Suppose I have tickets, hotel reservations, and a visa to visit the United States.
Suppose I've previously been to Iran for a conference, and/or have an Iraqi passport.

Here's the risk I'm concerned about: Suppose that between the time I pay for everything and the time I enter the United States, its President issues an Executive Order declaring that I will not be allowed in (or that as a result of new policy, I will be detained for long enough to miss a connection), based on my membership in some set (examples above). That happened to a lot of people earlier this year. Although a court has temporarily blocked that claiming it seems like it might be based on religious discrimination, the President is fighting to restore travel bans and could issue new, broader orders at any time [or the previous ones could be restored to immediate action by a court victory].

Is this the kind of thing that standard travel insurance will cover? I'm talking about the kind you get in the checkout process when buying the airplane tickets etc. on popular websites, but if those plans don't cover it and ones purchased separately do, that would be useful to know as well.

I'm not looking for recommendations asserting that one particular policy is the best or worst, and there are other factors that would come into play for recommendations but which are out of scope for this question about how the coverage generally works with respect to this one specific risk.

If this site has travelers who bought insurance and got stuck earlier this year (either stuck in transit or had to stay home), I'd especially like to hear your experiences on this.

  • 2
    The court did not claim that the travel ban was based on religious discrimination. Rather, the court found that the plaintiffs were likely to succeed on one or more of their claims (some of which were based on grounds concerning religion), and that the order should be temporarily blocked while these claims are adjudicated. The idea that the courts have made any final determination about the executive order is mistaken. So not only could a new order be issued, but the existing one could be permitted to take effect.
    – phoog
    Mar 25, 2017 at 18:44
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    A more general question is whether travel insurance covers the refusal of entry into a country for any reason (I suspect that it does), and if so what are the terms of that coverage.
    – phoog
    Mar 25, 2017 at 18:49
  • I think it is a great question (and +1) but at the same time voting to close as too broad. There are tons of different insurance contracts and the final say will depend on the exact contract plus the company and whoever handles your case there. That being said, I don't think any insurance covers inadmissibility to a country, however unjust and unforeseeable that may be.
    – mts
    Mar 25, 2017 at 19:00
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    @mts "I don't think any insurance covers inadmissibility to a country, however unjust and unforeseeable that may be." That's an answer, not a reason to close.
    – WBT
    Mar 25, 2017 at 22:35
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    @phoog Unfortunately, I can't ask that more general question, as even this more limited one is closed as too broad.
    – WBT
    Mar 25, 2017 at 22:37

1 Answer 1


One of the risks commonly excluded from travel insurance is "government actions",1.2meaning detentions, confiscations or delays due to governments. An action to prevent visits from valid visa holders would almost certainly fall under this category. Up until recently this has normally applied to authoritarian or unstable governments who arbitrarily decide to detain or exclude any or all visitors.

On the upside, the most recent proposals from the US have only prevented those without valid visas from acquiring them. Visitors with valid visas would be admitted under those proposal, and the proposals themselves are subject to legal dispute.

You should also be aware that US Customs and Border Protection has wide discretion to refuse entry at the border, even with a valid visa - and there is little recourse. This too would likely count as government action and would not be covered by insurance.

  • @WBT hence DJClayworth's "up until recently". PS: I don't agree with his statement, as Jimmy Carter banned most Iranians but wasn't considered authoritarian or unstable.
    – Golden Cuy
    Mar 26, 2017 at 6:09
  • The sentence about authoritarian or unstable is not very constructive. Can you please remove it?
    – Golden Cuy
    Mar 26, 2017 at 6:12
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    @AndrewGrimm The "Up until recently" implies that there was a recent change such that it now applies to stable, non-authoritarian governments. This seems to assume that the US government is necessarily stable and non-authoritarian, because it assumes that the previous category application is no longer sufficient.
    – WBT
    Mar 27, 2017 at 3:41

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