Our advice to travellers unsure of whether to continue their holiday plans to Japan following the earthquakes in Kumamoto Prefecture, is to contact your service providers in the first instance to see whether you need to change or alter your travel arrangements. This includes airlines, accommodation owners and tour operators.
In the event of damage or delays, service providers may provide refunds, credit notes or alter your bookings without charging additional fees.
With the majority of Australian travellers heading to the main island of Honshu (Tokyo), there are currently no travel alerts affecting the area, and as such, Australians should continue their planned holiday whilst still keeping informed of local conditions. We recommend travellers head to http://smartraveller.gov.au/
In the event that your travel plans are disrupted as a result of the earthquakes and service providers cannot help, the next step is to contact your travel insurance provider. If you are able to make a claim, be sure to keep all supporting documentation relating to the event, such as receipts, as well as any letters or emails from your service providers.
At Southern Cross Travel Insurance, customers who took out travel insurance before Friday 15th April 2016 (12pm AEST) are covered for up to $30,000 per journey, or the qualifying expenses incurred within the first 30 days for travel interruption, whichever is lower.
If you’re currently overseas and your return to Australia is affected by the earthquakes, your policy will automatically extend until you are able to return on the next available flight.
Of course, all travel insurance policies are different so you will need to check if you are covered for delays and cancellations (and to what level) to determine how much you can claim.