What is Zika virus?
Zika is a virus that’s usually spread by mosquitoes. Zika usually causes a mild infection, but it can be more serious for pregnant women. It’s thought that the Zika virus causes:
- microcephaly – a birth defect where the child’s brain stops developing properly, causing an abnormally small head and brain damage
- Guillain-Barré syndrome – a neurological disorder
Outbreaks of the Zika virus have been seen in the Pacific Islands, South and Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, and parts of South and South East Asia.
Types of complaints we see
We get complaints from customers who cancel their holiday because the country they plan to visit has had a Zika virus outbreak.
Customers may cancel because they’re pregnant, or planning on getting pregnant. But when they try to claim the cost of cancelling their trip, their insurer rejects their claim – so they bring their complaint to us.
What we look at
We’ll find out what your policy’s terms and conditions are. You’ll usually be covered by your travel insurance policy if:
- you’re ill and can’t go on holiday
- you have health complications because of pregnancy
The risk of catching Zika doesn’t fit either of these situations. But if the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has advised against travelling to a high-risk Zika country, you may be covered. Some policies provide cover for cancellation if the FCDO has advised against travel.
We’ll look at:
- when you booked the trip
- when you bought the insurance – and what the FCDO advice was at that time
- what the FCDO advice was at the time you decided to cancel the trip
- medical evidence from your GP
- whether you’re pregnant – or planning on getting pregnant
- whether the pregnancy was planned – if you’re pregnant
How to complain
Talk to your insurance company first. They need to have the chance to put things right. They have to give you their final response within eight weeks for most types of complaint.
If you’re unhappy with their response, or if they don’t respond, let us know. We’ll check your complaint is something we can deal with, and if it is, we’ll investigate to understand what happened and what went wrong.
Find out more about making a complaint.
Putting things right
If we feel your insurance company has turned down your claim unfairly, we’ll do what we can to put things right.
Find out more about how we put things right for customers who've made a complaint about their travel insurance claim.
My insurer won't pay my holiday cancellation claim, even though I'd be travelling against medical advice