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What to do if wild weather affects your travel plans

Wild weather causes chaos in Christmas lead-up

As the festive period reaches its crescendo, Australia’s wild weather continues to wreak havoc across the nation. With Australia’s busiest flying day - 23 December - right around the corner travellers are understandably concerned.


Multiple storms have lashed the east coast with 20,000 left without power. And while the impact of Cyclone Owen has been downgraded, Queensland still experienced record-breaking floods which tragically claimed the life of a teenager near Townsville. Tasmania also copped a battering with severe thunderstorms causing flash flooding and hailstone damage.


Flight paths have also been affected with over 62 arriving flights and 65 departing flights cancelled in Sydney airport on one day last week alone.


Image Facebook: Steve McIntyre


Flights and frenzy 

Extreme weather forecasts will put a strain on airlines already operating at peak capacity. According to Virgin Australia around 90,000 passengers will travel over the period between December 20 and Boxing Day. A 30% increase in travel, coupled with further storms could potentially throw out thousands of harried travellers.


“You can’t put a price on your Christmas plans running smoothly but unfortunately, circumstances aren’t always within your control, particularly during busy periods,” Natalie Ball, director says.

“Travellers are advised to be punctual and prepared for delays. Travel insurance, even for a domestic flight, is also a great idea at this time of year.”


What should I do if bad weather affects my travel plans?

With unpredictable weather conditions on the horizon, travellers are strongly advised to consider travel insurance.


“When it comes to unforeseen weather events, a comprehensive policy should cover your lost deposits and prepaid travel costs,” Ball adds. 

“With the current weather conditions threatening to put a dampener on your Christmas travel plans, it’s smart planning to invest in a back-up plan.”


In the event that Cyclone Owen conditions worsen or a further natural disaster warning is issued, Ball advises travellers to buy cover sooner rather than later.


Affected passengers with comprehensive travel insurance

Flight cancellations as a result of bad weather would generally be covered by travel insurance. Travellers affected by storms and flooding will be covered for travel and meal expenses provided they purchased their policy prior to the bad weather event.


What if my accommodation is affected?

Insured travellers who find that their accommodation is uninhabitable due to storms and bad weather would have provision to claim due to unforeseen damages.


What if my holiday is unaffected but I want to cancel my trip?

Travel insurance does not cover you for change of mind so unless your travels are directly affected by bad weather you would not have eligibility to claim.


“Travel insurance for an inbound trip is often considered unnecessary but you could really stand to benefit from a domestic policy,” Ball says. 

“Bad weather combined with a busy travel season may very well affect your holiday plans. It’s a good idea to buy cover as soon as your holiday is confirmed to ensure cancellation benefits kick-in immediately.”


Published: 20 December 2018

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