Tips on navigating travel disruptions due to coronavirus

As coronavirus continues to spread around the world and in our area, many people are trying to cancel trips, including spring break plans. But what can you expect to get back? It's really a fluid situation as airlines, cruise lines and travel companies announce new policies as they get more information. Some companies, including American Airlines, are already waiving change fees and penalties for certain bookings others are not and that is at their discretion.

Michael and Lisa Marter, of Langhorne, Pennsylvania are scheduled to fly to Rome on March 31.

"And lo and behold, the coronavirus comes along," said Michael Marter.

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Considering Italy has more than 7,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the Marters want to cancel or re-schedule their trip, for which they paid in full and upfront about $9,400.

"It's a big trip. It's a big expense," he said.

United Airlines, Delta Airlines, American Airlines and British Airways have issued limited and variable travel exception policies for travel to Italy but the Marters told the Troubleshooters their travel company won't let them re-schedule or provide a full refund.

"They're saying is they can't return rail fees, they can't return airline fees, it's around $3,200," he said.

$3,200 that they would lose.

Many consumers are trying to cancel cruises, too, after the State Department issued a sweeping bulletin over the weekend telling citizens to not cruise, especially if they are older or have underlying health conditions.

But some viewers tell the Troubleshooters they're being offered only a partial credit to use toward a future cruise, even if, like the Marters, they paid for trip insurance.

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COVID-19 stands for Coronavirus Disease 2019, which was when the first cases were reported.

"It covers you if you if you have if you can't go because you're sick because of you or a family member. Well, at the current time we're not sick. We don't want to go and get sick either," he said.

Travel experts said government travel bans do not invoke coverage for standard insurance policies nor do they require companies to then provide refunds.

"The travel policy won't cover you if you change your mind 33:58 unless you buy the most expensive plan, unless you buy one that says you can cancel for any reason. And even then there's fine print. Because if you cancel for any reason, you don't get a 100% refund. They may give you a refund up to 75% or up to 50% depending on the company that's selling the policy," explained Lance Haver, a consumer advocate.

So definitely read the fine print.

For more Information:

Learn more about travelers insurance and the coronavirus outbreak at Square Mouth Travel Insurance

Find out about specific airline, cruise and hotel policies from The Points Guy.
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