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Can travel insurance cover conflicts abroad?

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The ongoing conflict in the Middle East may disrupt travel. Here's what you need to know.

Airlines across the world are being affected by the escalating conflict in the Middle East, with more delays and disruptions expected following Iran's retaliation against Israel.

33% of Australians are planning an international holiday in the next 12 months, according to Finder research – equivalent to 6.9 million people. Many connecting flights pass over or stop in regions now considered at greater risk.

Do travel insurance policies ever cover cancellation due to war?

Travel insurance won't cover you for events related to the ongoing conflict, or any conflict for that matter.

Acts of war and political unrest are never covered by travel insurance before or after you leave. This is an exclusion in the majority of policies.

We looked at 22 travel insurance product disclosure statements. Acts of war were general exclusions in all.

Common general exclusion:

"We will not cover any claim arising from or related to any act of war, whether declared or not, or from any rebellion, revolution, insurrection or taking of power by the military."

Cancellation of flights and accommodation

However, there may be some alternatives. Your travel operator may provide a refund for cancellations they make as a result of these events.

For instance, many travel suppliers are waiving change fees and offering refunds or credits for future travel when travelling to certain countries, specifically those directly involved in the conflict.

It's less likely however that you'll be able to get a refund for travel to a country that isn't involved in the conflict at this time.

There are options for you still though.

"I ​​was planning on travelling to Germany for Christmas, and I'll definitely be booking flights and accommodation with cancellation options now," says Finder insurance expert Tim Bennett.

"If travel insurance won't cover the costs if this escalates, then I think it's worth my while paying a bit extra for the flexibility."

Customers travelling within Do Not Travel (DNT) areas

Travel insurance also won't cover you if you travel to a Do Not Travel country. You can find this information on the Australian government's smartraveller website.

You also might not be covered if you travel to a country deemed Reconsider Your Need To Travel.

If any of the places you travel are marked as Do Not Travel or Reconsider Your Need To Travel, speak to your travel operator because you should be able to get a refund.

While travel insurance won't cover you for disruptions related to the ongoing conflict, it's still a really valuable resource the Australian government recommends you get. Compare your options.

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