Tornado

Travel insurance that covers natural disasters

You can get money back for delayed flights, last-minute schedule changes, completely cancelled trips and more.

You can't control nature, but you can control how it affects you. Most travel insurance policies will cover you for whatever Mother Nature can unexpectedly muster up, but they'll also cover you for almost any type of loss that you experience.

Did a flood swamp India before you even left home? Then you can claim back any non-refundable expenses you've already paid. Did you get battered by a cyclone in Japan? Get refunded for your missed flights and whatever last-minute arrangements you had to make. Did you get banged up in an Indonesian earthquake? Get your medical expenses covered and your belongings replaced.

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Brand Travel insurance that covers natural disasters Apply
1-cover-new1
  • If a natural disasters interrupts your pre-paid travel arrangement, you're cover up to the policy limit for cancellation fees and lost deposits.
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  • You will be covered for reasonable and necessary additional hotel accommodation and transport expenses that are the result of a natural disaster.
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  • If your scheduled or connecting transport is cancelled, delayed, shortened or diverted because of natural disaster or weather, you'll be covered for your reasonable additional travel and accommodation expenses.
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Columbus Direct
  • You are covered up to the amount stated your product disclosure statement (PDS) if your trip is necessarily and unavoidably cancelled or a result a regulation from the government of your country of residence following an epidemic or natural disaster that stops you from travelling.
  • You are covered for travel delay and abandonment of trip in the event that the departure of the carrier with which you have arranged to travel is delayed by at least 6 hours from the time shown in the official itinerary as supplied to you due adverse weather conditions or a natural disaster in your country of residence
  • You are covered for necessary and reasonable additional travel and accommodation expenses if a disruption to your trip arises from adverse weather conditions or a natural disaster in your country of residence.
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CoverMore
  • You're covered for additional accommodation and transportation expenses as a result of natural disasters.
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Fast Cover
  • Cover for cancellation fees and lost deposits for pre-paid travel arrangements due to unforeseen natural disasters. In addition, you will be covered for your reasonable additional travel and accommodation expenses if a disruption to your trip is from weather or natural disaster.
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InsureandGo
  • You're covered if you cannot travel as a result of a natural disaster for cancellation and trip curtailment.
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iTrek
  • Cover for cancellation fees and lost deposits for pre-paid travel arrangements due to unforeseen natural disasters. In addition, you will be covered for your reasonable additional travel and accommodation expenses if a disruption to your trip is from weather or natural disaster.
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Medibank Travel Insurance
  • You're covered for additional accommodation and transportation expenses as a result of natural disasters.
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Simply Travel Insurance Logo
  • Cover for cancellation fees and lost deposits for pre-paid travel arrangements due to unforeseen natural disasters. In addition, you will be covered for your reasonable additional travel and accommodation expenses if a disruption to your trip is from weather or natural disaster.
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Skiinsurance.com.au
  • Cover for cancellation fees and lost deposits for pre-paid travel arrangements due to unforeseen natural disasters. In addition, you will be covered for your reasonable additional travel and accommodation expenses if a disruption to your trip is from weather or natural disaster.
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STA logo
  • Cover for cancellation fees and lost deposits for pre-paid travel arrangements due to unforeseen natural disasters. In addition, you will be covered for your reasonable additional travel and accommodation expenses if a disruption to your trip is from weather or natural disaster.
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Tick Travel Insurance
  • As an optional extra you can get covered if you cannot travel as a result of a natural disaster for cancellation and trip curtailment.
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tid-logo-blue
  • You are covered in the event your trip is necessarily and unavoidably cancelled prior to departure or curtailed before completion because of a natural disaster.
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Travel Insurance Saver Logo
  • If your pre-paid scheduled public transport services or pre-paid tour have been cancelled or restricted because of severe weather, natural disaster you're covered for cancellation and additional expenses.
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  • You are covered in the event your trip is necessarily and unavoidably cancelled prior to departure or curtailed before completion because of a natural disaster.
  • Catastrophe cover provides a benefit for necessary and reasonable additional travel and accommodation expenses incurred in the event that you are forced to move from pre-booked accommodation to continue your trip, or if the trip cannot be continued, to return home as a result of hurricane, storm or other natural disaster.
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Virgin Money
  • Cover for cancellation fees and lost deposits for pre-paid travel arrangements due to unforeseen natural disasters. In addition, you will be covered for your reasonable additional travel and accommodation expenses if a disruption to your trip is from weather or natural disaster.
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  • You're covered for additional travel and accommodation expenses if a disruption your trip is interrupted by weather or natural disaster.
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worldcare travel insurance logo
  • Cover for cancellation fees and lost deposits for pre-paid travel arrangements due to unforeseen natural disasters. In addition, you will be covered for your reasonable additional travel and accommodation expenses if a disruption to your trip is from weather or natural disaster.
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youGo
  • You're covered for additional hotel accommodation and additional transport expenses you incur due to a natural disaster.
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Easy Travel Insurance
  • If your pre-paid scheduled public transport services or pre-paid tour have been cancelled or restricted because of severe weather, natural disaster you're covered for cancellation and additional expenses.
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What does travel insurance for natural disasters cover?

Travel insurance covers a wide range of losses you could experience while travelling, including missed flights, cancelled hotels, damaged property and even medical expenses.

That means natural disaster cover can appear in several places throughout your policy, especially in the following sections:

  • Cancellation costs. This is for when you have to cancel all or part of your trip and it's outside of your control.
  • Travel delay. This is for when something outside of your control delays your trip and creates extra expenses for you.
  • Return airfare. This is when something outside of your control forces you to return to Australia early.
  • Resumption of journey. This is when you resume your journey after it was cut short due to something outside of your control.
  • Luggage and personal effects. This covers your belongings if they are lost (by a provider), stolen or damaged.
  • Medical expenses. This provides cover for when you become ill or are injured overseas.

In most cases, you'll have natural disaster protection for what’s listed above, but it’s important to check your policy to be sure. For example, most domestic policies don't include medical cover, so you wouldn’t be covered if you were injured in a natural disaster. But you may be covered for those other areas as long as you have them in your policy.

In rare cases, some insurers won't cover you for natural disasters at all unless you buy the "natural disaster" add-on. So without the add-on, you wouldn't be able to make a claim if a natural disaster caused you to cancel your trip – even if you had cancellation cover.

What is considered a natural disaster?

Most insurers have a fairly similar list of events they consider to be natural disasters. These natural disasters include the following:

  • Floods
  • Fires
  • Cyclones
  • Tornados
  • Earthquakes
  • Volcanic eruptions
  • Blizzards
  • Avalanches
  • Tsunamis

The disaster also has to create significant obstacles to your travel, such as causing your destination to be uninhabitable or triggering a state of emergency.

Learn more about travel insurance for natural disasters

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. 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.

Hurricane Irma - The Caribbean

The islands of the Caribbean are tropical paradises and popular tourist hotspots. A massive hurricane battered several of the islands in September 2017, causing widespread destruction, most notably to the island of Puerto Rico. All hurricanes start off as small tropical storms and after monitoring this one for some time, meteorologists finally named it Tropical Storm Irma on 30 August 2017. It hit Puerto Rico six days later. Anyone who bought insurance after 30 August would have been out of luck because it became a known event the moment it was named.

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.

Does travel insurance cover weather cancellations caused by natural disasters?

Travel insurance may cover you if you need to cancel your travel plans because of the weather or a natural disaster, but that doesn't mean you will be covered if you decide to cancel for run-of-the-mill bad weather.

If the island you were booked to visit was severely damaged in a cyclone and the government declared a state of emergency, your need to cancel the trip is outside of your control.

If there was a thunderstorm on the same island but it was still open for business and safe to visit, the decision to cancel would be fully within your control and you would not be able to make a claim.

What will you receive?

Travel insurance will pay you for a number of unused expenses as long as it's something you already paid for and there's no other way to get your money back (ie, it's non-refundable).

Acceptable expenses include the following:

  • Flights
  • Accommodations
  • Tours, excursions and activities
  • Visas
  • Cancellation fees

Just remember that you'll only be covered if you bought the policy before the disaster hit and before it has become a "known event" – in other words, before it was made public that a natural disaster was approaching.

In even more severe cases, insurers may place an embargo on an entire region if there have been ongoing natural disasters. For example, under normal circumstances, if two earthquakes hit somewhere a week apart and you bought your policy after the first one but before the second one, you would be covered against the second one unless it was an aftershock of the first earthquake.

However, if the region had been experiencing numerous earthquakes over a period of time, the insurer might place an embargo on the entire region and not cover you for anything that happens there, regardless of whether it was a new earthquake, an aftershock or any other natural disaster.

What if you have to cut your trip short mid-trip?

If you have to cancel your plans mid-trip, natural disaster cover really shines. You're not only covered for whatever needs cancelled going forward (as per the list above), but also for the following:

  • Additional travel arrangements like meals and a place to stay if you are stranded somewhere
  • Whatever it costs to get you back onto your original schedule once the weather settles
  • Flights back to your destination at a later date if the disaster had forced you to return home

All the same rules for cancellation cover apply here: you're only covered if you purchased your policy before you knew about the natural disaster, it needs to be outside of your control and you have no other way of getting your money back.

Does travel insurance cover weather delays?

Yes, and it works similarly to the situations described above, with all of the same requirements. If your flight is delayed or your cruise ship is stuck in port because of bad weather, you're eligible to claim for any activity you need to cancel as listed under "cancellation" above, plus food and accommodation charges while you wait (depending on how long the delay is).

What else does travel insurance for natural disasters cover?

Travel insurance doesn’t just stop at paying you back for general travel expenses related to natural disasters. It can also cover you if you are injured in a natural disaster as long as your policy includes medical cover. Depending on your level of cover, this can include the following:

  • Medical treatment
  • Dental treatment
  • A daily allowance for everyday hospital expenses
  • Medical evacuation to the nearest hospital
  • Repatriation to Australia if necessary

What isn't covered by travel insurance for natural disasters?

All insurance policies will contain a list of situations where you would not be covered (called exclusions). Here are some common reasons you wouldn't be covered:

  • You take out the policy too late. You have to buy the policy before the disaster becomes public knowledge. This can even be before the disaster strikes. For example, experts know in advance when a cyclone is likely to hit. If you buy your policy after they name the storm, it's already too late and you won't be covered.
  • Your expenses are unreasonable. When you are covered for expenses as a result of a delay or for alternate travel arrangements, you will only be covered for a reasonable amount. They won't cover you for a last-minute stay in a 5-star penthouse suite.
  • Bad weather. Your destination will need to be uninhabitable for claims to be paid. Bad weather is not enough for an insurer to pay out.
  • Ignoring travel warnings. If you disregard governmental travel warnings and travel to a destination that has recently been devastated by a natural disaster, you run the risk of having your claims denied due to acting recklessly.
  • You waited too long to cancel certain arrangements. You may be denied if you were charged any cancellation fees that you could have avoided by telling the travel provider as soon as you knew you had to cancel.

Picture: Unsplash

Brad Buzzard

Brad is an insurance writer whose background in analytics makes him the perfect person to research, analyse and interpret the complex world of insurance. When not writing, you can find Brad in the nearest yoga studio.

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2 Responses

  1. Default Gravatar
    KylieSeptember 11, 2018

    Are there any companies offering travel insurance to cover future activity of the Mount Agung volcano covering travel to Bail as of 11/9/2019? Thanks

    • finder Customer Care
      JohnSeptember 11, 2018Staff

      Hi Kylie,

      Thank you for leaving a question.

      You may click on this link to be routed to our page specific to insurance companies that offer future activity of the Mount Agung volcano. I hope this helps you.

      Cheers,
      Reggie

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