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Swine flu covered by travel insurance like 'any other medical condition'

28 July 2009 / by Rachael Stiles

Concerned travellers can rest assured that should they contract swine flu, they will be covered for it just as they would any other serious illness or medical condition, AA travel insurance has said.

AA travel insurance has reported that a quarter of all calls that it is currently receiving are from travellers who are concerned over whether or not their travel insurance policy will cover the costs of medical treatment, cancellation, and repatriation if they contract swine flu while they are away on holiday or before they leave.

In response to the high number of calls seeking advice about swine flu and how it could affect their trip, the AA is moving to reassure travellers that they should approach their holiday the same way as normal.

Despite the outbreak of a flu pandemic, a travel insurance policy will offer them the same protection as usual, providing their was taken out before they fell ill, including instances where the airline deems the passenger unfit to travel and refuses to allow them to board.

Those who do fly and are quarantined on arrival will also be covered, the travel insurance provider says, but in both cases the illness much be confirmed by a doctor or the NHS helpline in order for them to make a claim on their travel insurance.

Last week, the Association of British Insurers (ABI) confirmed that travellers can use the unique ID number and the label from their anti-viral drugs prescribed by the new National Pandemic Flu Service to validate their travel insurance claims, in the absence of a doctor's note.

If they are not allowed to travel by their airline and it turns out they are not suffering from swine flu, then travellers should approach the airline for compensation.

Christian Young, director of AA travel insurance, said: "Case by case, we are treating swine flu the same way we would any severe illness while on holiday. An insurer has to work on the basis that a family will not jeopardise the health of a severely-ill member by embarking on a major trip, nor will they intentionally go abroad to spend a week in the unfamiliar surroundings of a foreign hospital or quarantine accommodation."

"If a traveller is beginning to feel under the weather, as often happens, we would think it natural that they may continue to travel in the hope that their discomfort is temporary. If an airline says they can't board or an airport picks up serious illness on a scanner, whether or not holidaymakers continue to travel is outside their control and is covered by their insurance."

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