Yes, there’s coverage for U.S. residents if a natural disaster such as a tornado, flood, cyclone, tsunami, wildfire or earthquake affects your travel plans and/or injures you.
However, you need to have purchased your policy before these forces of mass destruction have become known events. You may be eligible for coverage if:
- A natural disaster makes your residence unliveable.
- There has been a cessation of travel services for at least 24 hours because of the natural disaster.
- A weather-related travel advisory is issued at your trip destination after you’ve made travel arrangements and purchased your insurance plan.
- You, your traveling companion or a family member, who are active military personnel, have been called to emergency duty to provide disaster relief.
- Your destination’s accommodations have become unliveable due to a natural disaster.
- You or your travel companion’s company has been made unsuitable for business because of the natural disaster, and you or your travel companion are involved in the disaster recovery team.
- You are unable to complete your planned itinerary because of an extended delay or service interruption caused by a natural disaster.
What qualifies as a natural disaster?
Any naturally occurring force of destruction counts as a natural disaster. This could be a hurricane, blizzard, avalanche, tornado, tsunami, flood, fire, earthquake volcanic eruption or landslide. The phenomenon causes such widespread damage that the U.S. government or the country where the disaster has occurred issues an official declaration.
If you’re affected by a natural disaster, you may be able to make a claim for:
- Trip cancellation: You must cancel your booking immediately and notify us as soon as possible within seven days.
- Trip interruption: You can make a claim for pre-paid, non-refundable travel arrangements that you haven’t been able to use, such as flights and other types of transportation, tours and hotels.
- Emergency medical: The 24/7 Emergency Assistance team, operated by Generali Global Assistance, can get you to the nearest medical facility so you can get the treatment you need. You’ll also need to call the team before you undergo any treatment. If necessary to your treatment, they can also arrange to transport you home. However, once you’re back, we won’t be able to cover ongoing medical costs. For more information, read our article on medical treatment abroad.
If you have any questions about how World Nomads travel insurance covers natural disasters, please contact us. We even have an article specifically for hurricanes.
How does it work?
Whether it be trip interruption, cancellation or baggage, you’ll need to inform us of your situation as soon as possible and within seven days. To help you file a claim, we’ve created this step-by-step guide. Be sure to gather the following documentation, as it pertains to your case:
- Proof of all non-refundable, prepaid deposits or payments;
- Complete unused transportation tickets and vouchers;
- Original receipts for any expenses incurred because of the natural disaster;
- Original receipts for any new tickets;
- Invoices and original receipts from travel service providers.
What's not covered
Most of this section can be summed up by the words “don’t do anything crazy.” But specifically, you won’t be covered if:
- You're a storm chaser or put yourself in a storm's path.
- You don’t follow the advice of the authorities.
- You hang around the area at risk to watch what happens.
- You buy a plan after the natural disaster becomes known.
Of course, this is a summary only. It does not include all terms, conditions and exclusions of the plans described. Please refer to the actual plans for complete details of coverage and exclusions.
Did you know?
Following the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, which overwhelmed large parts of Indonesia, World Nomads launched our travel philanthropy program, Footprints, which has gone on to raise over $3.2 million for community projects including disaster risk management in the developing world.
Our responsible travel section has more information on our Footprints program.