Terrorism - How could it affect you?

Terrorism is in the global spotlight and it’s a topic we receive plenty of questions about.

We’ve compiled five hypothetical situations that relate to terrorism on holiday, with answers that outline what you would be covered for and what you should do. We’ve also added some handy tips that are worth considering when planning your holiday.


1. What if I’m planning to go somewhere, but a terrorist attack occurs before I depart?

Imagine having a trip booked that you’ve been looking forward to for months, only to hear about a terrorist attack occurring in that very location just days before you’re due to fly out. Flying into a crisis could pose a real risk, especially with the added worry about a potential repeat attack.

The first thing you should do is check SafeTravel for any warnings or recommendations. You should avoid travelling to any destination that is rated ‘Avoid non-essential travel’ or ‘Do not travel’ as we can’t cover you for events related to that warning. If you do want to cancel or change your plans, the best option is to speak to your airline or travel provider, as they may be able to offer you a refund or credit note.

With recent terrorist attacks, many airlines have cancelled flights to certain areas because they’re deemed unsafe, or offered refunds to those who no longer wish to travel.

It’s important to know that travel insurance doesn’t cover any cancelled travel plans due to terrorist activity.

Before you book a holiday, it’s really important to do plenty of research into your intended destination. Find out about potential dangers, important customs, common natural disasters, or any cultural standards that might be different to what you’re used to. It’s also useful to be familiar with the history of your destination too. Not only does it give you some more context to enjoy the destination, but it can also help to avoid any unintended offences.

2. What if I’m hurt in a terrorist attack?

If the unthinkable happens and you are hurt in a terrorist attack, seek medical care immediately. It’s likely that emergency services will respond to the event, and in some cases will require proof of insurance before treating you. Make sure you have your insurance policy number handy, and you or a travel companion should get in touch with our Emergency Assistance team as soon as you’re able.

Get approval before treatment

If you need to be admitted into a hospital, require a surgical procedure or treatment, or think your medical expenses are likely to exceed $2,000, you or someone acting on your behalf will need to contact Southern Cross Emergency Assistance for prior approval as soon as possible.

If you need to visit a GP for a minor medical reason, you don’t need to contact Southern Cross Emergency Assistance. Instead, simply pay your account and claim.

If you need specialist treatment (including physiotherapy and chiropractic treatment) you must get a referral from a registered medical practitioner.

Before you go, it’s a good idea to register your details with SafeTravel. It’s a free service that allows the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade to check on your well-being or send you important information in the event of a disaster or emergency. It’s also important to have an emergency plan that you’ve agreed on, prior to departing, with your travel companions.

Your plan should include:

  • Where to meet if an emergency occurs or you’re separated. Try to pick a location that’s easy to find, such as the New Zealand embassy, your hotel or a famous landmark.
  • An agreed time on how long to wait for, and what to do if your companion doesn’t arrive in the allocated time.
  • Contact details of everyone you’re travelling with. Purchase local sim cards when you arrive at your destination, so you can keep in touch with each other in an emergency situation, as well as with family back home to let them know you’re OK.

3. What if I miss my flight or connection due to delays caused by terrorist activities?

Missed transport due to terrorist activities isn’t covered by travel insurance. However, this is another case where getting in touch with your airline may be the best option, as they may cancel, re-arrange flights or offer refunds in the case of a major emergency.

Whenever you’re booking transfers or connections for any trip, always allow plenty of extra time for potential delays. If you’re travelling by plane, aim for at least two hours between connecting flights. Your policy won’t cover missed connections due to not allowing enough time for delays or unexpected problems, regardless of whether terrorism is involved.

It also pays to check the timetables for any trains or buses you might be taking on your trip and downloading a copy of the schedule, if possible. If there’s no downloadable timetable, try taking a photo of one on your phone, and keeping track of the contact information for the company in case you have any problems.

4. What if my bags or personal items get stolen or damaged in a terrorist attack?

If you find yourself in danger or an emergency situation, it’s easy to forget about your bags or belongings and focus on your own safety. There are a few things you can do to avoid losing your belongings, such as using a slash proof travel bag or one that’s easily concealed under your clothing.

It’s also a good idea to only carry what you need on your person, splitting your money between a few different areas, and leaving anything you don’t need with you in the safe at your accommodation or, better yet, at home.

However, even if you’re really careful, things can still go missing. As always, keep your bag on you whenever you’re in public and keep it zipped up.

If the unfortunate happens and you lose your luggage in the event of a terrorist attack, you’ll need receipts for the items you’re claiming for to make a claim once you’re safely home.

If your passport is lost or damaged due to a terrorist event, contact the nearest embassy to cancel it and to organise an emergency travel document. You can also give our Emergency Assistance team a call if you need any further help or advice.


5. What if my travel companion is injured in a terrorist attack and I have to change plans?

If you’re travelling overseas with a friend or relative and they’re injured in a terrorist attack, you may have to change your plans in order to stay with them while they recover. If this is the case, any cancelled flights or transport would not be covered by your policy.

The best course of action here is to get in touch with the airline or transport provider and see if you can be transferred to a later flight.

If your travel companion is injured in such a way that you have to cancel the rest of the trip, again it’s a good idea to get in touch with any activity or accommodation providers and find out what can be done.

Terrorism is a problem that gets huge amounts of media attention around the globe, but in terms of relative danger, the stats aren’t high. According to former US President Barack Obama, you’re more likely to drown in a bathtub than fall victim to a terrorist attack.

Don’t let fear stop you from travelling – just make sure you do your research first and be as prepared as possible.

This information must be read in conjunction with the International Comprehensive policy wording, as terms and conditions may apply. Please contact us if you would like to discuss any of this content further at info@scti.co.nz.


The content of this article is general and provided for information purposes only. It is not intended to be medical advice. Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) doesn’t guarantee or warrant the accuracy, completeness or currency of the articles.

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