As a frequent traveller, you will likely be familiar with scoping out the latest advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office. But what if an assignment requires you to travel to a country considered risky by the government?
- Medical cover - Any costs for medical treatments, including evacuation or repatriation, would be included in most circumstances. However, many providers have caveats for acts of terrorism or war.
- Cancellation cover - If you have an insurance policy in place pre-departure and a warning is issued, there should be clauses that would enable you to cancel your upcoming trip.
- Disruption - If a travel warning alters your trip, you can get reimbursement for any additional expenses you incurred as a result.
- Unrelated claims - If you are in-country when a travel warning is issued, you may still be able to submit a claim for an unrelated incident. For example, you are travelling in Brazil, and the government issued a travel warning regarding the Zika virus. During the remainder of your trip, your bag is stolen. On your return, you would likely still be able to successfully claim for your missing possessions as the event does not directly relate to the travel warning.
- If you book a trip to a country that is already deemed high-risk by the FCDO, this is usually considered personal liability, and you will likely not be able to claim under most standard policies.
- If your destination status changes while you do not have an insurance policy, you will not be covered if you try to purchase one after the warning is in place. For example, say you have booked a trip to Miami, but your annual policy has just expired. Florida is currently on a green list, but you hear on the news of an approaching hurricane, so you call up to get a quote for some travel insurance. In this instance, you would be unable to claim cancellation costs on your new policy.
- You are also unable to claim on an existing policy if you decide not to travel. For example, perhaps there is suspicion regarding a possible terrorist attack in your destination. Until the government issues a warning, you would be unable to cancel through your insurance if you decided not to travel.
- Some general exclusions could be especially relevant for travellers looking to go to high-risk countries. For example, many insurers will have clauses regarding acts of terrorism, war, and pandemics in their policies. After the arrival of coronavirus, some insurers did extend their travel insurance policies to cover travellers for medical expenses or cancellation charges due to regulations from the pandemic. However, this was not true across the board, and specialist insurance services are still the safest option for travellers needing covid cover for red list destinations at this time.