Beijing in April - how would travel ins. help?

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Topic Author
Carson
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Beijing in April - how would travel ins. help?

Post by Carson » Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:55 am

I am NOT looking for medical advice, rather this is a personal consumer issue. FWIW, DH and I have travelled in China before, and have a good feel for navigating transportation/tourism on our own.

In December, we booked flights for our family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids) to go to Beijing for 6 days this coming April. Flight cost for all 4 was $2k - I assume we are basic economy class, United Airlines. Since then, we reserved a hotel on Booking.com (not prepaid) and received our visas from the Consulate ($560).

We weren't travelling to Wuhan, but very likely going to take the train to Xian for an overnight/day trip. I need to get those tickets 30 days before our trip.

At this point, we are watchfully waiting to see how the situation develops and really not thinking about it any decisions until the end of February.

We are pretty shoestring travellers and have never purchased travel insurance. A friend has strongly suggested that I do so, but I'm really failing to see how it would protect us in the unknowns of this situation. I looked briefly at travel insurance policies and I didn't find any that had 'cancel for any reason' included, and some specifically excluded epidemics.
It would be a huge bummer to lose out on the cost of the flight, but that's already been spent. I'm not as concerned with getting sick when there ,but if there's some kind of transportation shut down/lock down or we can't somehow get home, well, that would be a considerable problem.

So, any thoughts on what purchasing a travel ins. policy would do?
30-something personal finance enthusiast, just get getting started on this whole portfolio thing.

feehater
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Re: Beijing in April - how would travel ins. help?

Post by feehater » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:03 am

FWIW, United is already waiving change fees for Beijing for the next two weeks. So, if that keeps getting extended out, you'll at least be able to move the tickets to a much later date within the next year. Not a refund, but possibly better than nothing.

BuddyJet
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Re: Beijing in April - how would travel ins. help?

Post by BuddyJet » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:04 am

While insurance typically excludes voluntary cancellations, check with your airline about their China cancellation policy.

BA just announced their refund policy.

https://www.businesstraveller.com/busin ... oll-rises/
People say nothing is impossible. I do nothing all day.

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ResearchMed
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Re: Beijing in April - how would travel ins. help?

Post by ResearchMed » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:08 am

Carson wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:55 am
I am NOT looking for medical advice, rather this is a personal consumer issue. FWIW, DH and I have travelled in China before, and have a good feel for navigating transportation/tourism on our own.

In December, we booked flights for our family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids) to go to Beijing for 6 days this coming April. Flight cost for all 4 was $2k - I assume we are basic economy class, United Airlines. Since then, we reserved a hotel on Booking.com (not prepaid) and received our visas from the Consulate ($560).

We weren't travelling to Wuhan, but very likely going to take the train to Xian for an overnight/day trip. I need to get those tickets 30 days before our trip.

At this point, we are watchfully waiting to see how the situation develops and really not thinking about it any decisions until the end of February.

We are pretty shoestring travellers and have never purchased travel insurance. A friend has strongly suggested that I do so, but I'm really failing to see how it would protect us in the unknowns of this situation. I looked briefly at travel insurance policies and I didn't find any that had 'cancel for any reason' included, and some specifically excluded epidemics.
It would be a huge bummer to lose out on the cost of the flight, but that's already been spent. I'm not as concerned with getting sick when there ,but if there's some kind of transportation shut down/lock down or we can't somehow get home, well, that would be a considerable problem.

So, any thoughts on what purchasing a travel ins. policy would do?
There are several insurers that offer CFAR (Cancel For Any Reason).
Try contacting
www.TripInsuranceStore.com
They are a broker, and offer policies from several vetted insurers.
(We learned of them on www.CruiseCritic.com - where there is a very active "insurance" sub-forum - and we've purchased coverage through them from Travel Insured. Alas, we've had several "opportunities" to check out their claims, and they pay very promptly... including large claims.)

The CFAR is what it says... "ANY" reason. Period. Full Stop.
There IS a time restriction right around the departure date (annoying).
And TI now offers INTERRUPTION For Any Reason, which is relatively new, and *very* useful should one encounter any problem/concern while traveling.

Ask TIS about your specific questions. They are great about answering "but what if..." questions.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

Topic Author
Carson
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Re: Beijing in April - how would travel ins. help?

Post by Carson » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:11 am

Thanks, that is helpful. Really trying not to think/stress about this for another month, but I suppose I need to follow along for updates.

The funny thing about these tickets is they were actually booked partially, using vouchers from when our summer flight was cancelled due to Hurricane Dorian. :oops: Will be interesting if we have to re-book again.

I will look into that TripInsuranceStore, but likely have to weigh the cost of the policy against what we are actually out. Good tip to look into the actual dates that cancellation must be noted by.
30-something personal finance enthusiast, just get getting started on this whole portfolio thing.

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ResearchMed
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Re: Beijing in April - how would travel ins. help?

Post by ResearchMed » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:19 am

Carson wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:11 am
Thanks, that is helpful. Really trying not to think/stress about this for another month, but I suppose I need to follow along for updates.

The funny thing about these tickets is they were actually booked partially, using vouchers from when our summer flight was cancelled due to Hurricane Dorian. :oops: Will be interesting if we have to re-book again.

I will look into that TripInsuranceStore, but likely have to weigh the cost of the policy against what we are actually out. Good tip to look into the actual dates that cancellation must be noted by.
"Voucher" value could be tricky, in terms of insurance. Double check on that.

Also, IF you get insurance for the new corona virus, you might need to do it before it is declared an emergency, just like one can't wait for a hurricane to arrive (or the house to catch on fire) before starting the insurance.

RM
This signature is a placebo. You are in the control group.

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Watty
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Re: Beijing in April - how would travel ins. help?

Post by Watty » Mon Jan 27, 2020 10:45 am

Some credit cards provide limited travel insurance for travel that you buy with the credit card. Some credit cards eliminated this and car rental insurance last year so you would need to check the current benefits.

My impression is that while what they provide is very limited but it would still be worth checking the credit card you used to buy these tickets, and the visa fees, to see if it has any travel insurance.

When travel insurance has been discussed before The Trip Insurance Store has been favorably mentioned by a number of posters. After reading about them here I have used them and on the phone they seemed to be knowledgeable. I have only had one small claim with a policy I bought through them and it was promptly paid.

https://tripinsurancestore.com/

If the airlines are allowing free cancellations you might be able to cancel your current tickets and then buy new ones that you could get travel insurance for.

InvisibleAerobar
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Re: Beijing in April - how would travel ins. help?

Post by InvisibleAerobar » Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:27 pm

Carson wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:55 am
I am NOT looking for medical advice, rather this is a personal consumer issue. FWIW, DH and I have travelled in China before, and have a good feel for navigating transportation/tourism on our own.

In December, we booked flights for our family of 4 (2 adults, 2 kids) to go to Beijing for 6 days this coming April. Flight cost for all 4 was $2k - I assume we are basic economy class, United Airlines. Since then, we reserved a hotel on Booking.com (not prepaid) and received our visas from the Consulate ($560).

We weren't travelling to Wuhan, but very likely going to take the train to Xian for an overnight/day trip. I need to get those tickets 30 days before our trip.

At this point, we are watchfully waiting to see how the situation develops and really not thinking about it any decisions until the end of February.

We are pretty shoestring travellers and have never purchased travel insurance. A friend has strongly suggested that I do so, but I'm really failing to see how it would protect us in the unknowns of this situation. I looked briefly at travel insurance policies and I didn't find any that had 'cancel for any reason' included, and some specifically excluded epidemics.
It would be a huge bummer to lose out on the cost of the flight, but that's already been spent. I'm not as concerned with getting sick when there ,but if there's some kind of transportation shut down/lock down or we can't somehow get home, well, that would be a considerable problem.

So, any thoughts on what purchasing a travel ins. policy would do?
United is currently waiving the rescheduling fee. https://www.united.com/ual/en/us/fly/tr ... ml#waiver1
For wholly rescheduled travel departing after February 7, 2020, or for a change in departure or destination city, the change fee will be waived, but a difference in fare may apply. Rescheduled travel must be completed within one year from the date when the ticket was issued.
This, of course, assumes that you would still like to rebook in the near future.

02nz
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Re: Beijing in April - how would travel ins. help?

Post by 02nz » Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:31 pm

You'd need to read the details of coverage of the policy to determine if it provides relevant coverage.

I just read an article in which a prominent Hong Kong-based public health expert predicted that the epidemic could peak in April-May. I sure wouldn't plan non-essential travel to China in this time frame.

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dm200
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Re: Beijing in April - how would travel ins. help?

Post by dm200 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 12:50 pm

No expert - but several recent stories/articles on this latest China virus - say that a travel insurance policy would pay if the cancellation of the trip was "for any reason".

I suppose this is a good example of why "for any reason" makes sense. Around the world, volcanoes, earthquakes, civil unrest, hurricanes, and various high risk health issues and diseases!

I would not want to risk "getting stuck" in some such places.

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Random Musings
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Re: Beijing in April - how would travel ins. help?

Post by Random Musings » Mon Jan 27, 2020 5:14 pm

U.S. State Department has a level 3 warning for China - which is to reconsider traveling there.

With all the uncertainty, which could include supplies/services/new travel restrictions/additional locked down areas, I would wait until the situation is resolved.

I hope (pray) that the infectious rate isn't as high as initial looks, prior incidents like SARS and such really didn't make me concerned. I would be surprised is everything is back to "normal" by April. Talking to people I know, those with scientific backgrounds seem much more concerned about this than those without.

RM
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WildCat48
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Re: Beijing in April - how would travel ins. help?

Post by WildCat48 » Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:17 pm

I spend a lot of time in China every year, i'm talking three to four months a year. I would plan on not going on your trip. This will get out of hand.

quantAndHold
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Re: Beijing in April - how would travel ins. help?

Post by quantAndHold » Mon Jan 27, 2020 11:33 pm

I suspect any trip insurance that you buy at this point that would actually cover this scenario will be expensive. The closer you get to the trip, the more expensive insurance will be and the more exclusions policies have, because they start assuming that you’re buying it because you’re planning on using it.

But it might still be worth it...if you want insurance, you should get it as soon as possible.
Yes, I’m really that pedantic.

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dm200
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Re: Beijing in April - how would travel ins. help?

Post by dm200 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:31 am

WildCat48 wrote:
Mon Jan 27, 2020 9:17 pm
I spend a lot of time in China every year, i'm talking three to four months a year. I would plan on not going on your trip. This will get out of hand.
I agree. I think there might be a real risk of getting "stuck" somewhere - in addition to potential health risks.

Topic Author
Carson
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Re: Beijing in April - how would travel ins. help?

Post by Carson » Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:53 am

Yes, I am really concerned about the getting stuck thing. Also, many sites that we would be going to are shut down right now. Of course, like timing the market, it's asking when to actually 'call it'.

I don't think I'm pursuing travel ins. right now, especially because it looks like I can rebook with united. That was the main expense that I am out. An issue is this was going to be a ridiculously cheap vacation; I don't think anything domestic is going to cost the same. I'm also extremely disappointed about not going on what would have been an incredible experience for my family.

Bah. Thanks for all the thoughts.
30-something personal finance enthusiast, just get getting started on this whole portfolio thing.

MJS
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Re: Beijing in April - how would travel ins. help?

Post by MJS » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:13 am

Rescheduling resolves the issue.

However, do you have / did you look into travel health insurance as well as cancellation insurance? If someone catches a respiratory virus on the flight over and get quarantined, or breaks a leg climbing up a flight of stairs -- medical insurance and evacuation insurance can be worthwhile.

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dm200
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Re: Beijing in April - how would travel ins. help?

Post by dm200 » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:14 am

Carson wrote:
Tue Jan 28, 2020 9:53 am
Yes, I am really concerned about the getting stuck thing. Also, many sites that we would be going to are shut down right now. Of course, like timing the market, it's asking when to actually 'call it'.

I don't think I'm pursuing travel ins. right now, especially because it looks like I can rebook with united. That was the main expense that I am out. An issue is this was going to be a ridiculously cheap vacation; I don't think anything domestic is going to cost the same. I'm also extremely disappointed about not going on what would have been an incredible experience for my family.

Bah. Thanks for all the thoughts.
It seems that things like large quarantine areas, restricted travel, etc. used to contain the spread of such things as corona virus - can be accomplished much more quickly - and often effectively - in a totalitarian governed country - like China.

Deblog
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Re: Beijing in April - how would travel ins. help?

Post by Deblog » Tue Jan 28, 2020 10:41 am

Most cancel for any reason policies refund 75-80% of costs and not the 100% a covered reason covers. Also, cancel any reason for most must be bought within a few weeks of deposit and prior to final payments. Since flights were already paid in full they cannot get covered for cancel any reason.

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