What To Do If Your Trip is Affected by the Coronavirus

Travel insurance does not guarantee you will get a full refund for your trip.

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The coronavirus is now a global problem. Millions of people are under lock down and thousands of people are infected in China. That is causing a lot of concern for people who were set to travel to Asia.

Several airlines are canceling flights to and from China, and more cancellations are likely on the way. So what does this mean if you have an upcoming trip to Asia, and would travel insurance help you get your money back?

"If you purchased [your flight] last year, then your travel insurance may help you get reimbursed for some of those expenses," says Doug Shupe, a spokesperson for the Auto Club of Southern California.

"People think that travel insurance will be able to protect you right away, prior to your travel," says Shupe. "But if it’s something that’s already known about, then travel insurance won't do you much good."

What to Know

  • Several airlines are canceling all flights to and from China.
  • Travel insurance may help you get a refund depending on when the trip was booked.
  • Some airlines, hotels and cruise lines are changing their cancellation policies because of the coronavirus.

Typically, travel insurance covers unexpected emergencies and natural disasters. But Shupe says in the case of coronavirus, it would now be considered a "known condition."

Shupe said this is why you should keep a close eye on the details while booking travel insurance.

"You really want to work with your travel agent and read the fine print in your travel insurance policy, so you know what you’re going to be covered for and what you won’t be," he said.

Even if you do not have travel insurance, you still may be eligible for a refund. Some airlines, hotels, and cruise lines are waiving fees and making it easier for people whose travel has been affected by the virus.

Below is a list of links to the policies of some companies for the coronavirus. Many companies are continually updating these policies as we learn more about the virus.



  • Intercontinental Hotels (includes Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Kimpton, Regent, Voco, Hualuxe, Even, InterContinental, etc.)
  • Marriott (includes Sheraton, W, St. Regis, Le Meridien, Aloft, Residence Inn, Element, Four Points, Moxy, TownePlace Suites, Westin, Delta, Renaissance, etc.)
  • Radisson Hotels (includes Blu, Red, Park Plaza, Park Inn, Art’otel, Country Inn & Suites)

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