Is There Travel Insurance for Kidnapping, Ransom, and Extortion?

When you think “travel insurance,” you probably think of coverage that helps the average traveller to pay for any medical bills they might incur while they’re away. But is there coverage for travellers who are specifically heading into dangerous situations—and who might be putting themselves at extraordinary risk?

There is, and it’s (fittingly) called special risk insurance. Whether you’re heading into a war zone or planning to participate in dangerous activities, special risk insurance handles situations that normal insurance plans would never touch. And for those concerned about kidnap and ransom abroad, there is specialized coverage specifically for you.


Who needs kidnapping insurance?

Kidnapping and ransom events generally target high-net-worth or high-profile individuals. For people fitting this description, kidnapping, ransom, and extortion (KRE) insurance can provide some peace of mind when you’re heading abroad.

This is particularly true if you plan to travel into an area where kidnap and ransom events are prevalent. A good way to find out if this is the case in your planned destination is to visit the government of Canada’s travel advisories page, find the country you intend to visit, and then read the information under the “Security” tab for that country.


Is kidnapping insurance only for high-net-worth individuals?

Generally, the answer is “yes,” for one important reason.

First, understand that KRE insurers take confidentiality extremely seriously. When you purchase a plan, confirmation documents usually will not even list you by name. This is because the knowledge that a person has a KRE plan could actually increase their chance of being kidnapped—as a KRE plan is basically a guarantee that any ransom will be paid.

Because KRE insurers are so careful, it’s not likely for this information to reach potential kidnappers. Still, there is a slim chance—which is why KRE policies are reserved for individuals who are already likely to be on potential kidnappers’ radar.

There is an exception, however: Business travellers without a high net worth may still be covered if they are travelling on behalf of a high-net-worth company. If you work for such an employer, this type of coverage will typically be purchased by the company on your behalf.


What does kidnapping insurance provide?

In addition to providing coverage for the costs that come along with kidnapping, ransom, and extortion events, having coverage for kidnapping will give you access to crisis intervention specialists to assist with negotiating ransom payments as well as extricating a kidnap victim from the situation and bringing them home. It can also include access to psychologists and psychiatrists who can help kidnap victims to process their experience once they have returned.

Related: Special Risk Insurance: For Me or Not For Me?

Some other benefits of KRE plans can include:

What’s “express kidnapping”?

In addition to the benefits listed in this article, coverage for “express kidnapping” can be added to a KRE policy. Express kidnapping means holding someone under duress for fewer than six hours. Usually, KRE policies will exclude the surrender of ransom in a face-to-face encounter (such as an express kidnapping), but this exclusion is removed when express kidnapping coverage is added.

  • Reward for any information that assists in negotiations and/or the victim’s safe release
  • Coverage of an insured person’s personal financial loss in the event that they are physically incapable of handling their financial matters because of a kidnapping incident
  • Payment of an insured person’s salary for up to 60 days after their release
  • Payment of the salary of an insured person’s relative for up to 60 days after release (in the event that a relative leaves their job to assist with the negotiations)
  • Rest and rehabilitation expenses for up to 18 months after an incident
  • Cosmetic surgery intended to correct permanent disfigurement that resulted from an incident
  • Assistance from a public relations consultant

Considering a special-risk insurance policy? Or just interested in finding out more? Visit this page for the application form or contact us for more information.


Information in this article was provided by Matt Davies, Product Specialist, Ingle International

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