Most people think travel insurance is a way to recoup the cost of an airline ticket in the event of a personal emergency or health situation that makes it impossible for them to complete their travels.
But travel insurance is more than just personal insurance. Consider the impact this year’s terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris, to mention just a few, have had on the travel industry and travelers’ plans.
While travel insurance rates haven’t spiked, or changed at all, since these events, the commodity with the terrorism clause has been standard since September 11, 2001. In fact, according to an article in The New York Times, companies like squaremouth.com have a special section of their travel insurance site dedicated to policies that prospective travelers can search to find terrorism coverage.
Travelers should understand that insurance with this clause doesn’t provide blanket coverage. In fact, it’s very narrow. For example, it will not cover a trip already in progress, but might allow you to get a refund if an act of terrorism has occurred within 30 days of your scheduled departure. The policy may also exclude coverage in the event of a terrorist attack if you choose to travel to an area known for terrorist activity or where an attack has already happened.
According to Christina Tunnah, regional manager for the travel insurance company World Nomads, two factors determine whether or not you’ll be able to submit a claim: 1) When you purchased the insurance, and 2) How your plans were impacted by the terrorism. In some instances, for a claim to be paid, the event may have to be officially declared a terrorist attack. She always advises travelers to call.
“Traditionally, insurance doesn’t cover fear,” Tunnah told the New York Times. “Yet there are some practicalities that might cause a travel insurance company to make an exception. It’s always very case by case.”
While the odds of being impacted by an act of terrorism while traveling are exceedingly slim, knowing your options will help you make an informed, objective decision.
Photo credit: Mark Yang (Wikimedia Commons, Creative Commons 2.0)