Last April, many flights in and out of the UK and Europe were cancelled due to dispersing ash from a volcanic eruption in Iceland. Countless travellers were left grounded, many of them stranded far from home. For a lot of these travellers, the occurrence meant they’d have to cancel holidays or extend stays rather than flying home – which ultimately equated to unforeseen expenses.
Yet even in the midst of such situations, many travellers didn’t think to worry. After all, travel insurance is meant to cover mishaps like as these – right? Unfortunately, however, that’s where a lot of travellers were wrong. On one hand, a lot of airlines did refund and rebook cancelled flights (European Union rules state that flights cancelled within 14 days of travel must be refunded). On the other hand, many travellers still had the cost of cancelled hotel rooms, car hire and other travel arrangements to consider. Yet countless insurance companies began to back out of claims, saying that the circumstances of the situation were not covered under their offered policies. As a result, travellers had no choice but to absorb the expenses brought on by the volcanic eruption.
Many were understandably angry at the situation, as their travel insurance policies – designed to protect them in the event of travel mishaps – ultimately failed to help. However, it’s important to remember that not all insurance policies backed out of policy claims. So, what were the biggest differences between policies that protected travellers and those that didn’t? What should you look out for in your current policy, or when seeking new travel insurance during volcanic ash activity?
To start off, remember that while you can find great value-for-money insurance deals, cheaper policies are typically going to offer less in terms of cover. Keeping that in mind, a bare-minimum policy isn’t likely to cover you in the event of volcanic ash disruption. If possible, opt for a policy that’s more comprehensive – even if it costs you a little more upfront.
When seeking a policy, it’s also important to check the small print very carefully. This is where you’ll see the detailed terms of your policy, and where you can look out for terms such as “catastrophe cover” and “adverse weather conditions” – terms that imply you will be covered during volcanic ash activity. In addition, don’t hesitate to ask insurance companies whether they’ll cover travellers for mishaps due volcanic activity. By approaching the subject directly, you won’t be faced with any surprises later.
In searching for travel insurance volcanic ash related mishaps should be something you actively look for, particularly as the risk of travel delays and cancellations is still present. Opt for comprehensive policies, read the fine print, and speak openly to insurance companies about what they do and don’t cover, and you can travel with peace of mind knowing you’re protected.