Many air passengers from Ireland and other countries had flights cancelled because of the recent volcanic ash cloud from Iceland. Some travel insurance companies paid out for cancelled accommodation bookings and other costs incurred as a result of flight cancellations. Some insurance companies paid out as an act of goodwill – even though they strictly didn’t have to.
In Britain – the British Insurance Brokers Association estimates that around half of insurance companies decided to pay out on travel and accommodation costs under “adverse weather” clauses.
Many travel insurance policies specificlly exclude pay-outs when flights are cancelled on the instructions of the local aviation authority – which is what happened with the ash cloud.
The Icelandic volcano eruption appears to have calmed down just now – but it could start up again at any time. Summer holidays this year may well be disrupted by volcanic ash.
It is very unlikely that any new travel insurance policies taken out since the eruption began will pay out on claims caused by the ash cloud. This means that even insurance companies that paid out to travellers affected by April’s disruptions won’t do the same for people who have bought a policy since the first eruption.
Holidaymakers who have booked a package holiday can appeal to their tour operator or travel agency in the event of disruption. If their flight is cancelled they will be offered an alternative holiday, or if the alternative is a significant change (generally a change of more than 12 hours on a 14-night holiday is considered to be a significant change) then the customer must also be offered the choice of a refund on the full holiday cost.
For the do-it-yourself holidaymakers Paddy Power is offering an alternative form of “insurance” against cancelled holidays due to volcanic ash. Volcanic Betting :You can place bets on certain airports having an unscheduled closure (no flights allowed to land or depart) for at least one hour on a specific date.
Volcanic Betting – example -. Your holiday accommodation costs €2000. The odds of your departure airport being closed for more than an hour due to volcanic ash on your departure date is 25 to 1. If you bet €80 – you will get €2080 back if ash causes closure.
It’s seems like a good idea – and in the absence of any other form of volcanic ash travel insurance – it could be a bet that will put some people’s minds at rest.
The airports available for the Volcanic Betting are currently limited to Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Shannon, Heathrow, Manchester, Glasgow, Stansted, Gatwick, Birmingham, Barcelona El Prat, Madrid Barajas.
Visit this page for a Comparison of Travel Insurance in Ireland