US travel insurers are seeing a surge in demand for highly priced “cancel for any reason” policies as holidaymakers planning to venture out in the months ahead seek the kind of comprehensive cover that was seldom seen pre-pandemic.
With the prospect of countries moving in and out of lockdown restrictions to weather waves of the new coronavirus, travellers are taking few chances with their cover. Thousands were burned earlier this year when policies provided by websites, airlines and agents did not pay out when governments imposed travel bans. As destinations in Europe and Asia ease lockdowns, several US industry figures told Reuters this week that holidaymakers booking for later in the year were paying around 40% more for insurance as a result. Data from US comparison website Squaremouth shows purchases of the comprehensive any-reason cover surged by 680% compared with a year ago.
The data is based on policy purchases from April 1 to May 10, for travel in June, July or August. Over a third of holidaymakers planning summer trips searched for a policy that included cancellation or medical coverage if they contract COVID-19 or are quarantined. “Everybody hears about the possibility of a resurgence of COVID-19,” said Jeremy Murchland, President of US travel insurer Seven Corners. “People are looking for the one insurance policy to give them the most flexible options.”