Greece fires: 2 ways travel insurance can help you
Bushfires have caused havoc for locals and tourists alike on the Greek islands of Rhodes and Corfu.
For the past week, firefighters have been battling blazes on the Greek Island of Rhodes, forcing people to take shelter in lobbies, gyms, schools, sporting stadium and boat docks.
Current estimates suggest, around 19,000 people have been evacuated from Rhodes due to the fires – many remain stranded.
Multiple flights to Rhodes were cancelled as locals and tourists suffered under the dangerous conditions.
In Corfu, some 2,500 people were evacuated from the island on Monday.
How are bushfires covered by travel insurance?
Insurance typically covers travellers for natural disaster-related losses, such as the disruption caused by bushfires.
A spokesperson from Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI) shared 2 scenarios with Finder:
"If you were about to travel from Australia to Greece and your accommodation was inaccessible, or your flights were cancelled due to a bushfire, this would fall under cancelling or changing your journey before you leave.
"If you'd already arrived in Greece and were making your way from, say, Athens to a Greek island, but couldn't go because your accommodation or journey was impacted by a bushfire, this would fall under changes to your journey once you have left."
SCTI added: "You would be able to claim in both cases."
Underinsurance is a problem
Worryingly, a recent Finder survey found just 37% of Australians said they'd take out an insurance policy before travelling overseas.
Holidaymakers on the Greek islands who hold insurance should be compensated.
But to make a successful claim, you'd need to have sorted your insurance before a fire is deemed a "known event".
It's a good idea to check on Smartraveller and see if the government has issued any alerts before you travel.
In the "Black Summer" bushfires of 2019-20, the date a domestic policy stopped covering you varied between states.
When wouldn't I be covered?
If your policy doesn't specify cancellation or delay benefits, you won't be covered for travel disruption due to the fires.
A basic policy, such as medical-only travel insurance, would only pay if you got sick or hurt.
It wouldn't cover losses for hotel bookings or flights.
You'd also be out-of-pocket if you haven't served a policy's waiting period (which can be up to 72 hours).
That's why it's always best to buy your insurance as soon as you confirm your travel dates.
Travel tips for hot weather
"We encourage Australians to follow the same advice if experiencing extreme heat at home: where possible stay inside in air conditioning, drink plenty of water to stay hydrated, and avoid high-energy activities."
Comprehensive travel insurance can help ahead of your next trip, as it offers the most wide-ranging coverage. Start a quote and compare policies side-by-side.