“Traveling is not dangerous – LIFE is dangerous.”
Terrorism is something we try not to think about as travelers. And it’s certainly not something we jump to promote in our attempts to inspire others to take that life changing trip around the world. After-all, the mass media promotes enough fear to last two lifetimes. We don’t need to add to that.
It’s true, your chances of being caught in a terrorist attack while overseas are slim; 10 things more likely to kill you than terrorism include being killed in a car crash on the way to the airport, being crushed to death by a vending machine, or even dying in your bathtub from drowning. And I get it – the importance in raising awareness of these facts to combat daily paranoia instigated by our media through sensational stories which promote fear.
But even though various articles online put your chances of being caught up in a terrorist attack at roughly a 1 in 20 million, that doesn’t mean terrorism isn’t real. In fact it’s very real. Global terrorism is a fact.
Definition: “Terrorism” is commonly defined as “the unofficial or unauthorized use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political, economic, religious or ideological aims which deliberately target or disregard the safety of non-combatants (innocent civilians).”
Recently, more than 60 people have been killed across three continents, during separate attacks in Tunisia, France and Kuwait. Tourists were among the wounded in the Kenya mall massacre of 2014, and in the last 12 months the world has seen attacks in Belgium, Australia and the United States. (I was moved to hear that Tunisian hotel workers formed a human shield around Western tourists to protect them from the rampaging gunman, telling the terrorist “you must kill us first, but we’re Muslim.”)
Two explosive devices were uncovered in Belfast in June, mosques were bombed Yemen, and none of us can forget the horrific Peshawar school massacre – when militants from the Pakistani Taliban entered a school and opened fire on the students with automatic weapons, also detonating multiple explosive devices. The attack last December killed 132 children and nine staff members, and another 120 were injured.
Though one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in history happened in January of this year, a multi day attack of villages in northern Nigeria leading to the deaths of almost 2,000 at the hands of Boko Haram – the same group responsible for abducting over 200 girls from a school in the northeastern town of Chibok in April 2013.
Forgive the gloom and doom. Yes, it’s very unlikely to find yourself victim to a terrorist attack, and yes, terror alerts and subsequent events are played up in the press, but that doesn’t mean that terrorism isn’t real.
Do we travel anyway? Absolutely. We should not let extremist activities stop us from doing what we do. And generally the world is a relatively safe place. BUT there does needs to be a happy medium. We need to be aware of the current political and economic climate and do everything we can to keep ourselves safe.
So why do so many travelers still travel without insurance? With more people traveling for business and leisure, and attacks occurring literally across the globe, some people are going to find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. And if you get clipped but not killed, your domestic insurance isn’t going to step in.
Traveling with adequate health insurance which covers you in the event of terrorism is our happy medium here, but too many insurers have a blanket exclusion for all terrorist activities, refusing to pay out on emergencies or injuries related to terrorist attacks.
The Importance of a Health Insurance Policy with Terrorism Coverage
Traveling with health insurance counts for nothing if you’re not traveling with adequate health insurance. With so many small scale attacks popping up all over the world, terrorism is now a fact of life, and understandably you want to know that you’re covered in case the worst should happen.
We’ve already established in previous posts that not having the right insurance cover in place means a dream holiday can quickly turn into a nightmare.
An air ambulance from the Amazon back to Canada for Deb Corbeil and Dave Bouskill, for instance, could have easily cost them over $50,000 USD had they not been covered with emergency evacuation insurance when he slipped during a cruise and broke his back. You need to read the small print.
When you do read the small print, you may be surprised to find that the majority of insurers refuse to cover medical expenses or last minute trip cancellations in the event of riots, terrorism and civil unrest. Tourists caught in these situations are left to rely on their governments to assist.
Some insurance providers are beginning to offer coverage for terrorism as part of their plans, however will not pay out if costs or losses arise as a result of travelling to a country after there has been a government travel alert or media warning which advises against travel to that area.
The problem here is that many “government warnings are not based on any specific intelligence, but on the general idea that potential terrorists are upset at nations like Britain and America launching a bombing campaign in Iraq and Syria.”
So when you start looking for a global option for your health insurance cover you need to make sure that Terrorism Coverage will be part of your policy. There are simply too many examples out there where people have been injured as the result of a terrorist event and require medical attention to be covered when it’s not.
When Choosing a Travel Health Insurance Policy…
Obviously choose one with the least exclusions, and pay real attention to them when reading through the fine print. We highly recommend policies through GeoBlue. A worldwide insurer, their plans do not restrict illness or injuries resulting from a terror attack, and travelers are eligible for coverage post departure if your trip is shortened or interrupted for medical reasons, a terrorist event or imminent threat to personal safety.
So, if you travel to a country where there are no Government warnings and are caught up in a terrorist activity, you will be covered under all the relevant sections including medical and baggage. If you have already paid for your travel and travel insurance and then the Government issues a warning against travel to that destination, you will be covered to cancel your trip. Compare that with other travel insurance policies.
The other nice thing about insurance with GeoBlue are access to warnings and travel alerts – membership means receiving daily alerts detailing the latest security and health issues in your destination, and travelers can dig into country or city level profiles on crime, terrorism and natural disasters.
If you are moving to or are in a country with a state department travel warning, contact Timothy Jennings at IndividualHealth.com to inquire about #GeoBlue.
A health insurance broker we trust, Tim has worked in both the international and US domestic market for more than 30 years and offers travelers a range of different options on plans and coverage including short-term travel medical (generally less than 6 months), annual renewable coverage for expats, and coverage for business groups worldwide. Click for a free quote.
In today’s political and economic climate, acts of war and terrorism remain a constant threat, and unless you are a member of a terrorist organization yourself, there is not one person on this planet who can confirm that they won’t strike somewhere. Global terrorism is a fact.
Still make plans to travel – the world is a phenomenal place; but before you leave make sure you have taken the time to explore your options and get covered with a health insurance plan that (a) best meets your individual needs; and (b) covers you in the event that a terrorist does attack.
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