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Volcanic ash and travel insurance ABI advice

The ABI’s advice to travellers concerned about possible disruption to their travel plans in the event of a volcanic eruption should:

  • Contact your airline, travel agent or airport you are due to fly from for the latest information about travel arrangements. If your flight is cancelled airlines should offer you either a full refund of your unused ticket or an alternative flight. EU based airlines are required to offer you accommodation and meals if you are delayed in getting home to the UK.
  • If your flight is cancelled and you do not travel, and if your travel policy does not cover volcanic ash disruption (see below) insurers may refund your premium if you took out single trip travel insurance. If you arrange an alternative flight at a later date, your travel insurer should be able to change your policy to cover this.
  • Following the ash cloud disruption in April 2010, it has been possible to buy travel insurance that specifically covers cancellation, delay and curtailment due to ash cloud disruption. If you purchase a travel insurance policy that includes cover for travel disruption, your insurer is likely to pay for reasonable travel and accommodation expenses for which you cannot claim elsewhere if your flight is significantly delayed or cancelled due to a volcanic eruption or other natural disaster. As the scope and level of cover will vary between policies, with some policies providing more basic cover not including volcanic ash disruption, you should  check your policy terms and conditions and if unsure talk to your travel insurer.
  • Travel insurance is designed to cover you against events which you could not reasonably have foreseen when you took out the policy. If your policy covers volcanic ash disruption and you took out cover before any warnings or volcanic eruption then you will be covered. If your policy was taken out when there were warnings of volcanic activity you should check with your travel insurer.

Aidan Kerr, the ABI’s Head of Travel said:

"Travel insurance is designed to work alongside, and not duplicate, any compensation you are entitled to from your airline or tour operator. Travel insurers will respond as quickly as possible to any claims  to ensure that the disruption caused to travellers is minimised."

VIDEO: Watch ABI Policy Adviser Andrew Woolgar on Bloomberg TV discussing how insurers prepare for volcanic eruptions.

Find out more about Travel insurance.

Last updated 01/07/2016