By Vicky Anscombe on 28 January 2016


The outbreak of the Zika virus has led to many passengers feeling unsure about travelling.

The infection, which is spread by mosquito bites, causes symptoms including mild fever, conjunctivitis and headaches. It has already been found in 21 countries.

It is thought to cause birth defects and many women in affected countries have been advised to delay having children. No treatment or vaccine is available.

The full list of affected countries are below:

Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Columbia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Martinique, Mexico, Panama, Paraguay, Puerto Rico, Saint Martin, Suriname and Venezuela.

If you have any questions about travel or your coverage with Columbus Direct, here’s what you need to know depending on your situation:

I am pregnant, I have a holiday booked to one of the countries listed above and I don’t feel I should be travelling due to the risks.

If this is the case, and you have purchased your policy and booked your trip prior to January 20, then you will be eligible to claim for cancellation.

You will need to make sure that you follow the terms and conditions of your policy. You should contact the claims department and request a cancellation form.

I have a trip booked to one of the countries above, but I am worried about the Zika Virus.

You can find up to date advice from the National Travel Health Network and Centre website here.

I’m not pregnant, nor is my partner, and I have a trip booked to one of the countries listed above, but I don’t want to travel there now.

At this moment in time, the FCO has not advised against travel to this area, and reluctance to travel would not be covered under the terms of your policy.

Will I be covered if I get infected by the Zika virus?

If you contract the disease whilst abroad you will be covered for emergency medical treatment on your travel insurance policy. In-patient medical treatment and medical expenses would be eligible under the Medical Expenses Section of your policy, providing you have not needlessly exposed yourself.

In such an event, you would be given medical emergency assistance at the nearest appropriate facility available to the assistance service. If medically necessary, you will then be repatriated to the UK at the earliest opportunity to continue any treatment. Once you’re back in the UK, our medical assistance and liability will cease.

Useful links:

National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC)

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Advice for travellers on avoiding insect bites


← How to find the cheapest hotel rooms

Top 5 Ski Resorts for March 2016 →