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Travel Insurance riots
& civil unrest


18 February, 2019 By Hayley Kennedy

Civil disorders or better known as or civil unrest, demonstrations, riots, or strikes are becoming ever more common in today’s world.

With risk of injury and travel disruptions, it’s important to know where you stand in terms of your cover. Keep reading to learns the ins and outs of travel insurance when it comes to political unrest and civil disorder…

Does Travel Insurance Cover civil disorder?

The short answer is yes, most travel insurance companies cover unforeseen riots and civil unrest if there is a disruption to your journey. However, they may not cover for cancellations due to change of mind if you decide you no longer want to go and airlines were still flying.

Which insurers cover riots and civil unrest? 

Every insurer will offer varying degrees of cover. As always, benefits will differ across ranging cover levels. The following summarises the riots and civil unrest benefits across a range of travel insurers:
     

Insurer Underwriter Is cover offered? Conditions
Certain underwriters at Lloyd's tick Covered for additional accommodation and travel expenses if a disruption to your journey arises due to riot or civil unrest.
Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company Limited tick Covered for cancelations if your home or business has been made uninhabitable, up to 14 days before the start of your trip, due to riot or civil commotion. Also covered for unforeseen Curtailment.
Chubb Insurance Australia Limited tick Covered for additional accommodation and travel expenses if disruption of your scheduled transport because of riot or civil commotion if this was unforeseen.
Auto & General Services Pty Ltd tick Additional expenses - The cancellation, delay or diversion of your scheduled transport caused by riot or civil commotion, but only those expenses that you cannot claim from someone else.
Certain underwriters at Lloyd's tick You are covered if your scheduled transport is delayed by at least 6 hours from the time shown in the official itinerary as supplied to you due to riot or civil unrest.
Great Lakes Australia tick You're covered for additional accommodation and transportation expenses as a result of natural disasters.
Certain underwriters at Lloyd's tick Covered for additional accommodation and travel expenses if a disruption to your journey arises due to riot or civil unrest.
Hollard Insurance Company Pty Ltd tick Covered for additional travel and accommodation expenses you incur if a disruption to your scheduled transport because of unforseseen riots or civil commotion.
Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company Limited no No cover under the policy.
Certain underwriters at Lloyd's tick Covered for additional accommodation and travel expenses if a disruption to your journey arises due to riot or civil unrest.
Certain underwriters at Lloyd's tick Covered for additional accommodation and travel expenses if a disruption to your journey arises due to riot or civil unrest.
Certain underwriters at Lloyd's tick Covered for reasonable additional travel and accommodation expenses if a disruption to your journey arises due to the cancellations, delays, rescheduling or diversions to your scheduled or connecting transport.
Mitsui Somoto Insurance Company Limited tick Covered for accommodation, meal and travelling expenses if your trip is disrupted, or you are required to return to your home in Australia, because of the cancellation, delay or diversion of your scheduled transport caused by riot, strike or civil commotion.
Allianz Australia Limited tick Covered if a disruption arises due to the cancellations, delays, rescheduling or diversions to your scheduled or connecting transport.
Certain underwriters at Lloyd's tick Covered for reasonable additional travel and accommodation expenses if a disruption to your journey arises due to the cancellations, delays, rescheduling or diversions to your scheduled or connecting transport.

 
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.

travel insurance and travel warnings? 

It’s important to understand that restrictions can apply to your cover to countries that are already experiencing instability when you book your holiday.
 
As soon as a riot, strike, or demonstration occurs the government (DFAT) will issue a travel warning for that region or country. As soon as this warning has been issued, restrictions may apply to your cover as the event is now “known”. Just like you can’t buy car insurance for a car you have just crashed, you can’t buy travel insurance that will cover you for an event that has already happened. It has to be unknown and unforeseen for the insurance to be valid.
You can check Smartraveller.com.au to see all the lastest travel advice around the world.
 
Bear in mind you also might not be covered to travel to regions with a level 4 or 5 government warning, as they are deemed very risky. Should you choose to travel to a country against government warnings your cover benefits may be rendered void

What is Covered?

Medical costs: Should you incur any injuries as a result of an riot or strike benefits would be paid towards your treatment.

Emergency medical evacuation and repatriation: In the event that you require emergency evacuation or medical treatment cannot be administered locally you would be evacuated to the nearest medical facility. Repatriation costs would also be covered In the event of your death.

Cancellation (before you’ve left): If you’ve not left yet, benefits will be paid if the civil unrest forces you to cancel and claim for out of pocket expenses. Your accommodation provider would have to be no longer a viable option as a result of the unrest however.

Cancellation (when already abroad): If you are within a riot zone you will be covered for travel and accommodation costs involved in moving to new accommodation (if your booked accommodation is deemed uninhabitable).

What isn't covered? 

Travel against warnings: If you intentionally put yourself in harm’s way and travel to a country or region against governmental travel advice, you do so at your own peril. You will not be covered for anything that relates to the travel warning.

Known events: Once an event is known in the mass media (i.e. an airline is striking and flights are cancelled) you wouldn’t be eligible to buy cover for any losses incurred, or claim to cancel your trip if you didn’t already have a policy in place.

Accommodation cover: Your place of residence would have to be uninhabitable for you to make a claim (i.e. the hotel not meeting expectations or a broken window would not suffice). 


Changing your mind: Travel insurance doesn’t cover change of mind. There might be a few providers out there that would cover you for cancelling your trip due to fear of riots or civil unrest, but this is not the norm. Generally speaking, if your airline was still flying, travel insurance wouldn’t cover you for changing your mind.

Tips for travelling in areas of civil unrest:

Avoid large crowds and demonstrations: Riots can easily turn violent without warning, stay vigilant if you hear a commotion and stay away from crowded areas.

Monitor the news: Civil unrest can happen at short notice so make sure you’re on top of any media coverage in your destination. No matter whether you’re in a beach resort or city break, it’s always a good idea to watch the local news to keep abreast of any developments.

Follow advice from local authorities: If they are advising avoiding certain areas or of travel disruptions, do your best to follow their guidance to keep yourself safe.

Keep up-to-date with advice from Smartraveller: This is the best resource to get timely, accurate travel alerts from the Australian government.

Research your travel provider before you book: Are they part of a union that is planning on striking? Doing your due-diligence on the current “vibe” of your travel provider can help to avoid any holiday hiccups.

Get planning: Holidays are expensive! It’s just smart planning to do your research on your chosen destination before booking any transport or accommodation. If there is any sort of political instability or tensions brewing it might be wise to consider another location.

Contact your travel insurer: If you are caught up in a commotion, keep yourself safe and contact your travel insurer’s help line. They can advise you the best course of action.

 

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Contributor Hayley Kennedy

Hayley Kennedy

Originally from the UK, Hayley took a gap ‘year’ in 2011… and it’s still going! She’s travelled all over the world, volunteering in a Ugandan orphanage, skydiving in Australia, shark diving in South Africa, and skiing in the Alps (and snapping in a ligament in the process!). Certified in Tier 2 General Insurance General Advice and working in travel insurance for over two years, Hayley is a thrillseeker and a storyteller who loves hearing about customers’ holiday plans and sharing her own tips and must-see spots to help get them inspired.

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