Coronavirus: Covid-19 Information for Travelers from AAA

SHOULD I STILL TRAVEL?

We’re hearing from many of our members who are torn as to whether they should continue with their travel plans or cancel them. We can’t make that decision for our members, but are providing information on travel safety and insurance to help travelers make the decision that is right for them.

"Research is important to any traveler ahead of a trip. It’s no different with the coronavirus," said Brenda Hunsberger, Senior Vice President Travel Services, AAA Club Alliance. "Follow the Center for Disease Control and State Department’s recommendations, consult your health care professional, find out about the change and cancellation policies from your travel provider (airline, cruise line, hotel, tour operator, etc.), and talk to a travel pro about travel insurance possibilities before making any decision."

AAA Travel continues to monitor the situation and is in regular contact with our travel partners. Many travel providers, including airlines, hotels, cruise lines and tour operators have altered itineraries and adjusted their policies in response to the outbreak.

You may want to explore these websites for additional guidance:

TRAVEL – IS IT STILL SAFE?

Traveling anywhere else is a personal decision you have to make based on all facts available.

First and foremost, if you are feeling sick, don’t travel. Even if you are not sick, talk to your health care provider about medical recommendations, especially as it may relate to your age and personal health.

For travelers considering a cruise vacation, the U.S. State Department and CDC now recommend that U.S. citizens, particularly those with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship. As noted above, some cruise lines are canceling or suspending operations for now.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the leading voice of the global cruise industry, has adopted additional enhanced screening measures in response to COVID-19.

"Our AAA travel agents are knowledgeable, caring and available to assist members if they have questions or concerns about cruises or other travel," said Hunsberger.

TRAVEL INSURANCE – DOES IT COVER THE CORONAVIRUS?

Travel insurance generally excludes epidemics and pandemics. If you have a trip already booked, check with your travel providers (cruise line, airline, hotel, etc.) to see what waivers they have put in place. If you are planning a trip, also check with travel providers to understand their coronavirus-related policies and connect with a travel agent. Depending on your situation, there could be some travel insurance options for your needs.

No matter where you travel, make sure you are taking everyday preventive measures to help halt the spread of respiratory diseases.

  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

TIPS FOR TRAVELERS:

  • Stay informed and remain vigilant when traveling and heed all official advisories.
  • Discuss your travel plans with your health care provider. Older adults and travelers with underlying health issues may be at risk for more severe disease.
  • Travel with all necessary travel documentation, including health insurance cards.
  • Consult your travel professional or travel providers for any changes to travel plans or requirements. AAA travel agents are available to assist members.
  • Know the nearest location of and contact information for the U.S. embassy or consulate to contact them in case of an emergency. Also, enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).
  • If you have purchased travel insurance, carefully review your policy. As of February 3, 2020, both the CDC and the World Health Organization have recognized 2019 Novel Coronavirus as an epidemic. Many travel protection plans exclude losses caused directly or indirectly by an epidemic. Customers whose plan includes the epidemic exclusion may still have coverage for a covered loss occurring on or prior to February 3, 2020. In addition,  Allianz Travel Insurance considers coronavirus a “known event” as of January 22, 2020.  Travel protection plans generally exclude losses caused by events that were known or foreseeable at the time the plan is purchased. Customers who purchased their plan prior to January 22, 2020 may still have coverage for a trip booked to China or other impacted areas.
  • Follow CDC’s recommendations for everyday preventive measures to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases:
    • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with your hands.
    • Cover your nose and mouth when sneezing and coughing. Use a tissue or your bent elbow when coughing or sneezing, dispose of it, and wash your hands afterward.
    • Bring at least 14 days of extra medication in case of unexpected travel delays, and a list of all medications in case you need refills.

QUARANTINE – WHAT IS THE LIKELIHOOD I COULD BE QUARANTINED IF I TRAVEL?

If you choose to take that trip:

  • Travel with all necessary travel documentation, including health insurance cards.
  • At the top of your packing list, AAA recommends that travelers pack an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol and disinfecting wipes.
  • Pack any extra supplies you may need, including additional doses of medication, in the event your return trip is delayed.
  • Know the nearest location of and contact information for the U.S. embassy or consulate. Also, enroll in the State Department’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP), so you can be reached if the situation changes while abroad.
  • U.S. citizens who have been in impacted countries who attempt to return to the United States will be redirected to one of the designated U.S. airports and undergo enhanced health screenings by CDC staff for fever, cough, and shortness of breath.

ABOUT AAA

AAA Club Alliance provides more than 6 Million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services, and is an affiliate of AAA National, serving more than 60 million motorists in North America. Drivers can request roadside assistance, identify nearby gas prices, locate discounts, book a hotel, or map a route via the AAA Mobile app. To join, visit www.AAA.com