Thursday, July 16, 2015

Bali volcanic ash sends crucial message about travel insurance.

Mount Raung in Bali has recently erupted, spewing tons of volcanic ash into the air and wreaking havoc on flights. The eruptions began on June 29th, and their impact has been felt on unfortunate travellers trying to get home for over two weeks now. Those with comprehensive travel insurance, purchased before the cut-off date, will likely find their accomodation, transport and meal costs reimbursed. Those without it find themselves in a sticky situation - having to pay the costs out of their own pocket. Many of these unfortunate travellers will have budgeted on their trip lasting the planned length of time and will be left considerably out of pocket by the eruption.

Impatient travellers wait for flights out of Bali.

Estimates show that 40% of Kiwis that travel to Bali on a weekly basis have no travel insurance. Those who were stranded there could be facing thousands in unexpected costs that could hugely affect their finances and life (after all, lots of us don't have huge cash reserves behind us for a rainy day). 

The lingering Bali ash saga sends a clear message that we all need to be more vigilant about our travel insurance and going without is probably a risk that's not worth taking. I myself discovered this fact on a trip to the United States where my connecting flights were cancelled and I found myself stranded in Los Angeles for two extra days waiting for a new flight home. Being covered ended up saving me close to $1,000 in flight alteration costs and extra accomodation. Those stranded in Bali face far worse due to this lingering and unexpected natural disaster. A secondary message from the disaster is that the lower costs of a basic policy may be tempting, but a comprehensive option may be worth the extra investment. Those with just basic cover stuck in Bali may only receive limited reimbursement, if any.

For those that do have a comprehensive travel insurance policy and face delays while overseas, it's crucial that you get everything possible in writing. This includes confirmation of delays or cancellations from the airline, transport receipts, hotel bills and meal receipts. If in any doubt at all, get it in writing. Also, read your policy carefully (including the fine print) and know exactly what you're covered for before you make decisions so that you won't face any unexpected surprises on your return home.

If you have any questions about travel insurance and what's the best option, you can talk to our travel insurance experts at Hood Insurance Brokers. Above all, be vigilant, know the conditions and be safe. Take the smaller cost of insurance beforehand just to be safe. Travel policies also cover far more than unexpected delays, including lost luggage, theft and medical costs while overseas.

Hood Insurance Brokers: A member of Spratt Financial Group.
A member of Spratt Financial Group.

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