Is It Safe To Go To Countries Where There Has Been A Natural Disaster?

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There were several natural disasters around the world recently - the flood in Australia, and the earthquakes in Japan, New Zealand and Chile. Is it safe to go to those countries now, and if I do go to a country where there has been a recent natural disaster, will it affect my travel insurance premium? Jerry Swan, Sussex

Our Answer

Hi Jerry

When taking out travel insurance you will see a clause in the policy wording about visiting any destination where a disaster warning has been issued. If you put yourself at risk by going somewhere that is experiencing the effects of an earthquake, flood, tsunami, war or a violent political climate, you will not be covered.

Speak to your travel agent and consult the British Foreign Commonwealth Office for up to date information on travel warnings. Make sure you do not go on holiday until you know that all travel warnings have been lifted.

The FCO is the government department responsible for promoting the interests of the United Kingdom overseas - a very valuable resource for travellers wanting up-to-date information about what is happening around the world. For the the latest travel news, alerts and updates in over 200 countries, take a look at the FCO widget below and use it before going on holiday:

Is It Safe To Travel To Japan?

Japan On The Map

At the time of writing, the FCO warns against "all but essential travel to those areas in north-east Japan most affected by the 11 March earthquake and tsunami. This includes those coastal areas of Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures which suffered extensive damage".

Outside of these areas most affected by the earthquake, tourism in Japan has largely returned to normal - with the exception of public services still being repaired. There is no radiation warning on areas that are 50 miles and more from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant - this constitutes most of the country's leading tourist and business sites.

Is It Safe To Travel To Australia?

Australia Flag

There are no travel restrictions for Australia - in Queensland particularly, where the flooding took place in early 2011. However, visitors should be vigilant about monitoring the weather patterns and travel warnings. In the rainy season - winter in the UK - new travel alerts may be issued.

Is It Safe To Travel To Chile?


At the time of writing this article, there are no travel warnings related to earthquakes, volcanoes or any natural disaster for Chile. All travel to the country is safe. Please check the FCO website before booking your trip, as the situation is always subject to change.

Is It Safe To Travel To New Zealand?

New Zealand Flag

There are no restrictions on travel to and from New Zealand, after the February earthquake in Christchurch. New Zealand is located in a seismic zone and is subject to earthquakes. Please check the FCO website for details in the event of one and follow instructions.

NB For Rugby World Cup Travellers: The FCO has issued a warning to all tourists in New Zealand during the Rugby World Cup: be careful on the roads, as New Zealand has more than twice the number of car related fatalities per 100,000 people as the UK. The roads will be very busy during the fantastic sporting event, so be extra careful. For the full report, take a look at FCO travel warning here.

Last Updated: September 2011