Ebola – What does it mean for your family travel insurance?

Travel insurance for singles, groups and families is a must if you are planning to travel. They are especially useful if external events force you to cancel your trip or if you need medical care abroad.

However, Ebola presents a whole new ballgame – especially since it has become widespread enough to warrant government intervention. It’s no surprise that providers respond in different ways. However, the question is how much effect Ebola will have on your basic insurance for family travel. Here are some of the more notable aspects to keep in mind.

Disinclination is not a plausible reason

Some family travel insurance providers offer packages that will reimburse you if you decide to cancel your trip for any reason. Others will only reimburse your travel expenses if you have a plausible reason to cancel your trip. Fear of contracting Ebola is not a plausible reason, especially if you are traveling to destinations where the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) has not released travel advisories for your planned destinations. However, if your destinations have been marked as unsafe by the FCO after you made arrangements while it was still safe, your provider will be expected to cover your cancellation fees. This also applies if your airline decides to cancel flights to your planned destination due to Ebola or another outbreak.

Contracting Ebola inside and outside countries with travel advice

If you ignore the FCO’s advice and enter countries marked as unsafe because of Ebola – Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone at the moment – don’t expect your provider to save you if you contract the dreaded disease. Simply put, you must be responsible for your own well-being if you travel against the advice of the FCO.

However, if you get infected by the virus in another country, your provider is expected to cover the costs. It is extremely unlikely that this will happen outside of the countries mentioned above, but it is reassuring to know that the FCO will vote in favor of the consumer if it does happen.

Delays due to Ebola screenings

Providers are very unlikely to reimburse you if you are unable to catch your flight on time due to improved airport screenings that test for the Ebola virus. However, such a situation is rare as the toughest screenings involve inbound air passengers coming from West African countries. It is nevertheless a good idea to arrive a few hours before departure in case these delays spill over and start affecting outbound flights as well.

Get in touch with local embassies or ministries of health

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The effects of infectious diseases evolve over time, with advisories released when needed. That’s why it’s always a good idea to check with the embassies or ministries of health of countries you’re visiting, especially those in West Africa where the risk of Ebola infection is highest. The information you can collect from this will help you better determine whether the virus will become a risk factor when applying for your family travel insurance policy.

Keep these tidbits in mind and you’ll rest easier now that you know how to work better with your provider when it comes to Ebola and other infectious diseases.

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