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Travel Author: Staff Editor Last Updated: Sep 7, 2017 - 10:06:33 PM

Zika Threat Has Attendees Exploring Travel Insurance Options

By Staff Editor
Mar 7, 2016 - 1:54:24 PM

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( - ST PETERSBURG, FL March 7, 2016 - The Zika virus is causing concern among travelers with plans to attend the 2016 Olympics in Brazil this summer. Squaremouth, a leading travel insurance comparison website, explains travel insurance coverage for Olympic attendees worried about the Zika virus affecting their trip.
Travel Insurance Available For Olympic Trips
Travelers who want cancellation coverage for their trip to Brazil for the Rio Olympics can insure any of their prepaid trip expenses, including non-refundable tickets to Olympic events. Travel insurance can reimburse these costs if they cancel their trip for a covered reason, such as the death of a family member, or an unforeseen illness or injury that prevents them from traveling.
Many policies will also cover cancellation in the event of a terrorist attack, or if severe weather or a natural disaster impedes travel to Rio. However, this year's Olympics have raised an additional concern that falls outside of the covered reasons for cancellation: the Zika virus outbreak.
Threat of Zika Virus Not Enough to Trigger Coverage
Despite the current CDC alert for Brazil, travelers would not be covered to cancel out of concern about contracting the Zika virus. CDC alerts are not a covered reason to cancel a trip on standard travel insurance. Travelers who no longer want to attend the Rio Olympics because of the Zika virus outbreak would be considered to be canceling out of fear, which is never a covered reason.
In particular, travelers who are pregnant or may become pregnant have shown the greatest apprehension about the Zika virus outbreak. Unfortunately, pregnancy is excluded from coverage on many travel insurance policies. This means pregnancy-related reasons, including a pregnant traveler's concern about contracting the Zika virus, would not be a covered reason to cancel a trip. However, there may be coverage for women who are not yet pregnant. A few policies provide cancellation coverage for women who become pregnant after they purchase their travel insurance policy.
Cancel For Any Reason Provides Option for Undecided Travelers
Travelers who want to be able to cancel their trip to the Olympics if the Zika outbreak worsens, can be covered to cancel with the Cancel For Any Reason upgrade. This upgrade allows travelers to recoup up to 75% of their trip cost if they cancel their trip for an otherwise uncovered reason, such as fear of contracting the Zika virus.
While this upgrade providers a broader amount of coverage, it increases the price of the policy by about 40%, and comes with some strict requirements. Travelers must buy their policy within 14-30 days of their first trip booking date or deposit. This means those who purchased tickets to Olympic events more than a month ago are no longer eligible for this benefit. It also requires travelers to insure 100% of their trip cost, and cancel their trip at least 2-3 days before their departure date.
"Many travelers want to wait and see how the situation progresses before making a decision about whether to cancel their trip," said Squaremouth Customer Service Director Jessica Harvey. "For travelers who are eligible, the Cancel For Any Reason upgrade offers the flexibility to change their mind about traveling to the Olympics if the Zika virus outbreak worsens, but it can be an expensive option."
Squaremouth launched the Zika Virus and Travel Insurance Information Center to keep travelers informed about travel insurance coverage related to the Zika virus outbreak. This online resource is updated with official provider position statements, answers to frequently asked questions, and current travel health alerts and notices related to the outbreak.


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