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Emirates expands free pandemic travel insurance offering

written by Hannah Dowling | November 24, 2020

Emirates has expanded its offering for COVID-19 related insurance to include “multi-risk” travel cover for all passengers from 1 December.

The new expanded insurance offering is provided by AIG Travel, and covers any emergency medical expenses up to US$500,000, trip cancellation and curtailment expenses, as well as loss of baggage or belongings.

The coverage automatically applies to any customers who purchase a ticket on an Emirates flight from 1 December, including codeshare flights, and customers are under no obligation to utilise this cover.

Cover also includes provisions for personal accidents that occurred during travel, winter sports cover, and trip disruptions due to unexpected air space closure, travel recommendations or advisories.

Some specifics of the cover include:

  • Out-of-Country Emergency Medical Expenses & Emergency Medical Evacuation up to US$500,000, valid for COVID-19 (contracted during the trip) and other medical emergencies while travelling abroad;
  • Trip Cancellation up to US$7,500 for non-refundable costs if the traveller or a relative (as defined in the policy) is unable to travel because they are diagnosed with COVID-19 before the scheduled trip departure date, or for other named reasons – similar to other comprehensive travel cover products;
  • Trip Cancellation or Curtailment up to US$7,500 if the school year is extended due to COVID-19 beyond the departure date, and the traveller or a relative (as defined in the policy) is a full-time teacher, full-time employee, or a student at a primary or secondary school;
  • Trip Curtailment up to US$7,500 for non-refundable trip costs and additional costs to return to their country of residence if the traveller or a relative (as defined in the policy) falls critically ill, for instance, contracts COVID-19 while traveling abroad;
  • Travel Abandonment up to US$7,500 if the traveller fails a COVID-19-related test or medical screening at the airport and is required to abandon the trip; and
  • US$150 per day per person, for up to 14 consecutive days if, while outside of their country of residence, the traveller tests positive for COVID-19, and if they are unexpectedly placed into a mandatory quarantine outside their country of residence by a governmental body.

HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairman and CEO of Emirates, said, “Emirates was the first airline to offer complimentary global COVID-19 cover for travellers back in July, and the response from our customers has been tremendously encouraging. We’ve not rested on our laurels and instead continued to look at how we can offer our customers an even better proposition. We’re very pleased to be able to now provide this new multi-risk travel insurance and COVID-19 cover, which is another industry first, to all our customers.

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“We see a strong appetite for travel around the world, especially heading into the winter holidays as people seek warmer climates and family destinations like Dubai. By launching this new multi-risk travel insurance and COVID-19 cover, we aim to give our customers even more confidence in making their travel plans this winter and moving into 2021.”

The current insurance offering is a massive step-up from the original COVID-19 insurance offered by the UAE-based carrier, first revealed in July.

At that time, Emirates announced that it would cover its customers’ medical and quarantine expenses, totalling up to almost $250,000, should a passenger fall ill with COVID-19 while travelling overseas.

The new Emirates offering also exceeds any other similar offerings currently on the market, after being upped by Virgin Atlantic shortly after its initial announcement.

In August, Virgin Atlantic introduced its own COVID-19 travel insurance offering that exceeded that of Emirates, announced just a month before it, despite Virgin struggling to keep afloat.

Virgin Atlantic’s offering included:

  • 24-hour emergency medical assistance;
  • £500,000 (US$666,000) of emergency medical expenses for someone who contracts COVID-19 while travelling;
  • Cover of costs should a passenger be denied boarding due to suspected or actual COVID-19, or if they are held in quarantine, including accommodation, transport charges, refreshments, booking amendment fees and other travel expenses;
  • Repatriation home, including private air ambulance where necessary;
  • Cover for the whole trip, with no upper limit on the length of customer’s time away; and
  • Cover for all passengers with no restrictions on age, travel class or length of the journey.

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