Flu Epidemics and Travel Insurance

What kind of refund/coverage
can you expect?

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Flu Outbreaks and Travel Insurance

What happens if you cancel your Caribbean trip because of a swine flu threat or any other health threat?

Whether your price trip is refunded depends on the type trip cancellation/interruption insurance you purchased.

Travel policies fall into two categories:

Basic Trip Cancellation (the most common type policy)

Cancel for Any Reason

Basic trip cancellation/interruption coverage won’t cover your trip costs if you cancel because the “threat” of sickness won’t be listed as a covered reason. Most trip cancellation insurance is limited to “named perils,” a schedule of “covered reasons” that are spelled out and not included with the company’s list of exclusions. 

However, most basic policies do include being “quarantined” as a covered reason if you were forced to cancel your trip because you were enduring forced isolation if you contracted MERS. 

But—and here is why a policy’s list of exclusions is always critically important--some companies specifically exclude “Epidemics” from coverage. They won’t reimburse you if your “quarantine” was caused due to a swine flu "Epidemic".

So, basic coverage is fairly useless for the mere “threat” of disease. At best, the benefits are limited.  At worst, non-existent.

A better option is the “Cancel for Any Reason” coverage. Usually you can cancel your trip for any reason not on the list of “named perils: or otherwise covered.  To qualify for this coverage usually you must buy your insurance within two weeks after your first trip payment.

To insure your trip, you must buy coverage for its full pre-paid price. Also, to cancel a trip for a reason that is “not otherwise covered” or in the list of “named perils” you must do so at least 2 days prior to departure. 

“Cancel for any Reason” usually requires a “co-payment” between 10 to 50 per cent of your trip cost, depending on the plan.

If You Contract Swine Flu
(or SARS, etc.)?

You should be covered because the actual sickness would be eligible for benefits under the medical expense, trip cancellation, trip interruption, travel delay, or emergency evacuation coverage.

Unless the policy excludes that dreaded word, “Epidemic” and it could be proved you cancelled as the result of an “Epidemic”-- you would not be covered.

So, read the fine print and carefully compare the policies offered by different companies.

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