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Travel Insurance During A War: Are You Covered?

(February 10, 2003)

You've taken all the right steps planning your hard-earned vacation; including purchasing travel insurance. But what if war breaks out, are you really covered? If you read the fine print in any policy, you might not be.

War Exclusion Clause

When it comes to travel insurance, there are basically three types: trip cancellation/interruption, flight insurance, and medical insurance. Consumers need to be aware that a "war exclusion" (declared or undeclared war) clause exists within all retail insurance policies, which could potentially void coverage. Many travel insurance policies do not cover you for losses arising from terrorism and acts of war. Policies will list "terrorism and acts of war" in the general exclusions or include statements like "we will not pay for any loss that arises from civil war, foreign war, terrorism or any act carried out by a terrorist". Basically insurers could reject claims should a trip be interrupted as a direct result of war. For example, if your bag was lost as a direct result of a war, you might not be covered. If your trip is interrupted because air space over a certain country is restricted because of war, you might not be covered. Lastly, what if you just are scared to travel because of war? You're out of luck because war is not a covered reason for canceling a trip.

What About Terrorism Insurance?

Travel insurance has changed with the times and some policies do offer coverage for "acts of terrorism." Still if a "war exclusion" clause is implemented by the insurers and their underwriters coverage would not apply if the terrorist incident occurred because of a war.

The Reality

Most travel agents interviewed for this story felt that the "war exclusion clause" would not be invoked. Still one travel agent noted she advises clients that "all bets are off" when it comes to travel insurance coverage during a war.

If you are considering buying a policy you should find out exactly what it does and what it does not cover by: asking for a copy of the document and reading it carefully, paying particular attention to the exclusions contacting the insurance company directly. Always read the fine print so you don't get taken for a ride.

Related AnitaVacation Features:

Why Travel Insurance?

Ask Anita: I am scared to take my planned trip because of the threat of war, can I get my money back?

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