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Is travel medical care for terrorist attacks covered?

17 June 2013
Is travel medical care for terrorist attacks covered?
Travel Insurance FAQs

The short answer is yes, if your travel insurance plan includes coverage for medical expenses that result from an illness or injury that manifests while on a covered trip your medical treatment for injuries sustained due to a terrorist attack will be covered. We’ll talk about the exclusions in a minute.

A terrorist act according to most travel insurance plans is defined like this: “an act of violence, other than civil disorder or riot, that is not an act of war, declared or undeclared, that results in loss of life or major damage to property, by any person acting on behalf of or in connection with any organization which is generally recognized as having the intent to overthrow or influence control of any government.”

What a terrorist act is not: “general civil disturbances, rioting, or acts of war (declared or undeclared), or the intentional release of a biological material.” That means you will never have coverage for the release of a biological weapon (no travel insurance covers that event yet).

Note the U.S. State Department Travel Warnings

The U.S. State Department issues travel alerts and travel warnings. Travel warnings are issued when “long-term, protracted conditions that make a country dangerous or unstable lead the US State Department to recommend that Americans avoid or consider the risk of travel to that country.”

Other than reading them as a matter of your personal travel safety, it’s important to take note of the travel warnings because some travel insurance policies’ coverage for terrorism depends on whether there’s a travel warning for your destination.

That means if you are traveling in a country with a current travel warning and are injured, your medical expenses may not be covered.

General Exclusions Apply to Medical Treatment

All travel insurance plans have exclusions and under the general exclusions – that is, those exclusions that apply to all coverages – you’ll find that your travel insurance will not pay for losses caused by or resulting from:

  • declared or undeclared war, or any act of war
  • civil disorder (does not apply to trip delay)

So, if war breaks out and you are caught in the middle, your travel insurance provider may not cover your medical treatment.

Essentially, if you are traveling in a country that does not currently have a travel warning by the U.S. government and an ad-hoc terrorist attack occurs and you are injured, your medical care will be covered up to the plan limits.

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Damian Tysdal
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DamianTysdal

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.