So the news has been flooded with updates of Mt. Agung’s geochemical, seismic activity and what not. Why? Because the Bali volcano has been expected to erupt for the past month now, and the last eruption in 1963 killed over 1,100 people.
In fact, this time round, analysis has highlighted that an approximate 25% of the volcanic materials are similar or larger sized than the 1963 eruption. So practically everyone’s who’s booked a ticket to Bali’s wondering – Would I get killed in the Mt. Agung eruption if it happens? Should I still travel to Bali? If so, what can I do to protect my safety? Well, here’s what you need to know:
You’re still safe if you’re not planning to travel anywhere near Mt. Agung.
The Mt Agung volcano is far away from your usual tourist spots, so if you don’t have plans to travel anywhere near the Bali volcano, you can still go ahead with your travel plans. Furthermore, the authorities have already cleared out more than 35,000 people and put up red alert exclusion zones where the lava/ash may potentially reach. So if you’re ever stumbling too near the danger zone, you’ll definitely know…
…Unless you bodoh, don’t know how to read when a sign tells you it’s dangerous (In which case, we can’t help you too lah… Just don’t go?).
Even if the eruption happens when you’re in Bali and the volcanic particles actually reach past the red exclusion zones, airports in the neighbouring islands are already on standby in case Ngurah Rai airport gets shut down.
There hasn’t been any cancellations of flights to Bali yet, but you’re allowed to reschedule if you want.
At present, no airline carriers have cancelled their flights to Bali yet, but if you have tickets that were booked on or before 22nd September for travel between 23 September and 30 October, most airlines have already announced that rescheduling of flights will be allowed without any additional fees. Of course, this is subjected to availability and fare differences. Singapore Airlines also allows refunds.
Flights out of Bali might be affected or delayed in the event the Bali volcano erupts.
If the Bali volcano eruption actually happens. The Ngurah Rai airport would be shut down because of the ash cloud, in which case you’ll be ferried to other airports at neighbouring islands to take your flight out. Unless the eruption is so widespread that the volcanic particles are affecting the other neighbouring airports too, you’re not going to get stuck.
Your travel policy may not necessarily cover for natural disasters.
While most comprehensive travel policies provide coverages for natural disasters, not all travel policies are created equal. Some policies have exclusions that may penalise your coverage (e.g. they do not cover for volcanic activity). To ensure you’re adequately covered, you should check your policy and familiarise yourself with any relevant exclusions. Which brings me to my next point…
You’re covered by travel insurance if you’ve bought a comprehensive policy before 15th September 2017.
Why 15th September 2017? Because that’s when the news of Mt. Agung’s possible eruption became public media knowledge. So basically if you bought your policy before that, and your policy offers coverage for such events, then you should be covered for any out-of-pocket expenses incurred as a result of travel service disruptions/cancellations. Because there’s no way you’d have known about Mt Agung’s threatening eruption before 15th September.
If you bought your policy after 15th September, don’t panic yet…You might want to check with your insurer on their individual cut off policy purchase dates. These are dates when the underwriters classify Mt Agung as a known event. And some insurers do have a later cut off date. For example, the last I checked, AIG’s was 22nd September.
However, if you’ve bought your policy after these specified dates, you’re not covered for any claims related to Mt. Agung…And maybe it’ll be better for you to just cancel/ reschedule your flight with the airline.
What you CAN do if you’re not covered…
If you’re still going to Bali and you’re not covered, it’s actually best you could reschedule your flight (or even get a full refund if your airline allows). Especially since there’s no other additional fees to pay now besides the fare differences.
But if you’ve already busted up your annual leave, you’re burnt out like that crispy roast duck because of work, and you REALLY, REALLY NEED THAT VAY-CAY…
Then you’ll have to make some contingency plans for your trip.
Note down the contacts of the Singapore Embassy in Jakarta and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs(MFA) in case you need urgent consular assistance and E-register with MFA so they can contact you. And of course, don’t forget to ensure you have access to emergency cash in the event you get stuck there.
Whenever we get air tickets for a vacation, the last thing on our minds would be to get ourselves adequately protected. Because really, what are the chances we need that emergency evacuation? But the Bali volcano eruption (or for now, impending eruption) is testament that the one in a million chance event still can happen.
So before you go on your next holiday, you’ll want to be well-informed of the best travel insurance policies. Compare travel insurance policies and get one that suits your holiday needs best. If you’re a frequent traveller, you may even consider getting a (good) annual travel plan. And oh. Remember to get it early. Lest some natural disaster gets reported in the news again and you risk being too late.
Will you be cancelling your travel plans to Bali or going ahead with them? Share your reasons with us!