Typhoon Faxai leaves hundreds stranded in Tokyo
The extreme force of Typhoon Faxai battered Tokyo’s metropolitan area on 9th September 2019 paralysing its transport system. Severe weather conditions saw more than 130 flights cancelled, including all Jetstar flights to and from Narita airport, the main international gateway to Japan.
Affected travellers flooded travel insurance hotlines with queries on their cover.
Natalie Ball, Director, Comparetravelinsurance.com.au says,
“Australians currently stranded at Narita airport have been advised by airlines that the next available flights may not be until the 15th or 16th of September 2019. Insurers will do their best to assist anxious customers at this time but it’s key that you take the time to understand the various exclusions that may apply to your cover.”
With winds of up to 209 kilometres per hour, Faxai is one of the strongest typhoons to hit the Japanese capital in a decade. The powerful typhoon made landfall near the city of Chiba, killing three people and leaving more than 60 injured. By midday on 9th September, Faxai had cut power to nearly a million customers in and around Tokyo, saw more than 130 flights cancelled and disrupted ground transport with bus and train networks closed for hours.
“This was a disastrous day for Tokyo with delays and disruptions reverberated due to such widespread destruction. The good news for travellers currently stranded in Tokyo is that comprehensive travel insurance
will generally include cover for natural disasters
, provided you were not aware of the typhoon at the time when you purchased your policy.
Time is of the essence
Those affected by the typhoon would have provision to make a claim provided they purchased a policy prior to this being considered a ‘known’ event. Cut-off dates will vary between insurers but it is likely to be somewhere between 8th and 9th September as warnings became widespread and potential outages had hit the mass media.
Ball says that insurer cut-off dates are a reminder that the earlier you buy travel insurance, the better.
“Most calls to insurers are from customers asking what their travel insurance policy covers in terms of flight cancellations and additional accommodation. However, we’re also receiving the odd call asking us to advise which insurer they can buy a policy with which will provide cover”.
“Savvy travellers should remember that it’s always better to buy travel insurance
well in advance. Those purchasing cover after the event will not be covered for travel expenses incurred as a result of the typhoon. ”
Covered travellers would be eligible to claim for cancellation and delay costs incurred, along with any additional expenses such as accommodation required as a result of the typhoon.
Travel insurance- your trip essential
Ball emphasizes the importance of travel insurance, particularly during times of crisis.
"These extreme weather events highlight the unpredictable nature of travel. The possibility that you will get caught up in a natural disaster can’t be ruled out. Without travel insurance, you run the risk of accumulating significant debts, in a foreign and unsupported environment. When in doubt, heed the words of Smartraveller.gov.au; 'If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel!’"
Natali is a former kids magazine writer whose credits include working for the mouse (Mickey that is). An avid traveller, Natali spent part of her childhood in Israel and enjoyed several stints across the globe. Having worked in travel insurance for three years, Natali likes to simplify the fine-print and help Aussies make sense of their insurance policies. She currently lives in Sydney with her husband and one-year old son.