New insurance policy wording to exclude volcanic ash

Insurers are re-wording travel policies to exclude volcanic ash.

May 2010

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From now on, if your travel plans are disrupted, or even destroyed, by an inconvenient volcanic eruption, don’t go crying to your travel insurance company. Insurers are changing the wordings of their policies specifically to exclude coverage for problems incurred as a result of volcanic ash. Many now refer to the Icelandic volcano as a ‘known risk’, meaning you can’t insure against it.

All is not lost, however. Many insurers are considering each claim on a case-by-case basis. Some are offering limited protection on ‘goodwill’ terms. Others are providing limited coverage when travellers are denied refunds from airlines or travel firms. But the message is clear – insurance companies are saying they are under no obligation to make the payments.

For those who are still covered by policies they took out before the eruptions began, the news is a bit more positive. If your insurer has already demonstrated that you’re protected, they’ll probably honour future claims, but check with your policy provider to be sure. Anyone who’s taken out cover since the ash cloud problem reared its filthy head, however, is unlikely to get much joy seeking compensation for losses caused by airspace closures.

EU rules require airlines to take care of customers inconvenienced by flight delays or cancellations. If passengers cannot be rebooked on a flight the same day, carriers must provide room and board until the next available flight. Travellers who make their own way home, however, risk being left out of pocket.

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