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Travel insurance unexpected event cover reviews

By Jo Langenhan

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Travel insurance unexpected event cover reviews

There have been numerous events in recent years that have tested travel insurance policies. Find out what you're covered for. 

The Icelandic ash cloud, civil unrest, strikes – it's not always apparent whether your insurer will cover you if you have to cancel or cut short your holiday for reasons well beyond your control. 

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)
Provider Holiday failure Scheduled airline failure Strike cover Volcanic ash Civil unrest Terrorism cover Personal car breakdown Overall policy score
Holidaysafe Platinum Yes Yes Yesb Yesc Yesd Yesd Yesb 97%
Boots Platinum Yes Yes Yesb Yesb Yesd Yesd Yesb 96%
Boots Gold Yes Yes Yesb Yesb Yesd Yesd Yesb 95%
Saga Annual Yes Yes Yes Yes Yese Yes Yesb 95%
Insured2travel Gold Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Optionalf 94%
NFU Mutual Annual Yes Yes Yesb Yesb Yesd Yesd Yesb 94%
Insurancewith Platinum Yes Yes Yesb Yesb Yesd Yesd Yesb 93%
LV Premier Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yesd Yesb 93%
Barclays Annual Yes Yes Yesb Yes Yesd Yesd Yesb 92%
Holidaysafe Premier Yes Yes Yesb Yesb Yesd Yesd Yesb 92%
Biba Travel + Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No 91%
Flexicover Platinum Optionalf Yes Yesb Optionalf Yesd Yesd No 91%
Staysure Comprehensive Optionalf Optionalf Yes Optionalf Yes Yes Yes 89%
InsureandGo Gold Yes Yes Yes Optionalf Optionalf Yes No 88%
Letsgoinsure Travellers Choice Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Optionalf 87%
Policy Direct Voyeger Yes Yes Yes Optionalf Yes Optionalf Optionalf 87%
Tesco Bank Finest Yes Yes Yesb Yesb No No Yesb 87%
Get Going Travel Premier Yes Yes Yesb Yesb Yesd Yesd Yesb 86%
Insured2travel Silver Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Optionalf 84%
AXA Premier Yes Yes Yesb Yesb Yesd Yesd Optionalf 83%
Post Office Premier Yes Yes Yesb Yesb Yesd Yesd No 85%
Covered2go Gold No Yes Yesb Optionalf Yesd Yes No 81%
Direct Line Annual Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes 81%
Insurefor Premier Yes Yes Yes Yes No No No 81%
LeisureGuard Premier Yes Yes Optionalf Optionalf Optionalf Optionalf Yes 81%
24Dr Travel Premier Yes Yes Yes Optionalf Optionalf Optionalf Optionalf 79%
Age UK Annual Yes Yes Yesb Yesb No No No 79%
Blue Bear Travel Gold No Yes Yesb Optionalf Yesd Yes No 79%
RAC Black Yes Yes Optionalf No No No No 79%
Santander Annual No No Yes Yes No Yes Yes 79%
Aviva Annual No No Optionalf Optionalf Yesd Yes No 78%
World First Exclusive No Yes No Optionalf No No No 78%
The AA Annual Yes Yes No Optionalf Optionalf Optionalf Yesb 77%
Admiral Premier No Yes No Optionalf Optionalf No No 76%
Marks & Spencer Annual Optionalf Optionalf Optionalf Optionalf Yesd Yesd Yesb 76%
Insurancewith Sapphire Optionalf Optionalf Yesb Optionalf Yesd Yesd Yesb 75%
All Clear Gold Plus Yes Yes Yesb Optionalf Optionalf No No 75%
Circle Cover Silver Optionalf Yes Yes Optionalf Optionalf Yesd Optionalf 75%
eSure Annual No No Yes No No Yesd No 75%
HSBC Annual No No Optionalf Optionalf No Yes No 75%
Sheilas' Wheels Annual No No Yesb No No Yesd No 75%
Goodtogoinsurance Platinum No Yes Yesb Optionalf Yesd Yesd No 74%
InsureandGo Silver Optionalf Yes Yes Optionalf Optionalf Yes No 74%
World First Superior No Yes No Optionalf No Yes No 74%
Boots Silver Optionalf Optionalf Yes Optionalf Yesd Yesd Yesb 73%
Virgin Money Silver Yes Yes Yesb Optionalf Optionalf Yesd No 73%
Bupa Gold No No No No No No No 71%
Cover Cloud Gold No Yes No Optionalf Optionalf No No 71%
Debenhams Superior Optionalf Optionalf Yesb Optionalf Optionalf Optionalf Optionalf 71%
John Lewis Plus No No No No No No No 71%
Insurewithease Gold No Yes Yesb Optionalf Yesd Yesd No 70%
Leisurecare Multi Traveller No No Yes Optionalf No Optionalf Yesb 69%
Top Notch Cover Gold Yes Yes No Optionalf No No No 69%
Travelinsurance.co.uk Silver No Yes Yes Optionalf Optionalf Yes No 68%
World First Premier No Yes No Optionalf No No No 68%
All Clear Traveller Optionalf Optionalf Yes Optionalf Optionalf No No 67%
Golfguard Annual No Yes No No No No No 67%
Your Travel Cover Gold Yes Yes Yesb Optionalf No No No 66%
Annualtravelinsurance Super No Yes Yes Optionalf No No No 65%
Greatcover Super No Yes Yes Optionalf No No No 65%
Multitrip Premier No Yes Yes Optionalf No No No 65%
Nowicantravel Annual No Yes No No No No No 65%
OUL Direct Gold No No Yesb Optionalf Yesd Yesd No 65%
Rias Annual No No No No No No No 65%
Table Notes:
Information in the table was gathered during March 2017. 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 November 2017.

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

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 emerged as an issue when airlines such as Zoom went bust, leaving travellers stranded abroad. The recession 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)

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

Strike cover

Strike cover provides protection if your flight, and holiday, was delayed or cancelled due to industrial action.

Volcanic ash

In 2010, plumes of ash from the Eyjafjallajökull 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. Some insurers now cover this eventuality, making it worth considering if you are travelling to a potential hot-spot.

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