Last April, the volcano Eyjafjallajökull erupted in Iceland and greatly affected European travel. The eruption created a massive ash cloud that delayed or cancelled flights for several weeks. The situation highlighted the importance of travel insurance to protect against natural disasters. Since then, extra attention has been paid to other volcanoes, active and dormant. HTH recently blogged about Mount Merapi in Indonesia and reports of recent volcanic activity. The following is an excerpt from the story.
The most volatile volcano in Indonesia has been experiencing increased activity in the past 24 hours. On Monday, the Indonesian government raised the alert for Mount Merapi to the highest level and reported that the magma has risen to about 1km below the surface. About 500 volcanic earthquakes were recorded on the mountain over the weekend. Officials have reported that there is pressure building behind a massive lava dome near the tip of the crater, and if the pressure is not released slowly, the area could experience a huge eruption.
It is important to get a travel insurance policy before a catastrophic event occurs, such as a volcanic eruption. Once a natural disaster is considered foreseeable, new policies purchased will not cover that event. This is most commonly applied to hurricanes and tropical storms. Once a storm is named, new policies won’t cover that storm. Similarly, after the eruption in Iceland was known, it was too late to buy a policy.
The volcanic ash in Europe was covered by travel insurance one of two ways: a weather related event or as a natural disaster. How coverage applied was determined by each carrier individually. The distinction is most important for trip cancellation and trip interruption, which requires an event be one of the covered reasons specifically listed in the policy in order for a claim to be payable. Simply put, there is more generous coverage for weather than there is for natural disasters. Travel delay and missed connection coverage also applied. Those coverage benefits are more consistent across all carriers and normally cover any common carrier delay, weather or natural disaster related. Learn more about travel insurance and the volcanic ash cloud in the press release It’s Too Late to Buy Travel Insurance for the Volcanic Ash Cancellations, Squaremouth Warns. Always refer to the certificate of insurance for details.