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Travel insurance purchases skyrocket amid coronavirus concerns

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SEATTLE - As we head into spring break season, Seattle travel agency AA Travel said that bookings for international trips are down by 90 percent.

On the flip side, insurance companies are seeing a surge in business.

“This is an unprecedented moment in travel and disruption,” Stan Sandberg of Travelinsurance.com said.

Sandberg is the Co-Founder of Travelinsurance.com and he says this February they are seeing a whopping 175 percent spike in people buying insurance, but it’s not the standard insurance.

“It is very important to note standard travel insurance will not cover the coronavirus, the outbreak and the fear of the outbreak,” Sandberg said.

If you want to have the flexibility to cancel your vacation over coronavirus concerns, search for insurance that allows you to cancel for any reason.

The upgraded insurance is more costly and it usually reimburses you 75 percent of the cost of the trip.

If you cannot afford travel insurance check with airlines and hotels because many are now making exceptions.

For example, JetBlue and Alaska Airlines are suspending cancellation and change fees for a period of time.

As companies try to accommodate travel concerns, government leaders say Americans should not be afraid because the risk is low.

CDC Director Dr. Robert Redfield says it is not necessary to stockpile food or medications at this time. Unless you are sick, there is no need for face masks while traveling.

Also, contrary to what many may believe, the CDC says viruses do not spread easily on airplanes because of the way the air is filtered.

However, the CDC is recommending that travelers postpone non-essential trips to China and South Korea. Those countries are under a Level 3 warning.

There are more than 83,000 cases of the coronavirus, or COVID-19, globally with the vast majority in China.

Meanwhile Iran, Italy and Japan are under Level 2 warnings, which means older people and those with medical conditions should stay away.

But companies like Amazon are taking the initiative to come up with their own recommendations. They are asking all employees to postpone non-essential travel, not just internationally but domestic.

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