With the threat of the Zika virus looming over many tropical travel destinations, some travelers are choosing to change or cancel vacation plans.
Highly affected areas include popular summer spots in the Caribbean, Central and South America, including Summer Olympics host nation Brazil.
If you are considering whether to travel or not, keep in mind that the Zika virus is not considered an acceptable reason to cancel a trip by many travelers’ insurance policies.
Jennifer Durst Lussier, a pregnant woman tried to cancel her Caribbean trip, found out the hard way and shared her story with the New York Times.
Lussier bought travel insurance, but Allianz Global Assistance denied her claim even though she was at high risk from the disease outbreak.
“When you start reading the fine print, it doesn’t cover hardly anything unless you died,” Lussier told the Times.
The Zika virus causes only mild flu-like symptoms in most people. However, if women contract the virus during pregnancy, it has been linked to a deadly birth defect.
One way to avoid cancellation headaches is to purchase a “cancel-for-any-reason” policy.
These policies cost more than a standard policy, but allow you to cancel for any reason, including pregnancy. If you do cancel, you’ll generally be reimbursed for about 75 percent of your prepaid expenses.
If you decide to cancel a trip and your travel insurance claim is not approved, it is worth contacting your airline or hotel to ask about refunds, advises Megan Freeman, executive director of the U.S. Travel Insurance Association trade group.