Travel queries relating to the Ebola virus outbreak
There has recently been significant media focus relating to the Ebola virus. We understand that your customers may have queries on how this may affect their travel plans and cover.
Worldwide travel is still considered safe and the following Q&As have been prepared to support specific questions your customers may have regarding travel, as we continue to monitor the situation.
Q. I have a flight booked to Sierra Leone but the airline has cancelled all flights to that country due to the Ebola outbreak and following Foreign and Commonwealth Office advice. Can I claim under my travel insurance cover?
A. You will need to discuss this with the travel agent/tour operator/airline first as they should provide a refund. If you have already checked in for a flight which is then cancelled you will be able to make a claim for the delay 12 hours after you were due to leave if no alternative arrangements have been found for you. If you are still delayed after 24 hours then you would have the option to abandon your trip.
If your flight is cancelled before you check in and your travel provider has not been able to make any alternative arrangements for you within 24 hours of your scheduled departure time then call the travel helpline who will advise you further.
Q. I no longer wish to take my holiday as the country I was travelling to has an Ebola outbreak. Can I claim for the cancellation of the trip under my travel insurance?
A. There are very few cases of Ebola outside of Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia so other countries are still considered quite safe to visit. You should contact your travel provider to see if you can change your travel arrangements or are entitled to a refund. If you decide to cancel your trip you would not be able to claim for the cancellation under your travel insurance cover.
Q. What would happen if I contracted Ebola when I’m abroad?
A. The World Health Organisation (WHO) and its partners are coordinating the response and treatment, particularly in Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. As such if you were suspected of having the disease it would be referred to them and the Foreign Office would also be contacted. All care and repatriation, if appropriate, would be controlled by WHO or one of its partners.You would also be able to claim under the medical expenses section of your travel insurance.
Q. What would happen if myself, anybody I’m travelling with or the people we are staying with contracted Ebola before I left home?
A. You would be able to cancel your trip and claim for the unused accommodation and travel expenses.
Q. Where has the largest impact been so far?
A. The outbreak has so far been confined to less popular tourist destinations such as Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in West Africa. Whilst cases have been confirmed in Spain, the US and a few other countries these are considered to be isolated events, usually involving people that have been in direct contact with infected patients.
Q. I am travelling to a country affected by the outbreak. Am I still covered?
A. Yes, full cover is available as long as you abide by local guidelines, restrictions and curfews and do not deliberately expose yourself to the risk of contracting Ebola.
Q. Where can I find out further information about this outbreak?
The World Health Organisation is closely monitoring the situation and regularly publishes advice and information, see www.who.int/topics/haemorrhagic_fevers_viral/en/
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provide travel advice, see www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice
You can also follow the health advice issued by the National Travel Health Network and Centre, see www.nathnac.org/pro/clinical_updates/ebola_westafrica_310714.htm
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