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High-Risk Travel Insurance

Travel to high-risk destinations won’t be covered under standard travel insurance policies. High-risk travel insurance is essential for destinations including war zones, crisis or disaster relief zones, or regions recently affected by political unrest or terrorist activity.

Make sure you have a valid travel insurance policy in place to give you peace of mind, knowing you’re covered if things go wrong.

Travel to high-risk destinations won’t be covered under standard travel insurance policies. High-risk travel insurance is essential for destinations including war zones, crisis or disaster relief zones, or regions recently affected by political unrest or terrorist activity.

Make sure you have a valid travel insurance policy in place to give you peace of mind, knowing you’re covered if things go wrong.

Written by
Rebecca Goodman
Insurance expert
Last Updated
16 MAY 2023
4 min read
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What is high-risk travel insurance?

High-risk travel insurance can cover you when you’re travelling to high-risk destinations. This could include countries that the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises are too dangerous to travel to.

It might be the case that you’re travelling for work, or perhaps to see a family member, and it’s something you can’t avoid or postpone.

What is a high-risk travel destination?

Destinations considered high risk include war zones, crisis zones and disaster relief zones, or countries facing natural disaster. Examples of high-risk areas in recent years include:

  • Afghanistan
  • Iraq
  • Syria
  • Egypt
  • Sudan

To check which destinations aren’t currently considered safe to travel to, search the FCDO’s countries list for the latest travel advice. The list changes all the time - bookmark it and make sure you’re checking regularly so you know exactly what the rules are for your trip.

Can I get travel insurance against FCDO advice?

Yes, you can get travel insurance against FCDO advice, if you’re travelling to a high-risk country.

However, when buying travel insurance that covers against FCDO advice, you’ll almost certainly need to find a specialist provider. Most standard travel insurance policies won’t cover travel to destinations that the FCDO advises against.

When comparing travel insurance policies, make sure you read the policy wording to make sure you’re covered for your high-risk destination.

What does travel insurance for high-risk countries cover?

High-risk travel insurance can provide cover when flying to high-risk, remote or dangerous destinations.

As well as the standard cover for loss, theft and cancellation, high-risk travel insurance may also provide:

  • Evacuation cover – protecting you in the event of medical evacuations and repatriation, as well as providing refuge for political and natural disaster evacuations
  • Emergency medical aid – covering you for any medical expenses for accident or injury while you’re away
  • Cover for any additional accommodation, food or travel arising from an emergency situation, including cover for a missed connection or departure
  • Visitor to bedside cover – if serious illness or injury means you’re unable to travel home for a significant period, this cover could help pay for a family member to travel to you in a medical emergency.
  • Counselling – following a traumatic event such as a mugging, hijacking, piracy or wrongful detention
  • Cover for legal expenses – up to a specified limit

However, these are just examples of what high-risk travel insurance can cover. When comparing policies, check the policy wording carefully to ensure you have the right level of cover in place. If you buy the wrong policy, or you’re unsure of what you’re covered for, you could end up footing the bill if you need to pay for medical costs while abroad. This could run into the tens of thousands depending on where you are.

Travel insurance for high-risk countries shouldn’t be confused with travel insurance for high-risk activities. For the latter, you’ll need travel insurance that covers extreme sports or winter sports.

Who is eligible for high-risk travel insurance?

Any individual traveller over the age of 18 and under the age of 70, can apply for high-risk travel insurance. As with regular travel insurance, pre-existing medical conditions will need to be declared. 

There may also be restrictions on those who are currently in active duty for military or paramilitary forces. You should always check policy exclusions before buying any travel insurance cover.

Who needs travel insurance for high-risk countries?

If your job means you have to travel to high-risk countries, you’ll need this type of insurance.

High-risk travel insurance is particularly useful for professionals who regularly travel to high-risk destinations, such as:

  • Journalists
  • Photographers
  • Charity or aid workers
  • Interpreters

It’s not just for professionals though. You may need holiday high-risk travel insurance, if the destination, or even part of it, is deemed unsafe.

How do I take out high-risk travel insurance?

Different travel providers offer varying levels of cover when it comes to high-risk travel insurance. You should always check the terms and exclusions of your policy to see whether travel to high-risk destinations is covered, before you buy. Many insurers on our panel do not cover travel to countries advised as high risk by the FCDO, so you may need to look at a specialist insurer if you wish to travel to them. However, you can start comparing travel insurance policies with Compare the Market and check your destination today.

Customers with pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, your travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. Whatever happens, don’t lie to an insurance provider, because this could mean your claim is rejected. When you declare any medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show you quotes from insurance providers who will cover them, with no exclusions.

If your condition is more serious, MoneyHelper has a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone. You can call them on 0800 138 7777.

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Frequently asked questions

Does travel insurance cover war?

Standard travel insurance policies won’t cover acts of war.

Therefore, if you’re travelling to, or near, a war zone, you need to take out specialist travel insurance and check that war is covered. That way, if a war breaking out forces you to cancel, interrupt or delay your trip, you can make a claim.

Do I need military travel insurance?

Military travel insurance is a very niche product, but if you’re part of the armed forces and are required to travel, you’ll need a specialist policy to cover the risks associated with your enrolment.

Military travel insurance can cover the usual things like cancellations, delays, luggage theft or damage, but it can also cover things like having to cancel a holiday after being recalled for service.

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