Emirates Will Provide Free Insurance for COVID-19 Medical Expenses up to EUR 150,000 (excluding the cost of COVID-19 tests) for Emirates passengers in all classes of service, an airline first during the coronavirus pandemic. This is for flights where the first flight is prior to October 31, 2020, no doubt because Emirates is seeking to juice ticket sales in the near term, not just for New Year's and 2021 travel.
There are some nuances and exclusions, so here are the details:
What Does the Emirates Insurance Cover?
The Emirates insurance covers:
- Medical and hospital costs abroad, if diagnosed with COVID-19, up to EUR 150,000
- Repatriation assistance for you, one travel companion, and minor children, back to your country of residence (actual cost, in economy class)
- Accommodation cost for you or one travel companion if you or a companion are required to go into an individual quarantine, up to EUR 100 per day, up to 14 days
- In the event of death, actual cost of repatriating the body
- Funeral costs up to EUR 1500
When Does Coverage Start?
Emirates' complimentary insurance covers passengers flying Emirates July 23-October 31, 2020 (first Emirates flight must occur by 10/31/20). The coverage lasts for 31 days from the departure of the first flight.
Do Passengers Have to Sign Up for the Free Emirates Insurance?
No, no sign up is needed; all passengers are automatically covered for qualifying trips. Note that no coverage is provided in one's home country.
What is Needed to Get Assistance if Diagnosed with COVID-19?
In order to have medical expenses paid for by Emirates, passengers must contact Emirates by phone, email, or WhatsApp:
- Tel: +971 4 270-8825
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- WhatsApp: +971 56 358-9937
If I Need Urgent Care, Can I Pay and Get Reimbursed?
Unfortunately, no: Emirates will not reimburse any claims; you must contact Emirates COVID-19 assistance through the above contact details and have your care coordinated by them, in order to have Emirates cover your medical expenses.
As with all insurance, there are exclusions. Be sure to read the Emirates Cover Terms and Conditions to be aware of them. One in particular gives us pause: “your travel against your home country’s government advice or against local authority advice at your trip destination.” Does this mean, for example, that the U.S. Department of State's Level 4 Do Not Travel advisory excludes Emirates coverage for all U.S. citizens who travel internationally? We'll aim to find out and report back.
While EUR 150,000 won't go very far in terms of medical expenses in the U.S. and some other countries if one's unlucky enough to require very serious and prolonged COVID-19 hospitalization in the absence of insurance, it could provide some helpful peace of mind for many travelers, especially given the pandemic exclusion in so many travel insurance policies.
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