Travel insurance can protect a vacation investment if it has to be cancelled or interrupted for a reason that is written in the policy. Most of the time this is because of a sickness, injury or death of a traveler or family member, but many other unforeseeable circumstances can apply as well. A recent expanded US travel warning for Mexico has many travelers asking if this is a covered reason to cancel. An article from USA Today addressed the travel warning in more detail.
An expanded U.S.State Department travel warning to Mexico, issued before this week’s news that 183 bodies have been discovered in a northeastern border state, is generating mixed responses in tourist spots highlighted in the new alert.
The April 22 warning notes that millions of U.S. citizens visit Mexico safely each year, and says that “resort areas and tourist destinations generally do not see the levels of drug-related violence and crime reported in the border region and in areas along major trafficking routes.” But it recommends visiting “only legitimate businesses and tourist areas during daylight hours,” and says that while most victims have been Mexicans associated with criminal activity, the country’s security situation “poses serious risks” for U.S. citizens as well.
The new alert includes the Gulf of California resort area known as Rocky Point, popular with Arizona tourists, and the area in Mexico around the border crossing near Nogales. It also warns of problems in areas such as Acapulco, Cuernavaca (a popular destination for American language students), Michoacan’s butterfly sanctuaries and capital, Morelia, and Mazatlan, where cartel-related violence has prompted some cruise lines to stop their calls.
It is important to understand that trip cancellation and trip interruption benefits do not cover fear of travel. Travelers going to Mexico would only be covered if a travel warning was one of the covered reasons to cancel, and it is not. There are other circumstances that could trigger cancellation coverage, such as, being the victim of assault or a terrorist attack at the destination.
The only way a traveler could cancel and recoup their losses from travel insurance is through a policy with cancel for any reason coverage. This allows the trip to be scrapped without having to explain why. Shop early to find this coverage, because it is only available within 14 days of the first trip payment, some plans as much as 30. A cancel for any reason claim will normally only refund 75% of the trip costs and the trip must be cancelled at least two days before the departure date. Always refer to the certificate of insurance for details.