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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 the attacks in Paris, have altered the way we travel forever. Tighter travel regulations have become the norm and heightened security risks are commonplace.
Whilst these events should not stop travellers from heading abroad, it's simply smart practice to protect your travel plans against the impact of an attack. 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.
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.
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.
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:
|Insurer||Underwriter||Medical Coverage due to Terrorism||Coverage to Cancel due to Terrorism||Notes||Go to Insurer|
|1Cover||Certain underwriters at Lloyd's||No cover for medical/hospital expenses or repatriation under Domestic plans.||Go To Insurer|
|Amex||Chubb Insurance Australia Limited||Cover may apply when losses are incurred as a result of a transport accident. See PDS for further details.||Go To Insurer|
|Budget Direct||Auto & General Services Pty Ltd||You may be able to claim your cancellation and amendment fees if, as a result of a terrorist attack, travel restrictions are imposed on you and/or the Australian Government raises that country's risk rating to 'Level 4 - Do not travel' after you purchased your policy.||Go To Insurer|
|Columbus Direct||Certain underwriters at Lloyd's||Limited cover for medical expenses and hijack claims.||Go To Insurer|
|Cover-More||Zurich Australian Insurance Limited|
|Downunder||Certain underwriters at LLoyd's||Go To Insurer|
|Fast Cover||Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd||Cover not available with non-medical or domestic cover.||Go To Insurer|
|Insure4Less||Certain underwriters at Lloyd's||Cover terrorism where the Australian Government does not have a Level 4 "Do not travel" warning. If you have already paid for your insurance and then the Government issues a Level 4 "Do not travel" advice to that destination, there is cover to cancel your trip subject to the policy terms.|
|InsureandGo||Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company Limited||Go To Insurer|
|SCTI||Southern Cross Benefits Limited|
|Travel Insurance Direct||Certain underwriters at Lloyd's|
|Travel Insurance Saver||QBE Insurance Limited||Cover for medical expenses plus costs arising from hijacking, emergency accommodation due to terrorism and cover for luggage and personal effects related to an event of terrorism.||Go To Insurer|
|Travel Insuranz||Berkshire Hathaway Speciality Insurance||
You are covered, subject to the policy terms and conditions, to travel anywhere that the Australian government does not have a specific "do not travel" advice.
Subject to the policy terms and conditions, you may cancel your trip if the government advice was to changed to "do not travel" from a lesser advice before you departed.
|Go To Insurer|
|Virgin Money||Allianz Australia Insurance Limited||Cover available unless you have purchased Non-Medical or Domestic cover.||Go To Insurer|
Current at October 4th 2018. Check the relevant Product Disclosure Statement for up to date information.
In the event of a large scale terror attack such as the November Paris attacks, plenty of travel and transport companies responded to customers concerns with humanity, allowing them to postpone their bookings.
However, with the more global threat of terror it can be good practice to have a back-up plan should you need to cancel or delay your trip.
As well, it may be worthwhile looking for accommodation deals that allow free cancellation (often possible on sites like Booking.com and Expedia). Be sure to check the fine print to ensure you're not caught out by any additional fees or upfront pre-payments.
Flexible fares may be more expensive but could pay off when weighed up against the potential emotional and financial cost of a trip cancellation. It may also be worth looking into package holidays. Although these won't neccessarily have flexible cancellation policies, the operator will be under legal obligation to ensure your safety in a crisis.
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. The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs (DFAT) website, Smartraveller can be a very useful resource and one worth checking regularly to stay abreast of any current events. The Australian government can help travellers during and after a terrorist incident, so be sure to register your travels with DFAT as well.
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. For more information on safe travel check out our guide to travel warnings.