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Travel

Terror and Tourism- are you covered?

As tourist destinations continue to be terrorism targets, Jo Cooper studies the small print to find out just what cover you have if you’re affected

ACROSS EUROPE and further afield, security has had to be tightened, particularly at major sports and entertainment events in order to safeguard the public.

The odds of being caught up in an actual atrocity remain incredibly low but the threat from terrorism is currently rated high in a number of countries including France, Turkey, Belgium, Spain and Germany, so it’s as well to check the Foreign & Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) website for advice before travelling: (www.gov. uk/foreign-travel-advice). So where do you stand should your travel plans be disrupted by a further incident?

Travel plans disrupted

If you can’t fly to a resort because of an incident and the FCO is advising against all but essential travel to your location, most travel insurance policies will cover you, but not all policies are equal. Malcolm Tarling from the Association of British Insurers says: “Where an incident occurs and the FCO does not advise against travel, talk to your travel agent, tour operator or air carrier.”

The fear factor

If an attack results in your holiday being cancelled by the tour operator, then normally it is up to the operator to offer you a full refund or alternative holiday. As tourist destinations continue to be terrorism targets, Jo Cooper studies the small print to find out just what cover you have if you’re affected However, if your trip is going ahead, but you’d rather cancel, your travel operator is not obliged to give you any money back. Nor can you claim against your travel insurance as this is known as ‘disinclination to travel’. So unless the Foreign Office is advising against all but essential travel to a particular destination, you won’t be able to cancel and get a refund or claim on your insurance.

Caught up in an attack

In the unlikely event of you being involved in a terrorist attack, the FCO’s advice is to ‘run, hide and tell’ the authorities when it is safe to do so. Should you be involved you may need to make a claim. “While most travel insurance policies usually exclude war-related risks (including terrorism), policies will pay costs of any emergency medical treatment you may need as a result of injuries sustained,” says the ABI’s Mr Tarling.

You may also be able to claim compensation from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority if you were physically or mentally injured or were a witness to a loved one being injured.

See the website: (www.gov.uk/ compensationvictim- crime-abroad).

Getting home

If you are on a package holiday, it is normally up to the holiday company to get you home safely.

ABTA spokesperson Sophie Marston says: “If the Foreign Office advice changes to against ‘all but essential travel’ while a customer is overseas, ABTA tour operators will organise travel home as quickly as possible and provide support for customers in the destination.All this is free of charge.

“Those who have travelled independently will not have this level of support and will need to liaise with their airline. For customers due to travel, ABTA tour operators will offer a suitable alternative holiday, or a refund, whichever customers prefer.

“Independent travellers who do not travel will be liable for cancellation fees charged by airlines or other suppliers, but airlines will often allow customers to amend their flights for a later date or similar destination.”

Cruise cancellations

Cruise companies generally include a clause in their terms and conditions stating they are able to make changes to the ship’s itinerary if the need arises. After the Istanbul airport bombing earlier this year, for example, most cruise lines cancelled all Istanbul port stops.

An incident in the UK

Should a bomb or other terrorist activity result in damage to your car (parked on a city street, for example), you may find your car insurance won’t cover you.

“The best advice is for people to check their policy and, if unsure, talk to their motor insurer,” Malcolm Tarling says.

“It is possible any war-related exclusion may encompass terrorism-related damage, but the position will vary between policies.”

If you were injured, however, you can make a claim from the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority: (www.gov.uk/government/organisations/criminal-injuries-compensation-authority).

What do you think to this story? Has this information helped you?

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