Etihad latest airline to introduce free COVID-19 travel insurance for passengers

Sep 8, 2020

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Airlines and even certain destinations are continuing to roll out COVID-19 insurance packages.

Last month, Virgin Atlantic introduced what it claimed would be the most comprehensive of all COVID-19 policies offered by any airline, with no excess payable and available at no cost to passengers. And Etihad on Monday joined the pack, promising to cover medical and quarantine costs incurred by travellers who contract COVID-19 after flying with the airline, Reuters reported.

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Passengers who contract the coronavirus within a whopping 31 days of flying with Etihad will have medical costs covered up to 150,000 euro and quarantine costs up to 100 euro per day for two weeks.

Etihad’s insurance is through Axa, and will be baked into the cost of airfare until the end of the year.

The additional coverage is designed to not only “instill confidence to travel”, said Etihad vice president Duncan Bureau in a statement, but also to “reassure” travellers that the airline is doing everything possible to keep flyers “safe and protected.”

Related: The ultimate guide to travel insurance

Virgin Atlantic’s coverage was automatically applied to all existing and new bookings on 31 August and kicks in if a customer becomes ill with COVID-19 while on a trip they flew on with Virgin Atlantic.

The coverage will be valid for all Virgin Atlantic flights from 24 August 2020, to 31 March 2021. Additionally, Virgin Atlantic Holidays customers will benefit from the coverage as long as their flights are with Virgin Atlantic. The coverage extends even further to those passengers flying on partner airline metal like Delta or Air France/KLM, so long as they’re travelling on a Virgin Atlantic-issued ticket.

There is a catch, though: This insurance applies to COVID-19 only and would not replace a traditional travel insurance policy. If, for example, you were involved in a motor vehicle accident during your trip, this policy would not cover your expenses, as they’re not related to COVID-19.

Related: Does my travel insurance cover COVID-19?

Virgin’s insurance with Allianz Assistance includes emergency medical costs, associated expenses such as transport, accommodation and repatriation up to £500,000 for all passengers listed on the same booking. Additional coverage includes £3,000 for customers who might get denied boarding whether leaving or returning home as well as being held in quarantine. Passengers will also benefit from 24-hour emergency medical assistance, wherever they are in the world.

Unlike many other regular insurance policies, Virgin’s comes with no excess payable. It includes coverage for the whole trip, irrespective of time away, age or passenger or cabin class of the flight. The insurance even includes one-way flights and covers passengers up to 12 hours after arriving at their destination.

In times when demand for travel has reached unprecedented lows, airlines are struggling to fill their planes and convince wary customers to book flights. By taking additional measures such as providing extra insurance in the COVID-19 era, Virgin Atlantic and Etihad are hoping to give flyers additional peace of mind.

“Whether it’s to visit friends and relatives or take a well-deserved break, we believe that this complimentary cover will provide some added reassurance for our customers as they start to plan trips further afield”, said Juha Jarvinen, Virgin’s chief commercial officer in a statement.

Additional reporting by Melanie Lieberman.  

Featured photo by Nicky Kelvin/The Points Guy.

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