By Veronica Inveen
Dec 10, 2020
IN THE TIME OF COVID-19, health insurance is becoming as standard as meal service on a long-haul flight.
Cathay Pacific is the latest airline to announce that passengers will receive free COVID-19 insurance when they book travel. Now through February 28, 2021, the airline will automatically enlist passengers for coverage for all medical expenses related to a COVID-19 diagnosis while traveling.
The plan, through AXA General Insurance, will cover the cost of COVID-19 tests and hospitalization incurred while traveling, up to US$200,000. Travelers who are ordered to enter quarantine while away from home will receive an allowance of US$100 per day, up to 14 days. Evacuation and repatriation costs are also covered.
The insurance is valid for 30 days from departure or until travelers return home, whichever is earliest. But it’s important to note that the insurance is only valid when overseas (it won’t cover costs incurred in your home country) and will only cover COVID-19-related medical expenses.
Cathay Pacific has also set up a 24/7 emergency hotline for COVID-19 cases that customers can call or send messages on WhatsApp.
For extra assurance, the airline has changed its procedures to include temperature checks and contactless check-in and boarding. All passengers and crew members must wear face masks throughout the flight and surfaces are routinely cleaned and disinfected.
Over the past few months, more and more travel companies, from resorts to airlines, have included COVID-19 travel insurance for free with bookings. Earlier this week, Wyndham’s Viva Resorts announced a similar free insurance policy for travelers visiting the all-inclusives in Mexico, the Dominican Republic and the Bahamas. In August, the Canary Islands began offering free travel insurance for coronavirus-related costs incurred while traveling. Airlines like Etihad and Virgin Atlantic also began offering insurance to passengers to lure back reluctant travelers.