Anxiety over acts of terrorism can make anyone nervous about their upcoming trip. It’s only natural to seek some peace of mind by considering travel insurance, whether you already have a policy or are exploring your options during uncertain times.
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Let’s take a moment to crunch some numbers and put things into perspective. First, it’s important to separate the likelihood of a terrorist attack from the probability of being directly involved in such an incident. We won’t sugarcoat it – terrorism is a difficult subject to digest, especially with the constant barrage of news alerts and real-time threats. But here’s the reality: between 2001 and 2013, only 350 U.S. citizens lost their lives in terrorist incidents abroad, as per U.S. State Department statistics. While this is undoubtedly tragic, it means that your odds of being personally affected by terrorism are 20 million to 1, much lower than the chances of being struck by lightning (one in 5.5 million).
If those numbers still leave you feeling uneasy or concerned about the impact of terrorism on your travel plans, purchasing travel insurance that covers terrorist acts is an excellent way to keep your options open. Most travel insurance plans do provide benefits for various scenarios involving terrorism, including instances where a terrorist attack occurs at your destination within 30 days of your scheduled arrival. Of course, it’s always essential to check with your specific provider and review the plan details.
Tips for Avoiding Terrorism while Traveling
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According to a U.S. State Department advisor, the best way to protect yourself is to avoid traveling to locations with a history of terrorist attacks or kidnappings. If you’re unsure about the safety of your destination, visit the State Department’s website to check if any travel warnings or advisories have been issued.
While terrorist acts are unpredictable, there are common-sense precautions you can take to reduce the risk of being directly or indirectly targeted. For instance, when flying abroad, opt for direct flights whenever possible, minimize layovers at high-risk airports, and avoid crowded areas. Traveling with companions, selecting taxis randomly, keeping a charged cellphone, and keeping vehicle windows closed are additional safety measures. It’s also important to avoid opening your hotel room door to strangers and to never handle or accept unexpected packages. Lastly, if you notice any suspicious activity, report it to the authorities using your best judgment.
Does Travel Insurance Cover Trip Cancellation due to Terrorism?
Yes, travel insurance can cover trip cancellation caused by a terrorist incident. However, coverage depends on the timing. Under Allianz Global Assistance travel insurance plans, both domestic and international terrorism are considered covered reasons for trip cancellation if a terrorist event occurs in your U.S. city or foreign destination within 30 days of your scheduled arrival. On the other hand, if there has been a terrorist event in your international destination within 30 days prior to your plan’s effective date, you will not be covered. It’s always important to understand how terrorism insurance works and review the details of your specific plan.
To illustrate this further, let’s consider a couple of examples:
- You purchase travel insurance for a sightseeing trip to Prague with your daughter. However, news reports emerge of a bomb exploding in the old town square three weeks before your planned arrival. If you decide to cancel your trip, your travel insurance will reimburse you for prepaid, non-refundable travel costs since you bought the insurance before the incident occurred.
- On the other hand, if you purchase a travel insurance plan immediately after a bus explosion in Athens two weeks before your planned trip, and another attack occurs on the bus shortly before your departure causing you to cancel, your travel insurance would not cover the cancellation. This is because you purchased the plan within 30 days of a terrorist incident at your destination. However, you may still receive travel insurance benefits if another covered reason applies to your situation.
Does Travel Insurance Cover Terrorism on Airplanes?
If a terrorist attack leads to the suspension of airline services for 24 hours, it is considered a covered reason for trip cancellation or interruption by Allianz Global Assistance. Additionally, if you or a fellow traveler is kidnapped, it is also a covered reason for trip cancellation. In such situations, it’s advisable to contact the Allianz Global Assistance Global Travel Assistance Hotline for support. The travel experts at Allianz Global Assistance can help you reach out to local authorities or the U.S. Embassy and make alternative travel arrangements to ensure your safe return. However, if a terrorist attack occurs on another aircraft before your scheduled trip, that is not considered a covered reason for trip cancellation.
What if I’m Afraid of a Terrorist Incident?
Imagine you have a trip planned to visit your family in the Philippines, but a separatist group begins making terrorist threats shortly before your scheduled departure. The State Department issues a travel advisory urging caution. In this scenario, if you decide to cancel your trip due to fear of a terrorist incident, your travel insurance will not cover the cancellation because no incident has actually occurred. It’s crucial to be cautious and considerate when making your travel arrangements.
Does Travel Insurance Cover Riots or Other Acts of Violence?
Let’s say you’ve just arrived in Cairo, ready to embark on a grand tour of Egypt. Suddenly, a riot erupts in Tahrir Square as protesters clash with the police. Frightened, you retreat to your hotel room and start making plans to return home. Unfortunately, travel insurance does not cover trip cancellation due to civil unrest. It’s essential to note that civil protests, riots, and acts of war do not fall under the definition of terrorism according to Allianz Global Assistance travel insurance. However, if a strike or riot leads to the suspension of services by your carrier or tour operator for 24 hours, that may be considered a covered reason for trip cancellation.
Ultimately, the more you travel, the more comfortable you become with the experience. Pre-travel anxiety often dissipates once you hit the road, as practical considerations take precedence. So, make responsible travel plans, exercise good judgment, and look forward without dwelling on uncertainties.
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