Volcanic ash disrupts flights in New Zealand: Can travel insurance help?

By , August 7, 2012 10:36 am
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As an unexpected volcanic eruption in New Zealand causes an ash cloud disrupting flights and closing roads, we look at travel insurance cover for volcanic ash and whether it’s worth adding it to your travel insurance policy.

The most important thing to remember about travel insurance cover for volcanic ash is that you must have purchased your travel insurance before the volcano erupted in order to be covered.

A number of Air New Zealand flights have been disrupted due to the volcanic ash cloud which is currently heading east towards the Pacific Ocean.

Mount Tongariro is one of three volcanoes situated in the centre of the North Island. It became active last night, spewing rocks, steam and volcanic ash into the sky.

Local experts have admitted that the volcanic eruption has caught them by surprise this time. The volcano has been dormant for over 100 years and although they had detected a small amount of seismic activity over recent weeks, they were not expecting the volcano to erupt and produce a volcanic ash cloud.

The unexpected nature of this volcanic eruption and the disruption caused by the resulting ash cloud highlights the issue of what you can do if your flights is delayed or cancelled due to volcanic ash.

In 2010 the Icelandic volcanic ash cloud caused massive disruption across Europe, at the time this type of disruption was not covered by many travel insurance policies and travellers had to rely on their airlines and tour operators to get them home.

Since then, travel insurance providers have responded by making Volcanic Ash cloud or Natural Catastrophe cover available to add to their standard travel insurance policies.

These types of travel insurance add-ons generally provide additional cover so that you can cancel your holiday and make a claim for the cost if your flight is disrupted before you leave home, plus it can sometimes pay for the additional expense of finding alternative transport home if your airline does not provide you with something suitable.

Volcanic ash cover will vary with different travel insurance providers so you should always read the terms and conditions of your travel insurance policy carefully to check exactly what is covered.

The most important thing to remember is that In order to be covered for volcanic ash cloud disruption you must have bought your travel insurance with the volcanic ash cloud cover before a volcano erupts.  So if you are about to fly to New Zealand’s North Island it’s too late to be covered for disruption from this particular eruption, but as you never know when the next volcano will erupt it could be worth adding volcanic ash cover to your next travel insurance policy.

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