Turbulence related travel insurance claims up 700% since 2022, new data reveals

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Edited by Travel Weekly

    Turbulence has hit the headlines following the tragic death of a passenger on a Singapore Airlines flight last month and experts have warned incidences of turbulence are set to increase as a result of climate change.

    Heavy turbulence kills one with dozens injured on Singapore Airlines flight

    The increase in turbulence-related claims is has been reflected in data from Southern Cross Travel Insurance (SCTI), which has found claims related to turbulence have increased significantly since 2022 (+700 per cent) with the insurer paying a total of $27,067 to turbulence claims since the start of 2023.

    However, Aussies shouldn’t be alarmed as claims related to turbulence only account for 0.1 percent of the total claims paid since 1 Jan 2023. Of those claims paid, the vast majority (80 per cent) are related to subsequent changes to the journey and only 12.5 per cent are medical (the remainder are related to baggage and personal property).

    “Aussies are understandably worried about the risk of increased turbulence given recent events and our data also shows that turbulence claims are on the rise,” Southern Cross Travel Insurance CEO Jo McCauley said.

    “It would be incredibly scary to experience severe turbulence and even more so to become injured as a result.

    “Should turbulence impact your travel plans or cause injury, having travel insurance means there’s one less thing to think about, while you navigate a highly stressful situation.”

    Usually, travellers are covered for claims relating to turbulence for things like cancelled or rescheduled flights, out-of-pocket expenses and in rare cases, any medical expenses due to injury caused by turbulence during a flight. SCTI has paid 85.7 per cent of claims relating to turbulence since 2023.

    “We have covered our customers for claims relating to turbulence, including a claim for over $20,000 when a customer was injured during a flight due to turbulence and had to cancel all travel plans and return to Sydney.

    “These unexpected circumstances are exactly why we always recommend people shouldn’t travel without travel insurance,” McCauley continued.

    The two most expensive claims related to turbulence since the beginning of 2023 involve:

    • A customer travelling to Japan encountered turbulence on the first leg of the journey from Sydney to Hong Kong, suffering injuries in flight and forcing them to cancel planned tours of Japan and Korea. The customer was flown back to Australia once fit-to-fly. The total claim cost was more than $20,000.
    • Another customer travelling to Japan suffered an injury while asleep inflight during turbulence, forcing an adjustment to their planned journey. The total claim cost was almost $5,000.

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