After months of activity, Mount Agung, an active volcano is East Bali, Indonesia, has finally erupted. The ensuing ash cloud closed the airport, leaving thousands of travellers standed and unclear as to whether they are covered by their travel insurance. While the airport has temporarily opened to allow flights out, changing weather conditions are limiting the windows to leave.
Whether you're stuck in Bali now, have plans to travel there soon, or are considering travelling to a volcano zone in the future, our helpful tips will help you make the most out of your trip...
It all depends on the nature of your policy and when you purchased it. When it comes to travel insurance cancellation cover you'd only be covered for an unknown event.
A ‘known’ event refers to one that is not unforeseen or has been widely broadcast across mainstream media. For instance, once an event has been announced in the media, travellers would not be covered for any losses incurred. Insurers will typically set cut-off dates whereby cover for a specific event would be put on hold and only resumed after a period of restricted cover.
In mid-September, Indonesia deemed an eruption to be imminent, and insurers introduced these cut-off dates and exclusions for disruptions as a result of Mount Agung. Some insurers lifted these cut-offs when volcanic activity decreased, and imposed new ones when activity increased again. So if you purchased a comprehensive policy that covers natural disasters before the cut-offs, good news – you’re covered!
Stay alert & stay safe: Stay away from the exclusion zone around the volcano - ash fallout can cause health issues including respiratory distress and eye irritation. People with pre-existing medical conditions may be particularly vulnerable. Subscribe to travel alerts and updates from smarttraveller.gov.au. Monitor local media and follow the instructions of local authorities.
Contact your airline: Wind changes are allowing some airlines to offer flights out. Airlines are accountable for return flights you’ve paid for, and most are offering rescheduled flights at no penalty. Contact your airline directly for updated flight schedules, and follow their social pages for quick access to information when lines are busy.
|Air Asia||+62 21 2927 0999 (Jakarta)
+62 804 1333 333 (Bali)
|Garuda||+62 361 232 400 (Bali)||@IndonesiaGaruda||@GarudaIndonesia|
|Jetstar||+62 803 852 9779 (Jakarta)
+61 3 9645 5999 (Australia)
|Malaysia Airlines||+603 7843 3000 (outside Malaysia)||@MASfirstname.lastname@example.org|
|Qantas||+62 21 2555 6300 (Jakarta)||@Qantas||@Qantas|
|Singapore Airlines||+65 6223 8888 (Singapore)||@SingaporeAir||@SingaporeAir|
|Virgin Australia||+61 7 3119 7175 (Bali)
13 67 89 (Australia)
Confirm your visa status: While most Aussies on short stays (under 30 days) don’t require a visa to visit Bali, those staying longer do. While Indonesia’s Tourism Minister has said that visas will be automatically extended for people stuck because of the ash cloud, some travellers have reported issues on the ground. Getting a letter from your airline, or contacting the Australian Consulate in Bali (+62 361 2000 100) may be helpful.
Get travel insurance - early!
Whether it's a volcano during your trip, or a broken leg three weeks before, it's important to get travel insurance as early as possible. As soon as you have a destination and dates - usually when flights are booked - get yourself covered!
Register with SmartTraveller
Register your trip details with smarttraveller.gov.au, and read up on the travel advice for your destination. Sign up for alerts for the region you're headed to, so you're in the know about what's going on and what to do.
Consider a comprehensive policy
While budget or medical-only options look appealing, an extra $50 or so now on a comprehensive policy could save you thousands later. As a general rule, lower priced, basic policies would not provide cover for cancellation or travel delays. If you're cruising or engaging in adventure sports, make sure that your policy covers you, or ask about add-on options.