UPDATE – May 1st 2009 – This release refers to products from the following carriers – Access America, CSA, Elvia, HTH and Mondial as of April 27th 2009. For information on the swine flu position for other carriers, please click here.
As health authorities scramble to contain a dangerous new strain of swine flu sweeping through parts of Mexico, North America and Europe, Chris Harvey, CEO of Squaremouth, America’s fastest growing comparison web site for travel insurance advises travelers it’s too late to buy travel insurance if you are concerned about swine flu.
“The bottom line is this: Don’t rush today to buy travel insurance in hopes of being covered during the swine flu crisis,” warned Chris Harvey, CEO of Squaremouth, America’s fastest growing comparison web site for travel insurance.
Think about it like hurricane insurance, Harvey explained. If you don’t buy travel insurance before a storm receives its official name, you aren’t covered for losses relating to that storm. Similarly, for some companies, Friday, April 24, 2009, was the date the swine flu outbreak became what the industry calls a “foreseen” or “known event” because of widespread media attention.
That means policies bought before April 24, when the outbreak was considered “unforeseen,” may well be honored. After that date, forget it: the swine flu was already deemed a “known event,” so claims related directly or indirectly to outbreaks in Mexico or anywhere else will be denied.
Moreover, even if you think your policy covers “unforeseen circumstances,” there may be language in a General Exclusions section exempting claims “arising directly or indirectly from epidemics or pandemics.”
“Always check the fine print to see what protections apply to you,” Harvey said.
The only way to ensure cover for swine flu is by adding on the optional “Cancel for any Reason” benefit available on some policies. This allows the traveler to simply cancel the trip without needing a covered reason. “There are drawbacks,” Harvey warns, “you can only cancel up to 48 hours before you leave and you may not get 100% of your money back. Make sure you check the fine print before you buy”.
For your convenience, Squaremouth has posted travel insurance information relating to the swine flu outbreak on our home page at Squaremouth.com. We’re compiling official swine flu position statements from insurers and posting the updates at www.squaremouth.com/travel-advice/swine-flu-outbreak. We’re available toll-free at 800-240-0369 to discuss your concerns about the outbreak and how it affects travel insurance. It’s all part of our commitment as an advocate on behalf of our customers.
For now, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) hasn’t classified the swine flu outbreak as a pandemic. You can keep up with the latest briefings on the CDC website: www.cdc.gov/swineflu. Or check the CDC Twitter link: http://twitter.com/CDCemergency
Squaremouth is America’s fastest growing travel insurance comparison site, helping customers instantly quote, compare and buy policies from every major carrier. Squaremouth has web sites in the US and UK, and an extensive network of partner sites worldwide. The company is headquartered in St Pete Beach, FL., with offices in Fort Wayne, IN. Visit Squaremouth.com or Squaremouth.co.uk.
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