible for a credit?;” and “ I canceled my trip and no longer need my travel insurance policy. What are my options?”

Many countries have been refusing entry to tourists as a way to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  While we understand this has impacted many people’s upcoming trips, unfortunately, our travel insurance does not cover border closings or travel bans when it comes to trip cancellation or trip interruption. However, if the border is closed, please contact your travel provider for assistance; they may be able to offer you alternate dates or waive change fees.

Events no longer running are not covered reasons for trip cancellation – whether it be business (conferences, trade shows, meetings, networking events, etc) or leisure events such as family reunions, weddings or music festivals.

It’s unfortunate when that happens but it’s not something covered by travel insurance. Work with your travel provider to see if they can offer you different trip dates, a refund, or a credit. If you haven’t used your travel insurance policy, you can request a refund. You also have the option to change the dates of your policy or a travel insurance credit should you reschedule your trip. Read the “If you want to cancel or change your policy” section for more information.

Yes, you can cancel your trip for a medical reason (including COVID-19) and receive coverage.  You would need to be treated by your doctor for a medical condition that developed while your coverage was in effect and the doctor must have advised that you cancel your trip before your scheduled departure date.  Read over your policy carefully to see if there are any other conditions that you need to meet

That depends on what your situation is. 

If you're required to work: If your employer has canceled your vacation days or you need to return early from your travels because your presence is required at work, you can make a claim for trip cancellation or trip interruption expenses. You’ll need a notarized statement from your employer. Another requirement for coverage: your company must have a minimum of 25 full-time employees.

If you become unemployed: Losing your job is not a condition covered under the plan.

There are some provisions under our plans that protect you when your travel provider –  a tour operator, hotel, or airline for example –  goes bankrupt or stops operating for financial reasons. As a condition for coverage, the bankruptcy must have happened more than 14 days after the effective date of your policy. For airline bankruptcies or default, coverage is limited to the change fee if alternative flights to your destination are available through other carriers.

Yes, you can cancel your trip for a medical reason (including COVID-19) and receive coverage.  You would need to be treated by your doctor for a medical condition that developed while your coverage was in effect and the doctor must advise that you should cancel your trip before your scheduled departure date. Read over your policy carefully to see if there are any other conditions that you need to meet

These are tough times for travel, but unfortunately, our plans don’t cover partial refunds. For more information on what travel insurance does cover pre-departure, go to our Help Center article on trip cancellation.

If you want to change or cancel your policy

Technically, you cannot extend or lengthen the duration of your policy, but you can get additional days of coverage if you’re traveling longer than expected. Whether you purchased as a guest or as a member, the process is the same. 

Before your trip: If you’re within the “free look” period, you can “lengthen” your travel insurance policy by either canceling your plan and purchasing a new plan with different dates or purchasing an additional plan for the extra dates. If you’re outside the “free look” period, contact us, and we can advise you of your options. 

During your trip: Purchase a new policy for your desired dates either in your membership or as a guest. There’s a waiting period of 24 hours before your coverage goes into effect, which is why we recommend purchasing at least two days before your original policy expires. That way, you won’t have any days where you are not protected under the plan. Contact us for any specific questions on your case.

Travelers who no longer need their travel insurance have the following options:

A refund: To qualify for a refund, you must not have started your trip or made any claims, and your trip costs must have been refunded in their entirety by your travel suppliers without any cancellation penalties. Read “How do I cancel my  policy?” “Do I qualify for a refund?” and “What’s the fastest way to get a refund?” for more details.

An amendment: If your trip dates have not passed and your rescheduled trip is to the same destination and the same number of days as your original trip, and within 365 days of the purchase date, then you can change the dates of your policy to cover you on the new trip. To do so, just log into your membership. If you don’t have a membership, you can create one here. Policies can only be amended prior to the departure date shown on your policy documents. 

A travel insurance credit: If you don’t qualify for a refund or an amendment or don’t know when you’re going to be traveling next, we can credit the value of your unused policy towards a new policy for future use, provided that you bought your policy before July 1, 2020. You’ll have to send us an email to request your credit by September 30, 2020, redeem by June 30, 2021, and complete all travel by December 31, 2021. Read “How do I apply for a travel insurance credit?” for more information.

If you’ve already started your trip but had to end it early, unfortunately, you won’t be able to get a refund for the remaining days of your policy. You also won’t be able to put your policy on hold to reactivate at a later date.

We understand that your travels have likely been impacted by COVID-19, so we’re offering some flexibility in our plans so that you can hold onto your insurance coverage for another trip. Send us an email describing your situation, including any new dates of travel and changes in your destination or trip duration. Depending on your case, we may be able to offer you a date change or a travel insurance credit. 

Unfortunately, no. If you unexpectedly end your trip early, you won’t be able to get a refund for the remaining days of your policy. Additionally, any unused portion of your policy cannot be put on hold to be used at a later date. 

As the circumstances around the COVID-19 outbreak continue to evolve, you may have to cancel your trip. Though World Nomads doesn’t offer trip cancellation coverage in many COVID-19-related cases (See "Is COVID-19 covered by World Nomads travel insurance?”), you may request a refund on your unused travel insurance policy.

If you’re still within the “free look” period of your policy, you can cancel your plan via your member account, if you’ve set one up. Please refer to your policy for more details on the "free look" or review period. The number of days depends on your state; some states don't offer a "free look" period.

If you purchased as a guest and don’t have a member account, you can create one here. You’ll just need to input your email address and the policy number from your last purchase.

If you are past the “free look” period, it’s still possible to cancel. But to qualify for a refund, you must not have started your trip or made any claims, and your trip costs must have been refunded in their entirety by your travel suppliers without any cancellation penalties. 

Send us an email at [email protected] confirming those qualifications and attach documentation that shows that you've received a refund from your travel supplier/s.

You won’t be eligible for a refund on your travel insurance policy if your trip costs have been returned to you in the form of travel credits or vouchers. Credits and vouchers do not count as refunds. However, should this be your case, we can change the dates of your policy for a future trip or if the entirety of your travel costs have been returned in the form of travel credits, we can offer you a travel insurance credit.

Maybe you’ve decided not to travel after all, or your plans changed right after you bought the policy. All our policies are subject to a period within which you may be able to cancel your policy without any penalty. This period is called a “free look” or review period. This is the time to examine your coverage in greater depth to see if it’s the right match for your travels. If it’s not, then you can get a refund on the premium as long as you haven’t started your trip, made a claim or used the policy in any other way. Read your policy documents to see how long the free look period is for you (It varies by state.) Details should be under the “Satisfaction Guarantee” section of your policy.

Typically, you can get a refund on your travel insurance policy only if you’re within the “free look” or review period (Check the “Satisfaction Guarantee” section of your plan documents to see how long this period is for you.) But because of COVID-19, we are making a one-time exception and allowing refunds for customers who:

• Have not started their trip.
• Have not made a claim or intend to make a claim.
• Have been refunded their trip costs in their entirety.
• Have not filed a dispute with their credit card company.

You will NOT be eligible for a refund if:

• You have been charged cancellation fees or penalties by your travel supplier.
• You were only partially refunded by your travel supplier.
• Your trip refunds have been issued to you as travel credits or vouchers (they must have been returned to you through cash, credit card or check.)
• You have returned from your trip early or already left for your trip.
• You’ve made a claim that was denied, and now you want a refund because there’s no coverage on your policy.
• You have filed a dispute with your credit card company.

Because of COVID-19, there has been a spike in the number of people contacting the customer service team and as a result, our response times are longer than usual as we handle requests. However, there are a few steps that you can take that will expedite the refund process.

First of all, we cannot process refunds over the phone – you’ll need to contact us through email. Second, you cannot request a refund on your policy by making a claim through your membership. In fact, making a claim slows down the process since it blocks our system from canceling your policy.

Next step: Check to see if you are eligible for a refund (Read, “Do I qualify for a refund?”). You need to meet each of these requirements – no exceptions.

Unless you've bought your policy recently, you’re likely outside the free cancellation period. Which means that you should email our customer service team (Select "Travel Insurance" and then "My Policy" in the contact form). You need to write to us as our call center cannot process refunds.

You may be able to cancel your policy on your own if you’re still within the “free-look” or review period. Check your plan documents under the “Satisfaction Guarantee” section for details on how long this period is. Typically, it is 10 days although some states do not have one. You should see an option to cancel in your membership if this period has not ended.

Please be patient as we’re working on handling a large number of requests; no need to email us more than once if you have not heard back. We promise that we’ll get back to you.

Acceptable documentation includes credit card statements and/or invoices or emails from your travel suppliers indicating the amount paid and refunded. The dates of your reservations or travel arrangements should also be listed.

File formats we accept include emails, Word or text documents, jpegs and pdfs. Each attachment should be no larger than 5mb.

From an insurance perspective, there has to be nothing left to protect for us to offer a refund, and getting a credit or voucher means that you’re still going to be traveling and could run into some risks that need to be covered by the plan. While we won’t issue refunds when your trip costs have been returned to you as travel credits or vouchers, we are matching the offer provided by your travel suppliers by giving you a chance to travel – under the protection of our plans –  at rescheduled dates. If your trip costs have been returned to you in their entirety, you may be eligible for an amendment or a travel insurance credit. Read “I canceled my trip and no longer need my travel insurance policy. What are my options?”

If you haven’t used your policy and aren’t eligible for a refund, you can apply for a travel insurance credit. This option allows you to retain the value of your original policy and is designed for travelers who have rescheduled their trips and/or received credit vouchers from their travel suppliers for the entire amount of their original trip. As an additional requirement, you should not have been charged fees or penalties in either case.

Travel insurance credits are offered only to those who have purchased their policy before July, 1, 2020.

Send us an email ( In the contact form, select “Travel Insurance” and “My Policy,” and check off “Yes, your question is related to COVID-19”) You’ll need to apply for your request by September 30, 2020. Once accepted, you’ll need to redeem your credit by June 30, 2021 and complete travel by December 31, 2021.

Am I eligible for a credit?

To be eligible for a credit, you must have purchased your policy before July 1, 2020 and have fully rescheduled your travel plans and/or received credit vouchers from your travel supplier(s) for the entire amount of your original trip.

Additionally, you must NOT have:
  • Been charged penalties by your travel supplier(s)
  • Started your trip or intend to travel on the policy;
  • Submitted a claim;
  • Received a full monetary refund (You should cancel your policy should this be your case);
  • Have been returned only a portion of your trip costs;
  • Exercised any other rights on the policy, such as use the travel assistance services;
  • Cancelled your policy before the credit is redeemed.

In some cases, travelers will have received a combination of credits and refunds from their various travel suppliers. You should still be eligible for a travel insurance credit as long as the combined amount equals your total trip costs. In other words, 100% of your trip costs should have been returned to you.

What are the terms and conditions of the credit offer?

  • You must meet the eligibility requirements to receive a travel insurance credit (Read “Am I eligible for a credit?)
  • If you purchased a group plan, at least one person on the original policy must be listed on the new plan.
  • You must meet the deadlines of the offer (September 30, 2020 for a credit request; June 30, 2021 for redeeming the credit; and December 31, 2021 for completing travel).
  • The credit is not transferrable.
  • Rates and plans may change, so you’ll be responsible for the price difference if there is any.
  • We reserve the right to cancel your credit if you do not comply with the terms and conditions.

How do I redeem my credit?

Once your request for a credit has been approved, you have until June 30, 2021 to purchase a new policy and request a refund on your original policy (You must complete travel by December 31, 2021.) Just email us your new policy number, and the value of your original policy will be returned to you through your original payment method. The credit cannot be redeemed at the time of purchase, only after you’ve bought a new travel insurance policy.

Making a claim

This could be because of one of two reasons. First, you might have purchased as a guest, and your policy might not be linked to your membership. You can sign up for a member account here (You’ll need to provide your policy number and the email address associated with your last purchase.) Alternatively, if you've checked out as a guest but already have a membership, you can contact us and request a membership merge. Once your guest policy has been merged into your membership, it should show up in your account.

The second case scenario is when your policy is linked to your membership and you may just need to know the right place to look. When you log in, you should see a button at the top left-hand side of the page labelled “Edit my Profile.”

When you click on that button you’ll be taken to a new page. At the top of that page, if you click on “Member Dashboard,” it should take you to a page that shows “Your Policies” (next to the umbrella icon). You should also be able to access the policies directly through this link.

If you’re still having trouble, please get in touch with a screenshot of what’s showing up for you. We’d be happy to sort out the problem.

Once you’ve submitted a claim, you should get confirmation of receipt. You should also be emailed, under separate cover, your unique claims number, which you can use to check on the status of your claim. If you haven’t been assigned a claims number within the usual 5-7 days, then don’t worry. It just means that we’ve been getting a high number of requests, and it’s taking us longer than usual to process each one. Our aim is to service our customers as quickly as possible while giving each claim the thorough attention it needs. Rest assured that if you have been sent a confirmation that you’ve made a claim, then the process has been initiated and you should receive a unique claims number soon.

There are three ways to do this: You can email the claims department directly; or reach them by phone at 1-844-207-1930 (though please note that we’re experiencing a high volume of calls, so wait times may be longer than usual); or you can go to, click on the menu field on the right side of the screen and select "Claims" from the drop-down menu. Select “View Claim Status” and then “Check Claim Status.” After you submit the three fields of information (last name, date of birth, claim ID), your claim activity log, which shows your claims status, should appear.

Log into your membership dashboard and navigate to “My Claims.” Any claims that are pending or in draft status will appear in the claims dashboard. Click on the red “delete” button. If your claim has already submitted, then the option to delete will not appear.  In this case, you should email the service team. If your claim has already been processed and a decision was rendered, then you won’t be able to withdraw the claim.

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