Hopefully, by the time you are reading this, the nonsense in Washington, DC has been resolved and the government is back in business. But what if you had been in travel status while this took place? A planned trip down the Colorado River, perhaps. Would your losses have been covered by your travel insurance policy?
How about a political flare up? Or even a terrorist attack, such as took place in the mall in Nairobi, Kenya this past September? If you decide to cancel a trip due to your unease about the political climate in the country you will be visiting, will your trip insurance reimburse your trip cost?
The quick answer to these questions is no. Trip cancellation and interruption coverage is a named peril coverage. In plain English that means the insurance companies have specific lists of covered reasons in their policies, and only those reasons that are listed are reasons why a traveler can cancel or interrupt a trip and be covered by the insurance company. Losses sustained due to a government shutdown are not on the list of any travel insurance company out there.
I do know of at least one company (Travel Guard) that will cover a terrorist attack in the city to which you are scheduled to visit; however it has to be within a certain time prior to your scheduled departure. Let’s say you had a safari in Kenya booked for next year sometime. Would the mall attack in September of this year qualify for coverage if you wanted to cancel that trip? Again, the answer is no.
Don’t get me wrong, purchasing travel insurance is a good idea, to cover your medical expenses while traveling and emergency evacuation if needed, and to protect your investment in case you or a close loved one become seriously ill prior to the trip; however, it is important to know what is covered and what is not. Some companies cover more things than others. Some even have, albeit it expensive, a ‘cancel for any reason’ option.
I represent Travel Guard, known in the industry to have the best coverage and fairest claim resolution. Even so, the take away here is: ask your travel professional for advice before you make that travel insurance purchase.