Travel Insurance and Dangerous Destinations

Most travel insurance firms recommend that you follow the advice of the government as laid out on the official FCO website. At the beginning of the swine flu epidemic the government were advising against all essential travel to Mexico and with this advice many tour operators and holiday insurance companies opted either to pay out or allow customers to change their holiday dates and destinations.Now that the government have lifted the ban, your travel insurance company would not cover you if you opt to cancel your flights to the country due to your own perceived threat. Likewise, if you ignored the government’s original advice and traveled to Mexico anyway, you would have not been covered by your holiday insurance policy.It is always advisable to continue checking the FCO website to see what advice is offered as this in turn will affect your holiday insurance policy. At the time of writing the government are advising against all travel to Somalia, so it would not possible to get travel insurance at all if you are planning on holidaying here. Most of the FCO advice is regional so whilst you can easily get travel insurance for a holiday in Delhi, traveling to the region of Kashmir will not be covered under most policies.In the event that your holiday company cancels the trip and not you, they should allow you to either choose a new holiday or ask for a refund on the original. The holiday company will not usually offer to compensate you, but if you have a valid travel insurance policy then you can claim compensation for any inconvenience through them.In the event that you had booked a flight to Mexico on your credit card and your flight or hotel was canceled because of the swine flu epidemic, then your credit card company is also equally responsible for refunding the cost of your original booking.Once you reach your destination there are plenty of precautions that you can take to ensure that you don’t become ill whilst on your holidays. Making sure that you follow the local health advice is crucial; if your Lonely Planet guide says that it isn’t safe to drink the water then don’t think that you can chance it. Wash your hands whilst out and about and use anti-bacterial gels to prevent the transmission of germs. Also try to avoid touching your mouth, eyes or nose as this spreads the disease.Make sure that your meat is properly cooked all the way through as viruses, such as swine flu, die at 70 degrees Celsius. So although it isn’t really practical to carry a thermometer out and about with you to local restaurants, you can still get an idea of if the meat is safe to eat by checking that all the cooking juices are running clear and that there is no blood on your plate.Last November Bangkok Airport saw a different kind of threat to tourists as anti-government protestors took over the airport and flight cancellations meant that thousands of overseas travelers were left stranded. Although situations like this rarely happen when they do having a valid travel insurance policy in place can be a god-send.In Bangkok, customers were transported back home via Phuket and their holiday insurance policies footed the bill for inconvenience that they had suffered as a factor. So whilst you shouldn’t let the thought of threats put you off taking a holiday this year, making sure that you have an extensive travel insurance policy means that you will be covered for all eventualities.