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Bali’s Mount Agung blows cover (or not)

Updated 29 June 2018
Another day, another eruption!

After the Thursday 28th June eruption of Mount Agung, the message remains largely the same for Bali-bound traveller, with most insurers maintaining their coverage exclusions for the volcano since late November. This means that if you purchased a policy for Bali after November 21st/22nd, most insurers will not cover you for cancellations, delays, or other claims related to Mount Agung.

For travellers impacted by the Mount Agung, it's important to stay safe and out of the exclusion zone, and keep yourself informed regarding flight rescheduling.

Natalie Ball, Director of Comparetravelinsurance.com.au says:

“Make calling the airport or your airline a last resort, as call centres tend to be at maximum capacity at times like this. Instead, make sure that your email and mobile contact information on your booking is up-to-date, and stay tuned to your airline's website and socials. When you arrive at the airport, pay close attention to announcements and flight boarding screens, as circumstances may change quickly.”

Ball concludes:

“Whilst travel delays and disruptions can be a frustrating part of travel, travellers should remember that any flight embargos due to ash clouds will be in place for the traveller’s own safety... after all there are worse places to be stuck than Bali!”

Updated 22 November 2017
Bad News for Kiwis heading to Bali who haven't yet taken out travel Insurance.

After months of activity and monitoring, Mount Agung, Bali, Indonesia has erupted (albeit a small eruption).  Back in September, when an eruption was deemed to be large and imminent, insurance companies imposed cut-off times for coverage for travel service disruptions resulting from Mount Agung.  For the majority of insurers, this exclusion remained in place.

However after a month of waiting and no blow, volcanic activity began to significantly decreased. On 30 October the Indonesian government downgraded the alert status for Mount Agung to the second highest level, which saw some travel insurers lift their exclusion for Mount Agung.

Now that the volcano has ac tually erupted, the insurers that lifted their ban have imposed a new one.
The table below provides the new cut-off dates imposed by insurers that previously lifted their ban.

  

Who is still covering?

If you purchased a policy prior to insurer deadlines, or within their windows of opportunity, don't sweat it, you're covered.  If you haven't purchased a policy yet, although you're not covered for Mount Agung, we suggest that you take out travel insurance. You'd be covered for non-volcano medical costs like being injured in a scooter accident, theft or loss of belongings, and more.

As of 2.15pm (NZDT) 23rd November Tower Insurance were still offering cover, but this is subject to change. 

So what's the deal with flights?

Bali's international airport remains open and no schdeuled flights in or out of Bali have been affected so far.  The mountain has spewed steam and ash with a plume rising approximately 700 metres from the volcano.  The wind is blowing the cloud away from the island and airport.

The airlines continue to monitor Bali flight paths and if any volcanic ash makes it way into Bali airspace planes may be grounded and flights disruptions experienced.

what do these dates mean for my cover?

If you took out cover before the dates listed in the table, you may have provision to claim for cancellation and out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of travel service disruptions caused by Mount Agung.

If you purchased a policy with your insurer after the date specified in the table above, the travel insurance brand won't pay claims related to Mount Agung as this is when the insurer has classed the event as known.

However, this doesn't mean you won't be able to claim for any unrelated natural disasters. For example, if there was a different mountain eruption in Bali such and flights were grounded due to resultant ash cloud, you would be covered.

Importance of comprehensive cover

Looming flight disruptions could mean travellers find themselves stuck in Bali for longer than planned, or stranded at home unable to begin their holiday.
 
Travellers should consider the level of cover they purchase to ensure they are covered for transport and accommodation expenses should they experience delays or cancellation of travel plans due to because natural disasters such as a volcanic eruption.
 
As a general rule, lower priced, basic policies would not provide cover for cancellation or travel delays. When in doubt, buy comprehensive travel insurance sooner rather than later to make sure you’re covered if you need to cancel your trip.
 
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