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- Could an act of terrorism impact your insurance policy?
- May 10th, 2011 12:12 AM
By Peter Greenbaum, Life Quotes, Inc.
The recent news about Osama Bin Laden’s death provided Americans with a sense of relief. In reality, security agencies anticipate reprisals for the terrorist leaders death. On May 2, 2011, the U.S. State Department issued a warning about the “enhanced potential for anti-American violence.”
The cost of terrorism can be measured in many ways including, the financial cost to the insurance industry. For example, according to the Insurance Information Institute, the terrorist attack of September 11, 2001 was the largest global loss for property/casualty insurers in insurance industry history, producing insured losses of approximately $32.5 billion.
“Life insurance death benefits for the insured would not generally be affected by death from a terrorist attack,” says Brian Ashe, President of Brian Ashe and Associates, Ltd., in Lisle, Ill., and spokesperson for the Life Foundation. “In fact, millions of dollars of benefits were paid to the beneficiaries of those killed in the 911 attacks, often without having to recover a body or the issuance of a certified copy of the death certificate.”
Insurance and terrorism basics
· Auto insurance policies will cover a car that is damaged or destroyed in a
terrorist attack if the policyholder purchased “comprehensive” coverage.
· The issuance of new life insurance could be affected if the intended policyholder was going to travel to countries known to be terrorist havens or involved in terrorist activities.
“Most individual life insurance policies do not have war or terrorism exclusions. A carrier may deal with this by just not writing the desired coverage if you are living in or traveling to a dangerous area. You may find such exclusionary language in disability insurance policies or travel accident policies,” says Ashe.
The state department provides a comprehensive list of recent travel warnings to other countries, including those with terrorist activities:
· People who travel by boat into areas where piracy is common, could have
difficulty acquiring new life insurance.
While some may argue that it is better to purchase accidental death benefits if you are working or traveling to a hostile environment, Ashe says this may not always be the case.
“I view Accidental Death benefits as the “gravy on the rice” since it is only paid in specific accidental circumstances,” he says. ” It should not be relied on to take care of basic needs–it’s “extra” coverage–and there are many more ways than accidents by which people die. To top it off, the premium for accidental death benefits is pretty similar to that of term life insurance. So why not just buy some extra term life and have it pay regardless of the way one dies.”
What should homeowners know about protecting their property in the event of a terrorist attack?
· Terrorism is not specifically referenced in homeowners’ policies. A typical
policy does cover the owner for damage due to explosion, fire or smoke
which could result from a terrorist attack.
· Acts of war, and nuclear, biological, chemical and radiological attacks are
typically excluded from homeowners insurance policies.
· Condominium or co-op owner policies provide coverage for damage to
personal possessions that result from acts of terrorism.
To learn more about which countries rank higher when it comes to human rights and the impact of terrorism, go to the 2011 Global Peace Index.
This article was originally published by Life Quotes, Inc.
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