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Trip cancellation and natural disasters

Are you covered to cancel your trip in the event of a natural disaster? The answer will depend on your choice of insurer.

In recent times natural disasters like volcanic eruptions, hurricanes, tsunamis and earthquakes have hit the widespread media and affected countless travellers around the world. It's certainly not improbable that the weather could turn sour at your trip destination. So would travel insurance cover you to cancel your flights, acccomodation and additional costs in the event that an earthquake or hurricane was to strike at the heart of your holiday plans?

Like every type of insurance there are conditions you need to pay attention to. For instance, while your insurer may cover natural disasters, if you've chosen a 'basic' policy, with no cancellation benefits, you would not be eligible to claim for cancellation.
 
In the majority of cases Australian travel insurance policies do cover for cancellation in the event of a natural disasters. However there are a few insurers worth paying attention to as the conditions of their cover may vary.

insurers natural disasters

The following table highlights which insurers do and do not automatically cover natural disasters.

Insurer

Cover for natural disasters 

Conditions

1Cover If a natural disaster interrupts your pre-paid travel arrangement, you're covered up to the policy limit for cancellation fees and lost deposits.
American Express You will be covered for reasonable and necessary additional hotel accommodation and transport expenses that are the result of a natural disaster.
Budget Direct 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.
Citibank You will be covered for additional hotel accommodation and transport expenses should your trip be affected by a natural disaster.
Columbus Direct

Only covers for natural disasters in Australia that affect your travel.

Covermore You're covered for additional accommodation and transportation expenses as a result of natural disasters.
DUinsure 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.
Fastcover 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.
Insure4Less   Cover for hurricane, storm or other natural disaster only when it threatens your safety such that official evacuation orders are issued or that your pre-booked accommodation is rendered uninhabitable.
InsureandGo 

Medical cover due to any natural disaster is automatically covered however for cancellation you must purchase this option as an additional extra.

Simply 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.
No Worries  Only covers for natural disasters in Australia.
Tick Travel Insurance To include unexpected Natural Disaster as a claimable event, you must have purchased this option and the option must be shown on your Policy Schedule.
Travel Insurance Direct 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.
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.
Zoom Travel Insurance Cover if your scheduled or connecting transport is cancelled, delayed, rescheduled or diverted because of a natural disaster.

Tips for buying travel insurance 

It's important to know that there are some scenarios where you can invalidate your cover. The following points explain when you are unlikely to be covered in regards to natural disasters.
 
  • Travel insurance purchase as an afterthought
    You wouldn’t be covered if you decided you needed to purchase after a travel warning had been issued. For example, if you heard about a hurricane warning in the mass media and only then did you decided to buy insurance, you couldn't cancel your holiday and claim for any out of pocket expenses.
     
  • Intentionally putting yourself in harm’s way
    If you decide to visit a destination with a heightened travel warning and you were aware of the risks but decided to go anyway, it’s unlikely that you would be able to claim.
     
  • Deciding not to go 
    You are unlikely to be covered for wanting to cancel your trip ‘in response’ to a travel warning. For example, if a destination is known to be experiencing problems and a travel alert is heightened before your trip commences, you wouldn’t be covered for any claims relating to cancellation if you just decided not to go.
  • General exclusions
    Most standard travel insurance policies have a set of general exclusions that apply to your cover. So regardless of when a travel warning is issued, and whether you took advice from the government or not, you may find you will not be insured for certain events. General exclusions that tend to be across the board include: Strikes, riots, civil protest and political instability, any act of war, terrorism, any event to do with nuclear or chemical weapons, contagious diseases and/or epidemics or pandemics.

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