Quick Guide: The threat of terrorism, travel insurance and your holiday

FCO Travel Aware

It doesn’t matter which country you are travelling to, there is a small chance that you could be affected by terrorism.

This guide is intended to help you know what to do, who to contact and what travel insurance cover you have if a terrorist attack affects your holiday, either before you travel or whilst you are away.

Terrorist incident before you travel

The first thing you should do is visit the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) website to get their latest travel advice.  They will have the most up to date information about the situation in the country affected and may or may not be advising against all travel, or all but essential travel (holidays are not considered to be essential travel).

If the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office are advising against travel you should get in touch with your travel provider. You have a contract with them to get you to a certain destination at a certain time, and if they are unable to fulfil this contract they have a duty to offer you a full refund or alternative travel arrangements.

If your travel arrangements have changed due to a terrorist incident, you will be able to move or amend your travel insurance policy (single trip only) to cover the new trip.  If you are no longer travelling you will be able to cancel your travel insurance policy (single trip only) and obtain a refund.

Your travel insurance policy will not provide cover for cancellation due to FCDO alerts.

It is important to be aware that if you choose to travel against the advice of the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office your travel insurance policy will be invalid and no cover will be provided under any of the sections.

If after an incident of terrorism the FCDO deems that it is still safe for British citizens to travel, but you decide that you no longer want to go to that destination you should contact your tour operator or travel provider, they may be able to offer you an alternative holiday, but they are under no obligation to do so.

There is no cover under the cancellation section of your travel insurance policy if you simply decide that you no longer wish to travel.

Terrorist attack whilst you are away

If a terrorist attack, or threat of a terrorist attack occurs whilst you are abroad you should follow the advice of the local police and other local authorities.

Check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office website for the latest information for UK citizens.  They may be advising that you leave the area as soon as possible, in which case you should contact your travel provider immediately to find out when and how you can get home.  It is very rare, but in some circumstances the FCDO may charter flights to get

British citizens out of an area which they deem to be dangerous.  In many cases you would be advised to leave as soon as possible by commercial means. 

It is important to keep checking the FCDO website and keep in touch with your travel provider as these types of situations can change rapidly and are all different.

In the event that you are caught up in a terrorist attack overseas your travel insurance will provide cover, up to £10 million, under the medical and repatriation expenses section of the policy.

If you are injured in an attack and require medical treatment you should contact the 24 hour medical emergency assistance team as soon as you possible in order for them to authorise the payment of hospital bills, help you get the treatment you need and organise repatriation back to the UK where necessary. 

If, due to the consequences of a terrorist attack which are outside of your control, you are unable to return home on your planned date, your travel insurance cover is likely to be extended until you can travel back to the UK, provided you do so at the earliest opportunity.  Please check.

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