Terrorism: it’s a scary word, and one we’d rather not think about when planning our next trip abroad.
Unfortunately, events like 9/11, the Bali bombings and most recently, the attacks in Paris, have altered the way we travel forever. Tighter travel regulations have become the norm and heightened security risks are all too common. That being said, plenty of confusion surrounds travel insurance as it relates to terrorism. More specifically, will travel insurance cover an act of terrorism?
To begin with it’s important to understand that every travel insurer will handle a terrorist incident differently and will have varying cover exclusions. Although most insurers will generally consider terrorism or acts of war to be an exclusion a few will offer limited cover...keep reading for more.
Travel insurance and travel warnings
As soon as a terrorist attack occurs the government will issue travel warnings for that region or country. Restrictions will now apply to those destinations and you would generally not be covered to travel to those regions (particularly those with a level 4 or 5 government warning). Should you choose to travel to a country against government warnings your cover benefits may be rendered void.
Cancellations or delays due to a terror attack
In the event of a terrorist attack or political unrest, most if not all policies exclude cover for cancellation fees & lost deposits, disruption of journey or alternative transport expenses. Though it’s a difficult pill to swallow, insurers ruled out these specific benefits after the risk of terrorism were deemed too great. However, plenty of insurers will still provide cover for medical cover in the event of a terror attack.
Medical expenses due to a terror attack
A few insurers do provide cover for medical and hospital expenses caused by an act of terrorism, including the cost of bringing you back home. Keep reading to see who covers what. If your insurer is not on the list, it's crucial to review your policy coverage, as every insurer will vary in their benefits.
In any case, medical cover is essential for travellers headed abroad. The risk of being exposed to illness or injury is simply not one worth taking once you consider the full cost of medical and hospital expenses overseas. Add to that the expense of medical evacuation, accidental death or total permanent disability and the need for travel insurance cannot be over emphasised.
Whilst you not be able to rely on travel insurance for all terrorism related claims, it is still vital to take out a policy before you head away. Safe travel can be a very useful resource and one worth checking regularly to stay abreast of any current events.
Which insurers cover terrorism?
Every insurer will offer varying degrees of cover. As always, benefits will differ across ranging cover levels. The following summarises the terrorism benefits across a range of travel insurers:
1Cover (underwritten by certain underwriters at Lloyds): 1Cover states that In the event of a terrorist attack or political unrest, there is no cover for cancellation fees and lost deposits, disruption of journey or alternative transport expenses. However, cover is available for all necessary medical/hospital expenses, including bringing you back to your home. Take note that there is no cover for medical/hospital expenses or repatriation under Domestic plans.
American Express (underwritten by ACE Insurance): As a general exclusion, American Express does not cover any losses related to or arising from terrorism. However, cover may apply when losses are incurred as a result of a transport accident. See PDS for further details.
Columbus Direct (underwritten by Lloyds): Columbus Direct offers limited cover only for medical expenses as a result of an injury resulting from a terrorist attack.
Covermore (underwritten by Cigna): There is no cover for cancellation, amendment or travel delay costs resulting from terrorism. Covermore will provide cover for medical and evacuation expenses due to terrorism.
Southern Cross Travel Insurance (underwritten by Southern Cross Travel Insurance): SCTI will provide cover for medical and evacuation expenses due to terrorism. Cover for all other expenses related to an event of terrorism are not included.
TINZ (underwritten by Certain Underwriters of Lloyd’s): TINZ's Frequent Traveller and Comprehensive Plus plans allow you to cancel your trip in the event that MFAT travel warnings restrict you from travel. However, your trip must be directly affected by terrorism. You cannot claim for cancellation benefits if your booked accommodation is greater than 2km from where the act of terrorism took place. If you are injured during a terror attack, they provide travellers with $10 million worth of medical cover.
TID (underwritten by Lloyd’s of London): TID will not pay claims that arise from terrorism that relate to cancellation costs, travel delay or special events. TID will provide cover for medical and evacuation expenses due to terrorism.
Tower Insurance (underwritten by Tower): Tower will only cover expenses caused by terrorism under section 5- Accidental death and permanent disablement and Section 6- Medical and other expenses.
Although travelling in times of uncertainty can be nerve-wracking, it can be helpful to take some perspective. Statistically speaking, the chances of being impacted by an act of terrorism abroad are minimal. However, when it comes to particularly dangerous destinations, it is worth considering your need to travel. Always take travel insurance along with you and keep an eye on current events.