Travelers are often susceptible to a lack of information. Whether they are traveling for vacation or business, they may not have access to news outlets or other such resources that can be used to keep them informed of current events. In these cases, travelers often find out too late that their travel insurance policies do not cover every situation they might find themselves in.
After the earthquake that rattled Japan and caused damage to several nuclear reactors on March 11, many insurers are now weighing whether the threat of radiation contamination is a justifiable insurance claim or not. Travel to and around Japan has been discouraged because of the continuing nuclear crisis, leading many to cancel their trips to the nation. This, in turn, leads travelers to seek reimbursement from insurers, citing radiation risks as their reason for their claim.
Many insurance companies are refusing such claims, however, arguing that they offer coverage for events and not states of mind. Insurers hold that fear of radiation is purely an issue of people’s anxiety over the event and nothing more.
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Theoretically, according to most travel insurance policies, if someone’s hotel was evacuated because it was in an area affected by intense irradiation, they could stand to receive some compensation. The chance of a successful claim, however, is limited by the fact that most policies do not explicitly offer coverage for radiation events.
As it stands, most travel insurers will not accommodate claims that have been made from policyholders that purchased their coverage after March 11, when the earthquake struck Japan.