What is unexpected-event travel insurance
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
Which travel insurers cover unexpected events?
For a detailed definition of each unexpected event, scroll to bottom of this page.
This information is updated on a six-monthly basis - the next update is due in May 2019.
policy score %
Strike cover: under travel delay and/or missed departure sections only. Volcanic ash: under cancellation section. Civil unrest and Terrorism cover: under medical expenses and/or hospital benefit and/or personal accident sections only.
|Just Travel Cover||Infinity Gold||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||95%|
|Just Travel Cover||Unity Gold||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||95%|
Civil unrest: cancellation and curtailment cover only applies if FCO advises against travel to that country.
|NFU Mutual |
Strike Cover and Volcanic Ash: under travel delay and/or missed departure sections only. Civil unrest and Terrorism cover: under medical expenses and/or hospital benefit and/or personal accident sections only.
|Just Travel Cover||Beyond Gold||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||94%|
|BIBA||Holiday Travel +||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||93%|
What unexpected events do insurers cover?
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:
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 provides protection if your flight, and holiday, was delayed or cancelled due to industrial action.
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.
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.
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.