North Korea has closed its border to foreign tourists due to the new coronavirus.

I had a tour booked in March, I have been told I will get my deposit back from the tour company if the border is not reopened in time.

But I had flights to Beijing, a Chinese visa paid for, Chinese hotels booked. I only booked all these for my tour to North Korea, as that is one of the only ways to enter, do you think there's a case for a claim for my whole trip if North Korea doesn't reopen its borders by my tour?

I don't want to really just go to China, if I can claim my flights and hotels in China back I'd rather postpone the whole trip, plus I'd have to get extra hotels and activities planned for the time I would have been in North Korea.

I'm not really asking for legal advice, just wondered in general, if any country closes its border, is it valid for an insurance claim?

  • 6
    Did you check your travel insurance's T&Cs? It may be spelled out in there.
    – jcaron
    Jan 22, 2020 at 13:36
  • @jcaron I'm going to call them tonight... Just wondered if anyone has been through anything similar, not necessarily DPRK
    – BritishSam
    Jan 22, 2020 at 13:39
  • 2
    My travel insurance does offer compensation if the purpose of a whole trip has become moot due to part of it becoming impossible. Yours might too. Jan 22, 2020 at 13:41
  • 2
    The answer will depend on the wording of the insurance. Some may cover it, some have exclusions for "political action" or similar things not under the control of the tour operator or airline. Jan 22, 2020 at 15:30

1 Answer 1


Just a quick update, my tour was cancelled so I rang my insurance company and they voided my insurance due to travelling to a country that was advised against all but essential travel, even the Chinese part of the trip would not have been covered.

Luckily Swiss Air offered a full refund, also my hotels in China were kind enough to issue refunds even though they were none refundable rooms, I am planning to go soon so will still use them to thank them. Also the tour company to North Korea offered a full refund.

Not really an answer to my question, just if anyone else is travelling to China soon and you don't have insurance then try your luck contacting companies if you don't have insurance.

Also if you're going to North Korea just take out the insurance with the tour company for that leg of the trip, it's quite cheap and through a Chinese insurance company which cover North Korea.

  • What were the travel advisories at the time of booking? Feb 3, 2020 at 12:27
  • @KristvanBesien for North Korea it's been that for a while, China is recent, they would have covered that if I didn't tell them about North Korea, they said that voided my whole policy... if I go soon I will get separate insurances that cover both, I never really though about it as the website let me enter North Korea as a destination, but it's in their terms.
    – BritishSam
    Feb 3, 2020 at 12:31
  • Does the insurance cover loss of wages and loss of liberty if you get permanently imprisoned in North Korea?
    – Kyralessa
    Feb 3, 2020 at 15:09
  • @Kyralessa doubt I'd need my wages anymore! No Brit has ever been imprisoned in North Korea... yet.
    – BritishSam
    Feb 3, 2020 at 15:13
  • You could be the historic first! ...Though not something I'd aspire to if I were you.
    – Kyralessa
    Feb 3, 2020 at 17:14

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