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Heatwaves and Wildfires

People in, or with trips planned to those parts of Europe affected by the heatwave and wildfires will naturally be concerned for their safety.

We would urge anyone affected to:

  • Contact their tour operator or airline for advice and information.
  • Always follow local health advice, such as dealing with heatwaves. Your travel insurance will apply in the usual way if you need emergency medical treatment due to extreme weather.
  • If planning on travelling, always keep up to date with and follow the latest foreign travel advice on GOV.UK from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), especially as travelling against it is likely to invalidate your travel insurance. 
  • Check the scope of cover under your travel insurance policy. In some circumstances you may be covered for disruption caused by extreme weather – see below.  If you are injured or fall ill due to a wildfire, or heatwave your policy will cover you in the normal way.

Will my travel insurance cover me against disruption caused by wildfires?

People will naturally be concerned for their safety due to the current wildfires and heatwave in southern Europe and we would encourage everyone to follow local health advice.

If your flight or accommodation is cancelled, refunds should be sought from the airline, accommodation provider or tour operator in the first instance. Any bookings made through a credit card may also have recoverable costs.

If your policy includes trip disruption or natural disaster cover, you should be covered if you have to cut short or cancel your holiday due to the ongoing wildfires.

Check your policy details and speak to your insurer if you’re not sure what is included. If you’re injured or fall ill due to a wildfire, your travel insurance will of course cover you in the usual way. 

If the Government changes its advice on travelling to a particular country, will travel insurance pay out for flights and accommodation?

If the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office advises against all but essential overseas travel to a certain country then, providing the insurance was purchased and holiday booking was made before the advice changed, most travel disruption cover policies will cover cancellation costs that cannot be recovered from your airline or travel provider. 

Will I be able to claim for any lost possessions or belongings?

Possessions you have lost or had to abandon will likely be covered by standard travel insurance policies. Terms and conditions may vary, so we would recommend speaking to your insurer to make sure. 

At what point do I need to contact my insurer?

If you’re being forced to leave your accommodation, follow the advice of emergency services on the ground and any local health advice. When it is safe to do so, contact your insurer to check what your policy covers and they can provide advice on next steps. 

If you have not yet travelled to your destination, contact your insurer before you decide to cancel flights or book any new accommodation. They can advise on what your policy will cover you for. 

What if I booked myself another flight out of the country, or more accommodation, will I be able to claim that back?

If your flight is cancelled or you have had to leave your accommodation, refunds should be sought from the airline, tour operator or accommodation provider in the first instance. Any bookings made through a credit card may also have recoverable costs. 

If you want to book another flight back to the UK or need alternative accommodation, we’d recommend speaking to your insurer first to check what is covered in your policy, and they can advise on next steps. 

Will travel insurance cover me if I am injured in a wildfire?

If you’re injured as a result of a wildfire or fall ill due to the heatwave, as with other emergency medical needs, your travel insurance will apply in the usual way. 

Does my travel insurance cover me if I can’t leave my hotel due to wildfires?

Travel insurance is primarily to protect you against what can be incredibly high costs of needing emergency medical treatment overseas, but is unlikely to provide cover if you’re unable to go outside on your holiday because of a wildfire.

However, some insurers do offer add-ons which can be purchased at the same time you buy your policy, which will offer protection against disruption or natural disasters. So be sure to check your policy and speak to your insurer if you’re not clear what’s covered.

It is always sensible to follow health advice, and if you’re injured or fall ill due to a wildfire it will of course cover you in the usual way. 

Can I cancel my holiday if there's a heatwave?

The primary purpose of travel insurance is to cover the costs of emergency medical treatments or repatriation should the worst happen, which can run into the tens or even hundreds of thousands of pounds.

It can cover you if you need to cancel or cut short your holiday but it’s likely this will only be under limited circumstances, for example if you or a close family member fall ill, not because of a disinclination to travel.

Insurance can cover you if advice from the Government changes since you’ve booked your trip and it’s no longer considered safe to travel to the destination.

Will my travel insurance cover me if I fall ill due to the heat?

Travel insurance provides the peace of mind that, should you need emergency medical treatment overseas, you will be protected from the potentially jaw droppingly high fees. This includes falling ill due to a heatwave.

If you become ill, insurers will have a 24-hour phone number for you to call if you need to use your insurance.

In emergency situations, you should seek help at the nearest appropriate medical facility and contact your insurer as soon as it’s safe to do so. If you need support but it’s not an emergency, call your insurer before seeking medical assistance.