With the release of the CDC Level 2 travel alert on January 15th, 2015 and WHO declaring Zika virus a world health emergency, we have had several of our travel agents and travelers asking questions regarding travel insurance and the Zika virus. While little is known about the mosquito borne illness, there is still enough evidence to prove it is not one we want to continue to gain momentum.
This is largely due to the growth of the virus having a direct correlation with the rise of microcephaly amongst newborns in affected areas like the French Polynesian Islands in 2013 and now Brazil.
Now that the CDC has recommended pregnant women avoid travel to affected areas, travel agents and travelers alike are asking how travel insurance can help. It is important to note that TravelSafe plans and the coverage available are not impacted by this travel alert and are still eligible to be sold. Countries in the affected regions continue to be eligible destinations without exclusions or limitations for an epidemic or pandemic.
With that being said, let’s take a look at TravelSafe Certificate T925P for a little insight.
1. Cancel For Any Reason
This benefit was designed for scenarios similar to Zika virus. With CFAR, travelers are able to cancel their trip without having to provide a reason or worry about exclusions. And with pregnancy being an exclusion for most travel insurance companies, women are looking for a benefit they are able to use in this scenario.
The Cancel For Any Reason benefit is a traveler’s best bet if they are concerned about Zika virus while traveling and are considering canceling their trip. Now that pregnant travelers are being told not travel unnecessarily to the affected areas, many travelers are looking to how they can cancel with minimal financial repercussions.
With CFAR (Cancel For Any Reason), travelers can cancel their trip and receive up to 75% of the prepaid losses back. Plans with CFAR must be purchased 21 days within the initial trip deposit and the full cost of the trip must be insured.
2. Trip Cancellation
Trip Cancellation has a broad range of covered reasons, but fear of epidemic and pandemics is not on the list. This means, in order to use Trip Cancellation, travelers would need to contract the virus before their scheduled trip, and their physician would declare them not fit for travel.
At this time, it is only recommended that pregnant women do not travel to affected areas. There is no government shut down or quarantine for Zika virus. So, it is unlikely Zika virus would fall under Trip Cancellation.
However, travel insurance companies implemented the Cancel For Any Reason benefit so we were able to provide a fall back plan for any possible exclusions.
3. Trip Interruption
This benefit works similarly to Trip Cancellation. If the virus is contracted while travling, the traveling party is eligible to use their Trip Interruption benefit should they need to cut their trip short.
It’s important to note that since TravelSafe plans do not have an exclusion for pandemic or epidemic this benefit would not be affected should the CDC or World Health Organization upgrade Zika from a world health emergency to a pandemic or epidemic.
With proper documentation, travelers would be eligible for reimbursement of their prepaid, nonrefundable trip expenses and their change in travel arrangements.
4. Emergency Medical Treatment
Should travelers become ill with Zika virus while traveling, diagnosis and treatment during their trip are eligible for coverage. Often times, foreign medical facilities will require cash payment or a promise to pay from your insurance provider. With TravelSafe’s medical coverage, we are able to call and guarantee the hospital payment, so you do not have to put the cash up front for treatment.
5. Medical Evacuation
Only 1 in 5 cases show symptoms after contracting Zika virus, but travelers insured byTravelSafe who experience a severe reaction may be eligible for Medical Evacuation. If they are traveling within a country whose medical facilities are not sufficient in treating the virus, your coverage will ensure you are transported your hospital of choice.
Even though only 1 in 5 who contract Zika virus show symptoms, it is important to use caution while traveling. With the effects the disease is having on pregnant women and their unborn children, it is important we do not allow the disease to spread freely. Follow the CDC’s advice on preventing mosquito and bug bites.
If planning to travel within any of the affected areas, it is best to purchase a policy with theCancel For Any Reason Benefit in case the conditions worsen or you and/or your traveling companion are to become pregnant.
To read TravelSafe’s official press release regarding Zika virus – click here.