Volcanic disruption - are you covered?

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Travellers who have been affected by the volcanic ash disruption face confusion over what, if anything, they can claim for on their travel insurance policies. Those who have been unable to get away because of flight cancellation have been offered the option to have a refund or to rebook their flight but prepaid hotels and hire cars are another concern for many.

It seems that it is a matter of luck whether or not your insurer will view your claim sympathetically. On one hand, some are treating the volcano as a “weather phenomenon” and therefore the claim as one arising from a delay which led to abandonment of the holiday. Others, however, are classifying the volcano as an “act of God” or “force majeure”, both phrases that will have the traveller’s heart sinking as this means that the insurance company will not pay for any losses arising from the event.

For those trying to get home, airlines have a duty to provide stranded passengers with food and accommodation. Package tourists are generally better provided for with many able to extend their holiday, all expenses paid.

But anyone who has taken out insurance since midday on Thurs, when the restrictions on travel came into force, will not be covered for any claim relating to the volcanic ash, since the insurance was purchased after it became clear that there would be a problem.

It makes a change for banks to attract positive publicity but NatWest and RBS have gone the extra mile and offered customers refunds on ATM fees for withdrawing cash abroad and also extended credit card limits for those having to settle unexpected bills.

As for insurance companies, HSBC, M&S Money and firstdirect have led the way in accepting liability, even though such matters are not normally covered. A spokesman for HSBC said “we at HSBC believe that standing behind our customers on this extraordinary occasion is the right thing to do at this time”.

The British Insurance Brokers' Association has advised passengers to contact their insurers for advice.


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#1 what happens if you are just booking a holiday now - if another volcano errupted would you be covered
Posted by sharon on 27/04/2010 at 20:46
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