scorecardresearchTravel insurance against terror attacks: What's covered and what's not

Travel insurance against terror attacks: What's covered and what's not

Updated: 07 Jan 2023, 10:26 AM IST

Check if your travel insurance policy covers terrorist attacks or explicitly states an extension of cover for terror attacks. The insured must check for details regarding hospitalisation and personal accident coverage in case of an attack on foreign soil.

Check if your travel insurance policy covers against terror attacks.

Check if your travel insurance policy covers against terror attacks.

How many times have we wished for the much-desired protection while travelling abroad? So many people complain about flight delays or suddenly falling ill in flight or losing their luggage to strangers at the arrival area. Having a travel insurance plan in place will ensure complete or partial recovery from the loss. 

However, some incidents are more grievous and weigh more than these trivial losses like unanticipated terror attacks or a sudden outbreak of civil war in a foreign land or being in a midst of political turmoil. The chances of being subject to a terrorist attack are relatively slim compared to most other unfortunate circumstances like sudden illness or an accident. The odds of being struck by a lightning are in fact more. The risk, however, cannot and must not be ignored.

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Does your insurer cover terror attacks?

Every time you travel to a foreign land, you must make sure that your travel insurance extends you the necessary coverage against terror attacks. Chances are that most policies do not cover terror attacks unless explicitly mentioned. Terrorism is a difficult subject to discuss, regardless of one’s concerns, the geopolitical situation, or destination. This also means that you must read the policy terms and conditions regarding the insurance company’s response towards their clients’ susceptibility to terror attacks and if they are willing to cover them against loss of life and property.

A lot depends on the insurance policy that you are planning to buy. This is because some plans cover terror attacks while some mention no such benefits in their terms and conditions. Also, no insurance company would allow these as riders or add-on benefits to its customers. Insurance companies take a lot of care in underwriting their policies, which explains why many insurers selling travel insurance policies refrain from providing any coverage or exclude this benefit against terror attacks though they cover against loss on trip cancellation or flight delays. The insured may confirm the same with their companies who are liable to provide benefits mentioned in the policy or paid for to avail of added benefits.

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What does your travel insurance plan cover?

Coverage against terror attacks mainly covers all the costs of hospitalization and personal accident cover on outside lands. Life insurance companies cover against death or dismemberment in foreign lands subject to certain conditions. Since a lot depends on the conditions listed in the policy document, insurance companies frequently assist victims and assist with claims, if not clearly mentioned otherwise. They cover hospitalisation, among other things. The exclusion factor comes in only if the companies mention it in black and white. Also, a lot depends on the number of people affected by the terror attack. In case of a full-scale mass attack, companies help when a large number of people are affected.

Some insurance companies realizing the increasing frequency of geopolitical tensions not only cover the costs of hospitalization and treatment consequent to terror attacks but also cover the costs of cremation in foreign lands along with the expenses of carrying mortal remains back to the country.

Incidents of injury and death due to a full-fledged conflict or war or terror attack are becoming increasingly common. For example, the recent threat of a full-fledged escalation on Saudi Arabia by Iran or the constant tussle between China and Taiwan or the current Russia-Ukraine fiasco that has caused their neighbours to be on high alert. 

This explains why it is always a good idea to have travel insurance when travelling domestically or internationally, for any purpose, domestic or business. This will relieve you from unwanted tensions if something goes wrong. However, to avail of the benefits, you must pay to necessary documentation. This is again true for all insurance policies that one buys as insurance companies are liable to comply only with those benefits and conditions mentioned and implied in the policy documents.

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What travel insurance covers or does not cover?

Inclusions and exclusions are inherent in every kind of insurance policy that you buy. One must be careful to check the list of countries that your insurance company may cover against any unforeseen terror attack. This is similar to checking the network list of hospitals before buying a health insurance policy. Companies, where no travel insurance would extend you coverage against terror attacks, can be Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Syria, and more. 

The list is long and exhaustive with as many as 21 countries being barred from the provision of any kind of insurance coverage in the event of an attack, explosion or war. Again, the list is subject to change depending on changing geopolitical equations and living conditions in the respective countries. One must check the official website of the insurance company to access the list before buying travel insurance from it.

Defining terror attacks

Civil unrest is not viewed as similar to a terrorist attack, so it is advisable to visit the insurance company’s site to learn about their definition of riots and violent activities and what they cover. Some travel insurance companies also cover trip cancellation charges because of a terrorist incident, though a lot depends on when the attack happened.

Terrorist acts, as well as general anxiety related to terrorism, can be enough to make you nervous about upcoming travel. And it stands to reason that you might seek reassurance from travel insurance, whether you have a policy in place for planned travel or simply want to consider all of your options in these uncertain times.

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First Published: 07 Jan 2023, 10:26 AM IST