Volcano eruption. Anak Krakatau, Indonesia

Travel Insurance that Covers Natural Disasters

Are you heading overseas to a country with volatile weather conditions? Find travel insurance with natural disaster cover

Your flights are booked, your bags are packed and you’re ready to depart on your dream holiday.

The night before you’re meant to leave, you’re sitting on the couch watching the news when a bulletin ticks across the bottom of your TV:
A volcano erupting in the Pacific Region is affecting air travel in the area, causing mass delays and cancellations.
While you’re concerned for the safety of all those involved, it doesn’t take long before you think, “What does this mean for my travel plans?”

This guide looks at the importance of having travel insurance in place for when the unexpected happens such as a volcanic eruption or other natural disaster.

Mount Agung travel insurance updates

Travel insurance brands offering cover for Mount Agung

Note: This table will be modified as travel insurance brands update their websites. Information last verified at 2pm Tuesday 07 November 2017.

BrandCoveredGet cover
Travel Insurance DirectExclusions on cover lifted from 3pm 30 October 2017.Get quoteMore info
InsureandGoExclusions on cover lifted from 3:20am 31 October 2017.Get quoteMore info
Tick Travel InsuranceExclusions on cover lifted from 3:20am 31 October 2017.Get quoteMore info
1CoverExclusions on cover lifted from 9am 6 November 2017.Get quoteMore info
DU insureExclusions on cover lifted from 9am 6 November 2017.Get quoteMore info
iTrekExclusions on cover lifted from 9am 6 November 2017.Get quoteMore info
Kango CoverExclusions on cover lifted from 9am 6 November 2017.Get quoteMore info
Simply Travel InsuranceExclusions on cover lifted from 9am 6 November 2017.Get quoteMore info
Ski-insurance.com.auExclusions on cover lifted from 9am 6 November 2017.Get quoteMore info
Under 30s Travel InsuranceExclusions on cover lifted from 9am 6 November 2017.Get quoteMore info
Zoom Travel InsuranceExclusions on cover lifted from 9am 6 November 2017.Get quoteMore info

Brands with exclusion still in place

Note: This table will be modified as travel insurance brands update their websites. Information last verified at 2pm Tuesday 07 November 2017.

BrandCoveredNot covered
Policies issued before 2pm Monday 18 September 2017.
Policies issued after 2pm Monday 18 September 2017.
Policies issued before 2pm Thursday 21 September 2017.
Policies purchased after 2pm Thursday 21 September 2017.
Policies issued before 7am Tuesday 19 September 2017.
Policies issued after 7am Tuesday 19 September 2017.
Policies issued before 10am Sunday 17 September 2017.
Policies issued after 10am Sunday 17 September 2017.
Policies issued before 10am Friday 22 September 2017.
Policies issued after 10am Friday 22 September 2017.
Policies issued before 2pm Thursday 21 September 2017.
Policies purchased after 2pm Thursday 21 September 2017.
Policies issued before 2pm Monday 18 September 2017.
Policies issued after 2pm Monday 18 September 2017.
Policies issued before 4pm Wednesday 20 September 2017.
Policies issued after 4pm Wednesday 20 September 2017.

When are natural disasters covered?

Unexpected events can wreak havoc on your travel plans, as many travellers to Bali found during 2015, thanks to the volcanic ash cloud. This is why it's important to have travel insurance with natural disaster cover in place once you've booked your trip. Below is a table of the brands in our panel that offer travel insurance for natural disasters.

BrandTravel insurance that covers natural disastersApply
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.
Get quote
AMEX Travel Insurance
  • You will be covered for reasonable and necessary additional hotel accommodation and transport expenses that are the result of a natural disaster.
Get quote
AIG
  • If your trip is disrupted because of severe weather conditions or natural disaster you'll be covered for additional accommodation, meal and travelling expenses.
Get quote
Budget Direct Travel Insurance
  • 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.
Get quote
Citibank Travel Insurance
  • You will be covered for additional hotel accommodation and transport expenses should your trip be affected by a natural disaster.
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.
Get quote
CoverMore
  • You're covered for additional accommodation and transportation expenses as a result of natural disasters.
Get quote
Downunder
  • 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.
Get quote
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.
Get quote
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.
Get quote
Go Insurance
  • 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.
Get quote
InsureandGo
  • You're covered if you cannot travel as a result of a natural disaster for cancellation and trip curtailment.
Get quote
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.
Get quote
MultiTrip Travel Insurance
  • You're covered if you cannot travel as a result of a natural disaster for cancellation and trip curtailment.
Get quote
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.
Get quote
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.
Get quote
STA Travel Insurance
  • 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.
Get quote
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.
Get quote
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.
Get quote
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.
Get quote
Travel Insuranz
  • 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.
Get quote
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.
Get quote
Woolworths Travel Insurance
  • You're covered for additional travel and accommodation expenses if a disruption your trip is interrupted by weather or natural disaster.
Get quote
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.
Get quote
youGo
  • You're covered for additional hotel accommodation and additional transport expenses you incur due to a natural disaster.
Get quote

How and when does travel insurance provide cover for natural disasters?

Coverage of covered natural disasters and extreme weather events differs between insurance brand, but they generally include cover for:

  • Flood
  • Fire
  • Cyclone
  • Tornado
  • Earthquake
  • Volcanic eruption
  • Blizzard
  • Avalanche

Read your product disclosure statement (PDS) to make sure you’re fully aware of the natural disasters your insurer will cover.

It’s worth pointing out that you should take out a travel insurance policy when you book your trip, as you won’t be able to receive any cover if a natural disaster has already occurred when you purchase a policy.

Most insurance providers will provide cover in the following situations:

  • Trip cancellation. If a natural disaster forces you to cancel your trip before departure, you’ll be covered for any non-refundable bookings and deposits. Cover is also available for the costs you incur if you decide to reschedule your trip.
  • Trip interruption. If a natural disaster forces you to return home early from your trip, you’ll be covered for the cost of the additional travel expenses you incur and any cancellation fees and non-refundable deposits.
  • Travel delay. Cover is available if your pre-booked transport is delayed by more than a certain amount of time, for example 6 or 12 continuous hours. This includes cover for additional accommodation and meals.
  • Missed connection. If a natural disaster causes you to incur travel costs to catch up to your tour or cruise, those expenses will be covered by your insurer.
  • Non-medical emergency evacuation. If local authorities issue a formal recommendation for travellers to leave a country following a natural disaster, the cost of your evacuation will be covered.
  • Medical expenses. The cover for overseas medical and hospital expenses included in every travel insurance policy will also offer protection if you suffer an illness or injury or die as the result of a natural disaster.

Cover for cancellation because of severe weather conditions

Nat and Leezel Liggins were on a tour around the Mediterranean. Their next port of call was to be Turkey, where they planned to go to a Süper Lig football match because the name of the competition was comically similar to their own last name.

However, before they were able to leave Greece there was a severe weather warning that forced the cancellation of their boat. This not only meant they lost would miss the game but also a connecting flight from Turkey to Malta the next afternoon.

Luckily the two had taken out comprehensive travel insurance, which meant that they would not only be covered for any additional costs they incurred due to the inclement weather but also be reimbursed for the costs of the prepaid tickets to the Süper Lig match.

What isn’t covered?

There are limits and exclusions that apply to the level of cover available following a natural disaster:

  • You will need to have taken out a policy before the insured event occurs.
  • If you’re stranded overseas and incurring additional accommodation and meals expenses, check the daily limits that apply to claimable amounts under your travel delay coverage.
  • Travel insurance policies specify that they will cover “reasonable” additional expenses you incur to get home safely if you are ordered to evacuate after a natural disaster, so don’t expect an insurer to cover you for business class tickets home.
  • Be wary of insurance policies that include the ambiguous term “act of God”. This term has been phased out by many insurers following the volcanic ash cloud in Iceland in 2010, but keep an eye out just in case.
  • If your claim relates to a cyclone or hurricane, you will need to have taken out cover prior to the storm being named.
  • In many cases, trip cancellation and trip interruption claims will only be paid if you stand to lose at least 50% of your trip due to evacuation orders.
  • A destination will need to be uninhabitable for claims to be paid – if some facilities are unavailable or simply not as expected, that’s not enough for an insurer to pay out.
  • Non-medical emergency evacuation claims will only be covered for the cost of getting you to “the nearest place of safety”.
  • Limits apply to all areas of coverage, so make sure you’re aware of those limits as anything above that amount will need to be paid by you.

Will travel insurance cover me if I go?

If you took out cover before the natural disaster occurred or before it became mainstream news, your travel insurer should still provide cover for additional expenses you incur on your holiday due to a natural disaster – so continuing with your travel plans may be an option.

However, you’ll need to check the benefit limits that apply to your policy and also check your policy’s list of general exclusions to make sure you will be covered. While you won’t be covered for anything that is related to the natural disaster, you will be covered for everything else on your policy.


Am I covered if I want to cancel because of bad weather?

The day before you’re due to depart on a tropical getaway, you check the weather forecast for your destination and are disappointed to find rain, wind and storms stretching for every day into the foreseeable future. There goes your plans of spending your holiday lying on the beach, so will your travel insurance cover you if you cancel your trip altogether?

In a word, no. You won’t be covered if you want to cancel your trip because of bad weather. Travel insurance will only cover you if the weather forces you to cancel your travel plans, for example if the resort you were booked to visit was severely damaged in a cyclone and unable to accept any guests.

What activities can travel insurance cover me for if they need to be cancelled due to bad weather?

  • Snow sports. Many insurers offer a winter sports or snow sports pack that can be added to your travel insurance policy for an additional premium. These packs cover you if bad weather (or insufficient snow or power failure) cause all lift systems at your pre-booked resort to be closed for 24 hours, allowing you to pay for transport to the nearest open ski resort and purchase additional lift passes. In addition, if your outward or return journey is delayed for more than 12 hours by bad weather or avalanche, your extra travel and accommodation expenses will be covered.
  • Golf. If you’re planning a golfing holiday, you can add specialist golf cover to your travel insurance policy. This type of plan will cover you when bad weather forces the closure of the golf course at your resort, allowing you to travel to the nearest golf course resort and cover the cost of playing.

Depending on your insurer, you may be covered when bad weather causes the cancellation of other activities, so read the PDS for more details.


Tips about natural disasters and travel insurance

  • Take out a policy ASAP. Nature is unpredictable and disasters can occur at any time, so take out travel insurance as soon as you have booked and paid for your trip.
  • Read the fine print. The treatment of natural disasters varies between insurers, while unexpected general exclusions have caught out many a traveller. Reading the fine print of the PDS before you take out cover will help you understand when you will and won’t be covered.
  • Check the limits of coverage. Limits apply to many areas of cover, so check what those limits are before heading overseas.
  • Emergency contacts. In the case of an emergency while overseas, most insurers offer 24/7 assistance lines that can help you find the assistance you need. It’s also a good idea to make yourself aware of emergency contacts (police, fire, ambulance) in the country you are visiting. You may also be able to receive assistance from the Australian Embassy.
  • Know the risks before you travel. Certain regions of the world are more prone to earthquakes, cyclones, floods and fires, and some natural disasters are much more likely to occur at certain times of the year. Do your research before you travel so you know all the potential risks.

How much can you claim?

The maximum amount you can claim will be outlined in the PDS. For example, if you’re stranded overseas due to a natural disaster and you incur additional expenses, your insurer may provide $200 cover a day for accommodation and $50 a day for your living expenses, such as meals. As well as a daily limit, there will often also be a maximum benefit limit, for example $2,000.

It’s also important to remember that if you wish to make a claim for the additional expenses you incur due to a travel delay, you’ll need to keep your receipts. Once again, only "reasonable" accommodation and meals expenses will be covered, so don’t expect any assistance from your insurer if you book out the penthouse suite at a five-star hotel and then run up an astronomical room service bill.

What is a known event and why does it matter?

Travel insurance will not provide you with cover if your trip is disrupted due to an event that is known when you take out cover. A cyclone or hurricane that has been named is a known event, as is a volcanic eruption once it has begun. If a snowstorm or blizzard has been forecast, it is also a known event.


FAQS

  • Question: Can I make a claim if my flight is cancelled?
    • Answer: If an airline cancels your departure flight from Australia, the airline is responsible for reimbursing you or providing alternative routing options. However, you can still claim on your travel insurance policy for resulting expenses such as unused travel and accommodation costs.
  • Question: Will travel insurance pay for accommodation and meals if I’m stranded overseas following a natural disaster?
    • Answer: Yes. Travel insurers will cover the reasonable costs you incur in these circumstances, but remember that daily and overall limits apply.
  • Question: What if I’m stranded abroad and I exceed the maximum insured trip length as a result?
    • Answer: In most cases, your insurer will automatically extend your cover, but check the fine print of your policy to be sure.
  • Question: I’ve just read about a natural disaster in a destination I am travelling to next — will I be covered if I take out a travel insurance policy?
    • Answer: No. The natural disaster is now a known event. You would only be covered if you already had a policy in place.
  • Question: What should I do if I need emergency assistance and advice while overseas?
    • Answer: You can contact your travel insurer’s emergency assistance hotline, which is usually staffed 24/7. In other situations, you may need to contact local emergency services or seek assistance from the Australian Embassy.

Compare natural disaster cover from the brands in our panel

Mother Nature can be incredibly unpredictable at times, so taking out travel insurance cover as soon as possible when planning a holiday is essential. Compare travel insurance for natural disasters at finder.com.au to find a policy that matches your needs and budget.

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Picture: Shutterstock

Richard Laycock

Richard is the insurance editor at finder.com.au. He is on a mission to make insurance easier to understand.

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