If you’re planning to travel to Bali and haven’t yet made arrangements for your trip, better choose your insurance carefully. If you’ve already made plans to come to Bali, then you’d best check in with your insurance provider.
Following a minor eruption from Bali’s Mount Agung on Tuesday evening, some international travel insurers say they will not cover any volcano-related trip disruptions for policies purchased after the eruption.
Agung experienced a “phreatic” or steam blast eruption on Tuesday at 5:05pm, blowing a black cloud of ash 700 meters up into the air. An orange aviation alert was issued following the eruption but flights have been running as normal at Bali’s Ngurah Rai International Airport and the volcano’s alert status has not been upgraded from the second highest level.
The National Disaster Mitigation Agency insists that Bali is safe to enjoy beyond the six to seven and a half kilometer exclusion zone from the volcano in Karangasem—which is located about 75 kilometers from the tourist hub of Kuta.
The insurers’ argument for not covering travelers impacted by the volcano for future trips: it won’t be an “unforeseen event” if plans get affected by Agung, which has become a “known event.”
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that at least two insurers, they list as Travel Insurance Direct and 1Cover Travel Insurance are imposing Bali cover bans for plans taken out post-eruption.
“For policies purchased after 8:05pm (AEDT) on Tuesday 21 November 2017, cover is not available for claims arising from any volcanic activity, including any new ash cloud events, as such events are no longer unforeseen,” reads the Travel Insurance Direct Website.
But if you purchased a plan through the company pre-eruption, you’re still covered under this particular provider.
“Where your trip has not yet begun, cover is available for the lesser of rearrangement or cancellation costs,” the site reads.
But it really depends on the company. Some travel insurers have had a “ban” in effect for months, while others briefly lifted their bans in the period where Agung’s status was downgraded from level IV to level III.
“Some insurers removed their cover bans between 30th October and 6th November so anyone who has taken out a policy since then should be eligible for cover,” SMH quoted travel expert Bessie Hassan as saying.
“But other insurers haven’t lifted their restrictions at all so cover for the volcano likely won’t be provided if the policy was taken out within the last month or so.”