Coronavirus Pandemic

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is causing significant disruption to many travellers' current and future travel plans. We are experiencing extremely high demand on our customer service and claims teams, and understand that the evolving nature of the situation may lead travellers to be unclear on what their options are. We have prepared the below resources to assist in navigating how coronavirus may affect their travel plans.

The information provided on this page is general advice only and has been prepared without taking into account your objectives, financial situation or needs. Please consider your personal circumstances and the policy wording.
 
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UNDERSTANDING CORONAVIRUS 
& TRAVEL INSURANCE

coronavirus questions

I'M OVERSEAS & NEED HELP

Our priority is helping you stay safe. If you're overseas and in an emergency medical situation, need to extend your policy, or are stuck overseas, see our overseas help section

recovering costs coronavirus

COMMON QUESTIONS 

We answer the most common questions we are asked about coronavirus and your Zoom Travel Insurance policy, including refunds and changing your travel dates.

coronavirus travelling

RECOVERING YOUR COSTS

There may be ways you can recover fees and deposits from your airline, accommodation, tour, or other  providers if your holiday has been disrupted by the Coronavirus pandemic.

travel alert coronavirus

TRAVEL ALERT INFORMATION

The coronavirus situation has been constantly evolving across the world. Visit our coronavirus travel alert.

 

I'M OVERSEAS & NEED HELP

If you are currently travelling, there are a number of ways you can protect yourself and stay informed as the situation changes.
 

MEDICAL EMERGENCIES

Our number one priority during this crisis is travellers who are overseas and in a medical emergency. Regardless of the general exclusion in our policy for pandemics and epidemics, we still encourage all travellers in an emergency medical situation to contact our Emergency Assistance team. They can provide guidance as to the next steps you can take. 

Our 24/7 Emergency Assistance Team are receiving a high number of enquiries from people who are not in an emergency medical situation. If you are in an actual emergency and experience a delay when calling our Emergency Team, please do not panic. Stay on the line if you can, or send an email. If you have sent an email, it will get seen, and our team will contact you as soon as they can.

We will all get through this situation by working together and prioritising people who are sick, injured and vulnerable. Please do not contact our Emergency Assistance Team unless you or someone on your policy is overseas and in a medical emergency. 

EXTENDING MY POLICY

If you are overseas and have to stay longer due to closed borders, flight rescheduling, or other travel bans, you can extend your policy yourself online. People who have pre-existing conditions may be blocked by the system from extending their policy. Please email our customer service team on [email protected]. While we should normally not allow extensions after a policy has expired, we will honour extensions if you email us before your policy has expired. The extra days on your policy will likely incur a fee. To reduce emails back and forth, please let us know in that email whether there is a dollar amount you give approval for us to charge to your card (e.g. I approve up to $49 to be charged from my card).

Please be advised that all policies, including policies which are extended, continue to have a general exclusion for claims arising from or associated with pandemics and epidemics.

I NEED TO GET HOME

If you're stuck overseas and need to get home, there are a number of steps you can take to both stay safe and get home as soon as possible.
 
Follow local laws
Many countries are locking down domestic and international travel, or limiting movement in local areas. Follow and understand local laws, as fines or imprisonment may be employed at this time to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Practice good hygiene and social distancing
The current advice is to wash your hands with soap and running water regularly, or to use hand sanitiser when that is not available. Avoid coming into close contact with other people.

Contact your airline
DFAT and MFAT are advising overseas travellers should return home as soon as possible, as commercial flights may not be available later. Contact your airline to see when is the earliest they can reschedule your flight home.

Leave enough time
If you are travelling soon, you may find that mobile and self-print boarding passes have been disabled, and additional screening procedures may cause delays. Make sure you have enough time to check-in at the airport at the check-in counter.

STAY UP-TO-DATE

Understand the Coronavirus
There is a lot of information and resources in relation to the Coronavirus, which includes a lot of false information about the virus. We recommend authoritative resources such as the World Health Organization (WHO), which provides advice to countries and individuals on measures to protect health and prevent the spread of this outbreak and answers frequently asked questions.

Australians should visit smartraveller.gov.au, the official advice site for Australians living and travelling overseas. You can subscribe to your destination and our news and follow us on Facebook and Twitter to receive latest updates on the situation as they occur.

New Zealanders should visit safetravel.govt.nz. The official advice site for New Zealanders living and travelling overseas. Register your travel plans so the government can account for your safety and wellbeing. You can subscribe here to receive updates on travel advisories.
 
 

CORONAVIRUS COMMON QUESTIONS

We understand that the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is causing significant disruption to many travellers current and future travel plans. Below are some of the most common questions regarding Coronavirus, travel, and travel insurance. 
 
  • What is the novel coronavirus COVID-19?
  • The COVID-19 Coronavirus is a respiratory illness caused by a novel, or new strain of coronavirus previously not identified in human beings. Symptoms range from a mild cough to severe pneumonia. Some people recover easily, while others get very sick very quickly and may become critically ill. It appears to be less severe in children and healthy people, and more severe in older people, people who smoke, and people who are immunocompromised. There is clear evidence that the virus spreads from person to person. The illness originated in China, but there are now occurrences of the novel coronavirus in over 100 countries. 

  • What if I want to cancel or amend my travel plans because of Coronavirus?
  • If you want to change your travel plans, we highly recommend contacting your travel providers, such as airlines, tour and accommodation companies, to check what options you have. Many providers are offering refunds, rescheduling or credit notes due to the Coronavirus. Each provider has different policies, and it may depend on when you're travelling and where you're travelling to. Visit here to learn more about amending your travel plans. You can also amend your travel insurance policy dates and destinations, up to 12 months from the date of issue, and you can extend your policy yourself online. People who have pre-existing conditions may be blocked by the system from extending their policy. Please email our customer service team on [email protected]. Please be advised that there is a very high volume of travellers contacting us, but we will get back to you as soon as you can.

  • How will Coronavirus affect my travel plans?
  • There may be delays or cancellations from travel providers, such as airlines, tour operators and accommodation companies. Additionally, some countries are locking down domestic or international travel, cancelling mass gatherings or closing public facilities such as museums and cinemas. Many customers who are travelling soon may be worried about the possibility of contracting the virus while they are overseas. Other people are considering cancelling or changing their existing travel plans because of fears of disruptions, such as closures of national borders and travel bans. A national 'Do Not Travel' warning was issued by Australia's DFAT on 18/3/2020 with no specified end date.

  • Does my Zoom travel insurance policy have an exclusion regarding epidemics and pandemics?
  • Yes, all Zoom policies have a general exclusion for the threat of, likely, or actual epidemics and pandemics. This means that regardless of when you purchased your policy, you are unlikely to be covered under the policy for any claim relating to the Coronavirus. This includes (but is not limited to) situations where you decide or need to cancel your plans due to the Coronavirus, if you are quarantined or suffer travel delays due to the Coronavirus. This applies to all countries you travel to or are planning to travel to, even those which do not currently have a DFAT or MFAT travel warning advisory issued. 

  • Why is there a general exclusion for pandemics and epidemics?
  • We understand that this is a difficult and stressful time for our customers, and the general exclusion may be disappointing. It is extremely difficult for our team to assess and predict the scope and severity of wide-reaching catastrophic global events like pandemics, epidemics, or the outbreak of war. We continue to assess all claims on a case-by-case basis, even with the general exclusion in place.

  • Can I still make a claim if you have an exclusion in your policy?
  • If you suffer a loss, you are still entitled to lodge a claim through our online claims system. Every claim is assessed individually on a case-by-case basis by our Claims Team, and will consider the policy wording and personal circumstances. During the claims process, you can ask your Claim Manager questions regarding your claim if you are unsure of what documents you need. If, after your claim has been assessed, you are unhappy with the outcome, you can make a complaint, and will reconsider your claim in accordance with our Complaints Policy.

  • What do I do if my flights have been cancelled or delayed?
  • Many major airlines have suspended or significantly reduced flights to a number of countries, including mainland China, South Korea, and Italy. Your Zoom policy is unlikely to cover claims for any costs related to the Coronavirus. However, many airlines and travel providers are providing refunds, free or low-cost rescheduling or credit notes. Visit here for more on recouping costs from travel providers.

  • What if I contract Coronavirus?
  • If you think you may have the coronavirus, please contact our emergency assistance provider, First Assistance. They can provide guidance as to the next steps you can take. Will consider these claims on a case-by-case basis on the policy wording and your individual circumstances.

  • What if I am quarantined because of Coronavirus, either here or overseas?
  • If you are quarantined because of the Coronavirus in Australia/New Zealand and need to cancel your trip or make alternative travel arrangements, we are unlikely to be able to cover your costs due to the exclusion regarding pandemics and epidemics. You are however still entitled to lodge a claim, as all claims are assessed on a case-by-case basis. 

  • What if I get Coronavirus while travelling in Australia?
  • While you are in Australia, we are unable to cover any domestic medical expenses, as travel insurers are prevented from doing so by Australian legislation. If you are an Australian permanent resident or citizen, you will likely have access to Medicare or your private health insurance.

  • Will I be covered by Reciprocal Health Agreements?
  • Australia has agreements with 11 countries that covers the cost of medically necessary care when Australians visit certain countries and visitors from these countries visit Australia. The list of countries includes Italy, New Zealand, the UK and the Netherlands.

    Reciprocal health care agreements can cover or subsidise some emergency medical costs. This is usually for urgent treatment that can't wait until you get home.

    Some reciprocal health care agreements can cover other costs. This can include local medical transport, medication and specialist services.
    Unfortunately, a reciprocal health care agreement is not a substitute for insurance, and it’s likely you’ll still have some out of pocket expenses. Our policy does not cover medical care that is covered under a reciprocal health care agreement.

  • If the countries we are travelling to close their borders and do not let us in, are we covered?
  • If the countries you are travelling to close their borders because of the Coronavirus, you will not be covered for the cancellation or additional costs of your holiday. This is because we have a general exclusion for claims related to pandemics and epidemics in our policy.

  • I took the policy out before Coronavirus was known so why would you not cover me?
  • The epidemic exclusion in our policy for pandemics and epidemics applies to all sections of the policy, regardless of when a policy was purchased or where you are travelling to. There is no reference in the exclusion to when the policy was purchased.

  • What if there is a government-issued travel alert for the country I wish to travel to?
    For example “Do not travel in relation to coronavirus.”
  • The policy exclusion regarding epidemics and pandemics means that no matter when you purchased your policy, you are unlikely to be covered for cancelling your trip to any destination. This applies to all countries, even those that Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) has not raised a travel-warning about.

  • Can I cancel my travel insurance policy if I’m not covered for Coronavirus-related claims?
  • If you don’t want your Zoom policy anymore, you can cancel your travel insurance and receive a refund provided that your policy hasn't started and you are within the cooling-off period. This is typically 14 days, or the number of days between your policy issue date and the start date of your policy if you purchased less than 14 days before travel. If you wish to cancel your trip more than 14 days after purchase, you can also amend your travel insurance policy dates and destinations, up to 12 months from the date of issue. Many customers can extend your policy yourself online, however people who have pre-existing conditions may be blocked by the system from extending their policy. Please email our customer service team on [email protected]. Please be advised that there is a very high volume of travellers contacting us, but we will get back to you as soon as you can.

 
 

RECOVERING YOUR TRAVEL COSTS

In the unfortunate event that your travel plans have been affected by the Coronavirus, there are steps that you can
take to recover your pre-paid expenses. Many travel providers are offering refunds, rescheduling or credit notes as a gesture of goodwill. Additionally, you may have rights under Australian Consumer Law to recover deposits for travel arrangements which have been cancelled.
 

STEPS YOU CAN CONSIDER

​Get in touch with your booking agent
We recommend you contact your travel agent or travel provider regarding the best option in cancelling or altering your trip. Some booking agents are waiving cancellation or amendment fees. Certain agents are offering travel credits to be used within 12 months.

Contact your airline directly
Many airlines have offered refunds for travel to and from mainland China, and some are also offering refunds and waived cancellation fees to other countries in relation to Coronavirus. When you purchase a flight, an airline is responsible for getting you to your destination. All your usual consumer rights apply when you purchase domestic flights and international flights departing Australia or New Zealand.

Contact your accommodation provider directly
A growing number of hotel providers have issued statements that they will offer free cancellations or rescheduling in countries affected by the Coronavirus. Many providers are evolving their policy on Coronavirus daily.

Speak with your cruise company
With known cases of Coronavirus onboard a cruise ship, cruise lines have swiftly reacted to the outbreak and started implementing their own precautions and policies. Many cruise lines have cancelled or altered scheduled itineraries and have issued statements to the effect that guests on cancelled cruises will receive full refunds.

Check your details
Some airlines are proactively contacting customers about flight rearrangements. Make sure they can get in touch by ensuring your details are up-to-date in the “online account” or “manage booking” area of the airline’s website.

Enquire with your credit card company 
You should try to resolve any dispute with your travel service provider directly in the first instance. If that fails and you booked your travel with your credit card, you may be able to lodge a dispute for cancelled or unfulfilled services. Log into your internet banking or call your institution for instructions on how to do this.

CONTACT DETAILS

 
AIRLINE AUSTRALIA NEW ZEALAND
REFUND/WAIVER FORM/ONLINE
Air New Zealand 1800 00 55 63 0800 737 000 Manage booking
Asiana +61 2 9260 4300 +64 9 905 6708 Manage booking
British Airways +61 1300 767 177 09 966 9777 Manage booking
Cathay Pacific 131 747 0800 441 289 Manage booking
China Airlines 1300 668 052 +64 9 256 8088 Manage booking
Emirates +61 1300 303 777 +64 50 836 4728 Manage booking
Etihad +61 1300 532 215  +61 1300 532 215 Manage booking
Hong Kong Airlines 852-3916-3666  0800 040 514 [email protected] [email protected]
Japan Airways 1800-531-870 0800-441-090 Manage booking online
Jetstar 13 15 38 +64 9975 9426
0800 800 995
Refund form
KLM 1300 392 192 +64 9 921 6040 Refund form
                     
Korean Air  
+82-2-2656-2001
Refund guidelines
Lufthansa +61 1300 655 727 +64 800 945220* Manage booking
Malaysia 132627 (within Australia)
+6 03 7843 3000 (Outside Australia)
0800 777 747 Manage booking
Qantas 13 13 13 0800 808 767 (within NZ)
+64 9 3578900 (outside NZ)
Waiver form
Qatar 1300 340 600 option 1
+61 291654313
+64 9 913-5279 Contact us
Scoot +61 2 9009 0860 Manage booking
Singapore 13 10 11 +64 9 379 3209 Manage booking
Thai 1300 651 960 (within Australia)
  +61-2 9844-0999
 [email protected]
+64 9 377-3886
[email protected]
[email protected]
or [email protected]
Virgin Atlantic +44 (0)344 874 7747  +44 (0)344 874 7747 Manage booking
Virgin Australia 13 67 89  0800 67 0000 Manage booking