Many insurers reviewed the terms of their travel insurance policies and/or the way their policies are applied to specific events after terrorist attacks in early this decade. The definition of terrorism and the nature of cover for terrorism may vary from insurer to insurer.
It is worth taking the time to understand how terrorism is dealt with in your travel insurance policy if you are considering buying travel insurance for a future trip or you already have travel insurance and are about to travel or are considering canceling a trip because of the threat of terrorism.
Speaking of not being covered, if a policy you are considering says that it covers acts of terrorism but then has a huge laundry list of exceptions, you might want to look elsewhere. 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 or contacting the insurance company directly.
In your policy ‘exclusions’ are things you will not be covered for? A general rule with exclusions is ‘the more exclusions (or the wider the exclusion), the less the cover’. If your policy contains exclusion for ‘terrorism’ then just what violent acts are you covered for? The answer depends on what acts are considered to be ‘terrorism’.
Some insurance policies define ‘terrorism’ to include many acts, for example, as ‘a violent act or a threat of violence used by a person or organization to promote their cause or beliefs’. Sometimes ‘terrorism’ is defined to even include ‘military force to prevent terrorist attacks’.
You are covered for a larger range of violent acts if terrorism is an exclusion in your policy and only a small range of acts are defined as ‘terrorism”.
Travel insurance policies include different types of cover, for example, medical, luggage and cancellation. Most insurance policies have general exclusions for all of these types of cover and specific exclusions for only some of these types of cover.
Many travel insurance policies do not cover you for losses arising from terrorism and acts of war. For example, the policy 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 terrorism.
Some travel insurance policies only exclude terrorism from specific types of cover. This may mean that for any losses arising from terrorism: you are covered for death or medical expenses but you are not covered for other losses, for example, costs resulting from canceling your trip.
Even if your travel insurance policy contains exclusion for terrorism, it may be worth checking with the insurer in case they have reviewed the way their policy applies to a specific event.