As holidaymakers slowly arrive back in Australia after several days of chaos in Bali, delayed travellers have been predictably hitting up their insurance policies big time to see to what extent they can be reimbursed for their trouble.
According to Southern Cross Travel Insurance chief executive Craig Morrison, his company has seen a 47 percent rise in calls from Australians as a result of the volcanic ash cloud, and it’s a figure he expects to increase as more tourists arrive home. But for what exactly can travellers expect to be covered?
“Of course, all travel insurance policies are different so you will need to check if you are covered for delays and cancellations (and to what level) to determine how much you can claim,” Morrison said, advising claimants to keep all documentation of cancellations from airlines (including emails) as well as receipts of additional expenses, including accommodation and meals.
“For your insurance to be valid you will need to have taken it out prior to the eruption starting.”
Those with only basic, and not comprehensive, insurance coverage however can expect to be left out of pocket for flight delays.
“A basic travel insurance policy does not generally provide cover for travel delays or cancellation and they're priced accordingly,” Compare Travel Insurance associate director Natalie Ball told Fairfax Media.
“The type of policy, the choice of insurer and the date you purchased your policy will determine whether you're covered.”
Extraordinarily, Ball said that estimates by 1Cover Travel Insurance show some 30 percent of the 16,000 Australians who travel to Bali each week have no travel insurance.
“As we always say at Compare Travel Insurance, if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel,” she added.
Meanwhile, as Jetstar (with help from Qantas) and Virgin Australia continue to fly Aussies home, another volcanic eruption (on Tuesday night) is threatening to disrupt flights in and out of Bali.
“At the moment the ash is moving to the northwest of the volcano, away from Denpasar,” the Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre’s Stephanie Bond told AAP.
“But light and variable winds tend to change. They are not always from one constant direction and that's the problem. They could change later in the day.”
However, as conditions today remain favourable for flying, Jetstar and Virgin have both advised they would be proceeding with planned flights. Both carriers hope to clear their backlog of Bali travellers by the end of the week.
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