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COVID-19 and Travel Insurance Exclusions

If you, like me, have planned trips and are afraid of the spread of COVID-19 virus, then it is a good time to check the conditions of your tickets or your travel insurance. As someone once told me, “the shoemaker's son always goes barefoot” and despite my work, I never read conditions of tickets or insurances. Especially if there are more than 30 pages with excessively small letters.

That's exactly what happened to me when I went to check the insurance conditions associated with the future trip and read between the exclusions:

“Epidemics, pandemics, medical quarantine and pollution, both in the country of origin and destination of the trip or in countries of transit.

Civil War, declared or not, riots, popular movements, acts of terrorism, all the effects of a source of radioactivity, as well as conscious non-compliance with official prohibitions.”

I found it surprising that epidemics, pandemics and medical quarantine were not covered. But “Civil War, declared or not, riots, popular movements, acts of terrorism, all the effects of a source of radioactivity”?


So, if someone decides to travel to a country with zero recent conflict history, buy a trip months in advance and, in the meantime, a civil war begins in the country to visit, or a nuclear terrorist attack happens, it is not allowed to cancel a trip without penalties.

I understand that it is part of our job to defend our client's position and try to safeguard their interests to the maximum. But I would be unable to agree to these conditions, if they had been sent to me for analysis. There must be exceptions, but they cannot exceed the limit of what is reasonable. And it’s not reasonable to deny a refund when what is at stake is a scenario of war or extreme terrorist attack.

Any clause providing for an exclusion of liability that eliminates the guarantee of protection from the risk that the contract was supposed to ensure, should be absolutely prohibited. And in this case, there is no doubt that the purpose of travel insurance is not being adequately protected and guaranteed.

I will definitely pay more attention to the clauses and, therefore, consider more about the usefulness of travel insurances, considering so many existing exclusions.

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Filipe Consciência's picture

Born in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1984, Filipe Consciência did his entire education in Lisbon, entering with 17 years at the Law Faculty of Lisbon University.

After graduating, and before entering the legal labor market, Filipe Consciência accepted the position of employee of a car stand, having in just a few months become department manager and later responsible for two car stands.

In September 2008, Filipe Consciência started working in the office of Pragma founder, Cecília Caria Mendes, beginning  to work with Pragma right away.

Over the years Filipe Consciência has specialized in consumer, labour and commercial law, and also in real estate.

After actively participating with Cecília Caria Mendes in the discussion and drafting of the law that allows the attribution of Portuguese nationality to descendants of Portuguese Sephardic Jews, since 2015 that Filipe Consciência has been responsible for the office's nationality department, having already delivered several thousand requests for attribution of Portuguese nationality, with great success.
In 2017, Filipe Consciência was invited to become Associate of Caria Mendes Advogados.