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Iceland volcano: Grimsvotn eruption - Official World First Travel Insurance statement

24 May 2011 18:18

The ash plume over Grimsvotn - Image courtesy of NASA

The ash plume over Grimsvotn - Image courtesy of NASA

Following the eruption of the Icelandic Volcano Grimsvotn and the latest predictions that a volcanic ash cloud may reach the UK this week, the following cover applies in respect of this event.

As the event has been in the public domain since Sunday 22nd May 2011, this is a known material fact and we will not consider any claims arising from travel disruptions caused due to the volcanic ash in respect of insurance purchased since Sunday 22nd May 2011 08.00.

In respect to policyholders already with policies issued prior to 22nd May 08.00, we are covering Travel Delay claims (after 12 hours delay in departure) and subsequent Abandonment (after 24 hours Travel Delay) under Adverse Weather conditions, whilst there is no advice/recommendation from the CAA or similar authority, to withdraw from service aircraft affecting airspace or individual airports.

Claims arising from withdrawal of service of aircraft on the orders or recommendation of the Civil Aviation Authority or similar body in any country will not be covered as per the exclusion on our policy under Travel Delay and Abandonment.

Please note the following airlines are choosing to not fly through Scottish airspace today Tuesday 24th May:-

  • British Airways is not operating any flights between London and Scotland until 1400 BST
  • KLM cancelled flights to and from Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh, as well as some to Newcastle
  • EasyJet cancelled flights to and from Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Aberdeen scheduled for between 0500 and 0900 BST
  • Flybe cancelled flights to and from Aberdeen and Inverness
  • Aer Lingus cancelled a number of its flights between the Republic of Ireland and Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen
  • Glasgow-based Loganair has cancelled 36 flights. Only inter-island routes in Orkney are unaffected
  • Eastern Airways will not be operating any services in or out of Scottish airspace

Please also note Ryan Air has been advised by the Irish Aviation Authority not to operate flights from Glasgow Prestwick, Edinburgh or Aberdeen until at least 1300BST.

You are advised to contact your airline or tour operator or departure airport directly to obtain up to the minute information on your travel plans.


  • Where flights are delayed and/or diverted due to the ash cloud (normally for 12 hours+)

Travel Delay: Our policies contain a Travel Delay section that offers customers a fixed benefit following a specified length of delay usually 12 hours at their international departure point, a benefit is payable after 12 hours and a further benefit is payable for each 12 hours thereafter, up to a maximum amount as detailed in Policy Schedules. For this cover to apply you must have checked-in for your flight/journey in line with your original booking conditions. You should check each policy as limits vary between schemes.

Abandonment: You will be able to cancel your holiday after a delay of 24 hours or more from the specified time of your international outward departure. For this cover to apply you must have checked-in for your flight/journey in line with your original booking conditions.

NB. You cannot submit a claim for both travel delay and abandonment which relates to the same event.

As the limits vary between schemes care should be taken to check the limits provided under each product.

Questions and Answers

Q. If the situation deteriorates and Airspace or individual airports are closed resulting in the withdrawal from service aircraft on the advice/recommendation of the CAA or similar authority, will I be covered?

A. No the relevant 'CAA' exclusion will apply.

Q. I have contacted my airline/tour operator and they advised that my flight has been cancelled. What happens next?

A. In these instances most airlines/tour operators will offer an alternative. If the alternative is not acceptable, you have a right to a refund from the airline/tour operator. If you have other associated costs that cannot be cancelled without charge, like accommodation or car hire costs, if you are able to obtain a letter from the airline to confirm your flight was cancelled due to the inclement weather, we will honour cancellation claims of this nature.

NOTE: Under the 'Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations 1992' Tour Operators must repay all monies relating to the holiday contract if an alternative is not offered and accepted by the customer.

In respect of the Airline, they are required under section 261/2004 to offer either:
a.) re-routing to the same destination at the earliest opportunity
b.) later rerouting, at the passenger's convenience, to the same destination or
c.) a refund of the ticket as well as a return flight to the point of first departure, when relevant.

Q. I am stuck overseas as my flight home has been cancelled?

A. This is a matter for your airline or tour operator, so please speak with them directly. If you had already checked-in on your international return journey to the UK and your delay is of 12 hours or more, you are able to claim for Travel Delay. In addition as the circumstances are beyond your control, your insurance cover automatically extends, without charge, until such time as your are able to return to the UK

Q. I am stuck overseas and I have run out of prescribed medication. Will my costs be covered to obtain essential medication?

A. Yes if as a consequence of the delay you run out of your prescribed medication, the costs to obtain such medication will be covered.

Q. I am stuck overseas will my policy still cover me?

A. As the circumstances are beyond your control, your insurance cover automatically extends, without charge, until such time as you are able to return to the UK.

Q. If my holiday is transferred to another date will my policy still cover me?

A. Yes providing you are travelling within the same geographical area and the duration is the same or not more than 3 days longer, if not the difference in premium needs to be paid. Although there should not be any further cases arising from today.

Q. My trip has been refunded will my insurance also be refunded?

A. Yes a refund will be given.

Q. If I transfer my insurance to new dates can I still claim for travel delay?

A. No, if a claim is considered and agreed under the travel delay section, the policy cannot then be transferred to new dates, you will need to buy a new policy.