Tommy Lloyd
Author: Tommy Lloyd, Managing Director

Tommy has over 15 years experience within the insurance industry, and his primary focus is helping travellers find the right cover for their medical conditions.

Originally posted: 5th Jul 2022

Many of us have experienced strikes during our travels, whether it’s an airline strike, baggage handlers striking, or air traffic control strikes. So it’s always a good idea to understand exactly how travel insurance works, just in case the industrial action disrupts your holiday plans, and then you’ll know exactly where you stand and what to do.

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Sort your travel insurance when you book

When it comes to cover limits and terms relating to strike action it will vary depending on your travel insurance provider. It is very important you carefully check the level of cover an insurance provider is offering.

It’s a good idea to buy your travel insurance as soon as you’ve booked your holiday. This is even more important if you haven't booked a package holiday and organised things like your flights, accommodation, and car hire separately.

Unless you book your holiday and purchase cover before the strike dates are announced, you will find that you will not be covered for things like flight delays, or other strike-related travel issues.

It’s safer to buy your travel insurance sooner rather than later, because you never quite know when a strike may happen.

Flight delays due to strikes

Providing you have checked in for your flight and that your travel insurance policy includes cover for travel delay, you can look to claim for compensation once your flight has been delayed for a certain number of hours.

You'll find that travel delay is usually a fixed benefit, meaning that your insurance provider will pay a fixed amount for each hour of delay over the initial period.

The limit can vary, and the compensation amount will depend on the level of cover you have, so do check your policy wording.

Travel delay benefit should apply to both your outbound and return journey to the UK.

Plane wing

Travel abandonment

If you are facing a long flight delay due to strike action you may want to abandon the trip altogether. It’s usually, 12 to 24 hours before your trip that you can abandon it altogether and claim for unused travel costs.

It’s unlikely you will be able to claim for both travel delay and abandonment, so it’s worth checking your policy terms to see what your specific policy details are before you make any decisions.

Another common policy rule is that you have to have checked in for your flight in order to prove your intent to travel and that you may need to get a letter from your airline carrier to confirm the reason for you needing to abandon your trip if you wish to submit a claim.

Flight cancellations

When an airline cancels your flight, it’s their duty to offer you a full refund or an alternative flight to get you to where you need to be.

Because of this, it’s unlikely you will be able to claim for cancellation on your travel insurance policy.

However, you may be able to claim for other losses, such as missed hotel stays and car hire reservations. But this will depend on the level of cover you have in place, so make sure you check those policy details.

You can read more in our guide to Cancellation Cover.

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Mountain tops

Airline or travel provider failure

If your airline, or travel provider (such as your hotel) goes into administration and ceases trading, then you may be covered by your travel insurance. But not all insurers will cover for this, so make sure you check your policy details.

If your airline goes into administration and you find yourself stranded or you’ve lost your flights, then if you have scheduled airline failure insurance included in your cover then you should get your money back for your cancelled flights.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Full details of what you need to do to make a claim will be detailed in the Policy Wording provided to you by your insurance provider.
Cancellation amounts will be per person. So, if you were going on a trip for 2 people which cost £1,000 in total you would ideally need cancellation cover for at least £500.
Nearly all insurance policies will come with cancellation cover included. Cancellation cover will start as soon as you buy your single trip policy, or your policy start date for an annual trip (so you may want to start this cover as soon as possible). Cancellation cover will help you with the cost of your trip, including flights, accommodation and, in some cases pre-paid excursions. The cover limits will be the amount per person.
If you don't travel much then a single trip cover is perfect as you can cover specific dates suited to your trip. If you have cancellation cover, you'll also benefit from this as soon as you buy your policy. If you travel 2 or more times a year, it may be cheaper for you to go for an annual trip cover. It's best to start your annual trip cover as soon as possible, as if you have cancellation cover, you'll only benefit from this from your policy start date.
If you are taking out single trip cover, and have cancellation cover included, you'll be covered for cancellation from the moment you buy your policy. However, if you are taking out annual trip cover, and have cancellation cover included, you'll be covered from the start date of your policy. Consider starting your annual trip cover as soon as possible, especially if you have already booked your trip!
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