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Going abroad? Your destination may require travel insurance


Chile requires visitors furnish proof of insurance coverage for Covid-19 and related conditions. Pictured, capital city Santiago.

Oleh_Slobodeniuk | E+ | Getty Images

Are you planning a trip abroad? You may need to buy travel insurance to visit your destination country.

Many countries had insurance requirements even before the pandemic. But about a dozen more have since added rules, typically to cover Covid-19 medical expenses and other costs like lodging in the event of quarantine overseas, according to Clayton Coomer, vice president at WorldTrips, an insurer.

Argentina, Aruba, the Bahamas, Bermuda, Bolivia, the British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Chile, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Jordan and Lebanon are among the ones with pandemic-era mandates, Coomer said.

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Belize also recently announced a new requirement for all tourists that starts Feb. 15.

“Countries are doing it so they don’t have to absorb any financial burden for treating uninsured tourists who may contract Covid-19,” Coomer said.

“[The situation] is evolving so much, especially with omicron,” he added, referring to the highly contagious Covid-19 variant.

Insurance mandates

Belize’s new insurance requirement for visitors begins Feb. 15, 2022. Pictured, the Blue Hole at Lighthouse Reef.

Matteo Colombo | Moment | Getty Images

In all, 60 countries mandate travel insurance for tourists, according to InsureMyTrip data as of Jan. 27.

Requirements sometimes apply only to tourists who need a visa for entry, which means Americans may be exempt. (The 26 Schengen Area countries in Europe don’t impose rules on Americans, for example.)

The coverage rules are fluid and vary widely.

For instance, Costa Rica requires insurance only for unvaccinated travelers. Belize will let travelers buy coverage upon arrival (though officials recommend buying ahead of time). Although both are technically part of the same European Union, the Dutch half (Sint Maarten) of Caribbean island Saint Martin does require insurance coverage, while the French-administered part (Saint-Martin) does not.

These quirks increasingly make such research necessary before travel — in addition to any other entry rules, like those for testing and vaccination. Some countries, such as Japan, still haven’t opened their borders to American tourists.

The type and amount of covered costs will vary by country.

“Many countries require travel medical insurance that covers medical treatment for Covid-19 if a traveler contracts it during their trip,” said Angela Borden, product marketing strategist with insurance firm Seven Corners. “Some countries require a specific policy amount while others do not.”

Some locations ask travelers to cover costs for food and lodging, too, if they must quarantine in the destination country due to Covid, Borden said.  

The mandatory Belize Travel Health…


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