If you ever needed justification for travel insurance, the tragedy in Mumbai has made its value clear. How many of those thousands of visitors to this gateway to India could have envisioned how their lives would be changed by this massive act of terrorism?
If you were one of those travellers, and had the foresight to be carrying single- or multi–trip travel insurance, you would very likely have been fully covered for any injuries or medical emergencies sustained as a result of the attacks. Similarly, if your baggage had been destroyed or damaged and travel arrangements disrupted, you would have had substantial coverage, in addition to the assistance of professionals to help you deal with the inevitable rearrangements. And if you were counting on the coverage provided by your credit card, you may have learned that in most cases, coverage has been severely reduced.
Since 9/11, travel insurers have gone a long way in broadening their terrorism coverage and adapting to the contingencies of travel in an increasingly dangerous world. But there are limits. There are conditions. And if you anticipate any foreign travel in the future, you need to be a careful buyer and ask lots of questions to determine what coverage you really have.
If, for example, your government had issued an official advisory against travel to Mumbai before you bought your travel insurance, the coverage would have been seriously curtailed. Insurers will not risk covering those going into a war or terror zone without clearly set conditions. But terrorism or civil disruption, such as we have also seen recently in Thailand and Greece, is often not predictable. And that’s what makes it so insidious. The point is, you just don’t know where the next attack will occur.
I am not an alarmist, and I don’t think you need to be. But I suggest that, before leaving your home country, you first of all check out your government websites and do a brief search of advisories—not only for your destination, but the countries you are likely to traverse en route. It’s a simple precaution that could save your life. At the very least, it will help you determine what you need when it comes to travel insurance coverage.
These government sites offer a wealth of common sense information. I guarantee you will be surprised at what you find about many places you thought safe and secure.