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Will travel insurance cover me when visiting a disaster area?

Recently, many people in Hong Kong have responded to emergency relief efforts by raising funds as well as directly volunteering their services in some disaster areas. Volunteers exposed themselves to risk from accidents, such as potential aftershocks, landslides, floods and disease. Under these circumstances, are they protected by their travel insurance?

Since most travel insurance plans do not exclude natural disasters, coverage for personal accident, medical expenses, hospital cash benefits, personal petty cash, loss of travel documents and personal liability, as listed in general travel insurance plans remain unchanged.

However, the insurer generally requests that the applicant warrant that he/she is unaware of any circumstance which is likely to lead to the cancellation or curtailment of the journey. If adverse weather conditions have been announced before the date of taking out insurance, no coverage will be offered for the respective areas.

Because massive destruction in the disaster area increases the likelihood of transportation breakdowns and delays, the applicant must notify the insurer of their destination and purpose of travel upon application so that the insurer can consider whether to accept the application and/or to charge an additional premium. Some travel insurance plans categorise wars, riots and revolutions as exclusions. For example, there have been a number of riots in Myanmar in recent years. If an insured visits Myanmar and encounters a loss of property or injury as a result of rioting, they will not be eligible for compensation. Travellers are generally advised not to visit politically unstable places.

Terms and conditions at a glance

Will my personal accident insurance cover my medical expenses if there is an epidemic in the disaster area?

Disaster areas are often totally devastated, and diseases are likely to be rampant. Since personal accident insurance only covers medical expenses for injury caused by accidents, not disease, the insured is advised to buy a travel insurance plan that ensures medical expenses caused by the treatment of disease will be covered.

Learn more about travel insurance plans.