Since Covid first emerged in 2020, a growing list of countries have chosen to impose an insurance requirement on international travellers, to make sure that they are covered for possible medical and quarantine costs.
Before the coronavirus crisis, only six countries – China, Russia, Cuba, Algeria, Mongolia and Saudi Arabia – required international arrivals to prove that they had travel insurance with health cover for short trips but this number has now topped 30.
For travel to these countries, the authorities will make sure that a traveller has an insurance policy involving Covid cover, guaranteeing potential medical treatment linked to the virus, hotel quarantine in the case of a positive test result and also repatriation.
Insurance documents will normally be checked when boarding the plane, although sometimes they will need to be shown on arrival.
Many older people struggle to access this type of insurance, as often contracts are only offered to those under 65, 72 or 75.
Some countries also ask that the healthcare cover guarantees treatment up to a certain sum. For example, Malaysia states that medical costs must be covered up to $20,000.
In France, insurance companies such as Assur-Travel, Chapka and AVA offer policies including provisions for Covid, but you must ask them to provide you with proof of this extra cover.
Other insurers may not have a specific Covid clause, but will include the example of a positive test result in the reasons why someone may have to extend their stay or be unable to come home.
This means that travellers can often be covered for additional accommodation expenses, the cost of the return flight and telephone charges.
If you have travel insurance through your bank card, you may also have access to extra Covid cover, but it is worth checking with your bank.
The countries requiring or requesting travel insurance including Covid cover are:
North and South America
Costa Rica (optional)
Cuba (requires healthcare cover but the Covid provision is optional)
Saint-Martin (the Dutch side)
Turks and Caicos Islands
China (and tourists cannot travel there at the moment)
In theory, Russia and Ukraine also require this type of insurance, but people in France are unlikely to travel to either country while the war continues.
This information is correct at the time of writing, but is likely to change as the situation evolves.