Travel insurance: Travel insurance: unexpected event cover

There have been several events over the last couple of years that have tested travel insurance policies - the Icelandic ash cloud, civil unrest and strikes - and it's not always apparent whether your insurer will cover you if you have to cancel or cut short your holiday.

So you want to know which companies will cover you for the unexpected? The table below highlights providers that will cover you for six major unexpected events. 

Find out more: Your rights if your flight is cancelled - find out where you stand and if you can get compensation

Unexpected event cover

For a detailed definition of each unexpected event, scroll to bottom of this page.

Travel insurance: Unexpected event cover (covered as standard)
ProviderHoliday failureScheduled airline failureStrike coverCivil unrestTerrorism coverCar coverOverall policy score
Holidaysafe PlatinumYesYesYesbYesdYesdYesb97%
Boots PlatinumYesYesYesbYesdYesdYesb96%
Boots GoldYesYesYesbYesdYesdYesb95%
Flexicover PlatinumOptionalfYesYesbYesdYesdOptionalf94%
Insurancewith PlatinumYesYesYesbYesdYesdYesb93%
LV PremierYesYesYesYesYesdYesb93%
Holidaysafe PremierYesYesYesbYesdYesdYesb93%
Saga Annual Multi-tripYesYesYesYeseYesNo92%
Barclays Travel PlusYesYesYesbYesdYesdYesb91%
Staysure ComprehensiveOptionalfOptionalfYesYesYesYes89%
Get Going Travel PremierYesYesYesbYesdYesdYesb88%
Policy Direct WEBroker TravelYesYesYesYesYesOptionalf88%
Biba Travel +NoYesYesYesYesNo87%
Halifax Annual Multi-tripYesYesYesYesYesNo87%
Tesco Bank FinestYesYesYesbNoNoYesb87%
Lloyds Bank Annual Multi-tripYesYesYesYesYesNo86%
AXA PremierYesYesYesbYes dYesdNo85%
Letsgoinsure Travellers ChoiceYesYesYesYesYesNo85%
Insured2travel PlatinumYesYesYesOptionalfYesOptionalf83%
Covered2go GoldNoYesYesbYes dYesNo81%
LeisureGuard PremierYesYesOptionalfOptionalfOptionalfNo81%
24Dr Travel PremierYesYesYesOptionalfOptionalfOptionalf79%
Age UK Annual Multi-tripYesYesYesbNoNoNo79%
Aviva Annual Multi-tripNoNoOptionalfYesdYesNo79%
Blue Bear Travel GoldNoYesYesbYesdYesNo79%
JS Insurance SuperiorOptionalfYesYesbOptionalfYesOptionalf79%
RAC BlackYesYesOptionalfNoNoNo79%
The AA Annual Multi-tripYesYesNoOptionalfOptionalfYesb78%
HSBC Annual Multi-tripNoNoYesbNoYesNo77%
Admiral PremierNoYesNoOptionalfNoNo76%
John Lewis PlusYesYesYesbNoNoYesb76%
Marks & Spencer Annual Multi-tripOptionalfOptionalfYesNoYesdYes76%
Circlecover SilverOptionalfYesYesOptionalfYesdOptionalf75%
eSure Annual Multi-tripNoNoYesNoYesdNo75%
Insurancewith SapphireYesYesYesbYesdYesdYesb75%
Sheilas' Wheels Annual Multi-tripNoNoYesbNoYesdNo75%
American Express SelectNoNoNoNoNoYes74%
Goodtogoinsurance PlatinumNoYesYesbYesdYesdNo74%
InsureandGo SilverOptionalfYesYesOptionalfYesNo74%
Boots SilverOptionalfOptionalfYesYesdYesdYesb73%
Virgin Money SilverYesYesYesbOptionalfYesdNo73%
Argos ValueYesYesYesOptionalfYesNo72%
Bupa GoldYesYesNoNoNoNo71%
World First SuperiorNoNoNoNoYesNo71%
Insurewithease GoldNoYesYesbYesdYesdNo70%
Debenhams SuperiorNoNoYesbOptionalfNoNo69%
Golfguard Annual Multi-tripNoYesOptionalfOptionalfNoNo69%
Insurefor PremierYesYesYesNoNoNo69%
TopNotchCover GoldYesYesNoNoNoNo69% SilverNoYesYesOptionalfYesNo68%
Your Travel Cover GoldNoYesYesbYesdYesdNo68%
Protect Your Bubble PremierYesNoYesNoNoNo67%
Leisurecare Multi TravellerNoNoYesOptionalfOptionalfYesb66%
World First StandardNoNoNoNoYesNo66%
Annualtravelinsurance SuperNoYesYesNoNoNo65%
Explorer Travel PlatinumNoNoNoNoYesNo65%
Greatcover SuperNoYesYesNoNoNo65%
Multitrip PremierNoYesYesNoNoNo65%
Nowicantravel Annual Multi-tripNoNoNoYesdNoNo65%
OUL Direct GoldNoNoYesbYesdYesdNo65%

Click here for the full results table

Table Notes:

a A Restrictions may apply. Check policy terms & conditions for further information

b Covered under travel delay and/or missed departure sections only

c Covered under cancellation section

d Covered under medical expenses and/or personal accident sections only

e Cancellation and curtailment cover only applies if FCO advises against travel to that country

f Optional means that cover can be added at an extra premium and is not covered as standard


Additional notes

Information in the table was gathered during April 2016. Insurers with a policy score below 65% are not featured in this table. It's worth checking with the insurer as there is a possibility it has changed. This information is updated on a six-monthly basis - next update is due in Nov 2016.


How to use the travel insurance table

The six elements of travel insurance cover shown above have all been identified by holidaymakers as being of particular interest over the past year, due to various events such as the Thailand uprising and the Icelandic volcano eruption. Here's a quick run through of what each means:

Holiday failure

Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance (SAFI) emerged as an issue a couple of years back when airlines such as Zoom went bust, leaving travellers stranded abroad. Since then the world recession has led to other companies associated with the travel industry going under. Holiday Failure insurance covers elements of a trip that may be cancelled, such as excursions, cruises and safaris.

Scheduled Airline Failure Insurance

SAFI is increasingly popular due to the shaky prospects some smaller airlines are facing. This protection covers you if you book a flight with a provider that goes bust before you fly.

Strike cover

In recent times the likes of BA have been affected by strike action. Strike cover would provide protection if your flight, and holiday, was delayed or cancelled due to industrial action.

Volcanic ash

In 2010 plumes of ash from a volcano in Iceland disrupted flights across much of Europe. It was an unusual event, and resulted in thousands of travellers having flight plans disrupted. The Financial Ombudsman Service adjudicated that the volcanic ash episode was as a result of 'poor weather conditions', meaning many travel insurance policyholders got redress. As a result, many insurers have added a provision to their policies that covers disruption caused by volcanic ash.

Terrorism cover

World events have made travellers more mindful of the possibility that their travel plans may be affected by acts of terror. Some insurers will cover this eventuality, but others won't.

Civil unrest

Riots and outbreaks of civil unrest have emerged sporadically in recent times, most notably in the Middle East and the Far East. Some insurers now cover this eventuality, making it worth considering if you are travelling to a potential hot-spot.

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