How does travel insurance apply?
Travel Insurance policies contain 4 separate coverages that might apply:
1. trip cancellation,
2. trip interruption,
3. missed connection, and
4. travel delay.
All 4 of these are “named peril” coverages which will only provide coverage if the claim was caused by one of the specific covered events.
The earthquake and resulting tsunami are probably going to be classified by travel insurance companies as a “natural disaster”. This classification can have a big effect on coverage for trip cancellation and interruption coverages. Under those coverages some, but not all, companies include “natural disasters” which causes your airline to cease operations to be a covered event. Most of the plans limit coverage for “natural disasters” that make your destination uninhabitable.
Coverage for travel delay and missed connection is clearer. These coverages are also “named peril” benefits however, the majority of plans include “natural disaster” as a covered event.
As with all travel insurance coverages, the event that causes your loss has to be reasonably unforeseeable at the time you purchased your policy.
Bottom line is to read your plan carefully and don’t assume that there will or will not be coverage.