Most comprehensive travel insurance plans include, in their coverage for trip cancellation and interruption, some mention of coverage for terrorist acts. With this coverage, you would theoretically be able to cancel or interrupt your travel plans if an act of terrorism occurred in your destination city within a certain number of days of your scheduled arrival. This time frame varies by plan and provider, but in general, can be anywhere from 7 to 30 days.
Terrorism Defined by Travel Insurance Companies
While the definition may vary depending on which plan and provider you've chosen, there are two basic ways that travel insurance companies define "terrorist acts." In any case, travelers should understand that even if there is some kind of violent, frightening civil discord occurring in a country to which they are scheduled to travel, it may not be covered under their travel insurance plan's definition of "terrorism."
- The United States government must declare the situation in question to have been an act of terrorism.
- A clear distinction must be made between terrorism and "civil disorder or riot", and usually stipulates that the incident must not have been an act of war, whether declared or undeclared.
Restrictions for Terrorism Coverage
In order to be eligible for coverage against terrorist acts, you will likely have to meet some expectations on the part of the travel insurance company as far as dates and geography are concerned. For example, your travel insurance policy will likely state that coverage only extends to terrorist acts that have occurred within a certain number of days of your scheduled departure, so make sure to read your plan details carefully.
Also, if a terrorist act has occurred in your destination city prior to your purchase of a travel insurance policy, it will likely be considered a "known peril" – which would mean that you would not be eligible for coverage if you chose to cancel your trip as a result of that terrorist incident (unless you are eligible for Cancel for Any Reason coverage).
Lastly, depending upon the plan you've purchased, you'll need to be familiar with whether the coverage applies only to a city that is specifically on your itinerary, or whether it also extends to outlying regions or to the country as a whole.
How to be to Covered for Terrorism
The most reliable way to be covered for terrorism is to purchase your plan as early as possible and invest in a plan that includes Cancel for Any Reason coverage. This coverage has several eligibility requirements, including a time-sensitive purchase window after you have made your initial trip payment.
It should be noted that Cancel for Any Reason benefits only allow you to cancel your trip up to two days prior to the scheduled departure date, and in most cases, reimburse up to 75% of your pre-paid, non-refundable trip cost.
Cancel for Any Reason coverage could be vital if traveling to an area of the world that is prone to civil disorder or terrorism. Due to the commonality of incidents, any event would most likely be seen as a “known peril”, thus voiding coverage for standard trip cancellation.
Also, Cancel for Any Reason coverage would allow you to cancel a trip due to terrorism if you purchased your plan after a terrorism travel alert or warning has been issued by the U.S. government. Any plan purchased after a travel alert or warning is issued would not cover terrorism as a reason for trip cancellation.