To incentivize concerned passengers to book air travel, Etihad Airways is including free COVID-19 insurance with every international ticket issued by the airline for flights from Sept. 7 through Dec. 31, 2020. The announcement of this policy follows the implementation of a similar one by Virgin Atlantic last month.
“This additional cover will not only instill confidence to travel but also reassure our guests that we are doing all we can to keep them safe and protected,” Duncan Bureau, Etihad Airways’ Senior Vice President of Sales and Distribution, said in a statement. “As more countries start opening their borders, we are making it as easy as possible for our guests to plan their next trip, hassle-free.”
The insurance policy, which is offered through AXA, covers travelers following their first flight outside of their home country for up to 31 days or until their return home, whichever comes first. While it does not cover PCR tests, it does cover up to 150,000 euros (approximately $175,000) of medical expenses incurred due to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, with the big caveat being that only approved procedures will be covered—you’ll have to call a customer service hotline to receive authorization. Time is a small price to pay for a pretty comprehensive policy!
The policy will also cover up to 100 euros (approximately $120) per day of expenses related to quarantining due to a positive COVID-19 diagnosis, including hotel stays and meals, for up to 14 days, which is typically the duration of a coronavirus-related quarantine. It also covers the full cost of medical repatriation due to COVID-19, as well as the return of your remains or your local funeral costs should you perish from COVID-19 on your travels (grim, but good to know…).
As is the case with all insurance policies, you should read the fine print (posted here) before taking your trip. Some significant points to note for this Etihad policy: travel to Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, Venezuela, Crimea, and Sevastopol is not covered, nor is travel to any destination for which a “government or regulatory authority in a country to/from which You are travelling [sic] has advised against non-essential or all travel.” So if you’re from the United States and the U.S. Department of State has issued a Level 4 “Do Not Travel” advisory for your destination, you won’t be covered unless that advisory was issued after you booked your flights. Travel on a cruise ship is also excluded from coverage.
Given that the insurance policy is free and automatically applied to all travelers flying on Etihad, it’s a pretty solid safety net for those who might not be covered by their own health insurance when traveling abroad.