Does your Travel Insurance Cover You if Political Unrest Strikes?

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political unrest

The political unrest in Egypt has not only caused serious disruption for the country itself, but also for international tourists holidaying in this area. Political unrest can flare up suddenly and can be extremely frightening and upsetting for holidaymakers who find themselves caught up in the chaos.

If you’re unsure about your holiday destination and fear there may be issues, it’s wise to check the FCO website before travelling. This website should give you detailed information about the situation at your particular destination and offer advice on whether it’s safe to go there.

Violent demonstrations in Cairo and other locations across Egypt, including Suez, North Sinai, Rafah, the Delta region and some areas of Upper Egypt including Luxor, have caused much disruption and claimed a number of lives. Currently, the FCO website advises against all ‘non-essential travel’ to these areas. The Red Sea resorts (those normally frequented by British holidaymakers) including Sharm el Sheikh remain, according to the website, unaffected.  However, it does  stress  that the situation across Egypt is unpredictable and may change quickly.

 Political Unrest and Cover

So what does this mean in terms of your travel insurance?  Also, what does ‘essential travel’ really mean?

Firstly, if government advice states an area is unaffected by disruption (i.e. the red sea resorts in Egypt) then tour operators will probably still be flying to the area. If you decide you’d rather not travel due to the troubles out there, your cover will probably not pay-out for your cancellation.

TUI (owner of Thomson and First Choice) has actually cancelled all holidays for other European travellers – but is currently still running all holidays booked in Britain in line with government advice. Policies are unlikely to pay out if your travel firm is still taking flights out there.

There seems to be confusion around what is classed as ‘essential travel’ – it’s quite a grey area. There are no clear definitions provided by the government as to what constitutes as essential and non-essential travel –  both in the eyes of the government and the eyes of the travel insurance companies.

When it comes to your insurer, you could find that a holiday surprisingly does not fall into ‘non-essential travel’.  With that in mind, your policy may not cover you for ‘disinclination to travel’. However, it could cover cancellation claims that are due to the FCO advising against all travel. This normally applies as long as the policy was in force prior to the FCO issuing that advice.

Ignoring any advice from the Government could also deem your policy invalid so it’s best to speak to your provider directly. Explain any concerns you may have and check what terms and conditions apply to your particular policy.

Some policies will not cover cancellation full stop – whatever the circumstances, so read your full policy wording carefully.

Policy Expert 

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The views expressed here are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Policy Expert.