How will the Kumamoto earthquake in Japan impact travel insurance?
48 people have been reported dead in Japan's largest earthquake since 2011.
Important:Travel insurance rules continue to change as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. We’re working hard to keep up and make sure our guides are up to date, however some information may not be accurate during the pandemic. It’s even more important to double-check all details that matter to you before taking out cover. Please know that some policies may not be available through Finder at this time. Here are some helpful tips:
- If you're buying a policy today, it's unlikely that you'll be covered for any coronavirus-related claims
- If your travel plans go against government advice, your policy will most likely be voided and you won't be covered
Japan is still reeling after two major earthquakes hit the southern island of Kyushu on 6 and 14 April, killing 48 people, injuring 263 more and destroying 1,527 houses in the Kumamoto prefecture. Recorded at magnitudes 6.5 and 7.3 respectively, the earthquakes have caused the largest natural disaster Japan has seen since the earthquake and tsunami that struck in 2011, killing 22,000 people.
Natural disasters cause significant disruption for both locals and travellers. If you were planning to travel to Japan around the time the earthquakes occurred, whether you would be covered by your travel insurance would depend on when you purchased your policy.
If you take out travel insurance after an earthquake is a "known event", you will not be covered for any earthquake-related claims such as cancellations or trip interruptions. However, if you booked your trip and travel insurance prior to when the earthquake occurred, most insurers would cover your losses. (The same rule generally applies to other natural disasters such as ash clouds and floods, though insurers will often differ on the detail.)
You can find out which travel insurance brands have made official announcements regarding cover in Japan during the earthquake in finder's complete guide. The good news is that most providers will cover cancellation costs if you're planning a trip which is now disrupted, or assist with costs if your travel plans have been disrupted.