Does travel insurance cover terrorism?

This is a commonly asked question travel insurance companies receive, so let’s cut right to the heart of the matter: unless you have Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage, travel insurance companies will not cover you if you cancel a trip because you’re afraid a terrorist event may occur at your destination.

On the other hand, travel insurance will generally cover you if a terrorist event occurs just before you arrive at your destination, or while you’re there.

Fear of terrorism is real – but not covered

We know how heavily the threat of terrorism weighs on travelers. Even in the depths of the pandemic travelers considered fear of terrorism as the greatest threat to their travels.

However, terrorist events by their very nature are unpredictable. The reason they strike fear into travelers’ hearts is you don’t know they’re coming until they happen, and you don’t know what form the attack will take.

Travel insurance covers you when something unpredictable happens when you travel – a freak snowstorm leaves you stranded, or you fall down a mountain trail and break your leg.

You wouldn’t expect travel insurance to cover you cancelling your trip because you’re afraid of falling down a mountain and breaking your leg. If your fears are that all-encompassing, you probably shouldn’t be traveling in the first place.

Because non-CFAR travel insurance doesn’t cover that sort of fear, it also doesn’t cover fear of terrorism, no matter how real that fear may be to a traveler.

Acts of terrorism are covered

On the other hand, once terrorism crosses the chasm between threat and reality, then travel insurance is right there to help.

If a terrorist incident occurs in an area where you’re traveling now or will be traveling soon, you may be able to cancel or interrupt that trip and have it covered by travel insurance. Just check the language of the plan if there are criteria for number of days until you travel to that destination.

The flip side is if you make plans to visit an area where there’s protracted violence while the violence is going on. If you try to use that violence as a reason to cancel or interrupt your trip, your claim will likely be denied.

If you decide to visit a country undergoing violent upheavals and are concerned you might have to interrupt your trip, the best you can do is buy travel insurance with CFAR and hope for the best.

One last thing to note about travel insurance and terrorism: If you’re going to a country to participate in civil unrest, forget about getting travel insurance to cover you if you get injured or have to interrupt your trip. Travel insurance specifically excludes losses resulting from “participation in a civil disorder, riot, insurrection or unrest.”