Travel Insurance & Earthquakes: What You Need to Know

Earthquakes happen frequently all around the world. It’s estimated that half a million detectable earthquakes happen every year and around 100,000 of them are felt. Unfortunately, around 100 of these earthquakes cause significant damage such as collapsed buildings, landslides, tsunamis, and physical injury. 

Although the likelihood that your destination will experience a large earthquake is relatively low (only usually occurring a few times a year!), earthquakes are unpredictable. Understanding the significant risks tied to these factors is important in planning a secure trip. Let’s start by mentioning where earthquakes occur the most and we’ll get to answering if travel insurance covers earthquakes.

Jumping Ahead

blue outline of arrow pointing right Where are Earthquakes Most Common in the World?

Although many parts of the world experience earthquakes, here’s a list of the top five most common places where earthquakes occur near fault lines.

  • Circum-Pacific seismic belt, also known as the Ring of Fire
  • Japan 
  • Indonesia
  • Turkey, Iran, Ecuador
  • Tonga and Fiji

Rather than swearing off travel, we highly recommend you plan carefully for your next trip. We only have so much time to take in the world and experience different cultures and perspectives – it would be a shame to miss out because of (very likely unnecessary) fear. We’ll break down the benefits of having a travel insurance policy in place for traveling to earthquake-prone destinations below.

the rubble aftermath of an earthquake in a city

blue outline of arrow pointing right Does Travel Insurance Cover Earthquakes?

The short answer: likely! Most travel insurance policies include coverage before or during your trip to protect against earthquakes affecting your travel plans. 

If your home, destination, destination accommodations, or trip start is affected by an earthquake or similar natural disaster like a tsunami, travel insurance could provide reimbursement of unexpected extra or lost travel expenses if you cancel or interrupt your trip. 

green button that reads quote and compare travel insurance

Keep reading below for a breakdown of the insurance benefits that could apply if you plan on traveling to an earthquake-prone destination anytime soon.

Trip Cancellation Due to Natural Disasters

You’ll find that most travel insurance plans include trip cancellation coverage against natural disasters, like earthquakes, derailing your travel agenda. If your trip destination, home, vacation accommodations, or trip start are affected by an earthquake, causing you to cancel your trip or cut it short, there’s a good chance your unused nonrefundable trip costs could be reimbursed by trip cancellation benefits. Similar coverage would apply under trip interruption benefits if your trip was interrupted by an event like an earthquake.

a town in rubble that was affected by an earthquake

Emergency Medical Expense & Medical Evacuation Coverage

Should you become injured in the event of an earthquake during your trip, travel insurance usually includes reimbursement of any medical expenses incurred to seek treatment. Since earthquakes can strike at any time and can often cause significant physical hardship, having an insurance policy could ease the worry of being financially strained due to medical bills. 

Pro Tip: It’s best to contact the 24/7 emergency provider included with your policy if you experience a travel or medical emergency during your trip. Their team can help point you to the nearest medical facility, coordinate medical evacuations, and even assist with translation services.

Missed Connection Coverage

If your flight were to be delayed due to a natural disaster like an earthquake or tsunami, it’s possible you could miss your tour or cruise departure. Having a travel insurance policy could give you peace of mind knowing the additional expenses to get caught up with your trip could be covered. 

Non-Medical Evacuation Coverage

Though most travel insurance plans cover medical evacuations, not all include non-medical evacuation coverage for natural disasters. Non-medical evacuation could help coordinate and pay for transportation to the nearest safe place if you experience an earthquake or similar natural disaster during your trip.

blue outline of arrow pointing right Is Earthquake Travel Insurance Coverage Worth It?

One of the most important ways you can prepare to go to a region of the world that experiences earthquakes is to purchase travel insurance. This is especially true if your stateside health insurance doesn’t extend to international destinations. Purchasing an affordable travel insurance policy could prevent you from forking out thousands of dollars in medical bills or unexpected travel expenses due to a natural disaster derailing your trip.

“At the bare minimum, it will give you peace of mind –and the ability to cancel without losing money,” says Terry Boynton, co-founder and president of Yonder Travel Insurance. 

In the unlikely event of a natural disaster, you’ll be glad you took the added precautions with travel insurance.

cars crushed by the aftermath of an earthquake in a city

blue outline of arrow pointing right Don’t Wait to Buy Insurance

If you purchase travel insurance before your trip and an unexpected earthquake strikes, you’ll likely be covered for what is considered an “unforeseen natural disaster”. If you only take one piece of advice from us, this might be the more important one: Don’t wait until the last minute to buy travel insurance. 

If you’ve read any of our other travel insurance FAQ articles, you’ll know that travel insurance protects against unexpected or unknown events. If you purchase travel insurance after an earthquake has occurred, coverage won’t likely apply. The experts at Yonder recommend purchasing travel insurance soon after you make your initial payments or deposits toward your trip. This way, you’ll have coverage from the day after purchase through your return date.

Pro Tip: If your trip is affected by an earthquake or similar natural disaster, filing a claim is your next step once you return home. You can learn all the details in our comprehensive article on how to file a travel insurance claim.

To find the best travel insurance for you, check out our instant quote tool. If you have any questions, we’re always here to support you as you make travel insurance decisions. Reach out to us at any time!

Kate's authoritative voice in travel writing is backed by years of extensive travel experience, allowing her to infuse her writing with the tips and tricks she has gathered over time. This wealth of experience enhances her ability to write authoritatively on travel-related topics.

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