Virgin Atlantic today revealed that it would give every passenger complimentary COVID-19 cover. The insurance policy will cover up to £500,000 ($655,777) in emergency medical costs and related expenses. It follows a similar move from Emirates earlier this year.

Around the world, the travel industry is slowly showing signs of recovery from the COVID-19 crisis. However, concerns about catching the virus are still putting off many travelers. To give potential passengers some peace of mind, some airlines are now offering insurance cover against catching the disease. This will reduce the passenger’s liability in the case that they become infected.

£500,000 cover provided

From today, Virgin Atlantic will provide passengers with insurance for up to half a million pounds against COVID-19 while traveling. The cover is currently valid on trips up until March 31st and applies to medical expenses and related accommodation, transport, and repatriation expenses.

All passengers will be covered during their trip for no extra fee, including those only flying one way. For passengers with a return trip, they will be covered from the point of booking and ends when the passenger returns home or to a hospital in their home country. Meanwhile, for one-way trips, the cover will end 12 hours after the passenger’s final flight has arrived.

No excess on the policy will be payable by Virgin’s passengers, meaning that if a passenger does contract COVID-19, they should face no financial burden. Up to £3,000 will also be covered if a passenger is denied boarding due to COVID-19, or has to quarantine during a trip. Virgin Atlantic pointed out that the COVID-19 cover is not a substitute for travel insurance.

Commenting on the new policy, Juha Jarvinen, Chief Commercial Officer at Virgin Atlantic said,

“Whether it’s to visit friends and relatives or take a well-deserved break, we believe this complimentary cover will provide some added reassurance for our customersas they start to plan trips further afield. It applies in parallel to existing travel insurance policies which may now exclude COVID-19, and provides comprehensive cover for coronavirus, recognising the needsof our customers as we restart services.”

Not the only airline with such an offering

Virgin Atlantic is not the only airline to offer COVID-19 cover as a result of the current pandemic. Earlier this summer, Emirates began offering complimentary insurance against the virus. The UAE carrier is covering expenses up to a far lower limit of €150,000 ($177,638), and up to €1400 ($1658) if a passenger is forced to quarantine. Lufthansa, meanwhile, is offering different benefits depending on flight and class of travel booked.

As mentioned by Mr. Jarvinen, standard travel insurance often now excludes COVID-19 related incidents. With airlines looking to encourage fliers back into the skies, perhaps Emirates, Virgin, and Lufthansa could be setting a new trend.