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Travel insurance covering Volcanic Ash Clouds, Epidemics, Wildcat Strikes and more

Publication date: 1st March 2013

Subjects: volcanic, ash, cloud, ba, lava, strike, travel insurance, cancellation, delay

Volcanic Ash Travel Insurance

Following the three major volcanic eruptions in Iceland since Spring 2010 there has been a surge of interest in travel insurance policies which will cover ash clouds, strikes and port or airport closures generally. Given the fact that such events appear to be occurring more regularly, and that they can last for a considerable period (the Chilean volcano which erupted in 2011 caused disruption to flights over 5 month period, and Mount Etna eruption in December 2013 caused the closure of Catania Airport in Sicily) many travellers are ensuring that their insurance policy covers them for such eventualities, especially as they arrive so quickly, and do not allow travellers options to cover themselves once they are known about. At the same time most insurers have now excluded cover for 'Volcanic Ash' incidents unless specific cover is taken.

Travellers do need to be aware that although the laws relating to airlines responsibilities have been clarified and tightened recently if you are stranded following a volcanic ash event this doesn't mean your hard earned cash is not at risk if you fall foul of such an event. Some of the main ways you can still be out of pocket include:

  • Your flight from the UK is cancelled due to an eruption - you may be reimbursed for your ticket cost, but other expenses such as your hotel bill, car rental, cruise ship costs may not be paid if you fail to show up as arranged.
  • Your flight may not be covered by EU legislation - rights only apply on any flight from an EU airport and those to EU airports from outside of the European Union on an EU airline. (EU in this definition includes all EU Member States plus Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.)
  • "Codesharing flights" passengers get the same rights as passengers of the airline they travel never mind who issued the ticket. So a passenger with a BA ticket travelling on an American Airlines flight into the EU would not be entitled to the assistance.
  • If you have two separate tickets rather than a through ticket (i.e. two single tickets covering your journey) if you miss your second flight due to a delay on your first you may still have to pay for any rearranged travel arrangements from your transit airport.
  • Add on insurance policies can give you more opportunity to make your own arrangements rather than having to reley on the efficency of your airline - but do discuss your plans with your insurer before going solo!

We detail below some of the insurers who now off these 'add ons' which can, as well as covering volcanic ash cover previously unthought of risks including natural disasters, volcanic ash clouds, wildcat strikes, flu pandemics and more besides - as long of course you 'add them on'

Columbus Direct, Direct Travel, Aviva and Insure With Ease have developed these policies, all with slightly different levels of cover or points of difference - so read on!

Summary of Cover


Single Trip policies


Company Product Online Discount Offer cover for 'Known Events' Delay Benefit after 12 hours Abandonment benefit after 24 hours Offer cover for Pre Existing Medical Conditions Extra Premium for Volcanic Ash Cover Next Step

InsureInsure with Ease
Single Trip Policy including Volcanic Ash option
0%NoYesYesNo£4.00Insure
Provides cover for catastrophic events caused by forces of nature: fire, flood, earthquake, explosion, tsunami, volcanic eruption, landslide, avalanche, hurricane, cyclone or storm which is unknown and unforeseen at the time you purchase the insurance.

Cover for cancellation up to £1,500 per person, additional expenses up to £150 per day (£1,500 in total) per person, replacement accommodation up to £150 per day (£1,500 in total) per person and travel delay £25 per 12 hours (maximum £250) per person.

Price applies per adult in the party.


AvivaAviva
Single Trip Policy including Airspace Closure Cover
0%NoYesYesNo£5.00Aviva
Airspace Closure Cover
Provides up to £5,000 extended cancellation cover if, when due to depart from the UK, you can't because airspace is closed for more than 24 hours or an airport or port that you are scheduled to travel from or through is closed for more than 24 hours from time of your scheduled departure. Also if you are unable to return home on your scheduled return date for the same reasons, a benefit is paid for each 24 hours you can't return, or reasonable travel expenses, if after 24 hours, you unavoidably have to make immediate alternative travel arrangements to return home.
Travel Disruption Cover
A further add on from Aviva costing £2.50 provides extended cancellation and abandonment cover for a range of events including, amongst others, strikes and snowfall, pandemics and food poisoning in your holiday accommodation.

Price applies per adult in the party and will be slightly cheaper if you use the attached link and buy online.


DirectDirect Travel
Single Trip Policy including Volcanic Ash option
15%SomeYesYesNo£10.20Direct
Up to £6000 of additional cover. Price applies to each adult in the party

Provides benefits for unrecoverable costs for natural disasters (not strikes), including accommodation and alternative travel.

Single Trip policyholders - if at the time of purchasing this insurance you are due to depart on your trip within the next 7 days, and a natural catastrophe has occurred which may directly result in a claim under this insurance, the amounts in the companies table of benefits will be reduced by 75%.

Annual Multi-Trip policyholders - if at the time of purchasing this insurance or booking your trip, whichever is the later, you are due to depart on your trip within the next 7 days, and a natural catastrophe has occurred which may directly result in a claim under this insurance, the amounts in the companies table of benefits will be reduced by 75%.



ColumbusColumbus Direct
Single Trip Gold Policy including Volcanic Ash option
15%NoYesYesNo£12.50Columbus
Volcanic Ash Cover includes cover for Travel Delay, Abandonment and Missed Departure as a result of volcanic ash, up to the limit stated on your policy schedule. If Volcanic Ash Cover is not taken then no claims arising as a result of volcanic ash will be eligible.

Volcanic Ash Cover and Emergency Travel Cover includes both Volcanic Ash Cover as above and an Emergency Travel Upgrade which provides additional cover in the event of unforeseen circumstances preventing your return home for at least 24 hours from your booked return journey. Pays up to to £1,500 for alternative accommodation or alternative emergency reasonable transport expenses. Total payable for all insured persons under this policy is £4,000.

Use our exclusive link to increase the usual Columbus 10% discount to 12% (discount included in price quoted)

Annual Multi Trip policies


Company Product Online Discount Offer cover for 'Known Events' Delay Benefit after 12 hours Abandonment benefit after 24 hours Offer cover for Pre Existing Medical Conditions Extra Premium for Volcanic Ash Cover Next Step

InsureInsure with Ease
Annual Multi Trip Policy including Volcanic Ash option
0%NoYesYesNo£6.00Insure
Provides cover for catastrophic events caused by forces of nature: fire, flood, earthquake, explosion, tsunami, volcanic eruption, landslide, avalanche, hurricane, cyclone or storm which is unknown and unforeseen at the time you purchase the insurance.

Cover for cancellation up to £1,500 per person, additional expenses up to £150 per day (£1,500 in total) per person, replacement accommodation up to £150 per day (£1,500 in total) per person and travel delay £25 per 12 hours (maximum £250) per person.


AvivaAviva
Annual Multi Trip Policy including Airspace Closure Cover
0%NoYesYesNo£10.00Aviva
Airspace Closure Cover
Provides up to £5,000 extended cancellation cover if, when due to depart from the UK, you can't because airspace is closed for more than 24 hours or an airport or port that you are scheduled to travel from or through is closed for more than 24 hours from time of your scheduled departure. Also if you are unable to return home on your scheduled return date for the same reasons, a benefit is paid for each 24 hours you can't return, or reasonable travel expenses, if after 24 hours, you unavoidably have to make immediate alternative travel arrangements to return home.
Travel Disruption Cover
A further add on from Aviva costing £5.00 provides extended cancellation and abandonment cover for a range of events including, amongst others, strikes and snowfall, pandemics and food poisoning in your holiday accommodation.

Price applies per adult in the party and will be slightly cheaper if you use the attached link and buy online.


ColumbusColumbus Direct
Annual Gold Policy including Volcanic Ash option
15%NoYesYesNo£20.00Columbus
Volcanic Ash Cover includes cover for Travel Delay, Abandonment and Missed Departure as a result of volcanic ash, up to the limit stated on your policy schedule. If Volcanic Ash Cover is not taken then no claims arising as a result of volcanic ash will be eligible.

Volcanic Ash Cover and Emergency Travel Cover includes both Volcanic Ash Cover as above and an Emergency Travel Upgrade which provides additional cover in the event of unforeseen circumstances preventing your return home for at least 24 hours from your booked return journey. Pays up to to £1,500 for alternative accommodation or alternative emergency reasonable transport expenses. Total payable for all insured persons under this policy is £4,000.

Use our exclusive link to increase the usual Columbus 10% discount to 15% (discount included in price quoted)

Direct TravelDirect Travel
Annual Multi Trip Policy including Volcanic Ash option
15%SomeYesYesNo£20.40Direct
Up to £6000 of additional cover. Price applies to each adult in the party

Provides benefits for unrecoverable costs for natural disasters (not strikes), including accommodation and alternative travel.

Single Trip policyholders - if at the time of purchasing this insurance you are due to depart on your trip within the next 7 days, and a natural catastrophe has occurred which may directly result in a claim under this insurance, the amounts in the companies table of benefits will be reduced by 75%.

Annual Multi-Trip policyholders - if at the time of purchasing this insurance or booking your trip, whichever is the later, you are due to depart on your trip within the next 7 days, and a natural catastrophe has occurred which may directly result in a claim under this insurance, the amounts in the companies table of benefits will be reduced by 75%.



Policies which provide 'extra cover' options


Columbus Travel

Special moneymaxim promotion - 5% off Annual Policies, 2% off Single Trip policies in addition to Columbus 10% online discount - use the following exclusive links:

Get Reduced Columbus Direct Annual Policy Quotations Now!

Get Reduced Columbus Direct Single Trip Policy Quotations Now!

To try to clear up any confusion as to what travel insurance covers policyholders for, Columbus Direct an option for Gold policyholders which offers both this cover and an “Emergency Travel Upgrade” which helps passengers pay for alternative ways home or emergency accommodation in case of being stranded overseas. The maximum claim per policy is £4,000 of expense.

Will cover pre existing medical conditions.

See the Columbus Direct website for full information.

Direct Travel

Direct Travel have brought in an add on policy which offers extra cover in the case of a Natural Disaster. This policy covers cancellations, alternative means to get home, extra costs such as accommodation, car parking and kennel fees. Do note though that this policy does not come into force for strike action. Pre-existing medical conditions can now be covered.

Direct Travel also have a very clear policy as to when a natural disaster becomes a known event - broadly speaking reduced benefits apply for the first seven days after a policy is bought, but then full benefits apply - as always read their terms and conditions (there is also a restriction if you book a last minute holiday and are due to depart within seven days when a situation is 'live'). Its easy to check this is current as by calling them - you will hear a recorded message confirming this as current - although then buying online will be probably be a lot quicker than waiting for an operator!

Single Trip policyholders - if at the time of purchasing this insurance you are due to depart on your trip within the next 7 days, and a natural catastrophe has occurred which may directly result in a claim under this insurance, the amounts in the table of benefits will be reduced by 75%.

Annual Multi-Trip policyholders - if at the time of purchasing this insurance or booking your trip, whichever is the later, you are due to depart on your trip within the next 7 days, and a natural catastrophe has occurred which may directly result in a claim under this insurance, the amounts in the table of benefits will be reduced by 75%.

Boots Travel Insurance have a very similar policy to Direct Travel policy, it's underwritten by the same underwriters, and claims are handled by the same firm. There are some minor differences between the policies but generally we find Direct Travel policies to be around 30% - 40% cheaper than Boots hence our focus on them.

Full information can be found on the Direct Travel website.

Insure With Ease

Insure with Ease offer a range of very cost effective travel insurance policies aimed at travellers under the age of 75, who have no medical issues requiring cover. Their Natural Disaster Cover which is an bolt on to their standard policies is only £4 for a single trip short haul policy (£6 for an annual policy) and £6 / £10 for long haul) is not as comprehensive as some, but is a good basic policy at a great price.

Visit the Insure With Ease website for more information.

AVIVA

Aviva have an upgrade policy, costing around £5 per single trip policy for each traveller, or £10 per traveller on annual policies (although for families they will only charge for a maximum of two children) that will cover 'closures of airports or ports' - for any reason from terrorism to the actions of a volcano, hurricane or pandemic. See our feature more information can be found in our feature on Aviva Travel - Volcanic Ash policies. Aviva cover those up to 79 years old, but don't cover pre existing medical conditions.

Aviva sell the upgrade online - click to say that you want their closure of port or airspace option - which means you also get a 10% online discount.

Provides additional cover for range of events that might cause disruption to your travel plans such as strikes (outbound leg only) snowfall, Foreign Office advice, food poisoning and pandemics. Cover is provided for:-

Extended Cancellation cover (£5,000)
Extended Abandonment cover (£5,000)
Missed Connections outside of the UK (£1,000)
Delay outside the UK (£25 every 12 hours)

Whilst strikes are not covered on the home bound leg the Aviva policy will provide its standard cover in this respect. If you want to have the option of having alternatives for a homeward leg if a strike is called by airline staff consider the Columbus policy.

Visit the Aviva website for full details.

So which policy is best for you? It really depends on the level of cover you want to take - Cancellation only, Cancellation and Get You Home / Extra Accommodation costs in case of a Natural Disaster, or whether you want the latter with Strike cover included too. Its really up to you!

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This information is based on journalistic investigation and research. It is not financial advice. Any information should be considered in regard to specific circumstances. Any suggestions followed up are done so at your own risk and your own research is key. Prices and features checked and correct as at 1st March 2013.