Pandemics and travel insurance – are you covered?

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The global public health emergency seeking to stop the spread of the coronavirus, officially referred to as COVID-19, is currently the front and centre concern of the World Health Organisation and governments around the world.

If your 2020 new year resolution was to travel or if your business involves regular overseas travel for yourself and your employees, you need to understand whether your travel insurance provides adequate cover for travel cancellation as a result of the spread of COVID-19 or medical expenses incurred from contracting the virus.

“Known” or “unknown events” – insurance covers the “unknown”

In principle, insurance is provided to protect you against “unknown” events. Once the event becomes “known”, insurers do not offer insurance. It’s simply uneconomical for their business to do so.

For travel insurance purposes, the risk of contracting COVID-19 became a “known” event for travellers travelling to China on or around 21 January 2020. It became a “known” event for travellers travelling worldwide on or around 31 January 2020. The exact “known event” dates vary amongst insurance companies.

If you purchased your travel insurance before those dates, then it is likely that you will be covered for any medical expenses incurred in contracting the virus during your travels to those respective destinations. You may also be covered for travel cancellation costs.

If you purchased your travel insurance on or after 31 January 2020 (noting that the exact date will be declared by your insurance company) to any destination in the world, you will not be covered for any medical expenses or cancellation costs related to COVID-19.

Corporate travel

If you send employees overseas for business, contact Barrack Broking to:

  • Understand whether your existing corporate travel insurance covers COVID-19.
  • Provide strategies to manage the risks of your travelling workforce contracting COVID-19.

Barrack Broking is here to assist
For certainty on travel insurance coverage, please contact us for a confidential discussion. Call: 02 9191 7320 or email:

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Barrack Broking

In 1849, an Australian insurance company and mutual society was founded. It opened its doors in a small office above a fruit shop in Sydney, opposite Barrack Gateā€¦ and rose to become the largest insurer in the British Empire. Today, Barrack Broking is opening its doors. 170 years later, albeit embracing those same values and insuring Australian greatness.

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