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Compare Travel Insurance Travel Insurance Tips Does Travel Insurance Cover Terrorism

Does Travel Insurance Cover Terrorism?

22 February 2022 By Eugene Wylde

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 in 2017, have altered the way we travel forever. Tighter travel regulations have become the norm and heightened security risks are commonplace.

With non-stop news alerts at our fingertips in real-time, it’s easy to think that a terrorist attack is likely to happen and is going to impact you.

Whilst these events can happen, it is important to have some perspective by separating the likelihood of an act of terrorism from the likelihood of you being directly involved.  There is no cover for fear or threat of a terrorist incident at your destination so it pays to exercise caution or understand the cancellation terms of your booking agency if you're hesitant.  

It is smart to understand your coverage and to protect your travel plans against the impact of an attack if you're heading somewhere of real concern.  It is common sense to avoid travel to areas where there has been a persistent record of terrorist attacks or kidnappings

By its very nature,  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 was deemed too great. However, plenty of insurers will still provide cover for medical cover in the event of a terror attack.

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:


General Advice Warning: The contents of this article were accurate at the time of writing. Insurers change their policies from time to time, so some information may have changed. You should always read the Product Disclosure Statement of your chosen insurer to understand what is covered and what isn't. The information provided is of a general nature only and does not take into account any personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a decision you should consider the appropriateness of the information having regard to your personal circumstances.

What Are My Options?

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 backup 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 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 necessarily have flexible cancellation policies, the operator will be under a legal obligation to ensure your safety in a crisis. 

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 its 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 overemphasised.

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.

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Terrorism Travel Insurance FAQs

Does travel insurance cover terrorism?

Many travel insurers exclude coverage for acts of terrorism - however, the table above shows all the insurers we are aware of who offer medical cover, or medical and cancellation cover in the event of terrorism.

What is terrorism according to travel insurance?

The general definition of terrorism is an act or threat that is intended to: advance a political, ideological or religious cause; and coerce or intimidate an Australian or foreign government or the public (or section of the public).  Some insurers rely on this standard definition, whilst others may have slight variations and include their own definition of terrorism. It is a good idea to check the glossary, definitions or 'words with special meanings' section of their policy wording before purchasing a policy. This is an example of what an insurers' definition of terrorism may look like:

  • An act or threat of terrorism
  • A terrorist act or use of military force or other intervention by a government or official authority to intercept, prevent, or mitigate a terrorist act.
  • An event that is verified or recognised by the government as an act of terrorism, or defined as such by any relevant legislation.

Does travel insurance cover cancellation due to terrorism?

A few insurers will cover cancellation due to terrorism, provided it meets their criteria. This will may require terrorist activity to have occurred within a specified distance of your accommodation or airport, a travel advisory to be issued by the Australian Government against travelling there, or a travel ban where a foreign country closes their borders. Check the table above for insurers who offer cancellation cover, and check their policy documents to confirm the policy terms are right for you.

What is covered by travel insurance with respect to terrorism?

Some insurers offer no cover for acts due to terrorism, while others will cover for medical issues if you are injured due to a terrorist attack. A few insurers will offer cancellation and curtailment cover, so you can stay home or get home if your trip is impacted by terrorism. Check the table above for insurers we are aware of who offer terrorism cover and some of their conditions. 

What if I am afraid of a terrorist attack and want to cancel?

The fear or threat of a terrorist incident at your destination is not a claimable event or covered reason for trip cancellation. Provided that your trip hasn't started, most travel insurers allow flexibility for you to change your travel dates and/or your destination should you wish to change your make new travel arrangements or visit your destination at a different time.

Contributor Eugene Wylde

Eugene Wylde

Eugene is the king of insurance! Having spent more than ten years raising awareness on the importance of holiday protection, he is a self-confessed insurance geek extraordinaire when it comes to the world of travel cover. Eugene loves helping people save time, worry and loads of money with the right policy at the right price. His ideal holiday is any one where he has a pina colada in his hand. Salut!

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