Travel insurance sees 62% spike in demand due to swine flu outbreak

29 April 2009 / by Rachael Stiles has recorded a 62 per cent increase in demand for travel insurance amid fears about a swine flu pandemic.

Consumers are panic buying travel insurance policies, the comparison website has found, as fears about the illness spread throughout the world, and the Foreign Commonwealth Office has now advised against non-essential travel to Mexico, where it originated.

While travelling to Mexico has now been restricted, and anyone who does travel their may not be covered by their insurance because of the country being off limits to tourists, still urges travellers to protect themselves adequately with travel insurance, regardless of which country they are visiting.

"For people who risk travelling with no cover, this serious situation should demonstrate how important insurance is should you be taken ill when away, or are prevented from going at all," said Steve Williams, head of travel insurance. "Travel insurance can cost as little as £1.79 per day, which makes chancing it a silly risk to take for such a minimal expense."

But it should not take the outbreak of a potentially fatal virus to spark a demand for travel insurance, Mr Williams continued: "Every holidaymaker should ensure that they are adequately covered as soon as the holiday is booked. Travel insurance will not only cover you for unforeseen incidences such as illness or accidents, but it will also insure your holiday if you need to cancel it unexpectedly. All policies differ so shopping around is advised to ensure a suitable policy is bought by consumers.

"In the case of swine flu, as the cancellation of travel arrangements is down to the FCO advising against non essential travel to an area, travel costs will be refunded by the tour operator. For those who have booked flights and holidays through independent companies, customers need to contact the provider first," Mr Williams added.

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