ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. Dec 11, 2019 – New Zealand’s White Island volcano unexpectedly erupted on Monday, December 9, with more eruptions likely.
The isolated location of the volcano means the impact to travel will likely be minimal, still, tourists may be anxious if they have upcoming plans to visit the area. Travel insurance comparison site, Squaremouth, explains 3 reasons why this unexpected and devastating event may still mean little travel insurance payout.
Reason 1: Minimal Impact for Most Travelers
This eruption is unique as White Island is a remote destination, so no hotels or accommodations were damaged. As of Wednesday, December 11, most incoming and departing flights to New Zealand were operating as normal.
Travel insurance policies provide coverage if travelers are forced to cancel their trips because they can’t reach their destination or if their accommodations are uninhabitable due to natural disasters, including volcanic eruptions. Since this eruption did not impact flights, roads or hotels, that coverage is not applicable.
Reason 2: Loss of Enjoyment Doesn’t Prevent Travel
Travelers headed to White Island as part of a tour or on a cruise won’t be covered if they want to cancel due to an itinerary change because of the eruption. This is similar to when a hurricane impacts a destination and a cruise line changes the itinerary. While travelers might be disappointed to not visit a planned destination, that loss of enjoyment is not a covered reason for cancellation.
Reason 3: Fear of Traveling is Never Covered
Travelers who are fearful or nervous about traveling to nearby New Zealand due to the eruption also won’t find coverage from a standard travel insurance policy. Canceling a trip because of fear or concerns about safety are commonly excluded from all travel insurance policies.
The Cancel for Any Reason upgrade is currently the only option for travelers wanting to cancel their trips due to the eruption. While standard Trip Cancellation benefits can offer a full refund, Cancel for Any Reason only reimburses up to 75% of their trip cost, however it is the only applicable option for travelers wanting to cancel.
Squaremouth launched the New Zealand Volcano Eruption Travel Insurance Information Center to keep travelers informed about coverage for this event. While coverage may be limited today, it can change as the situation evolves.