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Are you planning to travel to Bali over the next few months?
If you bought travel insurance before July 2nd, 2015 consider yourself lucky.
Over the next few months, most insurers will not accept claims related to the Bali ash cloud from customers who bought their policy before July 2nd, and in some cases, July 3rd (Eastern Standard Time). And with continuing eruptions from Mt Raung, the situation does not look likely to change for some time.
However, holiday makers who purchased a policy before the cut-off date would be eligible for cover.
It’s important to note that the type of cover, the choice of insurer and the date you bought your policy makes all the difference. Unlike basic policies, comprehensive policies do provide cancellation cover for unforeseen circumstances.
Natalie Ball, Director, comparetravelinsurance.com.au says:
“A basic policy does not cover for travel delays or cancellation. They are generally medical only policies and are priced accordingly. However, standard mid-range or comprehensive policies will provide cover for natural disasters. As an example, a comprehensive policy with 1Cover will provide additional expenses cover for up to $50,000.”
Stranded Passengers with Comprehensive Travel Insurance
If you purchased a comprehensive cover for Bali and were affected by the ash cloud you’re in luck. This is generally what travel insurance is for - an unforeseen event. Travellers will be covered for accommodation, travel and meal expenses provided they purchased their policy prior to the insurer’s published cut-off date. The table below outlines the cut-off date for a number of Australian travel insurers:
|Underwriter||Brands||Poloicy cut off date
|Allianz Australia Insurance Limited||1Cover, Amex, Fast Cover, Virgin Money, Webjet||10:00am 3rd July 2015|
|Lloyds of London||TID||11:59pm 2nd July 2015|
|Great Lakes Reinsurance (UK) PLC||Covermore||2nd July. No cover for costs for policies issued on or after 3 July 2015.|
|Mitsui Sumitomo||Insure and Go||No cover|
|Southern Cross Benefits Limited||Southern Cross Travel Insurance||12:00pm 2nd July 2015|
For travellers stuck in Bali beyond the expiration date of their travel policy, the event automatically extends their policy until they’re able to get home. Having said that, it’s not an excuse for holidaymakers to splurge at the insurer’s expense. A two week stay at the swanky W Hotel or an upgraded return business class flight is not likely to be paid for. Insurers will cover claims for reasonable travel expenses.
Travellers that haven’t left
Insured holidaymakers whose travel plans have been affected by the volcanic ash cloud have provision to cancel their trip and claim for out of pocket expenses.
What to expect from your insurer
Depending upon your chosen insurer, most travellers can expect all reasonable out-of-pocket expenses to be reimbursed. The major insurers have set-up dedicated teams to work on the event claim phone line in order to separate these calls from the ‘business as usual’ calls so that customers can receive reasonable response times. 1cover.com.au took over 100 calls on this event on the 13th of July alone.
Travellers can find more information in relation to flight interruptions in and out of Denpasar, Bali from specific carriers below:
To date thousands of Australians have been left stranded or unable to travel to Bali with flights to and from the island declared cancelled. Insurers are expecting up to 20,000 claims for additional accommodation and other expenses. During certain periods, calls to insurance companies increase in volume by 100% or more.
Statistics from 1Cover have estimated that of the 16,000 Australians travelling to Bali each week, 30% do not have travel insurance. The thousands of tourists facing considerable inconveniences can be assured that the right travel policy would cover their costs.
Natalie Ball adds:
“When it comes to unforeseen events, a comprehensive policy should cover you, but only if you purchased your policy before the event occurred. That’s why we always advice travellers to buy a policy sooner rather than later.”
Damage control in Bali
Found yourself grounded in Bali? With Mount Ruang continuing to erupt, the backlog of delayed flights only continues to grow, leaving thousands of Australians in limbo. With additional food and accommodation bills expenses, tourists in such predicaments can see their travel budgets rapidly diminish. So how can travellers try to salvage their holiday savings?
Natalie Ball says: “Our advice would be to keep any additional expenses to a reasonable minimum and hang on to your receipts. If you haven’t bought travel cover before the cut off date we would strongly advise you to do so in the future. As we always say, if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel.”
What to know before making a claim:
- Get it down on paper: If you’re the victim of flight cancellation or delay be sure to get any written proof of such events from your airline.
- Contact your insurer: Before you go ahead and pay for any extra accommodation or flights check in with your insurer that they will cover any added costs.
- Keep receipts: Your insurer will need some type of proof of payment in order to pay out your claim. Hold onto any boarding passes, receipts or credit card statements
Whether you’re vacation veteran or a first time flyer, any type of natural disaster like the Bali ash cloud can cause a flurry of frustration. Whilst you can’t always plan for the unexpected, a good understanding of your travel policy can help to smooth over any holiday hurdles.
Bali Ash Cloud Strikes Again
For the second time this year, volcanic eruptions in Indonesia have thrown the travel plans of Bali and homeward-bound Australians into chaos. Large ash cloud drifting from Mount Rinjani on the nearby island of Lombok has caused airport closures and flight cancellations from Denpasar and Lombok following its eruption on 1 November 2015.
See our comprehensive guide on travel insurance and natural disasters for more information.