Typhoon Mangkhut could spell trouble for your travel insurance
Depending on when you bought it, your policy might not cover the super typhoon that has battered the Philippines and China.
A super typhoon pummelled the Philippines on Saturday and is currently weakening over southern China where it also caused massive destruction in Hong Kong and Guangdong. At least 60 people have died, with this number expected to climb.
Any traveller who is currently visiting any of the affected areas, or is planning to visit there in the near future, needs to be aware that it's too late to purchase travel insurance that will cover you for the storm. In fact, insurers could deny Mangkhut-related claims on policies purchased as far back as 7 September, when the storm became a "known event" (that's when a tropical weather disturbance over the Pacific Ocean developed into a tropical storm and received the name Mangkhut).
However, most insurers who have issued a statement have set a later cut-off date, giving a bit of breathing room to travellers who purchased their policies between 7 September and up to 14 September in some cases.
If you bought your policy after your insurer's cut-off date, you won't be covered for any claim related to Mangkhut. This includes the cost of unused travel expenses (flights, hotels or entertainment), your flights back to Australia or medical claims if you were injured in the storm. You may also be denied for claims related to other weather events if they can be tied back to Mangkhut.
"If in a weeks’ time a landslide were to occur and it is deemed to have been caused by Mangkhut, you won’t be covered. However, if this hypothetical landslide were to be deemed completely unrelated to the typhoon then you would", said Travel Safety Expert Ash Zaman of Travel Insurance Direct.
To help travellers see where they stand in relation to their insurance, we checked more than a dozen Australian travel insurance brands' websites to find out which ones have set cut-off dates for Typhoon Mangkhut. Here are the results, and we will continue to update the table as more information comes in:
|Fast Cover Travel Insurance|
|Travel Insurance Direct (TID)|
The good news is that policyholders will still be covered for everything else in their policies as long as it is unrelated to Mangkhut, such as an airline misplacing someone's luggage or an emergency room visit due to food poisoning.
While it's too late to purchase cover for Mangkhut, it's not too late to learn the importance of buying insurance sooner rather than later. Travellers should purchase their policies as soon as they've booked their travels. If they wait too long, an event like Mangkhut can arise out of thin air and ruin all their travel arrangements – but by then it's already too late.