Travel insurance for

Somalia

Country Risk Code:

Extreme

Somalia is an EXTREME RISK country. High rates of violent crime, frequent terrorist activity, and the critical absence of law enforcement throughout the country present the biggest risks to travelers.

Essential Precautions: 

• Avoid all travel outside of Somaliland, especially to Mogadishu and to the regions of Puntland and Galmudug

• Do not display overt forms of wealth

• Avoid demonstrations and protests, as they can often turn violent 

• Avoid street food in general and only drink bottled water 

• Only use secure transportation 

• Do not photograph government buildings, civil infrastructure, or military installations

Insurance becomes a priority if you intend to travel or work in Somalia. Traveling to Somalia presents significant risks due to ongoing conflict, terrorism, piracy, and other security concerns. The situation can change rapidly, so it\'s essential to consult up-to-date travel advisories from your government or reliable sources like the U.S. State Department, UK Foreign Office, or your country\'s equivalent. Here are some factors to consider:

Crime and Security Concerns: . Somalia is one of the most violent, corrupt, and dangerous countries in the world. Armed robbery, carjacking, kidnapping, and murder are common, and terrorist cells operate with impunity nationwide. Travelers are high-value targets for both criminal and terrorist groups and cannot rely on local police for protection. Somalia maintains virtually no law enforcement or criminal justice system, and corruption – including extortion and bribery – exists at all levels. Within the major cities of Hargeisa and Mogadishu, violent protests are frequent and can trigger deadly responses from regional security forces. Meanwhile, al-Shabaab – a regional terrorist organization with ties to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State – controls swathes of territory in central and southern Somalia where it carries out suicide bombing and gun attacks against government buildings, hotels, restaurants, shopping areas, and other civilian targets. Even in Somaliland where security forces are strongest and terrorist activity is lowest, intercity travel without an armed escort is prohibited. Maritime travel carries a high risk of piracy especially around the Horn of Africa and Gulf of Aden.

Kidnapping and Piracy: Somalia\'s coastline, particularly in the waters off the Horn of Africa, is notorious for piracy. Commercial vessels, including cargo ships and fishing boats, have been targeted by pirates for ransom. Foreign nationals, including aid workers and journalists, have also been kidnapped for ransom by armed groups and criminal gangs. Travelers should avoid sailing near the Somali coast and be cautious when traveling by sea.

Limited Government Control: The Somali government\'s control over the country is limited, particularly in rural areas and regions controlled by militant groups or clan militias. Lawlessness, banditry, and tribal conflicts are common in some parts of the country. Travelers may encounter roadblocks, checkpoints, and armed groups, posing risks to personal safety and freedom of movement.

Humanitarian Crisis: Somalia faces humanitarian challenges, including food insecurity, drought, and displacement. The country has experienced recurrent famines and humanitarian emergencies, exacerbating the suffering of vulnerable populations. Travelers should be aware of the humanitarian situation and be prepared to encounter poverty, displacement camps, and limited access to basic services.

Health Risks: The quality and availability of healthcare services is poor across Somalia and non-existent in most regions. Mogadishu and the urban centers of the Somaliland and Puntland regions are the only destinations that offer even basic medical care. Essential medicines and other supplies are often unavailable, healthcare personnel are poorly trained, staff are unlikely to speak English, and there are no emergency services. Somalia is also home to a variety of severe disease risks, including malaria, hepatitis, typhoid, cholera, rabies, and polio. Tuberculosis is particularly prevalent in the country at an average of 218 cases per 100,000 population. Rural, southern areas of Somalia are also known to host the Rift Valley Fever virus, Yellow Fever, and schistosomiasis. The tap water is not safe to drink.

Environmental Risk:. The most severe environmental risk in Somalia is flash flooding owing to seasonal rain between October and November and occasional cyclones from the Indian Ocean. There is no advanced disaster warning mechanism in Somalia, and disaster response services are nonexistent. The country is also at heightened risk of periodic drought. Droughts contribute to social unrest, malnutrition, and water-borne illness spread by contaminated water supplies. Sandstorms are also common in Somalia’s eastern plains in summer months and can cause serious property damage, injury, and even death by reducing visibility and negatively impacting those with chronic respiratory conditions. 

Transport & Infrastructure Risk: Somalia’s infrastructure is neglected and underdeveloped, even within major cities. Traffic accidents occur frequently and often result in fatalities. The only traffic lights in the country are in Hargeisa, Somaliland, and road conditions are universally poor. Public transportation remains severely limited, unreliable, and subject to unanticipated disruptions. Driving conditions are poor with speeding, tailgating and a lack of respect for traffic rules common practice. Somalia has no national electric grid and reliable access to electricity cannot always be guaranteed.

Civil Unrest and Political Instability: Somalia\'s political landscape is characterized by instability, clan rivalries, and governance challenges. Political tensions and disputes can lead to demonstrations, protests, and violence, disrupting travel and posing risks to personal safety. Travelers should avoid participating in political activities or gatherings and monitor local media for updates on the security situation.

Overall, travel to Somalia is discouraged due to the high level of risk posed by conflict, terrorism, piracy, and other security concerns. Travelers should carefully consider the risks and challenges associated with traveling to Somalia and may want to explore alternative destinations with greater stability and safety.

Choosing the right cover for your trip to Somalia

Many insurers exclude cover for travel to Somalia. It is vital to check that your policy includes journeys to this nation. Ascertain that your policy coverage includes medical expenses, repatriation, crisis management, and kidnap for ransom cover. The quality and availability of healthcare services is poor across Somalia and non-existent in most regions. It is certain that it will be necessary to evacuate you for medical and other critical care.

Required Vaccinations: 

• None

Pre-Trip Checklist: 

• Carry a copy of your passport 

• Bring a necessary supply of prescription medication 

• Bring a copy of your prescription in case medication is lost or stolen 

• Consider bringing mosquito repellant, long sleeves, and pants 

LGBT travel advice for Somalia

Traveling to Somalia as an LGBTQ+ individual poses extreme risks due to the country\'s deeply conservative and traditional societal attitudes, as well as the prevailing legal and security environment. Overall, traveling to Somalia as an LGBTQ+ individual is extremely dangerous and is strongly discouraged. LGBTQ+ travelers should prioritize their safety and well-being and consider alternative travel destinations where they can travel more freely and safely. It\'s essential to research and understand the risks thoroughly before considering travel to Somalia and to take necessary precautions to protect oneself from harm.