Unsurprisingly, More Travelers Plan to Buy Travel Insurance in 2021

But buyers beware—pandemics aren't usually covered in standard plans

Young woman using laptop, paying with credit card, travel booking
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The coronavirus has not only changed the travel industry at large, but it's also changed the way people are traveling. Namely, people are looking a lot more carefully at travel insurance—for pretty obvious reasons. According to a Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection's annual travel survey, 49 percent of travelers plan on buying travel insurance more frequently in 2021 than they did in 2020, an increase compared to last year's results.

“The pandemic is going to continue to disrupt the travel industry well into 2021, so it seems only natural that traveler behaviors are changing and intent to buy travel insurance is spiking,” Carol Mueller, vice president of Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection, said in a statement.

When the pandemic began in March, many travelers who did purchase travel insurance were left high and dry, given that most travel insurance does not cover pandemic-related travel issues. And while some companies are offering new plans specifically for COVID-19 coverage (notably Virgin Atlantic, which now gives all passengers booked through the airline a free COVID-10 insurance policy), most are keeping to their old plans. Only high-priced "cancel-for-any-reason" insurance plans typically cover pandemics.

But as it turns out, the pandemic isn't the number one reason people want to purchase travel insurance. The Berkshire Hathaway survey showed that saving time and money was the primary reason, with the pandemic coming in second. Travelers are also more worried about terrorism than they are disease outbreaks, indicating that some travelers might be just fine purchasing standard travel insurance moving forward. (Although, for what it's worth, terrorism is not typically covered by insurance plans either.)

So if you do decide to buy travel insurance for any upcoming trips, you'd be wise to read the fine print to make sure you're covered for what you're most worried about.

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