airplane taxiway
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

Is This a Gimmick? These Airlines Offer Free Global Insurance Coverage In Case You Contract the 2019 Novel Coronavirus

At least two airlines have announced that they now offer global insurance coverage free of charge in the event that you contract the 2019 Novel Coronavirus while you travel with them as a passenger and as a customer — but is this offering meaningful; or is it merely a gimmick?

Is This a Gimmick? These Airlines Offer Free Global Insurance Coverage In Case You Contract the 2019 Novel Coronavirus

Emirates Airline Airbus A380
Photograph ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

The first airline to offer global insurance coverage free of charge pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus is Emirates Airline, which wants you to travel with peace of mind “as borders begin to open around the world, you can take off to your next destination with confidence. We’re the first airline to provide free coverage for your health and quarantine costs if you’re diagnosed with COVID-19 on your travels. We’re keeping you safe on the journey and giving you extra security wherever you are in the world.”

Book your flights with Emirates Airline and you will automatically receive free global coverage — the expenses require pre-approval and are subject to terms and conditions — for costs related to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. The coverage is valid for 31 days from the moment you take your first flight as a passenger, and it covers you even if you travel onward to another city.

Your safety is the highest priority with Emirates Airline at every step. If you are diagnosed with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus during your travels while you are away from home, Emirates Airline will cover your medical expenses up to EUR 150,000 and your quarantine costs up to EUR 100 per day for 14 days — absolutely free and at no cost to you.

You will automatically be covered when you book on, through our contact centers, retail offices or with your travel agent. There are no registration forms to complete. If you are diagnosed on your travels, contact Emirates Airline to get support and to use your coverage.

  • Assistance at any time when you fly between Tuesday, July 23, 2020 and Saturday, October 31, 2020
  • Free global coverage for all customers
  • Applies to every travel class
  • Valid for 31 days
  • No registration required
  • 2019 Novel Coronavirus health expenses up to EUR 150,000
  • Quarantine costs EUR 100 per day for 14 days
  • Free 24-hour hotline support telephone number
Los Angeles International Airport gates Virgin
Photograph ©2014 by Brian Cohen.

Also offering global insurance coverage free of charge pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus is Virgin Atlantic Airways, which is ensuring that you have peace of mind in every way when you fly with the airline. With its free 2019 Novel Coronavirus insurance, Virgin Atlantic will help take care of the health and quarantine costs that arise, should you fall ill or experience difficulties due to 2019 Novel Coronavirus.

Everyone should fly safe and fly well with Virgin Atlantic, so its new 2019 Novel Coronavirus global insurance coverage applies to every existing ticket — as well as the booking of new tickets — for travel between Monday, August 24, 2020 and Wednesday, March 31, 2021.

Whether or not your travel insurance covers you for 2019 Novel Coronavirus, the insurance policy of Virgin Atlantic is an extension to your travel insurance in order to ensure that you can book your adventure or business trip with confidence. It is the way of Virgin Atlantic to ensure that you can focus on yourself and your loved ones instead of worrying about the details.

Allianz Assistance — which is a partner of Virgin Atlantic Airways — is dedicated to providing answers to any questions, as well as claims information.

For any flight or holiday booked using a Virgin Atlantic ticket, for travel between Monday, August 24, 2020 and Wednesday, March 31, 2021 — insurance coverage ends after Wednesday, March 31, 2021, irrespective of which point in the journey has been reached — you will get coverage for:

  • Up to £500,000 necessary and emergency medical expenses incurred due to 2019 Novel Coronavirus affecting you or your travel companions.
  • Repatriation due to 2019 Novel Coronavirus, should it be medically necessary.
  • Denied Boarding or Quarantine — Virgin Atlantic will cover many necessary additional costs should you or your travelling companion be denied boarding or individually requested to quarantine in your destination due to 2019 Novel Coronavirus, including personal accommodation, transport charges, refreshments, booking amendment fees and other travel expenses incurred.
  • Coverage for your whole trip, with no upper limit on the length of your time away.
  • Coverage for all passengers with no restrictions on age, travel class or length of journey.
  • There is no excess payable with this policy — unlike other traditional travel insurance policies.
  • Terms and conditions apply.


For me, the golden rule of insurance in general is that it is only offered when someone benefits from offering it. No one offers insurance of any type solely out of the goodness of his or her heart. In fact, the very concept of insurance is generally legalized gambling: you are betting with your insurance payment that something will happen to you; and if so, you win your big payout…

…but if nothing happens to you, the entity to whom you pay keeps the money free and clear.

Even if something does happen to you after paying your premium, sometimes the fine print has exclusionary clauses and legal verbiage which can prevent you from receiving full payment — or any payment at all.

In this case, the airlines in question are betting that their offers for global insurance coverage free of charge pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus will win over prospective customers who are fearful, nervous, or concerned that they will contract the virus by offering peace of mind.

What the aforementioned airlines are doing is not illegal, unethical, immoral, or wrong in any way, shape, or form — but are they really concerned about giving you peace of mind; or do they simply want to convince more people to be passengers aboard their airplanes? What if you are a passenger and you really do contract the 2019 Novel Coronavirus?

Perhaps the reality is that their customers are unlikely to contract the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in the first place, which may be a distinct possibility? If so, does that say anything about the reaction to the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic in general over the past several months?

Your thoughts are welcome in the Comments section below…

All photographs ©2014 and ©2015 by Brian Cohen.

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