It is estimated that the late 2004 tsunami claimed more than 275,000 lives, and the Kobe earthquake in 1995 posted property damage in the region of $150 billion.
Natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, and volcanic eruptions can be devastating for those who live n or are visiting the affected areas, but they also affect travel on a wider perspective. If one airport is closed due to a hurricane, for example, that affects air travel for a number of people waiting in other airports. A secondary side effect is that they also scare travelers away for months (even years) after – thus having continued devastating economic effects on the already damaged region.
So, how can travel insurance help?
- Travel insurance plans with trip cancellation coverage often list weather or natural disaster coverage. This includes a natural disaster that affects your primary residence and your destination. The key to this coverage, however, is that the natural disaster must have rendered the residence uninhabitable (not just unpleasant to look at).
- Travel insurance plans with trip cancellation coverage may also allow for cancellations if the business where you work (and where you are key to the business’ recovery plans) is destroyed by natural disaster. So, if a hurricane wipes out your real estate office and you’re the boss, you may have a covered reason to cancel your vacation plans and get reimbursement for your pre-paid costs.
- Travel insurance plans that do not have adequate coverage for natural disasters can be enhanced with ‘cancel for any reason’ coverage that allows you at least some of your money back if you decide to cancel – no questions asked.
- Travel insurance plans with trip interruption coverage may provide reimbursement for weather-related natural disasters when the airline, cruise line, tour operator, or travel supplier stops all services for at least 24 consecutive hours due to a natural disaster or severe weather.
- Travel insurance plans with travel delay coverage sometimes include adverse weather as a covered reason for travel delay benefits as well. This helps when the airlines are experiencing significant delays because an airport or two is shut down due to a hurricane, for example. This coverage can help you with unexpected expenses like hotel rooms and meals when you are stranded waiting for your connection.
- Travel insurance plans sometimes provide coverage – usually trip interruption, but often additional expense reimbursement – when a traveler is displaced from paid accommodations due to mandatory evacuations ordered as a result of forecasted natural disasters.
Of course, travel insurance plans with travel medical coverage also provide reimbursement or direct payments to hospitals if you are injured or become ill as a result of a natural disaster. Accidental death and dismemberment will also provide compensation if you are severely injured or die on your trip as a result of a natural disaster.
In short, depending on the policy (and every policy is different), travel insurance does provide a number of coverages to help with natural disasters on your trip.
See this post for more information: If my home floods, can I be reimbursed for my travel costs?