Bali jam hits hip pockets
AUSTRALIAN travellers are learning a harsh lesson about the need for insurance, with many seeing their “cheap” Bali holiday blow out by thousands of dollars as a result of the volcanic ash cloud.
The insurance industry estimates as many as 30 per cent of Australians travelling to Bali do so without insurance – or about 330,000 a year.
Cairns’ Joshua Paterson is among those facing a bill for thousands of dollars after being stuck in Bali since last Friday.
He travelled to the Indonesian island with a group of friends, and never dreamt he would be there for almost a week longer than planned.
“It’s been a bloody mess,” said Mr Paterson.
“We keep being told ( by airline Jetstar) that we’re on a priority list but they are not yet operating services to Cairns.”
Melbourne’s Primmer family opted to fly via Singapore and Darwin in order to get home by tomorrow.
Sue Primmer said the alternative was to wait for a direct flight next Wednesday.
“We had to pay an extra five nights for the motel. My insurance will only pay for my motel, it won’t pay for food,” she said.
Most airlines flying out of Bali are not providing accommodation for affected passengers because the situation is beyond their control.
However Virgin Australia is believed to be putting anyone up who has no other option but to sleep at the airport.
Insurance Council of Australia spokesman Campbell Fuller said airlines, insurers and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade were working together to assist people in Bali.
“Thousands are being helped by their insurers with things like the provision of accommodation and reimbursement for unexpected costs,” Mr Fuller said.
A DFAT spokeswoman said there was a provision in “exceptional circumstances” for small emergency loans for Australian travellers through the consulate in Bali.
But to date there had not been a significant increase in demand for such assistance.
“DFAT strongly recommends that all Australians travelling overseas take out comprehensive travel insurance,” she said.
Craig Morrison from Southern Cross Travel Insurance said they had seen a 47 per cent increase in calls as a result of the Bali ash cloud. He advised affected travellers to document all their expenses.
It’s been a bloody mess JOSHUA PATERSON
townsvillebulletin. com. au/ prideofaustralia
2014 OUTSTANDING BRAVERY MEDALLIST