Are you covered for Terminal 5 chaos?

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The recent chaos at Heathrow’s Terminal 5 has brought into focus the importance of having good travel insurance. Thousands of passengers have been seriously delayed whilst many have had their flights cancelled. Then of course there is the problem of luggage lost in the system, after many passengers were told they could only fly if they left their baggage behind. What exactly are your rights from the airline if disaster strikes and what can you expect from your travel insurance?

If your flight is cancelled then you can seek a refund from the airline or ask to be put on the next available flight. In the meantime, the airline should pay you compensation to cover the cost of meals, drinks and accommodation if required. If your flight is delayed, then similar rules apply, regarding covering your expenses. Check with your airline as to what exactly the regulations allow.

Your travel policy is also likely to pay up - often a set amount after the first 12 hours and then so much for each 6 hours after that. It is an excellent idea to get written confirmation from the airline of the length of the delay and the reason for it, to help you with your insurance claim. Also, remember to keep all receipts for meals and accommodation.

If your luggage is delayed for 12 hours or more then your travel insurance will cover the cost of essentials, unless you have chosen to fly without your baggage, in which case the costs are down to you. Should you be unlucky enough never to be reunited with your luggage, then the airline should cover much of the cost of replacing items and your insurance company is likely to cover the rest.

Make sure that you never put valuables in your checked in luggage as most policies exclude this. You will be expected to produce receipts for items in the lost luggage so ensure that you keep receipts, guarantees, instruction manuals or other evidence of purchase. Even photos may be acceptable.


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