Policy response to claims for Travel Disruption due to Bali Ash Cloud - updated 5 August 2015
This advice applies to customers who may be affected by the Mt Ruang volcanic ash cloud currently disrupting air travel between Australia and Indonesia.
In principle advice regarding policy response to claims for cancellation, disruption and delay of scheduled travel arrangements is provided below.
For all customers whose policies were issued on or before 2 July 2015:
1. Disruption experienced post-departure
Please contact your service provider in the first instance. Airlines, accommodation providers and tour companies may provide refunds, credit notes or alter your bookings without charging additional fees.
Claims for disruption to scheduled travel arrangements post-departure are for consideration under Section 4 or 8 of the policy. Section 4 operates under all cover levels (i.e. Essentials, Excel and Excel Plus). Section 8 cover is only available under Excel and Excel Plus policies.
Subject to relevant terms and conditions, Section 4 will respond to compensate the Insured Person for additional accommodation and travel expenses incurred to reach the destination if, due to the failure of public transport, you arrive at a departure point too late to board the public transport on which you are scheduled to travel.
Subject to relevant terms and conditions, Section 8 provides monetary compensation to the Insured Person if the public transport on which they are booked to travel is delayed for at least 12 hours.
All Insured Persons must act as a "prudent uninsured" and proceed on the most economical basis to minimise their loss. We therefore suggest in the first instance you liaise with airlines and associated travel providers to reschedule travel arrangements / obtain refunds as appropriate. Some airlines and similar carriers will provide accommodation to passengers whose travel is disrupted due to natural disasters and you should avail yourself of this facility if possible.
All claims for additional accommodation and travel expenses must be supported by receipts, evidence of your pre-booked travel schedule and actual travel arrangements.
If you are currently overseas and your return to your home town or city in Australia is affected by the Mt Raung volcano, your policy will automatically extend until you are able to return on the next available flight. You do not need to contact us to organise this extension.
2. Disruption experienced pre-departure
If you have not yet departed on your trip and your outbound flight arrangements are cancelled due to:
- a government regulation relating to the Volcanic Ash events which prevents you from travelling as scheduled; or
- the Australian government issues a Level 4 Do Not Travel warning advising against travel to Indonesia / affected region and which remains in force 14 days prior to scheduled travel;
Some airlines are offering refund vouchers in the event of cancellation due to the ash cloud and we therefore recommend you liaise with the airline/s, travel agent/s and associated travel providers to minimise any loss / claim.
To obtain a claim form, please click here
For Single Trip and Multi Trip policies purchased on or after 3rd July 2015:
Insurance serves to provide cover for sudden and unforeseen risks. It is not possible to insure against known risks and the policy specifically excludes claims resulting from circumstances known at the time of policy purchase or trip booking and which could reasonably be expected to give rise to a claim.
Accordingly, no cover will be afforded for any claim which relates to the Bali Ash Cloud under policies purchased on or after 3rd July 2015 or trips booked under an Annual Multi Trip policy on or after 3rd July 2015.
No two claims are the same and accordingly, claims are assessed on a case-by-case basis. The advice provided herein is of a general nature. Claims are assessed on their individual merits and are subject to the terms and conditions of the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) which was provided to you at the time of policy purchase and / or is available for download from this site.
Please ensure that you retain / obtain all documentation which you will need to support your claim for disruption to your scheduled travel arrangements and additional costs you incur.
Download Product Disclosure Statement
Insure4less is a partner in the Charter for Safe Travel, a joint initiative between the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) and the Australian travel industry. See www.smartraveller.gov.au for DFAT's latest travel advice.
As part of our service to our clients and to the Australian public, we commit to:
- provide travellers with DFAT consular travel advice
- encourage travellers to take out adequate travel insurance
- inform travellers of the preparations they need to make before travelling
- work together in partnership with Government and other travel professionals to promote safe travel.
Top 10 travel tips
- check the latest travel advice for your destination and subscribe to receive instant email notification each time the travel advice for your destination is updated
- take out appropriate travel insurance to cover hospital treatment, medical evacuation and any activities, including adventure sports, in which you plan to participate
- before travelling overseas register your details online or, when overseas, register in-person at any Australian embassy, high commission or consulate
- check to see if you require visas for the country or countries you are visiting or transiting. Be aware that a visa does not guarantee entry
- make copies of your passport details, insurance policy, traveller's cheques, visas and credit card numbers. Carry one copy in a separate place to the originals and leave a copy with someone at home
- check with health professionals for information on recommended vaccinations or other precautions and find out about overseas laws on travelling with medicines
- make sure your passport has at least six months validity and carry additional copies of your passport photo with you in case you need a replacement passport while overseas
- leave a copy of your travel itinerary with someone at home and keep in regular contact with friends and relatives while overseas
- before departing Australiacheck whether you are regarded as a national of the country you intend to visit. Research whether holding dual nationality has any implications for your travel
- obey the law. Consular assistance cannot override local laws, even where local laws appear harsh or unjust by Australian standards.
Why all Australians should take out travel insurance before going overseas
For most Australians overseas travel is a wonderful experience. Unfortunately, however, every day consular officers of the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade at home and overseas deal with human tragedies involving the death, injury or hospitalisation of Australians abroad. Each year the department handles over 20,000 cases involving Australians in difficulty overseas. This includes over 700 hospitalisations, 600 deaths and 100 evacuations of Australians to another location for medical purposes.
In cases where victims are not covered by travel insurance, such personal tragedies are further compounded by a long-term financial burden. Hospitalisation, medical evacuations, or even the return of the deceased's remains to Australia, can be very expensive. Daily hospitalisation costs in Southeast Asia regularly exceed $800; return of remains from Europein excess of $10,000. The cost of medical evacuations from the United States range from $75,000 to $95,000 and sometimes up to $300,000. The department has handled medical evacuations from nearby Bali in which costs have exceeded $60,000!
Unfortunately, not all of these cases involved travellers covered by travel insurance. Travellers who are not covered by insurance are personally liable for covering medical and associated costs. As a result, we have known instances where families have been forced to sell off assets, including their superannuation or family homes, to bring loved ones back to Australia for treatment.
Despite these stark statistics, it is not the department's intention to discourage Australians from travelling, which in almost all cases is a very positive experience. Only 0.6% of Australians travelling overseas encounter difficulty each year.
Instead, one of our key messages to Australian travellers is that there are things you can do to help reduce the likelihood of becoming one of the more unhappy consular statistics. With accidents or illness often unavoidable, proper travel insurance is very important in this context. Of course, the all-too-common occurrence of theft and loss of personal belongings is also something all Australian travellers should insure against. Each year the department handles over 16,000 cases involving the welfare of Australians who have suffered illness, theft, robbery or assault.
In choosing a policy, we would note some insurance policies will not always cover claims made in those countries to which the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade recommends against travel. For up-to-date travel advice, we recommend travellers consult and monitor this website.
Following are some examples of the kind of cases handled by the Department
The reasons for Australians requiring hospitalisation vary. Cases handled by the department have included car and motorbike accidents, a simple misstep and fall at a temple, and side effects from prescribed drugs. The department advises 'if you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel'. In many of the cases it is the traveller's family who have had to foot the bill.
- In Bangkok a man was hit by a car while riding a motorcycle. He sustained a badly fractured leg and was admitted to the nearest local hospital. His wife was with him. He did not have any travel insurance, and so had no choice as to hospital or treatment. The hospital did not have the expertise to do anything for him except clean the wound. After 3 weeks his wife asked the Embassy for assistance as parts of the shin bone had died and the fractured ends were not healing. The Embassy assisted in having the man medically evacuated to Australia for admission to hospital, at very considerable expense to his family.
- In Bali, 5 Australians were injured in a mini-van accident. Consular assistance was limited to support and routine contact with next-of-kin, as all the Australians involved had travel insurance. The travel insurance company paid their hospital bills and arranged their medical evacuation to Australia.
- A young man who worked in a US ski resort for four months, then took time off to travel around the US. He permitted his 12-month travel insurance policy to expire just a few days before his departure for home. He was hit by a car while crossing a road and suffered serious head injuries. He was admitted unconscious to intensive care and required highly intensive sophisticated care until he was able to be flown back to Australia. He was still unconscious and returned on a stretcher. The cost to the family for the medical evacuation alone was $80,000. They have taken out a second mortgage on their house to raise the funds.
- A young Australian surfer went to the United States for an amateur surfing competition. Although an experienced surfer, he unfortunately chose the wrong wave during a practice session. The wave dumped him on a reef and he sustained serious injuries. He was flown to a local hospital and immediately underwent two major operations. The hospital bill was $290, 000. Fortunately the young man's parents had insisted he take out travel insurance before he left Australia. The insurance company covered the bill, and the young man and his family were able to focus on his recovery.