QuoteWrights Travel Insurance Buyers Guide

Concerns over the Zika Virus are raising two primary questions among would-be travelers seeking travel insurance: “Does travel insurance cover me for Zika?” and “What coverage do I have if I incur Zika?”

Concerns over the Zika Virus are raising two primary questions among would-be travelers seeking travel insurance: “Does travel insurance cover me for Zika?” and “What coverage do I have if I incur Zika?”

Canceling a planned trip due to the threat of Zika may impact the traveler’s coverage, depending on the insurance company and the plan selected. Basic trip cancellation coverage, often referred to as “named peril,” generally relies on only those perils listed by an insurance company, under the category of “covered reasons.” Because there are no benefits if one cancels due to the “threat” of an illness—unless a quarantine is declared, thereby forcing the cancellation of a trip—Zika or other threats are not covered. 

However, several insurance companies offer “Cancel for Any Reason” as an option, thereby allowing travelers to cancel for reasons not otherwise covered. To qualify for this option, one must purchase insurance within two weeks after a first trip payment, insuring a trip for its full prepaid value. Even then, cancellations must take place at least two days prior to departure.

If the travel is afflicted by Zika fever, requiring treatment while on a trip, one may be eligible for benefits under the policy’s medical expense, trip cancellation, trip interruption, travel day or emergency evacuation coverage categories found in most policies. However, plans that exclude epidemics may not provide coverage if an epidemic is declared.

The Centers for Disease Control has issued “travel notices” concerning countries that have exposure to the Zika Virus. Travelers are advised to review these notices and take prudent measures to limit their exposure to mosquitoes that carry the virus. However, they do not affect coverage under available travel insurance.

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