Ambae Island volcano, Vanuatu

Update: 21 January 2019

We would like to provide customers with an update on this event.

Recent volcanic activity on Ambae and Ambrym islands has led to the evacuation of their residents. Local authorities have advised people to stay away from Ambae and are relocating people on Ambrym to safety.

Smart Traveller are recommending that travellers reconsider their need to travel to Ambrym island and do not travel to Ambae island.

Please read the information below for more advice and tips on how you’re covered and what to do if your journey is affected.


Issued: 27 July 2018

Ambae Island in Vanuatu has been evacuated following a volcanic eruption. The Vanuatu Meteorology and Geo-Hazards Department has assessed the Volcanic Alert Level as Level 3 (out of 5). The eruption has resulted in an ash cloud that could affect flight operations around the region in the coming days.

Airlines will make their own decisions as to when to cease and resume flights. We recommend you contact your airline directly for up-to-date information.

Please check the Smart Traveller website for any government travel advice.

Tips on staying safe

  • Follow the advice of the local authorities at all times, including any evacuation orders.
  • Closely monitor media and news channels to stay up-to-date with any developments.
  • Visit the National Disaster Management Office website for advice on how to prepare and respond to this event.
  • Update your registration information on the Smart Traveller website.
  • If you need consular assistance, please contact the Australian Embassy.
  • Keep in touch with family and friends in Australia with updates about your safety and whereabouts.

Check whether you’re covered*

If you purchased your policy before Friday 27 July 2018 at 3.00pm AEST

If you are currently travelling:

  • If your return to Australia is delayed due to this event, your period of insurance will automatically be extended at no charge until you’re reasonably able to return to Australia. You don’t need to contact us to arrange this.
  • Please contact your service provider in the first instance. Airlines, accommodation providers and tour companies may provide refunds, credit notes or alter your bookings without charging additional fees.
  • We may also be able to cover you for the extra costs of not being able to return to Australia as originally planned, such as accommodation costs and the costs of changing your flights.

If you have not yet departed:

  • We recommend you contact your airline or tour operator in the first instance for up-to-date information on your flight status and what your options are.
  • If your travel plans have been affected by this event, you can submit a claim for either the cost of any additional payments to alter your travel plans or for the loss of your pre-paid travel plans, such as flights, accommodation and tours.
  • Please contact your service provider in the first instance, as many airlines, accommodation providers and tour companies may provide refunds, credit notes or alter your bookings without charging additional fees.

If you purchased your policy after Friday 27 July 2018 at 3.00pm AEST

We will not be able to offer you cover for claims relating to this event as this event will not be considered an ‘Unexpected Event’ under the terms of your policy.

It is important to remember that you will still be covered for all other unexpected events that occur on your trip that are not related to this event in accordance with your policy.

Claims information

All claims will be assessed based on your policy cover. Certain limits, conditions and exclusions will apply. Please refer to your policy documents you received when you purchased your travel insurance.

When you are ready to submit a claim, you will also need to send us your supporting documents, such as:

  • Original receipts for any additional expenses you may incur.
  • Documents (such as itineraries) that show us the cost of your original and your altered travel plans.
  • Documentation from your service provider stating their policy regarding compensation/refunds relating to delays or cancellations caused by this event.

Any other questions?

If you have an emergency, get in touch with our Emergency Assistance Team as soon as possible on +61 2 9191 1180.

For all other queries, please contact our Customer Service Team directly at

*Terms and conditions apply. Please refer to the policy wording or contact us at for further information.