Insurers won't pay for cancelled Kenyan holidays

5 October 2011

Holidaymakers will not be able to claim on their insurance if they decide to cancel trips to Kenya despite Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) guidance advising against all but essential travel to certain coastal areas of the country.

Travellers are advised against going anywhere along the coast within 93 miles of the Somali border after a second kidnapping on the island of Manda, near Lamu, last weekend.

But holiday insurers are unlikely to pay out claims if customers decide to cancel their trip. Although each policy is different, this is the case with the majority of insurers.

Varying claims

Niki Bolton, spokesperson for eSure travel insurance, says the reason insurers don't base claims on FCO advice is because it can change from one day to the next.

It you are unable to claim a refund through your travel insurer, the travel provider should be able to help. If the holiday has been booked with a tour operator it should offer you alternative locations or dates.

Problems occur if you've booked the holiday independently. In this case, you won't be covered by your holiday insurance if you do decide to go to this area because the FCO has warned against it. But if you cancel the trip you won't be able to claim back the money from the insurer either.

10 travel insurance traps to avoid

In you did book independently, contact both the travel insurer and the company you booked with to see what advice they provide. If you're unable to rearrange the trip, you could still travel to Kenya as long as you avoid the restricted area. This would incur an extra cost if you're unable to cancel your hotel stay, but you would not lose money on the flight cost.

Greg Lawson, spokesperson for specialist insurance provider Columbus Direct, explains this is one of the many clauses found in most travel insurance policies.

He says: "If you've booked independently, the only time you can claim a refund through your insurer is if the local government in the country of travel has said it is not safe to visit."

If you're worried about how sufficient your holiday insurance is, check out our guide to finding travel insurance you can trust.

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