Sunday, October 18, 2009
Travel Insurance and Swine Flu
By Minjune Kim
Are you making travel plans for the holidays? Or are you planning a winter ski trip or a cruise? Have you had your swine flu shot? If not, you’d better check out the fine print on your travel insurance to see if you will be covered if you get sick.
Sir Liam Donaldson, chief medical officer of the NHS, said: "Everything suggests that we're starting to see a second wave [of swine flu] to follow on from the July peak.
"We don't know how big that wave is going to be but we're reaching the starting line."
The ABI advises swine flu victims that all they require in order to claim on their travel insurance policy is written confirmation from a doctor or, if this is not available, a certification of swine flu diagnosis from the National Pandemic Flu service.
Did you know that the UIA offers competitive rates on home insurance? Great deals also available on car insurance, travel insurance and pet insurance too. Up to 15% discount when you apply online.
You can hedge your bet by purchasing travel insurance. But experts warn that you need to know what different policies do and don't cover.
First, a little background. Travel insurance packages cost 4 to 10 percent of a trip's total price. At SquareMouth.com, a Web site based in St. Pete Beach that lets you compare travel insurance, the typical policy runs around $200 for a $3,000 trip, CEO Chris Harvey says.
That should cover nonrefundable travel expenses if you cancel a trip or need to leave early, plus emergency medical costs and reimbursement for lost baggage.
The swine flu throws a few wrinkles into the deal. A handful of companies have pandemic exemptions that won't let you collect if you catch H1N1 before you leave or during your trip. Ask before buying and stay away from those policies, Harvey says.
None of the regular package policies will cover financial losses for hotels, airlines or cruises for canceling a trip because you're worried about catching swine flu at your destination. For that, travelers must upgrade to "cancel for any reason" coverage.