Viva La Revolution – But Am I Covered When Vacationing in a Politically Unstable Country?

Does travel insurance cover revolution? For example, if you were planning a trip to Syria or Egypt, does your travel insurance cover disruptions due to civil unrest? Let’s look at this issue from three different angles: Trip Cancellation, Emergency Evacuation, and Trip Interruption and Missed Connections.

Note that political strife doesn’t necessarily affect your vacation. Consider the recent coup d’état in the Maldives. According to Reuter’s reports, tourists are still soaking up the sun despite the recent overthrow of Mohammed Nasheed. Still, you need to be smart and prepared when traveling to countries in turmoil.

Trip Cancellation
If you are traveling to a country such as Syria, where your travel plans could suddenly change, your travel insurance will not reimburse you for cancellation due to civil unrest. If you are worried that your proposed destination may erupt in revolution, your best protection is a policy with a “Cancel for Any Reason” clause. For example, the U.S. State Department strongly urges U.S. travelers to avoid Syria. With a “Cancel for Any Reason” insurance clause you can cancel your trip, whether it’s your choice or beyond your control. In order to be eligible for this kind of protection, typically travelers must buy coverage within 14 days of the initial deposit and it typically provides for a refund of up to 75 percent of the trip cost. (Check out TripInsurance.com’s Best Plans for Cancel for Any Reason Coverage.)

Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation
If you are worried about getting caught in a revolution, then be sure that your insurance includes non-medical emergency evacuation coverage. It is specifically designed to cover the cost of transportation from a danger area, whether the danger is from natural disaster or other covered political safety reasons. If you are in a country such as Syria and need to leave due to civil unrest, then non-medical emergency evacuation will help you get to safety. (You will find this coverage in our BCS and US Fire Better and Best Plans.) It is important to remember that you can’t just book a flight home on your own and then make a claim for emergency evacuation. A toll-free number is provided with the policy, and service personnel will make arrangements to get you home.

Travel Delays and Trip Interruptions
If riots shut down the airport and you have a travel delay, this will be covered under the Travel Delay benefits of a typical policy. This would cover extra hotel costs or food (to the limits of your policy) if your vacation stay is extended because of interruptions in flights. If the flight delay causes you to miss a connection either to an airline or cruise departure, then the Missed Connection benefit would kick in to cover the cost to help you catch up with the cruise ship or make additional airline travel plans to continue your vacation or return home.

What’s Not Covered?
It is important to remember that travel insurance will not cover the cost of lost vacation value if you have to return home early because of a riot or civil unrest. Unfortunately insurance does not cover the loss of comforts or lack of a good time on your vacation. If the hotel’s utilities are interrupted due to some form of civil unrest, and you don’t have water, heat, light, or food, you can’t make a claim because your vacation was a disaster.

We offer an extensive array of articles on this blog, with up-to-date travel warnings, and also enroll you in e-Travel Alerts to keep you posted on any possible political unrest that could affect your vacation plans. We encourage you to review these posts when picking your destination to try to ensure that your vacation does not turn into an unwelcome adventure.

So when planning that next vacation, consider whether you might benefit from extra coverage in the event of a sudden change in the political climate. You want to be prepared. Even in “normally stable countries” like France, an unscheduled union riot could interrupt your travel plans.

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