Travel insurance providers' response to volcanic cloud 'disappointing' Go compare with our comparison table

Travel insurance providers' response to volcanic cloud 'disappointing'

18 April 2010 / by Rachael Stiles

Many travel insurance providers have still not clarified their stance on claims resulting from the volcanic ash cloud which has disrupted all flights in and out of the UK, says moneysupermarket.

The comparison website has said that it is "disappointing" that more travel insurance providers have not told their customers what cover they will have for this unprecedented event, which caused the Traffic Control Centre to ground all flights yesterday, disappointing thousands of travellers.

Commenting on the travel insurance industry's reaction to what has been deemed 'an act of God', Bob Atkinson, travel expert at moneysupermarket.com said: "the majority still haven't developed a position on how they will handle any claims for cancelled and delayed flights and any other monetary losses as a result. I would have hoped insurers would have contingencies in place for such events, no matter how unexpected."

Thousands of travellers are meanwhile stuck in limbo, wondering if they will be reimbursed for delayed or cancelled travel plans, and additional costs such as alternative modes of transport and accommodation.

Mr Atkinson added: "this is exactly the type of event that customers buy insurance for and they should be able to claim for the cost of their lost holidays and costs that they occur.  Insurers must not use their small print to try and wriggle out of this one."

The Association of British Insurers advises that not all travel insurance policies will cover volcanic eruptions, but that customers should contact their provider to check what cover is included. Most airlines will offer a full refund or alternative flight, it said, and if a flight is cancelled and the traveller does not go then most insurers will refund the premium.

Policies can usually be amended to include alternative flights or dates of travel, but travellers who simply decide not to travel will not be covered by their travel insurance.

The ABI added that only customers who already had travel insurance before the event will be covered, highlighting the need to take out cover as soon as the holiday and flights are booked.

Direct Line and Saga travel insurance have both issued statements reassuring their customers that they will be covered for cancellations or delays caused by the volcanic ash cloud, but travellers should contact their provider to see exactly what cover is offered.

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