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Travel disruption insurance cover

Travel disruption cover compensates you for missed departures, unused travel and accommodation, and enforced stays.

Amy Smith
Amy Smith
Updated 14 October 2019  | 4 min read

What’s travel disruption cover?

It’s a part of your travel insurance policy that compensates you if your trip is interrupted or cut short unexpectedly.

It’ll cover the cost of parts of your trip you can’t use, including flights, accommodation and land transport.

Not all travel insurance policies offer cover for disruption as standard. If not, you can usually pay to add it as an optional extra.

Key points

  • Disruption cover might be included as standard on your travel insurance, or as an added extra
  • Your airline might cover disrupted flights, while your tour operator or travel insurance should cover the rest of your holiday
  • All policies differ though so watch out for exclusions, things like terrorism or ash clouds

What does it cover?

Travel disruption cover usually comes into play when:

  • You’re delayed
  • You have to abandon your holiday
  • You miss your departure
  • You’re forced to stay at your destination for longer than your original holiday period

You’ll usually be able to claim back any costs involved with the above. You won’t be able to claim if you were delayed because you didn’t check the time though. It needs to be because of something outside of your control like:

  • Poor weather conditions
  • Strike
  • Industrial action
  • A company insolvency
  • Mechanical breakdown
  • Closure of airspace, an airport, roads, rail services, a port or the Channel Tunnel
  • Failure of public transport

You can’t claim for disruption you were already aware of when you booked your holiday. Most policies won’t offer compensation for loss of enjoyment either.


Claiming compensation for travel disruption

If your travel plans are disrupted and you’re using a European airline within Europe, go to your airline first of all for delayed or cancelled flights - it has a duty to help you under European law.

For cancelled or delayed ferry trips, get in touch with the operator to see what it can do.

Next, contact your travel agent or accommodation provider.

Your travel disruption cover can reimburse you for other elements of your holiday not covered by your airline, accommodation or travel agent.


Volcanic ash and travel insurance

The eruption of an Icelandic volcano in 2010 that caused ash cloud chaos brought to light how important it is that you check your policy wording and exclusions.

Get travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked your holiday and keep an eye on travel news and weather reports to avoid losing out if your trip is disrupted – especially due to something you might not normally consider.


Travel insurance and weather disruption

Disruption due to bad weather is a bit of a grey area when it comes to travel insurance.

Some travel insurance policies have specific exclusion clauses on ‘Acts of God’ (such as bad weather or natural disasters) but other insurers might pay out, depending on the length of the delay.


How Brexit affects your travel disruption cover

The types of disruption covered by travel insurance varies depending on your policy.

If you’re visiting Europe after Brexit, make sure you’re covered if your travel is delayed or cancelled by getting in touch with your insurer.

After Brexit, flights, ferries, cruises, the Eurostar, Eurotunnel and bus or coach services between the UK and EU will be running the same as before, so there shouldn’t be a Brexit-related problem.

Regardless of how you’re travelling, it’s best to regularly check with the company you’re travelling with for any disruptions or delays – just in case.

The government has more information on choosing your travel insurance and what to look out for after Brexit.

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