Case dismissed: Travel Guard won’t cover canceled trip to Egypt

After the Middle East erupted in chaos earlier this year, Amber Ford decided to cancel her flight to Egypt. Good thing she’d bought insurance through Travel Guard, she thought. She’d be getting a full refund for the $2,500 she spent on her tickets.

Actually, no.

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Even though her policy promised to cover “a terrorist incident in a city listed on the Insured’s itinerary within 30 days of the Insured’s scheduled arrival,” Travel Guard didn’t define the events surrounding Egypt’s regime change as terrorism.

“The events that took place in were quite frightening, and unforeseen,” says Ford. “After we filed a claim around the civil unrest and subsequent terrorist and riotous behavior, Travel Guard decided that this dangerous activity is no grounds to pay the claim.”

Could I help?

I have to be honest: If you asked me to tell you the difference between revolutionary behavior and terrorist behavior, I might have a hard time. The situation in Egypt was troubling. My advice back in January was simple: don’t go.

The US government defines terrorism as:

Any activity that (A) involves a violent act or an act dangerous to human life that is a violation of the criminal laws of the United States or any State, or that would be a criminal violation if committed within the jurisdiction of the United States or of any State; and (B) appears to be intended (i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion; or (iii) to affect the conduct of a government by assassination or kidnapping.”

Ford says it’s clear that the Egyptian uprising qualifies as terrorism. “We are absolutely entitled to receive our $2,500 back,” she says.

I contacted Travel Guard on her behalf. A representative responded to my inquiry quickly, pointing me to the company’s definition of terrorism:

“Terrorist Incident” means an act of violence, that is deemed terrorism by the United States Government other than civil disorder or riot (that is not an act of war, declared or undeclared) that results in loss of life or major damage to property, by any person acting on behalf of or in connection with any organization which is generally recognized as having the intent to overthrow or influence the control of any government.

So no, not quite the same thing.

“If she would have purchased a plan that included a Cancel for Any Reason upgrade and added that, she would have been covered,” the representative told me. “Travel Guard began offering Cancel for Any Reason coverage specifically for travelers looking for extended coverage and protection against what most travel insurance plans collectively list as general exclusions.”

The Travel Guard representative also suggested Ford should have read the fine print in her insurance policy, and if she had any doubts about whether her coverage would be enough, she could have upgraded to a cancel for any reason policy.

After some back-and-forth between Ford and Travel Guard, the company agreed to contact her directly and work through the case to see if it might find a valid reason to honor her claim. I was encouraged by that.

Unfortunately, it never got in touch with her (see update, below).

So today I’m closing her file. We’ve been through this many times — snagged by the fine print — and I’m sure it will happen again. Folks, travel insurance can be a good thing, but you have to read your policy carefully.

Ford should have at least called Travel Guard to make sure her cancellation was covered under her policy before canceling her flight. Any competent representative would have told her that she wasn’t, and that might have influenced her decision to call off her vacation.

It kills me to see travelers whose insurance didn’t cover them. Travel Guard’s reasons for turning Ford down may be perfectly legitimate, but that doesn’t make her loss of $2,500 any easier.

Update: (6:30 p.m.) Travel Guard contacted me to let me know that “there was, in fact, communication between Amber and a Travel Guard claims representative” after I brought this case to Travel Guard’s attention. “Unfortunately, after careful review of the situation, there was no way Travel Guard could legally cover Amber’s claim,” a representative said.

Update 2: (5/18) Ford says she hasn’t heard from Travel Guard yet.

(Photo: archer 10/Flickr Creative Commons)

60 thoughts on “Case dismissed: Travel Guard won’t cover canceled trip to Egypt

  1. The travel insurance business shoots itself in the foot by being stingy. People are coming to the realization that their insurance is worthless. I don’t think it’s insurance fraud. They are holding to the letter of their fine print. But they are destroying the image and value of their product. Much better to “self insure” than to tangle with snakes.

    1. Tom, you are exactly right! We are going on our FIRST cruise, a 7-day Caribbean on RCL’s Allure. They really pushed travel insurance but, after reading about how they try to find every loophole to NOT pay, I just don’t have any confidence the policy will actual provide any coverage. Really, I think that even for a clearly covered event, my chances of actually collecting on the policy are less than 50/50, and I’d probably have a huge hassle getting them to honor the policy.

  2. It also matters when her trip was scheduled for. In the middle of the chaos, getting a refund from the providers directly would not have been an issue, as I believe virtually all tours were shut down and the airports barely operating. The few airlines that weren’t providing refunds were providing complimentary rescheduling waivers.

    After things died down, I can see insurance not covering you if you simply don’t feel like going any more.

    I thought I would also point out that no matter which website she got that “government” definition from, the U.S. government in practice most certainly treated the Egyptian rebellion as a lawful uprising against a tyrannical government. Nor is it clear the (largely) peaceful actions on the part of the protesters would even meet that definition anyway; a peaceful gathering in the middle of a large square doesn’t count as “intimidation or coercion”, nor would it be in clear violation of any U.S. laws, were it to occur here.

    I’ve said it before here… insurance does not cover you against you simply not wanting to go any more. And yes, she should have called before canceling; the reps would have known that it was not covered. (I believe Access America and/or TravelGuard were even cited in more than one article during the unrest stating that this was not a covered incident.)

  3. I am afraid I can’t agree that travel insurance is a good thing. Just as studies have shown you’re better off not buying the extended warranty on electronics, I expect the same would be true with travel insurance. I, for one, sleep better knowing that if something goes wrong with my trip, at least I won’t have to deal with a company finding any reason possible to deny my claim.

    1. The fact that an insurance company collects more in premiums than they pay in claims and costs is not a ripoff; the insurance company is in the business to make a profit. This should not come as a shock.

      And yes, the job of the claims administrator isn’t to hand out charity grants; they are checking to see if your claim is covered under the policy, and not subject to the exclusions.

      1. Although I have great respect for you and your opinion, you might construct your straw man a bit sturdier next time. That way, it will be more of a challenge when you knock it down. I recognize that there are business reasons for insurance companies to act the way they do. I say only that consumers should be aware it is a bad deal for them, and to stay as far away as possible.

        1. I was countering your statement that you suspect consumers would be “better off” not buying trip insurance. I was pointing out that on average, ALL insurance is designed to financially favor the insurance company; this is what they are in business for. This is what legions of highly-paid actuaries exist to ensure. The insurance company makes a profit (meaning they are better off financially than the consumer, had the consumer merely invested the money), in exchange the consumer is protected from risk.

          Given how competitive the 3rd-party trip insurance industry is, I have a feeling they aren’t exactly raking in the dough. (Unlike those extended electronics warranties, which, like direct-purchase trip insurance, IS usually a bad deal.)

    2. Are you okay with the risk of bankruptcy? I would be saddened were I to lose a few thousand dollars I have paid for a trip. But, a medical condition in a foreign country can bankrupt you. Do you realize that? Are you prepared to pay $50,000 or more for medical evacuation? Yes, most extended warranties are a ripoff. They cost a significant percentage of the cost of the item and rarely every pay off at all. But, travel insurance costs about 5% of the cost of a trip and I’m sure you will hear from many on this forum who have been paid. And, your new TV doesn’t have a failure mode that can bankrupt you. Your foreign trip does.

      So many people hate travel insurance because they heard of some small claim that did not get paid. But, they are risking their entire life savings, their retirement, and their home every time they leave the country if they don’t have TI.

      1. Truly true, Charles, and I know of a TA that had to (unfortunately) use her ins. policy for repatriation of her husband’s remains. It gives you some small comfort that things like this will not take months or years to financially recover from.

      2. OK then…Lets hear some insurance stories where it was a happy ending! And I don’t mean medical evacuation due to a one-of-a-kind incident…I want to hear about successful claims against mundane stuff. Stuff like this where claims are actually paid out!

        I don’t see stories like this anywhere!

        People hate travel insurance because they never hear the of positive outcomes! And therefore don’t think that there *ARE* positive outcomes! So the conclusion is that travel insurance is a ripoff!

        1. Ask the millions of people every year who get their money back for covered reasons for cancellation — like sickness or death of a family member; or you the traveler, or someone you’re going with.  Try getting your money back from the cruise line or tour operators when that happens-Good luck!  They’ll tell you you should have had travel insurance.  And they do pay for tons of incidents, just not — “I’m afraid of going now.”  Even Mr. Elliott points out he said early in the year, reconsider going to that region.  Bottom line is, insurance is not for “I’m now skeptical about going.”   Bottom line is, insurance is not for “I’m now skeptical about going.”   

      3. Point taken, but you don’t have to buy a full travel insurance policy that runs 5% of the cost if all you’re worried about is medical/evacuation costs. Just go with a medical-only policy (yes, they do exist).

        1. I purchase TI with a value of “zero” for our European trip each year.  It cost approx $50 and is there to return my remains in case of death.  I feel that it is worth it for the peace of mind.  

  4. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: travel insurance is a borderline scam. There’s far too much “fine print” for any consumer to fully understand in most policies. Remember, these companies make their money by collecting yours and not paying out. As such, the rules aren’t in your favor and you really only have two chances to get paid: slim and none.

    Skip the travel insurance and work with your carriers, hotels, etc. to get credits or deferments instead. You’ll save money, time and hassle.

  5. I’m sorry but that is unbelieveable that they inject that much fine print into a policy which is likely already pages long. Customers should not be expected to make up a list of every conceiveable possibility and have to figure out if the insurance will cover it. Travel insurance should operate on something like assumed liability , your luggage is lost? You should be able to assume your insurance will cover it. Your trip is canceled? you should be able to assume it is covered.

    I would appeal to the state attorney general and file with the BBB.

    That all being said I agree with someone else who posted it does matter WHEN the trip was. If it was in Jan, Feb or March I could see canceling. But if the trip isn’t until Oct then I think canceling is jumping the gun a bit.

    1. Go check out TravelGuard’s website. Their policies are available to anybody before purchase, and the “fine” print is neither particularly fine nor written in lawyerese. The main policy is all of eight pages (all written in normal English), and less than one page of that is exclusions.

        1. Ha ha. Search for my handle online… you should quickly be able to figure out I’m an Engineer for a technology company, not an employee anywhere in the insurance industry.

  6. In 2008, for $63 we bought Travel Guard as an add-on for a house rental in Orlando. After it was ll done they paid us $2000+ for additional travel expenses and medical co-pays when my wife was hospitalized with pneumonia. All I had to do was follow their procedures, submit all documentation and they paid with no further questions or problems.

    The key thing being was that I read the entire contract and understood it. It’s pretty clear what they do and don’t cover. Anyone traveling to the Middle East these days is using a lack of judgement to begin with.

    1. Since most people book trips of this type up to a year in advance, and a year ago Egypt was considered a relatively safe place to visit, I doubt the OP was reading the news one morning after the problems started and thought it would be a great time to book a trip. Also, the refund requested from insurance was for just the airfare paid, not any other parts of the trip which would seem to indicate that all other parts were able to be cancelled without penalty. Considering all of this, I don’t think we should blame the OP for booking the trip.

      Unfortunately we don’t have the details of the trip so we don’t know if this was a vacation or other type of trip and what else was purchased or when.

      Glad insurance worked for you. I always buy coverage when travelling to foreign destinations but have not had to use it so far.

  7. I’m wondering how many people posting on here about “fine print” and “stinginess”, etc. have read their own home and auto insurance policies. Those are policies most of us are required to have, but they mostly go unread. War, civil disorder and riot are standard exclusions on those policies. Why? Because the risk cannot be properly priced – (rare) frequency and (catastrophic) severity of such events preclude developing a premium for them.

    Ms. Ford should have purchased the “cancel for any reason” endorsement to the standard policy. The premiums are significantly higher (see above for why). I don’t know how Ms. Ford bought the insurance, or if she saw the opportunity to purchase a “cancel for any reason” endorsement. I suspect she did, and gambled that the covered events in the policy would be the only reason she would cancel her trip.

    I worked in the insurance industry for 20 years and saw too many instances where coverage was offered, declined and then needed after the fact. This seems to be one of those instances.

  8. “After the Middle East erupted in chaos earlier this year, Amber Ford decided to cancel her flight to Egypt.”
    – – – – – – – —
    When was her flight? What month?

    “Travel Guard didn’t define the events surrounding Egypt’s regime change as terrorism.”
    – – – – – — – – – – – –
    It wasn’t terrorism…it was a civil unrest. There is a difference between terrorism and civil unrest. 9/11 was terrorism…the riots in LA after the Rodney King verdict was civil unrest. For those individuals including the OP that believe that it was terrorism in Egypt not civil unrest, please list the various terrorist groups that were involved. President Obama said that it wasn’t terrorism. Again, there is a difference between terrorism and civil unrest.

    Back on February 8, 2011, this topic was discussed in this blog. As I commented back then, there are very few travel insurance that will cover civil unrest which was happening in Egypt. I wrote that the solution is to purchase a travel insurance policy with Cancel for Any Reason benefit. In my comments, I even included a link to an article about traveling to Egypt and the Middle East where a spokesperson from Travel Guard stated to purchase a policy with ‘Cancel for Any Reason’ benefit: “According to Carol Mueller of Travel Guard, one solution is to purchase a policy with a ‘Cancel for Any Reason’ (, since it will cover an insured for any reason (i.e. war, civil unrest, etc.) not otherwise covered by the policy.

    1. I agree completely with what you said. Unfortunately for the OP, she didn’t buy that type of policy probably because when the trip was booked there was no hint of the problems to come. And I don’t know of any insurance company that would allow you to upgrade to the “Any Reason” policy after the problems started.

      Insurance of any kind is a gamble. But opposite of in Vegas, you are betting that you will loose (i.e.have a covered loss) while the insurance company is betting you will win (i.e. you will not suffer a covered loss).

  9. As much as I despise lawyers and fine print, the company does have a point. The OP cancelled on her own, and it wasn’t a covered reason. This is why I never buy insurance, the chances of having a covered event are almost nil.

    1. About 16% of travel policies result in a claim, and of those, approx. 90% are approved and paid. (Those stats are right out of one of Chris’s columns.) That’s hardly nil.

  10. It is immaterial how the US government defines terrorism or if the State Department issues a travel warning or a travel alert (i.e. they issued a worldwide travel alert on 5/1/11…does that means that all US citizens should cancel their travel plans outside of the US?)…what matters is how is terrorism is defined in the insurance policycontract.

    Is the US government backing the insurance policy and paying the claim? No…a private company is and a person needs to follow the terms and conditions of that policy. Per my previous comments, the solution is to purchase a travel insurance policy with Cancel for Any Reason benefit to protect yourself from insured for any reason (i.e. war, civil unrest, etc.) not otherwise covered by the policy.

  11. TG isn’t on the hook here. Civil unrest, which is what occurred in Egypt and not terrorism, isn’t covered. These are two very different things. The only definition of terrorism that matters is the one in the contract she signed with TG.

    For those complaining about “fine print,” I can’t be sure which policy she purchased but the DOC (description of coverage) for the Ohio version of the Gold policy is 12 pages long and none of it in fine print. The third item under exclusions is civil unrest. All of the definitions are easy to read and take the first 2 pages of the document.

    Having said that, if she truly believes that the policy she purchased did cover civil unrest, she should file a claim with her state’s insurance board. Insurance is a regulated product. Just like if your auto insuracne company refused to pay a claim, there are steps in most states to seek relief.

  12. The link is to a Law School. The question is whether the definition is their own or an official definition which would be accepted in court. If there is an official definition then as legal matter Travel Insurance companies should not be allowed to make up their own definition,fine print or not.

    1. The law school site is hosting a copy of the United States Code (statutes) so the definition is “official” for purposes of that section of the code. However, private parties may write contracts with their own definitons for purposes of their contract, which is what TG did here. Unfortunately for the OP, the only definition that matters is the one provided by TG, and there is nothing to suggest that she did not have the ability to review that definition before purchasing the policy.

  13. .

    “(i) to intimidate or coerce a civilian population; (ii) to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion;”

    Wow! If that’s terrorism, as legally outlined by the US Government, then all those union gangs taking over the Capitol building in Wisconsin would certainly qualify as a terrorist activity!

  14. They have a definition of terrorism – and thats it. Are there any other clauses that might apply? such as civil insurrection? I would look carefully at any language that could support a claim – now – the main question is were these limitations set forth in the policy? Or are they in some ‘claims manual’ that the customer is not able to see until they file a claim?

    Finally – what does the advertising for the policy state – and is Travel Guard licensed to sell insurance in the state in which the OP resides.

    1. @Joe Farrell … As I put in my posting, civil unrest is the third general exclusion under the policy I looked at (their second best). Its not covered. The DOC is provided on the quote page when purchasing (if she purchased online directly)

      1. btw – I’ve changed my mind after actually reading the clauses and definition of terrorism – this claim is definitely and clearly covered and Travel Guard has a bad faith denial of this claim . . . .

  15. I’m perversely glad that things like this are happening. When customers object to the noncancellability and nonrefundability of everything in today’s travel world, the standard response is always “you should have gotten travel insurance”. The idea is that by paying an extra twenty percent for your vacation, you can buy back the customer service we used to get as a matter of course.

    Except, of course, when the prudent traveler who buys insurance gets screwed just like the people who didn’t plan ahead. It’s a scam. Spread the word.

    1. Travel insurance issued by a real insurance company is NOT a scam.

      There are several benefits of a travel insurance policy issued by a real insurance company such as:

      If you are traveling outside of the United States and have an emergency medical andor dental situation, it is a probability that your regular health insurance won’t cover these expenses. The Emergency Medical & Dental feature in a travel insurance policy will pay for the cost of treatment associated with a medical or dental emergency incurred while traveling.

      If you are traveling (i.e. outside of the US, camping in the mountains, etc.) and have a medical situation that requires you to be transported, the costs can be in thousands. The Emergency Evacuation feature in a travel insurance policy will arrange to medically transport a patient to an appropriate medical facility.

      Sometimes, people do pass away while traveling. The Repatriation of Remains feature in a travel insurance policy arranges for return of deceased remains back to the place of residence.

      If there is a mandatory evacuation of your vacation area due to weather (i.e. hurricane) or natural disaster (i.e. earthquake, volcano, etc.), the Hurricane & Weather feature in a travel insurance policy will pay you if you are prevented from taking or continuing your trip.

      What will you do if your airline, cruise line or tour operator cease their operations due to financial difficulties? The Financial Default feature in a travel insurance policy will cover you in the event of a complete suspension of operations due to financial circumstances whether or not bankruptcy is filed.

      You might feel uncomfortable about visiting a destination if there was a recent terrorist incident (as defined in the policy). The Terrorism feature in a travel insurance policy will provide coverage in the event of a terrorist incident (domestic and foreign).

      If you had a traffic accident while enroute to the airport or port of call, a travel insurance policy will provide coverage in this event.

      What if there was a death in your family while on your trip? What if something came up at work and you couldn’t take your trip? What if your house was robbed or caught on fire during your trip?

      Of course, travel insurance covers travel delays, delayed bags, lost bags and missed connections.

      The last time that I purchased travel insurance, the cost of the policies ranged from $ 177 to $ 700 for a trip with a cost of $ 5,000. We ended up purchasing a policy that cost $ 300. I look at the cost of travel insurance as a cost component of a trip. Things can happen so my philosophy is to plan for the worst and expect the best. If you can’t afford to assume the financial risks then purchase travel insurance for the risks that you are not willing to assume.

      The biggest problem with travel insurance is that most people don’t know how to buy one. They don’t read the details. They buy a ‘travel protection plan’ from the travel provider (i.e. cruise, tour, airline, etc.).

      Personally, it is my opinion that the federal government should regulate travel insurance since it is interstate commerce. The first thing that they should do is to set up standard travel insurance policies like what the government did with Medicare supplementMedigap policies back in the early 90s. Back in the late 80’s, there were several insurance companies selling hundreds of Medicare supplement policies and the consumer couldn’t compare apples with apples since every policy was different. The government passed regulations which resulted in 12 different standardized Medigap policies (Medigap Plans A through L). Now it is easy for a person to compare Plan K from company ABC to Plan K from company XZY.

      If there was standardization of travel insurance policies this will eliminate these travel providers that design their own plans (i.e. travel protection plans) which doesn’t cover a lot of things, written to favor the travel providers as well as to standardize the featuresbenefits of the travel insurance policies issued by real insurance companies.

    2. 20% – I have purchased travel insurance several time and never been quoted 20% of our trip costs…we normally pay around 5% to 7% of our trip costs for a comprehensive travel insurance policy issued by a real insurance company from a website like Squaremouth (one of the sponsor of this blog).

      1. your math is wrong ARW. lets look at your example of 5,000. yuou say yuou bought insurance for $300. while that looks like a 6% cost I doubt that covered all of your $5,000 cost.
        We can calc the cost to cover $5,000. using a 16% claim rate with a 10% denial rate we come up with an estimated expense to the company of $720 now assuming they want a ration 70% (which I believe is generous) then the premium would need to be 1,028.57 which is 20.5% of the costs you want to cover.

  16. Just because you can find a way to fit a political unheaval into the definition of Terrorism doesn’t mean that it is terrorism, and unless someone was trying to find a way out of their trip I don’t think many people would consider the political unheaval in Egypt an act of terrorism.

    But I wonder when this trip was planned for. I know that most tours only recently started running again, they weren’t running during the chaos. And while I would be hesitant to go right now (I’ve already been anyway and it was wonderful), I would have called and made sure this was covered for cancelation before canceling anything. Then you can decide if under the circumstances you’re willing to take the risk or eat the money.

  17. As an attorney who specialized in contract law, the saying is: “The large print giveth, and the small print taketh away.” And there is always a lot more small print than large print in insurance contracts.

    The insurance industry must be seen for what it really is – a profit-making business. The industry is not there to protect you, it’s there to make money for its officers, employees and shareholders.

    If you buy any insurance (travel, health, auto, etc.) read the policy carefully! Understand what you are – and are not – getting. It’s very difficult, but you absolutely must understand your policy’s terms and conditions.


  18. Hopefully she knows that her tickets are reusable with a change fee, so maybe she can pick someplace else to visit so the money paid won’t go to waste.

    Many flights were canceled to Egypt during the unrest, was hers? That could be another avenue for her to pursue.

  19. Ok – I downloaded the silver policy from Travel Guard – [which one did this person purchase and from whom?] which is what they call their standard policy – the definition which I find for terrorism is:

    p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica}
    “Terrorist Incident” means an act of violence, that is deemed
    terrorism by the United States Government other than civil disorder
    or riot (that is not an act of war, declared or undeclared) that results
    in Loss of life or major damage to property, by any person acting
    on behalf of or in connection with any organization which is
    generally recognized as having the intent to overthrow or influence
    the control of any government.Thus, if it satisfied the US Govt definition then its covered. Look at the explanation they give – overthrow of a government – isn’t that what happened here?

  20. Guys- Travel Guard is wrong to deny this claim. What happened in Egypt is covered. End of Story. They have incorporated the US government definition as terrorism – so [and sorry for the multiple posts] but he analysis goes like this:

    Was there a terrorist incident as covered by the US government definition? Meaning would the act have violated the laws of the US? Yes. the demonstrations in Egypt were DESIGNED and INTENDED to overthrow the existing government – and did in fact have that effect. Would that have violated us law? Yes, it is illegal in the US to conspire to overthrow the government- thus – it is a covered event and not excluded.

    Next – look at the EXPRESS language of their definition of terrorism – the applicable language states:

    “Loss of life or major damage to property, by any person acting on

    p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Arial}

    behalf of or in connection with any organization which is generally

    recognized as having the intent to overthrow or influence the control

    of any government.”

    Did ‘A Person’ act on behalf or in connection with an organization having the intent to overthrow the government of Egypt?”

    Yes – of course. The Islamic Brotherhood is a recognized organization in Egypt [along with their military] which has persons who were demonstrating in the streets and occupying spaces with the intent to overhrow the Egyptian government – this is and was a bad faith denial of claim.

    @Carver – wanna do a Class Action with me?

    1. @Joe Farrell .. Look at the definition you posted “Other than civil disorder or riot”. Now look at the policy general exclusions again civil disorder and riot [email protected]:disqus excluded.

      Are you saying the incidences in Egypt were not civil disorder?

      1. No I’m saying that by incorporating the US Gov definition that they have a an exclusion that does not exclude and in fact includes and an exclusion which excludes thus they have a vague document capable of multiple interpretations – which under the insurance of every state, commonwealth and whatever Louisiana calls itself now, this is coverred.

        I dare say that the exclusion of incapable of meaningful interpretation – what are they trying to exclude? Was there civil disorder or riot in Egypt? What if she cancels because of the overthrow of a government and not because of civil disorder? There was BOTH in Egypt. It is nowhere near as simple as Travel Guard wants us to believe and unless they CLEARLY identified FACTS that they rely upon – we can create other facts – such as the sit in at Tahir Square which lasted for WEEKS without violence – what was covered and what was not? It is entirely too easy for Travel Guard to refuse to cover this because what was covered and what was a valid reason for cancellation?

        THEY created the ambiguity here – thus THEY get their language interpreted by a court in the manner most conducive to coverage – every court in every political subdivision will interpret this policy as providing coverage under this circumstance . . . . was it civil unrest? Were the attacks on the Egyptian government related to civil unrest or terrorism or war? When you cannot answer the question easily, given the convoluted logic of this exclusion, the ambiguity results in coverage. .. .

  21. Grudgingly I voted against the screwed traveler, since the contract’s fine print uses what the U.S. government defines as terrorism. The problem is that “terrorism” is always defined politically. As the saying goes, “One man’s terrorist is another man’s hero.” That said, the aggrieved party was foolish not to get the insurer’s opinion before unilaterally acting. I say this as someone who had a travel claim initially denied not because I failed to get the insurer’s appoval (I did) but because the insurer then decided to see how far they could push the issue by lying about their approval.

  22. If the State Department warns US Travelers not to go, it should be covered. Airlines are quick to help out travelers in situations of natural disaster or uprisings and we all know how stingy they can be. The travel insurance industry needs to follow suit and help those they are supposed to be protecting when common sense dictates the traveler remain home.

  23. I thought I add my 5 cents worth. When Mexican declared bankruptcy last year, I was soooo happy that I purchased travel insurance. When I called the insurance company I was told that the insurance did not cover flight cancellations just because the company goes bankrupt. I had to buy my return trip with another airline.

    I thought I had done due diligence and read the fine print, but it did not mention anything about airline bankruptcy in the contract. How are you supposed to know? If I would have thought the airline was in the process of going under, I certainly would not have flown it in the first place.

  24. I guess a company can re-invent definitions for words and phrases. If you hire a comedy writer, you can even make the definitions interesting to read!

  25. As a 20 year travel agent, I can tell you that travel insurance is a vital and necessary adjunct to the vacation – it protects your investment. But you should always call the INSURANCE company first if a question like this came up — and if you had used a travel agent, they could have told you this was not a covered event, and to just wait a bit longer to see what the airlines would choose to do in this situation. We actually had a group going to Egypt days after the events began, and by biding our time and talking to the tour operator and airlines, we were able to rebook to a new destination without penalties.

    I have had many clients who have put in claims without incident – for medical reasons, repatriation of remains in cases of death, for trip delays, baggage loss, theft of cameras, cost of replacing clothes when luggage was lost, and for catching a client up to the cruise when they missed a connecting flight. But having a client aware of what they are actually covered for and NOT covered for is how I can assist them in making an informed choice.

  26. I just returned from what was to be a 3 continent tour, including Egypt, the cruise line cancelled both Jerusalem and Cairo saying their insurance company would not insure them for those ports. So who really is being truthful here?

  27. I’m not sure what everyone else said, but I think she should take this to small claims. The policy/company clearly indicated that they use the United States definition which includes ” to influence the policy of a government by intimidation or coercion” which is exactly what was going on with the riots and unrest. She is entitled to a refund based on that language and she needs to persue the case down the legal path.

  28. This reminds me of a situation a number of years ago when my sister, who bought travel insurance, was planning to take a Delta Queen cruise with a friend, who had not bought travel insurance. As luck would have it, her friend had a heart attack and they canceled the trip. My sister collected from the insurance company because her traveling companion could not travel and her friend was out in the cold. Was she mad!

  29. AS with all travel insurance, the person should have called Travel Guard first before cancelling the trip.  The same is true of trips to Japan.  I am a travel agent who sells travel insurance and would have advise the client that this may not have been covered.  The article does not state if the person purchased a tour package or just air to Egypt.  Most tour operators allowed clients to rebook at a later time. 

  30. Buying a “Cancel For Any Reason” travel insurance policy is good advice.  However, when I last shopped for such a policy to cover a scheduled month-long trip to Europe, I could not find a single company that was offering that coverage at any price.

  31.  My travel companion and I got a full refund from our travel insurance company after I broke my elbow and wasn’t fit to travel to Europe on a river cruise. There was no hassle at all.

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