On the back of fears over Zika virus, travel insurance sales for trips to Latin America have surged, says one of the top providers in the US.
Insurance firm RoamRight said revenue for its ‘Cancel For Any Reason’ policy, which covers trips to Zika-impacted areas in the Americas, rose 81% year-on-year in January, Reuters reported.
With The World Health Organization decalring the virus an international health emergency, the rise in insurance purchases provides an insight into how travel patterns are changing because of the virus.
"We see that kind of growth when there is a terrorist attack or some other event that precipitates people thinking about protecting their travel costs," RoamRight head Linda Fallon told Reuters.
Fallon added that holidaymakers were turning to insurance rather than cancelling their travel plans altogether because they were unsure how much their trips would be affected by the virus.
But just as airlines and hotel groups say it is too soon to tell what sort of impact Zika has had on bookings, Fallon said it was too early to consider raising insurance premiums.
According to RoamRight, the "Cancel For Any Reason" policy pays out 75% of all non-refundable trip costs.
Linked to brain damage in thousands of babies in Brazil, Zika virus has already been discovered in Australian travellers returning from South America, virologists say.
Subscription successful! Thank you for subscribing.