Insurance policies

Four in 10 travel insurance policies offer no coverage for cancellations caused by strikes

Who? advised people to be careful when buying travel insurance ahead of a summer of expected disruption. Photo: Henry Nicholls/Reuters

Up to four in 10 travel insurance policies do not cover strikes by airport or airline staff, new research shows.

New consumer group data Which? evaluated 199 policies offered by 71 providers, rating them on the level of protection offered in 61 key areas for its annual travel insurance review.

Only six out of 10 policies – a total of 120 – offered cover if customers had to cancel trips due to strikes, meaning a significant proportion of travelers could be left unprotected.

Some 78 policies had no cover for cancellations due to strikes, while one policy was available as an option.

The company advised people to be careful when buying travel insurance ahead of a summer of expected disruption.

Read more: Travel insurance: the 10 mistakes that prevent you from being reimbursed

Last month, British Airways staff voted in favor of a strike, which means more misery ahead for British travellers.

Around 700 workers at London Heathrow Airport have voted for industrial action, set to coincide with the start of the summer holidays to cause maximum chaos.

Workers voted 95% in favor of a strike for better wages, with an 81% turnout, said the union behind the strikes, GMB.

They demand that the 10% pay cut imposed during the pandemic be reversed.

Watch: Airline refunds: what are your rights as a consumer?

Who? pointed out that anyone whose holiday is canceled by a tour operator is entitled to a refund in accordance with the law.

Airlines are also required to reimburse passengers when they cancel flights, including when the cancellation is caused by their own staff striking.

Similarly, travel packages from an ATOL-protected company will ensure that travelers will be reimbursed if the company goes bankrupt and repatriated if this happens overseas.

He advised that wherever possible, holidays should be purchased by credit card, as your credit card provider is legally obliged to refund you any purchase over £100 if the services provided are not as advertised.

Read more: How the BA strike will affect your summer travel plans

COVID-19[feminine] hedging is another area where which? found huge disparities in the level of coverage offered.

Of the policies reviewed, only nine offered what it considers “full” protection in the event of a coronavirus-disrupted holiday.

This means travelers can seek emergency medical care if they catch COVID abroad, and have the option of claiming cancellation fees if they test positive before their trip.

Who? said: “These policies also provide cover if the legal requirement to self-isolate is reintroduced for those identified as close contacts. They can also claim if, after booking their trip, the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office advises against traveling to their destination due to COVID, or due to regional or national movement restrictions.

Two-thirds of the policies – 131 in total – offered what is considered “top” tier COVID coverage, meaning the policy covers travelers for emergency medical treatment and cancellations due to catching the virus. , as well as coverage in the event that legal requirements to self-isolate are reintroduced.

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Three out of 10 policies – some 55 – were found to be “weak” for the cover offered, offering emergency medical cover for contracting COVID while abroad and the ability to claim in the event of a trip being canceled due to of a positive test.

Meanwhile, four policies were considered “basic”, providing only emergency medical cover in the event of catching COVID-19 abroad.

“With many airlines warning of widespread disruption this summer and rising COVID cases, travelers should ensure they have adequate insurance to cover any unforeseen losses or costs they may incur. faced”, Jenny Ross, Which? said the silver editor.

“Who? Analysis of 199 policies shows that levels of coverage can vary wildly in important areas like disruption from a strike or COVID.

“We advise travelers to always check policies carefully to ensure they offer the most appropriate cover for their trip and to ensure they have cover in place from the time of booking.”

Watch: ‘Chaos’ at Heathrow as 30 flights canceled by airport for capacity reasons