The most dangerous country in the world: Iraq

By Megg Mueller on April 19th, 2010

The U.S. State Department issues travel warnings to let U.S. citizens know which countries it believes are the most dangerous places to travel. It's no surprise that was Iraq recently at the top the list. The threat of violence and terrorist action there is still very real for Americans.

The reason for the threat is due, in part, to the many violent insurgent groups that populate the country. These groups often target the U.S.-backed military, and American citizens have been subject to kidnappings and violent crime. Suicide-bombing missions, mortar and rocket attacks, and shootings are less frequent, but still occur too regularly for the warning to be lifted.

If you insist on traveling to Iraq, here are a few things you should note regarding your safety, plus a little-known fact that could impact your decision. First, some State Department safety travel tips:

  • Notify the U.S. Embassy of your visit and length of stay, plus any contact information while in the country
  • Dress casually, and avoid excessive jewelry or displays of wealth. Take note of local customs
  • Keep your belongings close to you
  • When using public transportation, always stay alert. Note the location of exits and emergency alarms
  • Don't discuss business plans or accommodations in public
  • Keep valuables in the hotel safe whenever possible
  • Keeping your room neat makes it easier to spot anything missing or moved

And, secondly, you may not be aware of this, but traveling to countries the State Department has deemed dangerous could put your life insurance application in jeopardy, too. Life insurance companies monitor the State Department's list, and they usually ask applicants about future travel plans. If your future plans include travel to one of these dangerous places, your application could be denied, or postponed until you return safely.

The State Department's list is regularly updated. So, should your travel plans call for a dangerous location, you can see if your destination is on the list.

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