“Known events” one of those insurance buzz words that comes up again and again, but what on earth does it mean?
You might hear your travel insurer say that they are no longer covering for a volcanic eruption for example, as the event is now “known”.
A known event, is something that has been reported in the media that may affect your travel plans- these are typically things like natural disasters; earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, transport meltdowns like airport closures, or civil unrest and terror attacks. Policies do not cover claims for losses caused by an event that you were aware of at the time of purchasing your policy.
In the same way that you can’t buy car insurance to cover you for a crash you had yesterday, a travel insurer won’t cover you for a volcano, snowstorm or heavy fog that has already happened. So, if you’ve just heard about something in the news and you’ve not yet bought cover - it’s probably too late.
We explain in more detail when you will and won’t be covered when it comes to known events and travel insurance…
If the event was not known about when you bought your policy you would be covered for:
Cancellations before you leave: If your pre-booked travel arrangements are cancelled, delayed or rescheduled as a result of an unforeseen natural disaster (for example) and you have not yet departed, you may have provision to claim for any non-refundable costs that you cannot recoup, or rearrangement of your journey - whichever is the lesser. If your travel arrangements are affected, it’s a good idea to contact your travel agent or travel provider regarding the best option in altering your trip. Some companies may provide penalty free options to amend your travel arrangements in the event of delays or cancellations.
Cancellations when already abroad: If you have started your journey and your transport is delayed or cancelled, or your accommodation is affected, there may be provision to claim for reasonable additional travel, accommodation and meal expenses depending upon the policy purchased. Depending on the event, provided you are within the designated disaster area, you would be able to claim for the funds required to find you alternative accommodation in a safe area. If your flights have been cancelled you would also be covered for any additional accommodation and meal costs your incur.
Medical costs: Your medical costs are always covered, even on our most basic plan. Any injuries you incur as a direct result of a natural disaster for example would make for a legitimate claim, provided you had not invalidated your policy in any way. Emergency medical evacuation is also included.
Not following travel warnings: If you are specifically advised not to travel due to a severe weather warning or civil unrest for example, and you chose to go anyway, you may not be covered should your trip turn south.
When the event is “known”: If a storm is being reported and you have not bought travel insurance, it’s not too late to buy cover, however any claims made in relation to the storm may not be paid out. Travel insurance exists to protect against ‘unforeseen’ events, as opposed to those already happening that are being reported in the media. Whilst claims from the known event won’t be covered, you can still get all the normal benefits for medical, cancellation, luggage and more.
Insufficient cover: It’s not enough just to have travel insurance; rather your policy needs to be comprehensive enough to cover you for cancellation and delay expenses. Basic travel insurance will cover you for medical bills only, leaving you unable to claim for non-medical losses in the event of a natural disaster.
Hold on to everything: Take a record of every expense you encounter and get documented evidence or confirmation from airlines, local authorities, hotels or other businesses.
Keep an eye on the cut-off dates: We recommend you to get in touch with us as soon as an incident occurs and not to leave it to late. You won’t want to miss out on a successful claim due to a technicality.
Stay informed: It’s a good idea to have a through read of our Product Disclosure Statement before you head off. Keeping informed will help you know where you stand when it comes time to claim.
Stay in touch: After you initially let us know of any events, be sure to stay in touch! Resist any large payments until you receive confirmation that you will be covered for any major costs. Keep a record of your communications and we’ll be sure to do the same.
Mitigate your out of pocket expenses,: Take all reasonable steps to keep costs down, particularly when altering your trip arrangements. By reasonable we mean appropriate and consistent—for example if you have been using two star or budget accommodation on your trip to date, then we advise that the replacement accommodation you seek should be of a similar standard.
Stay safe: It’s a good idea to plan accordingly, and follow current government travel advice and register your travel details with SafeTravel.
Some event are excluded from cover for some time. The Mt Agung volcano in Bali being a prime example. This is because it keeps on erupting. So while it might not have erupted in a few weeks or months, unless your insurer tells you they’ve lifted the ban, don’t assume it’s covered!
Whilst you can’t get around travel bans from known events, buying travel insurance as soon as you’ve starting paying for your trip means you can get coverage before another event happens. As soon as you’ve book your flights and accommodation it’s time to book your travel insurance. That way if another event gets in the way, you’re covered if you need to cancel or delay your trip.
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