Q My family and I had planned a vacation this summer, but recent events in Ukraine have made us a little nervous. We want to know where we would be with our travel insurance if war interfered with our vacation. We do not have travel insurance yet but would take it out at the time of booking our holiday. When we go on vacation (which is going to be an expensive one) would we get our money back from our travel insurance if a war (not just the Ukraine war – but any war) prevents us from traveling? In the event that we are stranded abroad due to the outbreak of war, would we provide cover for additional accommodation or alternative transportation? Would we be covered for medical expenses if we were injured on holiday due to war? Sally, Co. Wexford
A Many things can happen between booking your vacation and the trip that could hamper your travel arrangements. Your travel insurance would cover you for a variety of events that could prevent you and your family from traveling.
Luckily, an act of war is a very rare event. However, should war ensue, there is a general exclusion for all travel insurance policies which, in certain circumstances, could void coverage. This general exclusion essentially means that should your holiday be interrupted by war, invasion, civil war, etc., your travel insurance coverage is severely limited.
Generally, if a trip has been postponed prior to the travel date due to flights being canceled etc. your airline or travel agent can refund the unused travel expenses or give you a credit for alternative arrangements. However, your travel insurance is unlikely to cover this as war cancellation is not one of the possible reasons for cancellation that is normally covered.
If an act of war is declared while on holiday in the country you are traveling to, it is important to evacuate as soon as possible. In such cases, everyone including airlines and governments will act quickly to get you home. The inconvenience and expense of interrupting your holiday may not necessarily be covered by your travel insurance. However, in certain circumstances, your travel insurer will be sensitive to the additional costs you incur as a result of a speedy evacuation and any injuries inflicted on you (which may not have been caused directly by hostile action).
While this may all sound complicated, if not convoluted, it’s worth noting that a few years ago insurers would simply have said that no coverage would apply in situations like the ones you outlined. However, with increasing focus on treating customers fairly, insurers are less likely to automatically say no and will, in many cases, consider what can reasonably be classified as “insurable” costs and directly war-related issues.
Cancellation protection if you change your mind
Q: I should travel to Moscow this May. I booked and paid for flights – and paid a small deposit for accommodation. Even if the conflict in Ukraine will be resolved by then, given the recent events, I no longer feel comfortable traveling to Russia.
I have travel insurance taken out by Mapfre Assistance. In the event that the war between Russia and Ukraine is resolved by May and flights are back to normal, my travel insurance would cover cancellation costs if I decide not to go on my vacation because I am uncomfortable traveling to Russia ?
Or in the event that the war between Russia and Ukraine is still ongoing in May and I am unable to travel (due to canceled flights or a government recommendation to travel there), will my travel insurance cover the cost of the flight cancellation? Hugh, Co. Wicklow
A If your flights are canceled due to war or a travel ban on flights to a specific region, your airline will automatically refund your airfare or give you a credit towards an alternative arrangement.
Unfortunately, if you decide not to travel because of a change of heart or heart (which doesn’t have to be unreasonable), your options when it comes to travel insurance are limited.
Your travel insurance covers many situations when you cannot travel, but your decision not to travel is not one of them. This is broadly the case for most if not all travel insurance in Ireland.
For some people, their fear of travel can escalate into a medical condition that would prevent them from traveling, and that’s another matter entirely. Travel insurance will cover most illnesses which, on medical advice, would prevent a person from going on holiday and in such cases their cancellation costs can likely be covered.
Get a better no-price offer
Q I’ve been with the same auto insurer for ten years. Each year as my renewal date nears I call the other insurers for quotes and I also try a number of brokers. I can never get a better deal than my existing car insurance – that’s why I’ve always stuck with my existing car insurance. I would point out that as of July 1st, a ban on price escalation in motor and home insurance will come into effect, meaning that companies cannot charge longer-term customers a higher premium on renewal than customers who renew their protection after just one year. Will I benefit from this ban if I continue to have my existing car insurance? Is there a way I can get my existing auto insurer to lower the quote they are making me on my next renewal – until then, price escalation is in place? Tom, Co Cork
A Price walking and inertial pricing have been ubiquitous in the Irish insurance market for years.
Fortunately, there are new insurers who want to change that. You fall into a small group of customers who review the cost of their car insurance every year and it seems like you’re getting a good deal. However, it’s good practice to review your options every year to compare your costs. According to the Central Bank of Ireland, many loyal motor insurance customers could end up paying “substantially more” for their policies than new customers with the exact same risk.
If your existing renewal price is cheaper each year than any alternative you can find by doing your own research, by all means stick with that insurer. However, continue to make annual purchases and do not automatically renew.
Keep in mind that you may not have the access or time to review every insurer on the market – so it might be worth hiring an expert to do it instead.
Many people do not switch insurers because this is perceived as inconvenient. Don’t let that fool you as it’s really very easy to switch. You can also challenge your insurer to match the cheaper offer if you can find it elsewhere. It will often try to keep you as a customer rather than let you go.
https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/will-travel-cover-give-us-our-money-back-if-war-scuppers-our-holiday-41558041.html Will travel insurance give us our money back if war ruins our vacation?