With travel appetites high and bookings exceeding 2019 numbers across the industry, there is a need for more information on post-pandemic travel insurance. Dr Geoff Ramin, the Chief Medical Officer for Allianz Partners, will be answering common travel insurance questions monthly to ensure every traveller has up-to-date and relevant information on today’s travel climate.
Today, Dr Ramin answers the common question, “what happens if I test positive to COVID-19 while I’m overseas?”.
“Although we have globally learned to live with COVID-19, the world isn’t quite the same. Even with borders reopened, the rules are constantly changing and there are many regulations travellers need to be aware of.
One of the most common questions Allianz’s Australia-based call centre team get asked as people prepare for their trip is: “What happens if I test positive to COVID-19 while I’m overseas?”
Trying to navigate different country’s COVID-19 rules and testing requirements is incredibly challenging. When you’re sick, even more so, especially if additional calls are needed to rearrange travel. This is where your travel insurance provider comes in.
Two key factors
There are two key challenges a traveller may face when testing positive before flying home:
- 1. You might feel well enough to travel, but can’t produce the negative test needed to get on the plane resulting in an unexpected extension to your travel plans;
- 2. You are very sick (the worse case scenario) and require medical assistance while overseas.
At Allianz, we use our expertise in dealing with complex, foreign medical systems to support and better guide people through this confusing time.
COVID still affects people differently and individual cases can vary based on existing symptoms, and any risk factors such as age, pre-existing conditions, medical history, and any co-morbidities. With this information medical professionals can more accurately predict the course of the disease – in terms of severity and duration.
What to do when you need assistance
At Allianz, we advise that you contact us immediately if you fall ill and require assistance finding medical treatment. Once your overall medical condition has been determined, our team of doctors, nurses and case managers can make informed decisions on how to ensure you get the best possible care. This includes tapping into our global medical networks if the need arises.
Be sure to get an insurance policy that covers overseas medical and hospital expenses. Without it, a hospital stay overseas can add a significant unexpected cost to your holiday.
Tested positive but asymptomatic?
Don’t forget, just because you’re asymptomatic, or have mild symptoms, doesn’t mean you can automatically fly home. While Australia no longer requires a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country, some main transit hubs like Hong Kong and Dubai do. There are also specific rules about what kind of test is required and a time window that it is considered valid. Check with your airline and the local airport website for the most current guidelines.
If you can’t come home on your scheduled flight, depending on the insurance product and the level of cover you have purchased, you may be able to claim for additional accommodation and travel expenses. When required, Allianz helps liaise with the local consulate and directs customers to the right website to ensure you comply with the local legislation while testing positive.
Get the help from the experts
If you have symptoms that need medical treatment, our team at Allianz works with a global network of multilingual travel and medical assistance specialists, which means we can direct you to the most appropriate facility in the country you are in.
The ever-changing travelling landscape in the post-COVID world can be challenging for travellers, and if COVID-19 has proven anything, it is the value of travel insurance to provide cover when overseas.
But not all policies are created equal so check the table of benefits and the Product Disclosure Statement to understand if your policy is the right match for you and your holiday. You wouldn’t buy a pair of glasses that aren’t your prescription, and it’s the same with insurance – it’s important that your policy is the right match.”
So, there you have it. Purchasing a comprehensive policy before travel ensures the right level of care should your travel be interrupted by COVID-19. To find the best Allianz travel insurance product, visit their website here.
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