Best Travel Insurance That Does Cover Natural Disasters in 2024

Alevin Chan

Alevin Chan

Last updated 23 February, 2024

Travel insurance with natural disaster coverage offers protection against injury, loss, damage or cancelled travel plans due to unexpected natural events. Discover how travel insurance protects you against natural disasters, and find out what your policy can (and cannot) do if your holiday plans are affected by unexpected events.

 

While the likelihood of encountering a natural disaster during travel is low, it’s a risk that shouldn’t be ignored. The rise in extreme weather events, such as heatwaves and wildfires in various parts of the world, highlights the growing impact of climate change. In fact, studies suggest that climate change has increased the likelihood of extreme weather events by 50%. This uptick does have practical implications for travellers in the form of cancellations and shorter vacations. According to one analysis, the travel industry witnessed an 18% increase in holiday refund requests during 2023.

Encountering a natural disaster while being a visitor in a foreign country can be a stressful affair. Imagine being at the mercy of the emergency services available in your host country during a catastrophic event, with no ability to speak the language or knowledge about medical costs. This is why it is essential to include a travel insurance plan that covers natural disasters as part of your travel essentials.

Buying such a policy is convenient, affordable, and can provide significant relief if you encounter a catastrophe during your trip. Most travel insurance plans do offer natural disaster coverage, which makes it even more compelling to get one for your holiday. Natural disaster coverage typically includes trip cancellations, interruptions, and extensions due to natural events. It also often covers additional costs incurred, such as emergency medical expenses and accommodations if your trip is disrupted.

This type of insurance ensures that you are protected financially and logistically, allowing you to focus on your safety and well-being during unexpected natural events. Generally, travel insurance will cover you if you need to cut short or extend your trip because of a natural disaster. This includes emergency medical costs, trip cancellations, and additional expenses related to delays or disruption. We will walk you through on how these travel insurance plans work, showing you the essential travel checklist, what is the best travel insurance for natural disasters, and how you can make a claim if something unexpected happens.

Related to this topic: Revenge Travel 2022: Get Even With These 16 Smart Travel Tips


Why You Need Specialised Travel Insurance with Natural Disaster Coverage

Natural disasters (even not so serious ones) can severely disrupt your travel plans and pose significant risks. Popular countries for travellers like Japan and the Philippines frequently experience natural disasters. For example, the 2024 New Year’s Day earthquake in Japan’s Ishikawa Prefecture caused over 200 deaths and significant damage to the town’s infrastructure, underscoring how natural calamities can strike any time and at anywhere. 

The United States had over 1,400 confirmed tornadoes in 2023, with several impacting multiple states causing untold damage and travel disruptions. One major tornado in Middle Tennessee on Dec 9, 2023, killed at least six people and injured more than 80. These events highlight the importance of having travel insurance that covers specific natural calamities so you can be protected against the unexpected.

Travel insurance that covers natural disasters typically includes protection for trip cancellations, interruptions, and extensions due to events like earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and tornadoes. This coverage ensures that you can claim compensation for non-refundable expenses if your travel plans are disrupted. Additionally, it often covers emergency medical expenses, evacuation costs, and accommodation expenses if you need to find alternative lodging.

To ensure you have the right protection, look for travel insurance that explicitly states it does cover natural disasters (Some may phrase it differently, such as “act of God” in policy wording). Having this specialised coverage can safeguard your trip and provide peace of mind in the event of a natural catastrophe. With the increasing frequency and impact of these events, ensuring your policy covers natural disasters can save you from significant expenses and logistical challenges.


Table of Contents


Comparing Travel Insurance Plans Covering Natural Disasters

We’ve compared 8 travel insurers below for your convenience.

Insurance Provider
Premium Cost
Coverage
FWD
S$30 to S$60/week
Travel Delay (S$300 to S$1,000), Travel Cancellation (S$7,500 to S$15,000), Travel Postponement (S$500 to S$1,500), Trip Curtailment (S$5,000 to S$15,000)
NTUC
S$66 to S$109/week
Travel Delay (S$1,000 to S$2,000), Travel Cancellation (S$5,000 to S$15,000), Travel Postponement (S$500 to S$3,000), Trip Curtailment (S$5,000 to S$15,000)
MSIG
S$67 to S$125/week
Travel Delay/Flight Diversion (S$500 to S$1,500), Travel Cancellation (S$5,000 to S$15,000), Travel Postponement (S$750 to S$2,000), Trip Curtailment (S$5,000 to S$15,000)
Bubblegum
S$29/week
Travel Delay (S$400), Travel Cancellation (S$5,000), Trip Curtailment (S$5,000)
AIG
S$48 to S$108/week
Travel Delay (S$1,000 to S$3,000), Travel Cancellation (S$5,000 to S$15,000), Travel Postponement (S$500 to S$2,000), Trip Curtailment (S$5,000 to S$15,000)
AIA
Enquire
Travel Delay (S$1,000), Travel Cancellation (S$5,000 to S$15,000), Travel Postponement (S$500 to S$2,000), Trip Curtailment (S$5,000 to S$10,000)
Citibank
S$57 to S$69/week
Travel Delay (S$1,500 to S$2,000), Travel Cancellation (S$15,000), Trip Curtailment (S$15,000)
DBS
S$88 to S$127/week
Travel Delay (S$1,200 to S$2,000), Travel Cancellation (S$5,000 to S$15,000), Travel Postponement (S$750 to S$2,000), Trip Curtailment (S$5,000 to S$15,000)

Based on the stated benefits and premiums, the average cost of a travel insurance plan for a 4D3N trip to Malaysia is approximately S$62 when considering the most basic plan from each provider. Here’s an estimated average cost of a travel insurance plan:

(S$45 + S$87.50 + S$29 + S$78 + S$69 + S$63) / 8 = S$61.75

If affordability is your priority, FWD, Bubblegum, and Citibank provide more economical options. Despite lower premiums, Citibank’s coverage remains competitive with a maximum claim benefit of S$15,000, making it a commendable choice compared to other plans with lower limits. For those seeking comprehensive medical coverage for unforeseen severe illnesses or injuries, MSIG’s plan offers extensive protection.


The Best Travel Insurance Which Includes Natural Disasters Coverage

Starr TraveLead Travel Insurance (Comprehensive) – Bronze 

Starr

  • Despite its cheap price, StarrLead Travel Insurance (Comprehensive) – Bronze offers a lot for its Malaysia trip insurance. 
  • Total Medical Coverage: You’ll get up to S$200,000 in overseas medical coverage. Emergency evacuation and/or repatriation coverage is unlimited.
  • Hospitalisation Coverage: There is an overseas hospital cash benefit of S$200 per day (capped at S$5,000) and a hospitalisation guarantee of up to S$7,000.
  • Outpatient Coverage: There are follow-up medical treatment benefits of up to S$15,000, and allowances for alternative treatments such as Chinese Medicine, Acupuncture, Physiotherapy and Chiropractic.
  • Trip Cancellation: There is no coverage for trip cancellation but you get up to S$5,000 in trip curtailment benefits.
  • Loss/Damage of Baggage: Trip disruption benefits and personal luggage coverage are also generous (for the premium), with up to S$2,000 coverage for travel document loss and alternative accommodations (S$400 per day). As for personal belongings, you’ll be covered for up to S$3,000 – with a S$1,400 sub-limit for laptops, and an S$1,000 sub-limit for cameras. 
  • COVID-19 Coverage: Coverage for COVID-19 is S$15,000

 

FWD Travel Insurance – Premium

FWD

FWD Travel Insurance is slightly costlier than Starr TraveLead and offers a similar scope and level of coverage for travellers to Malaysia. 

  • Total Medical Coverage: You’ll get up to S$200,000 in overseas medical coverage. There is unlimited coverage for emergency evacuation and repatriation. This plan also includes personal accident cover, as you will receive S$200,000 in benefits in case of accidental death or total and permanent disability. Those without a life policy or standalone personal accident plan should consider getting this plan.
  • Hospitalisation Coverage: This plan includes an overseas hospitalisation cash benefit of S$200/day, up to S$5,000.
  • Trip Cancellation: The trip cancellation coverage is up to S$7,500
  • Loss/Damage of Baggage: You will get up to S$3,000 cover for personal luggage (with S$1,000 sub-limit for laptop/tablet, and an S$300 sub-limit for mobile phone). 
  • COVID-19 Coverage: There’s no COVID-19 coverage provided by default, and you’ll need to purchase that as an add-on.

 


Comparing Coverage for Travel Insurance Plans Which Includes Natural Disasters

Travel Insurance Provider
Overseas Medical Expenses
Post Trip Medical Expenses
Loss/Damage of Personal Baggage
Trip Cancellation due to COVID-19
Total Premium
MSIG TravelEasy
Up to S$200,000
Not specified
Not specified
Up to S$3,000
From S$42.00
Tiq Travel Insurance
Up to S$300,000
Not specified
Not specified
Up to S$5,000
From S$14.00
Starr TraveLead
Up to S$100,000
Not specified
Not specified
Up to S$1,000
From S$15.00
AIG Travel Guard
Up to S$250,000
Not specified
Not specified
Up to S$7,500
From S$30.00
FWD Travel Insurance
Up to S$200,000
Not specified
Not specified
Up to S$5,000
From S$16.97
Singlife Travel Insurance
Up to S$200,000
Not specified
Not specified
Up to S$2,000
From S$30.07
Allianz Travel Insurance
Up to S$1,000,000
Not specified
Not specified
Up to S$15,000
From S$64.00
Sompo Travel Insurance
Up to S$200,000
Not specified
Not specified
Up to S$4,000
From S$40.00
Allied World Protector
Up to S$250,000
Not specified
Not specified
Up to S$5,000
From S$45.00

Premium plans are based on a basic tiered single travel insurance for a five-day trip to Brunei (ASEAN Region). The coverage also differs according to different tiered plans.

We’ve listed the 9 travel insurers above for easy comparison. The average cost of a travel insurance plan with COVID-19 coverage for a five-day trip to Brunei is around S$35, assuming we take the most basic plan from each provider.

Estimated average cost of a travel insurance plan:

S$42.00 + S$14.00 + S$15.00 + S$30.00 + S$16.97 + S$30.07 + S$64.00 + S$40.00 + S$45.00 = S$297.04

S$297.04 ÷ 9 = S$33.00

For travellers who prefer comprehensive coverage for medical expenses, Allianz Travel Insurance offers the highest coverage limit of up to S$1,000,000. 

For more affordable premiums, plans by Tiq, Starr, and FWD are better options. Despite their lower premiums, these plans still offer extensive overseas medical expenses coverage, with Tiq providing up to S$300,000, Starr up to S$100,000, and FWD up to S$200,000.

Travel insurance can be a lifesaver when unexpected events disrupt your trip. Many policies offer coverage for a wide range of natural disasters, providing financial protection during these unpredictable situations. To understand the scope of protection better, here's the explore common natural disasters covered by travel insurance:

  • Earthquakes
  • Wildfires
  • Tsunamis
  • Floods
  • Landslides
  • Volcanic eruptions
  • Medical epidemics/pandemics

Additionally, severe weather conditions that can affect your travel plans and might be classified under insurance policies include:

  • Blizzards
  • Storms (including heavy rain, windstorms)
  • Floods (may overlap with natural disasters)
  • Hurricanes
  • Tornadoes
  • Typhoons

These events can cause significant disruptions, and having appropriate travel insurance can provide financial protection and support during such unforeseen circumstances.


Pre-Trip Disruption: Handling Natural Disasters with Travel Insurance

Travel insurance can help if a natural disaster occurs before your trip that creates disruptions to your travel plans.

One example would be a wildfire damaging the hotel you have booked for your Australian holiday, rendering it inhospitable. You can make a claim under trip disruption or curtailment benefits to offset your hotel booking.

Similarly, if a snowstorm forces airports in your destination to be shut down, forcing you to cancel your trip, you can claim against your travel policy for the cost of non-refundable plane tickets or accommodations.


Mid-Trip Crisis: Travel Insurance Coverage During Natural Disasters

Should a natural disaster take place in the middle of your trip, your travel insurance plan can offer some protection.

In this case, it is the personal accident and overseas medical benefits that will come into play. For instance, if you suffer smoke inhalation because the volcano in your villa’s backyard erupted and requires medical treatment, you will be able to claim your medical bill against your travel policy.

While being evacuated away from the volcano, you were forced to leave behind your laptop and other personal belongings. Travel insurance plan usually does include benefits for lost baggage or belongings, which can be used to cover your losses.

Related to this topic: Money Confessions: Have You Ever Submitted a Travel Claim? 


Potential Exclusions and Limitations For Travel Insurance Covering Natural Disaster

Nuclear Radiation

Travel insurance policies specifically exclude damage or injury caused by nuclear radiation, and may do so even if the exposure was a result of a natural disaster.

For instance, if an earthquake damages a nearby nuclear power plant, exposing you to nuclear contamination, your policy may not cover your claims.

War or Riots

The personal accident benefits in your travel plan may not apply if your injury came about as a result of a war, riot or civil disorder.

However, there is usually some wiggle room, in the sense that if you are an innocent bystander that happened to get caught up in a clash between rioters and security forces, your insurance coverage is likely to remain intact.

Still, you should actively avoid going near any areas where such events are taking place, or try your best to seek shelter and stay out of the way.

Some Other Things to Note

It bears repeating that just because your travel policy offers coverage against natural disasters and other catastrophes doesn’t mean you can throw caution to the (hurricane-force) wind.

As with all insurance policies, your claims may be voided if your injuries or losses came about because you were negligent or reckless – such as by, uh, standing behind a jet plane as it takes off


Travel Smart: Essential Tips to Maintain Valid Travel Insurance

Heed Travel Advisories

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs publishes travel advisories in situations that would pose danger or hazards to travellers, such as this latest one, warning against travelling to Ukraine and Russia.

If a travel advisory has been issued for the country you are planning to visit, and you go ahead with your trip, your insurer has the right to void your coverage and reject all your claims.

Hence, you should always keep tabs on any such travel advisories, and if one has been issued, weigh carefully if you want to roll the dice with your insurer.

Purchase Your Travel Insurance Early

Remember when COVID-19 first started rampaging around the world, and airlines refused to issue refunds for tickets that could no longer be used?

While that was an unexpected event that caught many by surprise, it illustrates the importance of purchasing your travel insurance early.

Be aware that your insurer may not accept your claims and cover your trip if your policy was bought after the natural disaster was made known.

So, for example, say, a volcano erupted in Bali, forcing flights to be suspended. You purchase a travel plan after the eruption to claim for the cost of your air tickets. Nice try, but it won’t work – your insurer will simply void your claims.

You will only be able to make a claim if your travel plan had been bought before the event, so if your trip is confirmed, it’s better to get your travel plan earlier rather than later. 

Minimise Your Exposure to Risks

A holiday is the perfect opportunity to cut loose and let your hair down, but you’ll still want to keep a lid on things.

If your insurer deems you as having failed to take reasonable steps to protect yourself and minimise risks, your claims will be voided.

So for example, if you get smacked by a flying door because you insisted on filming the hurricane up close, your insurer can – and likely will – deny your medical claims.

Same goes for injuries or losses suffered because you were too drunk or high to take reasonable steps to protect yourself or avoid harm, so don’t party too hard, kids.


How Do I Make a Travel Insurance Claim if a Natural Disaster Strikes?

To make a travel insurance claim in case of a natural disaster, follow these steps:

Step 1: Contact the Insurance Company

Do this as soon as possible. Most policies require you to notify the insurance provider within a specific time frame, often 30 days.

Step 2: Download Claim Forms

Download the appropriate claim form from your insurer’s website. Select the correct form based on your claim type (medical, delay, cancellation, etc.).

Step 3: Gather Supporting Documents

Prepare necessary documents like your policy, passport, itinerary, medical bills, police reports, and receipts. The type of documents you need to prepare depends on your claim. Your claim form will often indicate what sort of documents you need.

Step 4: Complete Claim Forms

Fill out the claim forms carefully, providing accurate details of the incident and attaching the required supporting documents.

Step 5: Submit Claim

Submit your completed claim forms and supporting documents to your insurance company. You can usually file claims online, by mail, or in person. Ensure you have all required documentation to avoid delays.

Remember, that the claims process may vary slightly depending on your insurance provider. Always refer to your policy for specific instructions and consult your insurer for detailed guidance.


Frequently Asked Questions for Travel Insurance Plans Covering Natural Disasters

Is there a waiting period for the natural disaster coverage to become effective after purchasing the insurance?

Yes, most travel insurance policies impose a waiting period before natural disaster coverage takes effect. This waiting period, often 24 to 48 hours, ensures that the insurance covers unforeseen events rather than known or anticipated disasters at the time of your purchase.

Does the insurance cover the entire duration of a natural disaster or are there time limits?

Travel insurance usually covers the duration of a natural disaster, but specific benefits may have time limits. For instance, trip cancellation or interruption benefits apply if the disaster makes the destination uninhabitable or if evacuation orders are issued. Coverage for delays or missed connections often starts after a certain period, such as delays exceeding three hours, so it's important to check policy wordings before your purchase.

Can I upgrade my travel insurance to cover natural disasters after my trip has started?

Generally, you cannot add natural disaster coverage to your travel insurance once your trip has begun. Insurance policies are designed to protect against unforeseen events, so adding coverage for an ongoing disaster is typically not allowed. Comprehensive coverage should be purchased before your trip starts to ensure protection against natural disasters.

 

An ex-Financial Planner with a curiosity about what makes people tick, Alevin’s mission is to help readers understand the psychology of money. He’s also on an ongoing quest to optimise happiness and enjoyment in his life.

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