PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — If the beaches of Costa Rica or the golf courses of the Carolinas are calling you, experts say before booking any trip outside your hometown, make plans to buy travel insurance.

As the coronavirus pandemic enters its third year, Omar Kaywan, the founder of Vancouver, British Columbia-based Goose Insurance, is sounding the alarm about the inherent risks associated with travel plans and the pandemic.

(WAVY photo/ Regina Mobley)

“Shortage of staff and flight cancellations that we have been dealing with, that has definitely caused people to pay attention to trip protection and travel insurance as a whole,” said Kaywan in a Zoom interview.

According to Kaywan, pre-pandemic, only 4% of travelers bought travel protection. But as the omicron variant has wrapped around the globe, about a quarter of travelers are now seeking protection.

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Some countries in the Caribbean, according to Kayman, are requiring that you show proof of COVID-19 insurance before entry.

“If you are traveling internationally it’s important that you buy the COVID- 19 insurance because it will cover you for a COVID 19 medical emergency,” Kaywan said.

The insurance even covers required isolation.

“So let’s just say you are going to go visit somebody outside the U. S. and you test positive and you cannot come back home and you need to self-isolate for 14 days or whatever the requirements are. This policy will cover you for your meals and accommodations while you self-isolate,” said Kaywan.

Kaywan directs attention to the GoFundMe platform where people who failed to buy adequate traveler’s medical insurance are begging for financial help after a vacation turned into a medical nightmare.

“So if you fall, have an accident, and break your leg and you need medical attention, you are responsible for the medical fees. “In Canada or some of the other countries, you are looking at [$6,000 to $7,000] in U.S. [dollars] a night for you just to have a hospital bed,” said Kaywan.

Kaywan says international policies at about $124 will cover you for an entire year of unlimited trips of 30-days or less.

“If you are traveling domestically, coverage is going to cost you $30 to $40 to protect yourself, your trip, your hotel as well as your medical,” said Kaywan.

There are many prices and tiers of service on the market. Kaywan says if you buy travel insurance, be sure to review the details in the policy.