Osama bin Laden’s death, foreign travel alert put spotlight on travel insurance
With the U.S. State Department warning of a heightened potential for global anti-American violence following the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, experts recommend that Americans heading overseas consider buying travel insurance.
“Travelers scheduling trips outside the United States should always consider purchasing travel insurance, not just because of events taking place around the world,” says Carol Mueller, a spokesman for Travel Guard, which sells travel insurance. “Travel insurance can provide coverage for things like medical emergencies, travel delays, lost baggage, and even trip cancellation as it relates to terrorism.”
|Americans traveling abroad are urged to consider travel insurance, especially if they’re visiting a high-risk country.|
Travel Guard’s standard travel insurance plans include coverage for trip cancellation if a terrorist event happens in an area listed on your itinerary within 30 days of your scheduled arrival. At CSA Travel Protection, another travel insurer, that window of time is within seven days of your scheduled departure.
Vikki Corliss, a spokeswoman for travel insurance website InsureMyTrip.com, says trip cancellation policies offer the broadest protection for travelers, including coverage for terrorist incidents. Another option is coverage that lets you cancel a trip for any reason, such as concerns about traveling to a certain region. Under this type of coverage, a trip can be called off up to two days before your scheduled departure.
Travel insurance typically costs anywhere from 4 percent to 12 percent of the total price tag for your trip. So a policy for a $10,000 trip would run $400 to $1,200. A “cancel for any reason” benefit would add as much as $600 to a $1,200 policy.
As the world reacts to the killing of bin Laden — the mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks — the State Department has cautioned U.S. citizens traveling and living abroad about the “enhanced potential” for anti-American violence tied to the death of the world’s most wanted terrorist.
“Given the uncertainty and volatility of the current situation, U.S. citizens in areas where recent events could cause anti-American violence are strongly urged to limit their travel outside of their homes and hotels and avoid mass gatherings and demonstrations,” the State Department says.
This travel alert expires Aug. 1, 2011.
“The threat of terrorism cannot be ruled out in any part of the world. Research the social and political situations of the place you’ll be visiting by reading news stories about the area and checking for travel advisories issued by your foreign ministry or similar agencies,” says Kathy Townend, marketing manager at CSA Travel Protection.
CSA Travel Protection offers these additional tips for traveling in a potentially high-risk country:
• Call the U.S. embassy in that nation to let officials know you’re there.
• Give family or friends copies of your itinerary and passport.
• Scout the locations of police stations, hospitals, embassies and airports.
• Be aware of your surroundings and maintain a low profile at all times.
• Trust your instincts. If you feel uncomfortable or if something doesn’t seem right, leave that area.
• Report unusual behavior, suspicious packages and strange devices to the proper authorities.
• Always carry your passport and visa (or copies of them) with you, as well as the address and phone number of the nearest U.S. embassy.