Virgin Atlantic has just become the second global airline to offer coronavirus insurance to passengers, following a similar move from Emirates about a month ago.
Virgin Atlantic coronavirus insurance basics
Virgin Atlantic has today announced plans to introduce free COVID-19 insurance coverage for all new and existing bookings, in order to allow customers to book with confidence. This policy will apply for travel from August 24, 2020, through March 31, 2021.
This policy automatically applies to all flights booked with Virgin Atlantic (this includes Virgin Atlantic Holidays bookings, as well as those booked on Virgin Atlantic tickets for travel on Delta or Air France-KLM), and is intended to complement existing travel insurance and provide additional peace of mind for upcoming trips.
In the event that anyone on a booking becomes ill with COVID-19 while traveling, this coverage will cover costs incurred. This coverage is provided by Allianz Assistance, and covers emergency medical and associated expenses while abroad, totaling up to £500,000 per customer. Virgin Atlantic markets that this is the highest coverage provided by any airline to date, with no excess payment required.
The policy also covers expenses of up to £3,000 that are incurred if a customer is denied boarding, or has to quarantine due to positive or suspected COVID-19 during a trip.
Virgin Atlantic is becoming the second global airline to offer this
Key features of Virgin Atlantic’s coverage
You can find the full details of Virgin Atlantic’s coverage here, though just to mention a few key points, this covers:
- 24-hour emergency medical assistance
- £500,000 of emergency medical expenses if you become ill due to coronavirus during your journey, including treatment, transport and accommodation costs
- Additional costs should a customer 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
- No excess payable
- Coverage for the whole trip, with no upper limit on the length of customer’s time away
- Coverage for all passengers with no restrictions on age, travel class, or length of journey
- Coverage starts from the point of booking and ends when the customer returns home or to a hospital or nursing home in their home country; one-way trips are included, with the insurance coverage valid until the end of the journey, which is defined as 12 hours after the arrival of the customer’s final flight
Virgin Atlantic is offering coronavirus insurance with all tickets
This kind of travel coverage is great
There are a lot of risks and logistical challenges with international travel nowadays. A lot of medical policies specifically exclude coverage in the event that you get coronavirus. Understandably, this is a major concern for people, since you could find yourself in a foreign country without health insurance, on the hook for whatever your medical treatment costs are.
To see something like this from Virgin Atlantic is fantastic, and could be a reason to book the airline over competitors.
In many ways this policy sounds better than Emirates’, though I’d still approach this with caution, and would make sure to read the entire coverage guide.
Also keep in mind that the cost of coronavirus testing isn’t covered, unless it’s medically necessary for being diagnosed (in other words, if you have to get a coronavirus test to travel to a destination, that wouldn’t be covered).
This insurance could be a reason to choose Virgin Atlantic over a competitor
For a limited time, Virgin Atlantic is offering coronavirus insurance for all passengers. This is a fantastic feature that should put people booking travel at ease, given what a major concern this is. That being said, there are still lots of logistical challenges with international travel, coronavirus insurance or not.
Would free coronavirus insurance impact the airline you book?
Wish this applied to award tickets which don’t include a Virgin Atlantic flight but this is still a nice gesture.
Interesting, these airlines are betting that the vast majority of customers will not get covid-19, but the insurance could lure more customers to fly. It might be a good bet as there is currently not much evidence of transmission on an airplane. On the other hand if there's a major transmission event, I wonder if they'd come up with some excuse to not pay out the insurance to half the passengers.
VS are offering a lot of incentives to drive customers to book reward and cash flights at present, but I think it’s wise to proceed with caution, as they have been appalling at refunding customers and are still in financial limbo, with a business model that cannot be sustainable or profitable in a covid world.
I must be reading this part differently than you.
"Am I covered if I use Flying Club miles (or Miles Plus Money) to purchase the ticket?
Yes as long as you have a Virgin Atlantic ticket (this is normally the case for ticket purchased with Flying Club miles) or you booked your travel on virginatlantic.com and all other policy eligibility criteria are met. "
Nothing will really help significantly until the UK opens up to tourism again without any quarantine.
This still doesn't address the problem of travelling against FCO advice - it invalidates your travel insurance. For Virgin to pick up business, they need to be able to provide a policy which replaces travel insurance, not just covers one illness.
What a shame this doesn't cover award travel. Which is what I will be using until we get some months further along the Covid journey.
Their FAQ asks the question about whether or not this meets the requirements of countries requiring proof of Covid coverage upon entering (e.g. Brazil) but then fails to answer the question. If you reach out to clarify anything about this to Virgin can you specifically ask whether there is a mechanism to get an email/documentation that indicates the traveler is insured? Otherwise a traveler risks being denied entry/boarding if the airline (e.g. partner like Delta)...
Their FAQ asks the question about whether or not this meets the requirements of countries requiring proof of Covid coverage upon entering (e.g. Brazil) but then fails to answer the question. If you reach out to clarify anything about this to Virgin can you specifically ask whether there is a mechanism to get an email/documentation that indicates the traveler is insured? Otherwise a traveler risks being denied entry/boarding if the airline (e.g. partner like Delta) isn't aware/doesn't understand or the immigration asks for a print out proving with a person's name listed, etc..
Is there anywhere Virgin flies to that doesn't have major travel restrictions and would be worth taking up this 8gfer for?