Active Volcano in Chile Spurs Travel Concerns

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As you may have heard Chile’s Calbuco volcano has erupted twice in the last 24 hours. This is the first and second eruption of this volcano in more than 40 years.  Travelers had no warning and witnesses say the initial eruption caused many traffic jams, a rush for water and a surge at the ATMs.

Chile isn’t the only popular travel destination with active and dormant volcanos – there’s Hawaii, Italy, Iceland, Japan – they are speckled all over the globe. How would a volcanic eruption affect your trip? Would travel insurance cover any interruptions or cancelations?  InsureMyTrip wanted to share travel insurance protection tips in cases of volcanic eruptions.

  1. It’s not necessarily too late to protect your trip with travel insurance.
    When a situation like this comes up, even if it hasn’t erupted yet, many insurance providers will already start treating the volcano as a “foreseen” event and will not cover its impact if you buy a policy after the situation is known. However, not all companies will make the decision that quickly.  Also, you may still be eligible for cancel for any reason coverage, depending on when you booked your trip. The specialists at InsureMyTrip can direct you to the right policies with those companies.
  2. Be sure to double check your coverage.
    If you already have a plan purchased when a volcano starts acting up, contact us directly and ask a representative about how your travel insurance policy will cover you for anything volcano-related.
  3. Travel insurance has worked for volcano-related trip disruptions in the past.
    In 2010, travel disruptions related to the drifting Icelandic volcanic ash were treated as weather-related trip cancellations for those who had not started their trip and as weather-related trip interruptions for those who were stranded. Volcano-related claims totaled millions of dollars after the eruptions of Eyjafjallajökull. This time, travel insurance companies will likely respond the same way – but every situation is different and providers will be monitoring the situation.
  4. Costs can possibly be reimbursed.
    Travel insurance companies will typically reimburse any nonrefundable, prepaid travel expenses (like hotel, tour, cruise or airfare charges) up to the amount of coverage you purchased. Some policies can also help with the additional travel costs of getting you back home again, up to 50 percent of the original trip cost.
    In addition, for those stranded, a travel delay stipend may be available to reimburse your costs for hotel and food you may incur while delayed. Note: Each policy will have a maximum amount available for reimbursement.
  5. Don’t panic if you’re stuck or have a flight delay.
    If you are stuck due to an ash cloud call the 24/7 emergency assistance phone line found on your travel insurance policy. Representatives at the assistance company can often help you book a trip home and confirm that it will be covered after you file a claim through your insurance policy.
  6. You may be eligible for Cancel for Any Reason.
    With a Cancel For Any Reason policy you will be able to cancel your trip for any volcano-related reason, regardless of the cancellation reasons listed on your plan. This is a time sensitive benefit, typically only available within 10-30 days after making that first payment on your trip. In addition, there are rules that must be followed (Typically, you must cancel 48 or more hours prior to departure, you must insure 100% of trip costs and you are only going to receive a percentage of your investment back – typically 75%).  Each plan will list their specific requirements.

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