Country Risk Code: Extreme
Iraq is considered a high-risk country, and several governments travel advisors advise their citizens not to travel there. If you have to travel there, it’s essential that you get high-risk Iraq travel insurance before taking a trip to the country. Iraq suffers insecurity, violence, kidnap cases, armed conflicts, and terrorism. Hence, high-risk travel insurance is vital.
Political Landscape of Iraq
Iraq is relatively unsafe to travel to as there are high risks of violence, terrorist attacks, and war. In December 2017, the Prime Minister of Iraq reported the defeat of Daesh and the rebuilding of the country's oil and gas sector. Despite the announcement that the government is restoring its infrastructure and promoting civil society, Iraq still experiences a high risk of terrorism which targets foreign visitors. In Iraq, there is an increased risk of kidnapping. You will need to be vigilant and security conscious at all times.
On Jan 7th, 2020, Iran attacked the US military bases in Iraq by launching missiles; this led to rerouting and cancellation of flights by prominent airlines to avoid the air routes above Iraq and Iran. Hence the Federal Aviation Agency in the US has prohibited commercial flights from flying through the air space above the Gulf of Oman, the Persian Gulf, Iran, and Iraq.
Potential Dangers in Iraq
Iraq remains unstable with a high ongoing risk of kidnap, which often targets expatriates and foreign visitors. There is an increased risk of injury as armed groups have injured and murdered thousands of people. Terrorism is not uncommon as it occurs often. Protests, rallies, and demonstrations have a high risk of escalating into violence. There are organised gangs, tribal groups, and militia that can pose a threat to you. Scams are also prevalent as some people may collect money from you claiming to be the Iraqi government's representative. Road travel can be dangerous as there is the risk of attack and robbery at checkpoints.
There are limited health care facilities in major cities. Healthcare is poor in remote areas with depleted medical resources. There is a high risk of sustaining injuries that could require evacuation. It's recommended that you get comprehensive health insurance and personal accident insurance that provides cover for evacuation and repatriation. Note that medical evacuation is expensive and difficult because of the insecurity in Iraq. You should also note that standard insurance in Iraq is invalid, meaning that basic policies would not cover medical emergencies or road accidents.
Covid-19 remains a risk in Iraq as health screening is performed on visitors. Insect-borne diseases such as malaria are prevalent, especially in regions below 1500m. HIV/AIDS is common in Iraq. Foodborne and waterborne diseases such as typhoid, hepatitis, and cholera are common.
Choosing the Right Insurance for Your Trip to Iraq
International health insurance is required in Iraq. While choosing the right insurance for your trip, ensure that insurance provides cover for emergency evacuation. Due to the high risk of terrorist attacks, it’s also vital to get the insurance that includes cover for war and terrorism, especially if you plan to work there. Also, due to the high level of kidnap in Iraq, it's advisable that you get Kidnap and Ransom insurance to cover you if the need arises.Most governments advise their citizens not to travel to Iraq. If you travel to Iraq against your government's advice, it can affect your travel insurance. You should note that during emergencies, your insurer may only be able to provide limited assistance. You should check if your insurer covers Iraq.