Recent natural disasters where travel insurance would have helped
In the past year or so, there have been a number of high profile natural disasters that have disrupted the travel plans of many Aussies. Here is a short list of some of the worst offenders:
The Bali ash cloud - Bali, Indonesia
The ground below Bali's Mount Agung had been experiencing tremors since September 2017, but the volcano took two full months to finally erupt. Since then, it has been erupting on and off, sending massive ash clouds into the sky and hindering flights in and out of the region.
Many insurers stopped covering the event at the first signs of a tremor in September 2017. Others have been pulling their cover and then reinstating it, only to pull it again after another eruption in June 2018. If you had bought travel insurance during one of the periods of stopped coverage, you would have been out of luck if you had to make a claim because of this particular disaster.
The Lombok earthquakes - Lombok, Indonesia
In yet another blow to Indonesian tourists, the resort island of Lombok was crippled with a series of earthquakes in August 2018. The most damaging was a magnitude 7 earthquake that killed more than 400 people and left thousands of tourists stranded on the island. It was not considered to be an aftershock of a smaller earthquake that had hit the week before, so you could have bought insurance up to the time the big one hit and still been covered.
However, after it became clear that the region was experiencing tremendous seismic activity, most insurers stopped covering the region for earthquakes altogether. Anyone who had purchased their policy before the big earthquake was fine going forward, but anyone who waited until after that was out of luck regardless of whether any future earthquakes were considered aftershocks or not.
California Wildfires - California, USA
Wildfires have been sweeping across California since 23 July 2018 and have not stopped as of September 2018. Authorities say they were caused by arson, meaning there wouldn't have been much lead time to consider them a known event. In this case, it would have become a known event the moment local news stations began reporting on the first fire.
Japan flooding and mudslides - Southwestern Japan
Areas of Southwestern Japan received three times the normal amount of rain for all of July in just the first week of July 2018. It caused massive flooding and mudslides and forced millions of people to flee their homes. To have been covered, you would have needed to buy your insurance policy before the first reports of possible flooding came out.