Travel Insurance for High-Risk Destinations

Travel to high-risk destinations, including war zones or crisis and disaster relief zones, won’t be covered under standard travel insurance policies.

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, including war zones or crisis and disaster relief zones, won’t be covered under standard travel insurance policies.

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.

Josh Daniels
From the Travel team
minute read
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Posted 11 FEBRUARY 2020

What is high-risk area travel insurance?

High-risk travel insurance can cover you when you’re travelling to high-risk destinations, or countries that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises are too dangerous to travel to.


The travel traffic light system currently states that trips to green and amber listed countries are legally permitted if you live in England and Scotland. If you live in Wales and Northern Ireland, you still need to follow the rules for your relevant government.

Please note: from 4am on 4 October 2021, the current traffic light system will be replaced by a single red list of countries.

Currently, if your destination of choice is on the green or amber list, you still need to check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. This is to ensure you are aware of any specific requirements relating to entry and ensure travellers from the UK are permitted. Countries can have their traffic light status changed with short notice and you should take this into consideration when looking to travel. Please check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.

The FCDO currently advises against all but essential travel to red list countries. Most insurance policies purchased to cover a trip to a destination where the FCDO has instructed citizens not to travel to won’t be valid, however, some insurance providers may offer reduced cover if you’re travelling for essential purposes. Should you have any queries, please check the policy wording, or contact your chosen provider before purchasing, to ensure the cover meets your needs.

Travel within England, Scotland and Wales is permitted under the current guidelines. However, public health rules and lockdown restrictions continue to vary, including entry restrictions for Northern Ireland. Check the latest guidance from the official tourism boards for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland respectively.

Find out more here

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

When you declare medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show quotes from insurance providers who will cover all declared medical conditions, with no exclusions. 

MoneyHelper has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at MoneyHelper or by calling them on 0800 138 7777.

What is a high-risk travel destination?

Destinations considered high risk include war zones, crisis and disaster relief zones, or countries facing natural disaster.

To check which destinations aren’t currently considered safe to travel to, search the FCO’s countries list.

When do I need high-risk travel insurance? 

If you’re planning to travel against FCO advice, you’ll probably find that standard travel insurance policies won’t be valid for your trip. It’s likely you’ll need a travel insurance policy that covers unexpected accident or illness in high-risk destinations.   
High-risk travel insurance is particularly useful for travelling professionals such as journalists, photographers, charity or aid workers, interpreters or anyone else regularly travelling to high-risk destinations for business purposes. But you’ll also need high-risk travel insurance if you’re visiting a high-risk destination on holiday.

What does high-risk travel insurance 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

Travel insurance for high-risk destinations 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 probably won’t be covered as standard. There may also be restrictions on those who are currently in active duty for military of paramilitary forces. You should always check policy exclusions before buying any travel insurance cover.

Comparing high-risk travel insurance

Different travel providers offer varying levels of cover when it comes to 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. Start comparing travel insurance policies with Compare the Market today.

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