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Travel insurance and natural disasters

Navigating natural disasters when travelling can be daunting. There are many factors to consider; the safety of yourself and your loved ones, the possibility of an interrupted or cancelled trip, what you should do next, and whether your next steps will be covered by your travel insurance. At nib, we're here to help make your travels smoother and safer. Our guide helps answer your questions should you find yourself in the unfortunate situation where Mother Nature interrupts your travel plans.

What's covered

Our Comprehensive and Essentials plans both offer coverage for the following natural disasters:

  • Earthquakes
  • Floods
  • Wildfires
  • Volcanic eruptions
  • Tsunamis
  • Landslides
  • Avalanches
  • Storms
  • Cyclones
  • Tornados
  • Typhoons

If a public warning for severe weather or a natural disaster is issued, that is likely to impact your travel arrangements directly, we may cover any reasonable additional travel arrangements you make within 48 hours of the warning. This could include the cost of rearranging your travel plans or necessary additional accommodation and meals.  

Note: a natural disaster does not include outbreak of disease, epidemic, pandemic, or any other event that is not specifically included in the above list. Always check your policy wording when buying nib travel insurance to ensure you are adequately covered.

We also offer cover for overseas medical expenses on our Comprehensive and Essentials plans if you’re injured due to severe weather or a natural disaster while travelling. Always make sure that you are safe and contact the 24-hour worldwide Emergency Assistance team.

Traveller tip: travel plans can change unexpectedly, especially when it comes to the forces of unruly Mother Nature. If you need to extend your travel insurance policy while overseas, you can contact us to discuss your options. Simply reach out to us to discuss your options. 

What to do if you are caught up in a natural disaster

Experiencing a natural disaster while travelling abroad can be incredibly stressful. Here are some key steps to take before and during your trip should you find yourself caught up in one:

Make time for pre-trip research: research your chosen destinations before your journey, so you can determine any potential risks and have a basic emergency plan in place.  

Stay alert and informed: we recommend using resources such as  the Smartraveller website, and monitoring nib travel alerts both before and while travelling, as this will keep you informed about unfolding events and any potential issues you may face. 

Contact your local authorities: if a natural disaster occurs, follow instructions from local authorities and disaster relief organisations.

Reach out to us: keep us in the loop by contacting our 24hr Worldwide Emergency Assistance team. The nib Emergency Assistance eam can help you if you’re injured or are stuck overseas due to severe weather or a natural disaster.

Keep all your documents handy: keep any receipts and documents relating to your travel changes or additional expenses incurred due to the disaster. These will be important if you need to make a claim

Practical tips if you’re caught in a natural disaster 

  1. Find safe shelter: locate the nearest safe place – this could be a storm shelter, high ground during a flood, or indoors during a storm. Follow the advice of authorities on the ground.
  2. Have essential supplies: ensure you have essentials such as water, food, medication, and first-aid supplies. 
  3. Establish communication: keep a charged device for emergency communication and try to have a plan for staying connected if power is lost or networks go down.

What's not covered?

As much as we would like to support our travellers in their journeys, some scenarios fall outside the scope of our policies. Here are circumstances where you wouldn't be covered:

  • Foreseeable events: if the natural disaster was forecasted or expected, and this information was widely available in the media and through official government channels before you commenced your journey or purchased your policy, coverage does not apply.
  • Government warnings: should you decide to travel to, remain in, or plan a journey to a region that the Australian Government has issued a 'Do Not Travel' warning (see, we cannot provide cover.
  • Non-essential or extravagant costs: coverage excludes unnecessary, unreasonable, or extravagant costs in the circumstances.
  • Refusal of alternative arrangements: if your airline or travel provider offers a reasonable alternative option and you refuse, your coverage may be limited.
  • Refusal to follow the law: if you fail to follow official laws or warnings from a government authority or organisation, or where you fail to take reasonable precautions to avoid a financial loss after a public warning of a natural disaster.
  • Reckless behavior: if you intentionally and recklessly place yourself in circumstances or undertake activities which pose a risk to your personal safety (except in an attempt to save a human life).

As always, our priority at nib is to help you travel confidently, knowing exactly where you stand with your coverage. We recommend reading the terms, conditions, limits and exclusions in the Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) to understand your policy thoroughly. 

The above features and benefits are a summary of cover only. Cover is subject to the full terms, conditions, limitations and exclusions outlined in the Product Disclosure Statement.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I take out travel insurance if I'm already travelling?
Yes, at nib you can purchase travel insurance when already travelling. However, keep in mind, that there's a waiting period of 72 hours before you can make a claim.
Do I have to take out a certain type of plan to be covered for natural disasters?
nib offers unlimited cover for overseas medical expenses (for up to 12 months) on all international plans. We also offer cover up to your chosen limit for cancellation and additional expenses in the event of severe weather or natural disaster on all Domestic and International plans.
What happens if my trip is cancelled due to a natural disaster?
If a natural disaster forces the cancellation of your trip, our Comprehensive and Essentials Plans may cover you for non-refundable pre-paid travel arrangements. You can read more about travel insurance for trip cancellations here.

Need more information?

At nib, we're here to answer any questions and clarify any doubts you might have. If you need more information or are unsure about what to do, our nib International Assistance team is just a call or click away. 

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