Kidnapping and Terrorism Insurance Is Real, But Do You Need It?

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It’s not something we want to think about when preparing for vacation, but, in the wise words of Forrest Gump, shit happens. With the State Department issuing a “Worldwide Caution” to the threat of terrorism, now might be the perfect time to consider investing in “terrorism insurance”—or at least making sure Liam Neeson is “on-call”—for your next vacation. For help on the subject, we spoke with Jim Krampen, a travel insurance expert and co-founder of Seven Corners, a company that specializes in providing international travel insurance packages.

What exactly is “terrorism insurance?”

Terrorism insurance refers to a type of travel insurance that covers medical expenses and/or trip interruptions or cancellations due to terrorist activity. In general, it’s a type of insurance that’s probably necessary any time you travel to a country that currently under the threat of terrorism, which you can find out from the many Department of State travel alerts.

Would terrorism insurance cover/refund my trip if there’s a terrorist incident in the country I’m traveling to?

The short answer is “yes.” The longer answer depends on proximity, both in time and location, to the attacks. For example, just because a terrorist attack occurred in Nice, France doesn’t mean you’ll be eligible for a refund for a trip to Paris. Additionally, if the attack occurred about a month before your trip, then, again, you probably won’t be eligible. That said, Krampen notes, regarding Seven Corners’ trip protection, that customers can cancel and receive trip reimbursement if a terror incident occurs within 30 days prior to your departure.

If I’m stuck in a country where there’s been a terrorist attack, will the insurance policy help me get out of the country?

“Yes, certain travel insurance plans offer emergency evacuation due to terrorist activity near your trip location.” Just know that emergency evacuations may take a bit longer than those you’ve probably seen in Die Hard.

If a country is under a “terrorism watch” according to the State Department, could the insurance refund the trip?

This type of coverage varies by carrier, but it is available—although a bit pricier.

And what if you get kidnapped? Is there a “Liam Neeson” option?

Many types of terrorism insurance also include a “kidnapping” package, which sounds like something in which Bryan Mills should’ve invested. The plans typically provide financial and crisis support for situations like kidnapping, extortion, detention, threat, hijack or disappearance. With Seven Corners’ policy, coverage includes: Ransom payments of up to $1 million at the time of surrender to meet a kidnap, extortion, or hijack demand; protection against any additional expenses related to threats to personal safety for more than forty-eight hours; cost of any obstacle faced, be it negotiation, medical or psychiatric care, along with 100 percent of gross salary while kidnapped.

The only thing that seems to be missing is literally flying in Liam Neeson to save you.

Tom is a travel writer, part-time hitchhiker, and he’s currently trying to imitate Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? but with more sunscreen and jorts.

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