First day of travel insurance sees delays at PGIA
Thursday, February 17th, 2022
On Tuesday, February 15th, the Belize Travel Health Insurance (BTHI) for international visitors came into effect. The mandate implemented by the Ministry of Tourism saw some inconveniences on its first day at the Philip Goldson International Airport (PGIA), when a number of passengers arrived without insurance. This caused delays and even frustration among some travelers who needed to purchase the insurance at the airport. The process, since then, has reportedly improved, and most visitors seem to support the new policy.
The insurance is not required for people in the Qualified Retired Persons Incentive Program, Belizeans, permanent residents, foreign homeowners, long-stay non-nationals, military personnel, members of the Peace Corps, airline crew, and persons staying in Belize less than 24 hours.
The BTHI costs US$18/ BZ$36 and provides coverage up to US$50,000/ BZ$100,000 in medical and related expenses for 21 days. The insurance plan is available for pre-purchase online at www.belizetravelinsurance.com. It can also be purchased at the entry points to Belize, such as the PGIA and land borders. The policy also provides coverage for lodging expenses for quarantine up to US$2,000/ BZ$4,000 or around US$300/BZ$600 a day. Other insurance benefits include the coverage of emergency services such as air evacuation and emergency expenses related to a pre-existing condition. In addition, the policy will also cover trip cancellations and costs incurred by COVID-19 positive travellers for extended stays.
Travelers are encouraged to purchase the policy ahead of their trip to Belize for a smoother process at the different entry points, particularly at the PGIA. On February 15th, the lines with people waiting to purchase the insurance at the international airport were reportedly very long. A few concerned stakeholders wonder how people purchasing insurance will be accommodated when close to 20 international flights arrive at the PGIA on Saturdays
When the government announced the idea of travel insurance for tourists, some stakeholders objected to it, while others supported it. The government did not budge and proceeded with the new requirement for all international visitors to protect everyone from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. The mandated travel insurance will be removed when the pandemic is no longer a threat.
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