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Travel Insurance for Natural Disasters

Written by: Dick Stuip

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Now that recently hurricanes and earthquakes have recently rocked the world and several volcanoes are on the verge of eruption, the question “Does Travel insurance Cover Natural Disasters” will be a question that is on every traveller’s mind.

To answer that question, it is important to realise that insurance is based on uncertainty whether an insured event will happen. If an incident is going to occur with certainty or has already occurred, it is too late to take out insurance: you cannot arrange insurance for a car accident that already happened, a home that is on fire. Same with travel insurance. If you are planning a trip to an area where there is a serious forecast of a snowstorm, a hurricane or volcanic eruption, it is now too late to arrange your Travel Insurance. You should have done so when it was still uncertain to a high degree. Therefore, although you can arrange travel insurance up to the last minute before leaving on your trip, we at Insurance Market recommend arranging your Travel Insurance as early as possible, preferably at the same time that you confirm the booking of your trip.

Travel Insurance for Natural Disasters

It is important to check the details of the policy you are considering to arrange. Not all insurance companies provide the same coverage and some insurance companies may even exclude natural disasters, classifying them as “Acts of God”.
Most travel insurance plans that cover natural disasters will typically provide the following coverage options:

  • Trip cancellation and trip interruption – benefits will be paid if mandatory evacuation or official public evacuation orders are issued due to natural disaster, or a natural disaster renders your principal residence or destination residence uninhabitable
  • Non-medical emergency evacuations – if a formal recommendation is issued from local authorities, or your home country authorities – for you to leave the country due to a natural disaster.
  • Missed connections and travel delays – if you miss a cruise or tour or are delayed more than a defined number of hours as a result of a natural disaster, benefits will be paid to reimburse your unexpected trip expenses and additional transportation costs.
  • Accidental death/ injury and medical care – if you are injured or killed as a result of a natural disaster while travelling, benefits will be paid to reimburse you, the medical facility who treated you, or your beneficiaries up to the travel insurance plan limits.
  • Emergency medical evacuation and repatriation – if you are injured while travelling and require medical treatment that cannot be provided locally, for example, if the hospital is destroyed by an earthquake, your travel insurance provider will coordinate and pay for you to be evacuated to a medical facility where you can be treated. If you are killed while travelling as a result of a natural disaster, the travel insurance company will coordinate and pay for your body (and any travel companions) to be returned home.

Limits on Travel Insurance cover for natural disasters

Although your travel insurance may provide cover for natural disasters, it is important to check the details of the policy wordings as Travel Insurance may have limits on the benefits it will pay out for natural disasters, such as:

  • Trip cancellation and trip interruption benefits may only be paid if the traveller will lose at least 50% of their trip due to the mandatory evacuation orders.
  • If your destination is adversely affected by the storm, it must be uninhabitable in order to make a claim – not simply that it wasn’t as you expected or the pool was damaged (in that case, it’s the travel agency that may be a responsibility to make it up to you).
  • Non-medical emergency evacuation coverage pays for all reasonable expenses incurred for your transportation to the nearest place of safety.
  • All coverage includes maximum limits that place a cap on the amount the travel insurance company will pay – anything over that amount will come out of your own pocket.

So next time you arrange a trip, don’t postpone arranging Travel Insurance or you may find yourself without cover a stuck with all the cost of cancellation, re-arrangement or just getting yourself to safety. On our platform, you can compare and buy Travel Insurance policies available in Singapore and arrange the insurance that meets your needs best immediately.

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Dick Stuip

Chief Broking Officer/ Head of Corporate & Specialty at Insurance Market Pte Ltd
Dick is an experienced insurance professional with specialist knowledge of a broad range of insurance products. At Insurance Market, he is responsible for product development and liaison with insurance companies and provides technical input with regard to the analysis of the various insurance policies on www.insurancemarket.sg.

He also advises and assists our corporate clients and private clients with special insurance needs.

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