Swine Flu on Trip Cancellation Insurance
Those planning holidays in the near future may wonder if they should buy trip cancellation insurance due to the swine flu outbreak in Mexico. The answer depends on a few things, and here's how to tell.
You're too late if:
The Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) has already advised against elective travel to the region affected by the flu epidemic. According to an article in the Telegraph:
"If holidaymakers continue with travel plans to Mexico against official advice and fall ill, their insurance policy is unlikely to cover them and the holidaymaker would have to foot the bill for any treatment or repatriation costs. "
While it is statistically unlikely that you will need travel cancellation insurance for other places, it may be a good idea, particularly if you're going someplace where swine flu is only beginning to be diagnosed. Like Newcastle.
You're not too late if:
The FCO has not advised against travel to your destination.
If the region you are traveling to has not been advised against by the FCO, it may be wise to purchase trip cancellation insurance. There have been pockets of outbreaks in many countries, but since the epidemic has not turned into a scarier pandemic, buying a policy that covers cancellation for any reason may be a good investment of a few dollars a day.
Fortunately, you may be able to see where the epidemic is headed with the help of Google. Due to sick people researching symptoms online (i.e. type your symptoms into Google, then scroll down the results until you see the word 'cancer'), Google has generally been more on top of flu outbreaks than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the U.S., sometimes by up to two weeks. Worse is Twitter, where the #swineflu channel is creating more media scare than the news itself.
It is vitally important, however, that you make sure that any type of cancellation is covered. Some policies only reimburse in the event of illness, meaning illness in the traveller, not in the region being travelled to. Make sure you are absolutely clear that your policy covers cancellation regardless of reason. It is a good idea to ask specifically about cancellation due to a possible swine flu outbreak at your destination.