Volcanic ash travel insurance

In 2010, a volcanic eruption in Iceland caused havoc across Europe, as thousands of flights were cancelled, leaving people stranded or unable to go on holiday.

Since then, travellers have been stuck in countries like Bali, Hawaii and Indonesia following eruptions.

So what should you look for if you want a buy a travel insurance policy that covers volcanic ash?

In 2010, a volcanic eruption in Iceland caused havoc across Europe, as thousands of flights were cancelled, leaving people stranded or unable to go on holiday.

Since then, travellers have been stuck in countries like Bali, Hawaii and Indonesia following eruptions.

So what should you look for if you want a buy a travel insurance policy that covers volcanic ash?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: please check the latest government travel advice that sets out what you need to do, if anything, before you travel abroad and before you return home. You should also check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. Travel rules can change at short notice, so check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.

Josh Daniels
Travel Insurance expert
3
minute read
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Posted 27 JANUARY 2021

Will I be covered for volcanic ash disruption?

Volcanic ash travel insurance offers cover to anyone who suffers from a cancelled or delayed flight in the aftermath of a volcanic eruption. It isn’t a policy in its own right, but it’s something that can be included in your cover – although it’s likely that you won’t get this as standard.

If you already have travel insurance, for example an annual policy, check the small print for any mention of ‘travel disruption cover or natural catastrophe cover’ or extreme weather events. Can’t find it? Talk to your insurance provider and find out what their stance is. Some providers will insure such events, typically for a modest additional premium.

Natural catastrophes normally include: volcanic eruptions, floods, tsunamis, earthquakes, landslides, hurricanes, tornados and wildfires.

Customers with more serious pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, the price you pay for travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. However, there are still many providers out there and you should be able to find affordable cover. Whatever happens, don’t be tempted to lie to an insurance provider, because if you do and then need to make a claim, it could be rejected.

When you declare medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show quotes from insurance providers who will cover all declared medical conditions, with no exclusions.

MoneyHelper has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at MoneyHelper or by calling them on 0800 138 7777.

What should I do if there is volcanic ash disruption?

If you're planning to travel somewhere where there's ash cloud disruption and your travel operator allows you to make alternative travel arrangements, your travel insurance can usually be transferred to cover the new destination.

The first thing to do when claiming costs in the event of any disruption is to contact your airline or tour operator.

If you’ve booked on a package deal, tour operators must refund your costs if they cancel your trip.

If your flights are cancelled or flights/connections missed, the airline must rebook you on alternative flights. Their priority should be to find you a seat on a new flight so that you can travel as early as possible.

After Brexit, and the UK officially left the EU, new rules were brought in to cover the gaps left behind in UK legislation. This means you’ll still have the right to compensation if your flight was between the UK and EU (no matter the airline), or any flight operated by a UK-based airline. Depending on the extent of the disruption you suffered, the amount you could get in compensation can vary.

If airspace is closed, the airline should provide hotel accommodation, meals and refreshments until a new flight is provided. They’ll usually give you a daily allowance for the extras.

If you organise your own travel or hotel stays, you can apply to the airline for a refund on your return. Be careful with the costs and keep your receipts though, as airlines won’t pay amounts they consider unreasonable.

Do I get a refund and/or compensation if my flight is cancelled?

It can be disheartening to see ‘cancelled’ next to your flight number at the start of your holiday. If that happens, your rights are similar to those in the event your flight is delayed.

You can either claim a full refund or accept an alternative flight. If you choose to wait for another flight, you’ll have the same entitlements to food, drink and accomodation as outlined above.

You have the right to claim compensation from the airline if a replacement flight delays your journey by two or more hours. The amount of compensation will depend on the distance of the flight and when it was cancelled.

Travel smart and buy travel insurance

Getting to your destination should hopefully be plain sailing. However, if things go wrong travel insurance can give you financial protection.

If you book a package holiday, you should be protected under the ATOL scheme if your holiday provider goes bust. But if you’re travelling independently, you’ll need to buy insurance that providers cover against ‘end supplier failure’. This will pay out if, for example, your hotel goes out of business.

Having travel cover also means you have financial protection against the cost of medical care, theft, and other risks.

It’s a good idea to take out travel insurance when you book your holiday. This should cover the cost of your holiday should you need to cancel due to unforeseen circumstances, such as bereavement.

Travel policies vary so make sure you check your cover to find out what it includes. We make it easy to compare travel insurance from some of the market’s leading providers.

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