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Coronavirus (COVID-19) and insurance

Travel insurance, life insurance, group life insurance and medical expenses insurance apply cover according to their insurance terms and conditions. They generally do not have exceptions for pandemic disease. 

Voluntary insurance policies vary between companies. If you are uncertain of what your insurance covers, your insurance company is the best place to ask. Additionally, the Finnish Financial Ombudsman Bureau (FINE) provides advice to insurance customers.

Travel insurance

Travel insurance covers treatment expenses if you fall ill or have an accident during travel. In severe cases, transportation to home is also covered. Travel insurance usually provides cover for cancellation or interruption of a trip. In addition, some insurance policies may also cover expenses due to missed or delayed departure, and may also include other compensation classes. The types of events covered by the insurance policy are specified in its terms and conditions.

Travel-time illness is commonly defined as illness that shows its first clinical signs during the trip. Typical conditions for compensation will require that you have received medical treatment for the illness during the trip or within 14 days after the trip has ended. This time limit is not applied for contagious diseases with longer incubation periods.

Most insurance companies pay out a death benefit if the cause of death is a generally dangerous infectious disease contracted during travel. Such diseases are specified in the Communicable Diseases Act.

European Health Insurance Card

If you have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC), you should receive medically necessary treatment when you travel or stay temporarily in another EU or EEA country or in Switzerland. Medically necessary treatment means treatment that cannot wait until you return home.

You can use the European Health Insurance Card in the EU and EEA countries and in Switzerland in the public health care system and at private doctor’s surgeries and hospitals affiliated to the public health insurance scheme.

Finland and Australia have made an agreement concerning medical treatment during temporary stay. Persons covered with Finnish health insurance are entitled to immediately necessary medical services in Australia.

Cancellation or interruption of a trip

Insurance cover for cancellation or interruption of a trip is valid only if the insurance has been taken out at least 3 days before the beginning of the trip.

Compensation can be paid if the cancellation or interruption is necessary because of an acute and serious illness, an accident, or the death of the insured or another person specified in the insurance terms (e.g. close relative or travelling companion). The necessity is always assessed on medical grounds. The insurance terms and conditions may also include other reasons that entitle to compensation for cancellation or interruption of a trip. One example is significant and unexpected financial loss concerning the insured’s property in Finland.

A trip cancelled due to a fear of contracting disease at the destination country is generally not compensated.

In case of a cancelled or interrupted trip, the compensated expenses usually include only expenses that are the responsibility of the insured according to the travel organiser’s terms and conditions or the Act on Travel Service Combinations.

Insurance cover connected to credit cards may be more limited than traditional travel insurance policies. Be aware of the extent of your chosen travel insurance.

Quarantine

Travel insurance generally does not cover lost travelling or working days or adjusted travelling arrangements if the trip is prolonged due to a quarantine and not an illness.

Kela, the Social Insurance Institution of Finland, pays out sickness allowance on account of an infectious disease to employees or entrepreneurs quarantined in Finland in order to compensate for loss of earnings. Kela and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health have not yet determined whether such compensation should be paid to Finns quarantined abroad. 

Business interruption insurance

A pandemic can potentially lead to widespread illness that forces a company to halt its operations.

Business interruption insurance usually covers losses and additional expenses that are caused by the partial or complete interruption of business operations due to material damage or personal injury incurred by the insured or their business partner. 

Business insurance policies are usually tailored and have numerous terms and conditions specific to the insured company and the insurer. The insurance company is the best source for any additional information on this type of insurance.

Information by Finnish authorities