Replies: 24 - Last Post: Jan 4, 2013 5:24 AM Last Post By: kitanovski
Dec 18, 2011 4:55 PM
Travel InsuranceI'm Irish and have been trying to buy travel insurance for a 3 week trip to Iran starting on 21st Dec.
All the policies specify that you must follow your Government's travel advice and at the moment the Dept. of Foreign Affairs in Ireland recommend avoiding all non-essential travel to Iran. This negates any insurance I can find.
Does anyone know of a company which will insure me. I really don't want to travel without medical insurance especially.
Dec 18, 2011 9:07 PM
Dec 19, 2011 5:23 AM
2You will probably have to use a UK Insurance Company. Most of them will say they will not cover you if you go to a country or area against UK Foreign Office Advice. At the moment, the Foreign Office says "we advise against all travel to within 100km of the Iran/Afghanistan border, to within 10km of the Iran/Iraq border and east of the line running from Bam to Jask including all travel to Bam; we advise against all but essential travel to the rest of Iran."
It all depends on if your trip is essential. You'll probably have to phone each insurer up. The ones which could cover you are World Nomads, Trailfinders, True Traveller and Campbell Irvine.
However, I'd put one caveat on this. The relationship which Iran has with pretty much all countries in the West is massively deteriorating at the moment, and the situation is changing on a daily basis. Let's say you actually get insurance, should the situation become worse it may come about that you won't be able to even contact the insurance company for a medical emergency (unless you have a Sat Phone) as the Iranian authorities have been known to cease internet connectivity and mobile phone coverage when they feel like it, and even if you get through, the insurers may not be able to assist as they may physically not be able to get to you.
I'd have to say that even with insurance, I personally wouldn't travel within 100 miles of any Iranian border at the moment anyway.
Dec 19, 2011 11:40 AM
3This issue came up recently in another thread, as a British traveller had struck the same problem. Perhaps it is a quirk of British and Irish insurance policies? Policies issued by insurance companies in some other Western countries do not have such a provision.
Try these sites to find different insurance companies:
You also might want to look into Patriot Travel Medical Insurance (http://www.imglobal.com/insurance_plans.cfm?imgac=199855&frames=0&app_method=1&CFID=3390039&CFTOKEN=ecc90de6440d2452-160C3C01-2264-F52B-AAD181F7B9A690C5). The last time I checked out this particular policy, a governmental travel warning negated the "Political Evacuation" coverage but not the medical coverage. IMO, the risk you should really be concerned about is running up exorbitant medical bills if you get sick or injured, not the risk of having to pay a few hundred bucks for a different plane ticket home in the highly unlikely event that (a) your government orders a "Political Evacuation" and (b) you choose to change your plans and leave early as a result.
I respectfully disagree with people in this forum who state that it is too dangerous to travel to Iran right now. I'm also from a Western country (admittedly neither the US nor Britain) and had no qualms at all about traveling in Iran just a few weeks ago. The worst case scenario is Israel bombing Iranian nuclear sites while you're in Iran. Even if this occurs, the risk to you is low - although, of course, you should follow the normal travel rules (e.g. stay away from political demonstrations).
So best of luck in your final preparations (including finding appropriate insurance) and have a great time in Iran!
Dec 19, 2011 5:19 PM
and Explore - http://www.explore.co.uk/destinations/details/middle-east-and-north-africa/iran which is a British company are all doing trips to Iran in 2012
I suggest contacting them and asking who are they recommending as travel insurance sources
Dec 20, 2011 1:13 AM
5I think people should maybe check out the latest information regarding the diplomatic relationship between the UK and Iran.
There has been a dramatic increase in anti-British rhetoric from parliamentarians and demonstrators. The Iranian parliament and Guardian Council voted on 27 and 28 November respectively to expel the British Ambassador to Iran. During a demonstration on 29 November the British Embassy in Tehran was attacked, entered and set on fire. British nationals have been arbitrarily detained in Iran in 2010 and 2011.
The British Embassy in Tehran has closed and all UK-based staff have been evacuated. British nationals requiring urgent consular assistance can visit the Embassy of any EU Member State in Tehran, or in an emergency call the FCO in London on (+44) 20 7008 1500.
I've travelled in some dodgy areas in my time, and have even been arrested near the India/Chinese border back in the mid 80's, but then the actual Government of a Country is against you, I tend to keep clear!
Dec 20, 2011 1:23 AM
6Thank you so much everyone for all the replies.
Leoh, Chris and Elizabeth I checked out all the companies you mention and none of them will insure me. Once I'm ignoring the advice of my govt. it negates any policy. I've also spoken to travellers who've recently been to Iran and they all travelled without insurance.
I also want to clarify that I'm not worried about any 'hostilities' breaking out while I'm there, nor am I concerned by the anti-British rhetoric as I'm not British BUT I am worried about being in a traffic accident and the potential cost to my family of organising travel home for me if anything should happen.
Pella, that's an excellent idea to check out tour companies and see who they recommend for insurance. I'll report back with any findings.
Dec 20, 2011 9:00 AM
Dec 20, 2011 10:07 AM
8OP here again.
I got insurance with IHI.Bupa; they took a few days to come back to me on email but they will cover medical expenses but not evacuation for political reasons. The preminium was 180 euros.
Patriot Insurance would also have covered me as well with the same caveats.
I spoke to Explore to see who provides cover for participants on their trips to Iran but they have cancelled all their trips until further notice.
Flying out in 13 hours! I'd orginally planned to spend a few days travelling to and staying in Tabriz by way of the Caspian Sea - is this area very snow bound at the moment? Would I be better off heading south?
Dec 20, 2011 12:05 PM
Dec 20, 2011 12:09 PM
10Archaeobabe, this is an interesting topic because the Iranian embassy in Canberra, Australia won't even give you a visa these days without proof of medical insurance. It's only the medical they care about, not the rest.
ChrisHurley, the hostilities are all from the Western side. The UN sec-general is too weak to condemn the US spy drone and violation of Iranian airspace. As for the embassy incident, the Iranians have long memories, but they can distinguish between individuals/tourists and the government. I'm not afraid to go and will do so in May, taking my then-16-month-old daughter with me (as long as the US and others haven't started any military strikes).
Dec 20, 2011 6:00 PM
11Aussie_in_Beirut: The good news is that insurance coverage is available from perfectly reputable companies for travel in countries subject to a governmental travel warning.
From my own experience in obtaining insurance and from looking into it further in connection with discussion threads on this board, the situation can be summarized as follows:
- Insurance companies in some countries impose a general exclusion for travel to a country subject to a governmental travel warning. Seems to be the case with British and Irish insurance policies based on the experience of people posting here. I don't know whether these exclusions are based on something in British/Irish law or are otherwise just standard provisions for insurance policies in those countries.
- Insurance companies in certain other Western countries generally do NOT include a general exclusion for travel to countries subject to a travel warning. Most notably, U.S. insurance policies usually don't contain this exclusion. However, nearly all such policies will have an exclusion for injury/damage etc resulting from war, terrorism, civil unrest etc. The governmental travel warning may be an exclusion on, e.g., the political evaluation coverage. Big deal - you'll still have coverage for the stuff that's most likely to go wrong and cost you big bucks (e.g. injuries from a car crash).
- What if you don't live in a country such as the U.S. where the insurance policies have better coverage for countries subject to a travel warning? Not to worry - while some U.S. companies vary their terms and conditions based on your country of residence, many other reputable U.S. companies will insure you on the same terms and conditions applying to U.S. residents. See my post above (#3) for some useful links if you want to search for U.S. insurance companies. And also check out the Danish company IHI.Bupa, which issued a similar policy to archaeobabe.
- Not relevant to Iran, but if you're really going off the beaten track (e.g. Iraq, Afghanistan), it's possible to get insurance that will cover you for war and terrorism. I used AAIB (www.aaib-insurance.com) when I went to Iraq. Yes, a bit pricier than insurance from a mainstream insurance company, but still do-able and worth it to avoid the usual war and terrorism exclusion.
Now that's probably more about travel insurance coverage than anyone wanted to know, but hopefully it's helpful to other travelers. Bottom line: despite what you might hear, it's relatively simple to get travel insurance coverage for Iran even if your government has a travel warning in place - you just may have to buy it from an insurer outside your country of residence.
Dec 21, 2011 12:23 AM
12It seems that in Australia the insurance companies will not cover you if you travel to areas that the government says "do not travel" to (avoid all travel to that region), for example near the Afghani, Iraqi and Pakistani borders (or to Tohoku prefecture in Japan after the earthquake). But you will be covered in other areas of the same country, unless the whole country is declared a no-go zone (eg Somalia). Unfortunately the Australian insurance companies also don't like to insure non-residents, so you have to look elsewhere if you don't live there.
Dec 21, 2011 10:20 AM
13Even though I still have no intention of going within 100 miles of Iran (yeh I'm a chicken) I was a bit of a trainspotter and checked around myself, and phoned a few of the insurance companies mentioned above myself. Most were totally dismissive, but I noticed on True Traveller it said:
Please note we are unable to provide cover for any claims arising from the reasons why the UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office advise against all travel (or all but essential travel) to certain countries or regions. Please click here for a list.
So I phoned them up and said I wanted to go to Iran. Basically they were a little cagey, but said that the insurance was valid for Iran, but it wouldn't pay out if something happened which was due to the reason why the Foreign Office put the no go ruling in there, so I wouldn't get cover for terrorism or kidnapping or anything like that. But when I asked what would happen if I was involved in a car accident they said that I would be insured if it was a regular car accident, but not if it was caused by a terrorist bomb or being driven by a terrorist. I assume in the same vein I could go to Afghanistan but not get covered if I stepped on a land mine I suppose.
So it does appear to be a similar situation to the US insurance companies.... but I'm still not going!
Dec 22, 2011 3:07 AM
(0 star Hotel)
From US$25.83 per night
(4 star Hotel)
From US$100.20 per night
(3 star Hotel)
From US$93.81 per night