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Truly comprehensive travel insurance?
July 24, 2012 7:37 PM   Subscribe

Can I purchase travel insurance for travel to a politically dicey country?

This winter I will be traveling to Madagascar, a basically peaceful country with a not-totally-stable government at the moment. I have been advised to purchase travel insurance covering evacuation in case of major political drama/coup-type scenarios. However, I can't seem to find any travel insurance policies that do not contain specific exclusions for the very thing I would like to insure against (i.e. "war or act of war, whether declared or not, civil disorder, riot, or insurrection").

Is there any hope of finding a policy that will get me out of there if it all goes pear-shaped? For what it's worth, the U.S. State Department does not have a current Travel Advisory in place for Madagascar, though my initial research suggests that doesn't seem to be a factor in what these insurance policies will cover.

Many thanks for any advice! I've never purchased travel insurance before but feel like this is one case where it's probably worth it.
posted by catesbie to Travel & Transportation around Madagascar (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
These companies provide emergency evacuation insurance:
International SOS
HTH Travel Insurance

I had ISOS while in Mada (right after the coup!) as well as on all subsequent travels. I never contacted them so have no opinion, but my current org uses them and no issues.
posted by quadrilaterals at 7:51 PM on July 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm on ISOS currently but you should be aware that they offer different plans - i.e. you might buy a health-related evac that doesn't include civil unrest-related evac.
posted by allkindsoftime at 2:15 AM on July 25, 2012


Also, for the record, I have had to rely on SOS before (for a health issue, fwiw), and while they were super helpful and professional, they didn't tell me much that I wouldn't have been able to figure out on my own with some basic research. At the end of the day, your own health and security is pretty much up to you. When I'm in these kinds of situations I ensure that A) sufficient security measures are in place, B) I have a bug-out plan in place, and C) I have access to emergency cash (enough to get to the airport and buy a first class ticket on the first plane out, if it came down to it).
posted by allkindsoftime at 2:18 AM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


However, I can't seem to find any travel insurance policies that do not contain specific exclusions for the very thing I would like to insure against

Talk with your agent about that. The way I understand it, that exclusion is targeted, not at getting the heck out of dodge, but about bodily injury or property damage incurred because of those things.

The insurance coverages work is that there's a broad grant of coverage up front which is whittled down by exclusions. But sometimes, they give some coverage back with exceptions to the exclusion. This may be one of those situations, but you'll have to check with your agent.
posted by valkyryn at 3:15 AM on July 25, 2012


You should also register with the local embassy/consulate in Madagascar, and give them a copy of your travel itinerary. I don't know what your nationality is, but I do know that the American government will come find you and evacuate you if the country suddenly becomes unstable.
posted by emilynoa at 6:01 AM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do know that the American government will come find you and evacuate you if the country suddenly becomes unstable.

This is not my understanding, at all. Do you have any references for this? Because as far as I know, they will extract you from the embassy, and they will run charter flights if you can get to an airport and the flights are allowed entry. But there is zero guarantee (and indeed, very little chance) they going to do anything other than make diplomatic enquiries as to your whereabouts if you are not sitting in an embassy lobby or an airport lounge. See the State Department statement on the recent evacuation of US citizens from Egypt for an example.
posted by DarlingBri at 7:07 AM on July 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I do know that the American government will come find you and evacuate you if the country suddenly becomes unstable.

Yeah, having lived overseas for over 5 years now, I have to agree that I have absolutely no faith whatsoever that my local American embassy will do anything to help me when the shit hits the fan.

I don't even really think they'd A) let me into the embassy or B) extract me from the same. Or even the airport if I happened to get there. I have a hard enough time getting access to my own damn embassy just to get passport pages added, and that's when things are *normal.*

Maybe, on the outside chance, and only AFTER the State Department had extracted every non-emergency staff member that they have, and their families, and their pets, and who knows what else, and things got really, really bad - like hard to get to the airport in the first place bad (reference Egypt)...maybe then they might evac me. But even then I'm not going to count on it.

My state department pals overseas get a lot of nice perks, but if I could get just one of them, it would be the same evac priority level that they have. I would bet cash money they will all be gone long before I am (/can be) when the next post-election violence flares up.

As far as I can tell, American expats are first and foremost seen as a liability and even an annoyance to their embassies overseas.
posted by allkindsoftime at 1:13 PM on July 25, 2012


Thanks for suggestions! Will definitely look into the ones quadrilateral references. Am very pleased to learn that what I'm looking for does, in fact, exist. Here's hoping the money I spend on evacuation insurance is entirely wasted...
posted by catesbie at 8:04 PM on July 25, 2012


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