Two years back, there were frightening reports all over the world on a new outbreak infiltrating new boundaries at super speed: Zika virus. Way ahead today in 2018, and we are no more reading such scary news every day; Zika hysteria has basically subsided. However, this is actually not the case in some high risk regions such as Singapore to contain and reduce the dangers of infection.
While the World Health Organization declared the end of the Zika outbreak in November 2016, the danger posed by Zika-carrying mosquitoes has not vanished. Anyway, the Zika turmoil of 2016 reminded all of us how susceptible we are and that we cannot take our safety and health for granted, even when traveling. When you make your travel plans, you might be thinking about buying travel insurance coverage if you are touring a region that could still be affected by this virus or even one just like it, in order to be safe. But does travel insurance actually cover Zika virus? Our group at ValuePenguin made a decision to figure out.
Do travel policies in Singapore cover up Zika? Don’t believe that!
We looked at the insurance plan wordings of leading companies of travel policies in Singapore, such as Etiqa, FWD, Sompo, to find out how insurance providers deal with the danger of Zika. Although every policy’s words were unique, most of these insurers strike similar notes. Usually, travel insurance policies might protect you for expenses sustained in case you are hit by Zika or even other infectious disease to the limits outlined – but only when you had no legitimate reason to assume that visiting that area could present such a threat. Moreover, if the nation you are visiting is affirmed by the WHO or other official agency to be encountering an outbreak, pandemic or epidemic when you are there, but not before, then your insurance provider is likely to honor the claim.
Or else, the chances are not really good that your travel insurance policy will provide cover for Zika virus. This is the case with majority of insurers. Even though Zika is not presently labeled a pandemic or epidemic by any specific official or government body (which might already exempt travel policies from covering it as outlined by their plans), some insurers retain the right to decline a claim that effects from any kind of contagious disease at all. Generally, insurers incorporate a clause in their “General Exceptions” section that relieves them from covering health dangers linked to “Known Incidents.” This really is an expression that basically relates to any serious event that could present a risk to you (when traveling) that insurers believe you should have identified before exposing yourself to such risks, via extensive media coverage, warning labels from official bodies and so on. In accordance with the situations, it appears that insurers might deem the Zika virus to be qualified as a “Known Event” that exempts Zika from being covered under their insurance policies.
So now what?
Our perspective is it is safe to believe that your travel insurance will not cover up Zika in case you or your loved ones contract it when abroad, except if there is an unexpected and unforeseen epidemic after you get to the area. So what exactly are the other alternatives?
Buy personal accident insurance coverage
Although insurance providers in Singapore may not cover you against the threat of being infected with the Zika virus in their insurance plans, a lot of reputed insurance companies have started to launch Personal Accident coverage particularly meant to cover infectious conditions such as Zika. This kind of travel insurance plan should cover you not merely against Zika, but also against additional diseases such as malaria, dengue or yellow fever. These policies are not too costly, either. HLAS policy will provide affordable yet comprehensive coverage in this respect. In case this happens to be an extremely critical issue for you, and you are seeking guaranteed protection, buying this kind of insurance policy together with your travel coverage might be a worthwhile idea.
Check travel insurance policies that can be canceled whenever you like
Even though you might not be certain that your travel coverage plan will compensate you for damages and losses that are caused by unexpected changes to your travel plans on account of Zika or other hazardous disease, some insurance providers will return (at least) the cost of your insurance plan in case your travel plans unexpectedly change and you have to cancel out a tour. If you wish to assure a bit more versatility in the run-up to the next overseas trip, think about an insurance provider that will allow you to cancel your insurance policy and compensate you for the expense till your tour is about to begin. Examples of insurance companies that will refund for last-minute plan cancellations are Budget Direct; they will provide you with a full refund without cancellation charges till the day before the policy’s start date for single trip plans. FWD will return a specific percent of the policy premium you paid out for a yearly policy. The percentage of the premium refund will be determined by the number of months remaining on your travel insurance. FWD is pretty generous in refunding your policy cost as covered by their travel insurance coverage. Submit necessary documents to the company and you will get your refund within a short time.
Don’t forget to contact your airline
While you might have difficulty in persuading your insurance provider to cover adjustments to your travel plans on account of health dangers such as Zika that may pop, you will be astonished at how helpful your airline might be. During the peak of the Zika epidemic in 2016, most of the leading airlines honored requests for refunds on tickets by customers. Although there is absolutely no guarantee that your air carrier will give you refund in case another worldwide health turmoil like Zika turns up, it is certainly worth trying.
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