Following the earthquake that struck near Kos, Greece, causing heavy damage, travel companies have issued a number of updates regarding travel to the country.
In cruise news, a representative of Celestyal Cruises tells Travel Agent that there are currently no plans to alter cruise calls to the destination at this time. The Celestyal Nefeli is scheduled to call at the port on July 26 as part of its cruise from Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey, that departed July 22, and on August 2, as part of its cruise from Piraeus (Athens) that is scheduled to depart July 31.
Seabourn’s Seabourn Odyssey is also scheduled to call at Kos August 11 as part of its cruise from La Valletta, Malta, that is scheduled to depart August 5. Travel Agent has reached out to Seabourn for any updates on the planned call and will post on www.travelagentcentral.com when we hear more.
In air travel news, Express.co.uk reports that Kos Airport was closed Friday morning but has since reopened with delays. Images circulating on social media show large crowds outside the airport, with travelers lying on their suitcases on the grass outside the building.
The BBC reports that the 6.7 magnitude earthquake killed at least two people on Kos and injured 115 more. The earthquake, which was centered northeast of the island, near the coast of Turkey, also injured 358 people in Bodrum, although none of those injuries are reported to be serious.
For clients with travel insurance questions related to the earthquake, or earthquakes in general, InsureMyTrip has released the following FAQ:
What if another earthquake occurs while I’m traveling?
If you are traveling out of the country and an earthquake occurs, do your best to reach the embassy. They will be able to give you the most up-to-date information available and, hopefully, facilitate any evacuation needs back to the country.
If you and your traveling companions are safe and in need of a new place to stay or a way to get home without embassy intervention, contact the 24-hour emergency assistance number provided with your travel insurance plan. They may be able to assist in making new hotel arrangements or travel arrangements that were disrupted due to the earthquake.
Once you are home and safe that is when you should contact the insurance company again to discuss the claims process and reimbursement eligibility. Things to consider discussing with them is any extra costs for your trip home (hotel or airline fees), any emergency medical bills due to earthquake related injuries, and any loss of property due to the earthquake. We do not recommend worrying about this while you are trying to get to safety.
What if I purchase a travel insurance plan after today's earthquake occurred?
A plan purchased after an earthquake occurs will not cover any travel concerns due to a prior earthquake or, potentially, any of its aftershocks. The best way to protect your travel investments is to purchase a plan as early as possible after your initial trip payment.
How do I get travel insurance coverage for an earthquake?
In order to have complete coverage for travel concerns after an earthquake occurs, you must purchase your travel insurance plan prior to the event.
What is covered by a travel insurance plan prior to arriving at your destination?
If you have a comprehensive travel insurance plan in effect prior to the earthquake occurring, you may be in luck. Depending on the level of coverage your plan contains, you could be reimbursed for several travel changes due to the earthquake.
For instance, if a flight is delayed due to the damage at an airport, you may be eligible for benefits under travel delay which could offer reimbursement for an extra nights’ hotel stay; or, similarly, benefits under missed connection could offer reimbursement for the cost of connecting with your cruise. Also, if your hotel or destination is no longer inhabitable than you may be eligible for a reimbursement of your insured trip cost due to cancellation or interruption.
What isn’t covered by a plan?
If you have purchased a comprehensive plan after the earthquake takes place, you will not be covered for any travel mishaps due to the earthquake, or potentially its aftershocks. A travel insurance plan purchased post-earthquake can still be beneficial for reasons unrelated to the earthquake – like an unexpected family emergency or lost luggage.
A plan will not reimburse you for a canceled trip if you are too scared to travel due to the earthquake or pending aftershocks – unless, of course, your plan also includes Cancel for Any Reason coverage. While there are several eligibility factors for this additional coverage, Cancel for Any Reason will allow a traveler to cancel their trip, up to two days prior to departure, for whatever reason strikes them. This even means fear of aftershocks.