ST. PETERSBURG Fla. January 12, 2018 — The United States Department of State replaced its travel advisory system for U.S. travelers. The new travel advisory system is a big deal for evaluating travel, however leading travel insurance comparison site, Squaremouth, says it likely won’t impact travel insurance coverage, at least for now.
Many travelers will be familiar with the old system of “Travel Alerts” and “Travel Warnings”. This is its replacement.
The new travel advisory system evaluates the danger of traveling to each country, based on factors including terrorism, crime, and health, among others. Each level gives a recommendation on whether or not it is safe to visit a country, using the following 1 through 4 ranking:
- Exercise Normal Precautions
- Exercise Increased Caution
- Reconsider Travel
- Do Not Travel
Recommendations Against Travel Aren’t Enough to Cancel
Typically, a travel advisory alone is not enough for a traveler to be refunded if they cancel their trip. In order for Trip Cancellation coverage to be available, a traveler must be unable to travel for a specific reason listed in their policy, such as an illness or injury, hurricane, or terrorist attack.
“U.S. travel advisories may factor into an underwriter’s decision not to insure travel to a particular destination, but the new four-tiered system is not expected to have an impact on policyholder benefits in general,” says Jason Schreier, CEO of APRIL Travel Protection.
Limited Coverage Options for Travel Advisories
The only way something is covered by Trip Cancellation is if it’s specifically listed in the policy, such as an attack being declared terrorism by an approved governing body. This worked the same way with the old travel warning system.
The only way to be sure is to get Cancel For Any Reason. This coverage partially refunds travelers if they cancel for a reason not listed in their policy, as long as they cancel at least 2 days before they are scheduled to leave.
“Ultimately, the traveler needs to be comfortable with their travel plans and make the decision that best suits them,” says Bob Chambers, Vice President of Operations for CSA/Generali Global Assistance. “Plans with Cancel For Any Reason are a way to cover the unexpected if travelers are considering travel to countries that are or could become level 4.”
Squaremouth created the New Travel Advisory System and Travel Insurance Information Center to explain coverage for the new system. This page is regularly updated by Squaremouth’s travel insurance experts, and includes answers to frequently asked questions and official statements from providers.