Greece wildfires: what we cover and where to get support

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Imagine of a plane leaving the airport at dusk.

Several Greek islands are currently facing active wildfires, with evacuations in Rhodes, Evia and Corfu.

A wildfire is extremely dangerous and poses a threat to human life so it’s important you take all necessary precautions as your safety is most important.

We’re here to answer:

What to do if you’re in Greece

First, check if you’re in an area affected by wildfires.

If you’re not safe to stay where you are, contact your travel provider, tour operator or airline who is likely to have up to date information about the situation and can offer immediate support if you need to be moved.

Keep up to date with local news and authorities too. Call the Greek Emergency Services on 112 if you are in immediate danger.

The Greek government has established a Crisis Management Unit to respond to the situation in Rhodes too.

Contact them on:

  • +30 210 368 1730
  • +30 210 368 1259
  • +30 210 368 1350

If you booked a package holiday, contact your tour operator for regular updates.

For those who bought direct flights, your airline should have the latest information.

Your travel provider should help you if your holiday’s impacted by wildfire. They’re usually responsible for flying you home safely or moving you to safer accommodation.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) has the latest UK government advice.

What to do if you’ve booked a holiday that hasn’t yet started

Contact your travel provider if you want to change your travel dates or travel location in the first instance. We can’t cover any costs of rearranging your trip.

We advise checking to see if you need to update your travel insurance if you rearrange your holiday or move the dates to make sure you’ll still be covered.

Am I covered if I already have a policy with you?

Travel insurance covers unforeseen events. The wildfires have had widespread media attention since the weekend, meaning from Sunday, 23rd July, it was considered an anticipated event.

As a reminder, our policies only cover irrecoverable losses. This means if costs can be recovered elsewhere it’s unlikely you can claim on your insurance.  For example, we consider vouchers and re-bookings as recoverable losses, as this recovers what you’ve lost or damaged.

Before claiming, you’ll need to show that you’ve been unable to get a refund from your tour operator or travel and accommodation provider first.

There are exclusions for different types of customers and circumstances and you should check your policy wording for the full details.

New customers

Since the wildfires have been a known event since Sunday 23rd July, you’re unlikely to be able to claim on your travel insurance relating to this incident if you purchased your policy after this date.

You can still buy the policy, but you can’t claim for anything connected to the wildfires.

Existing customers

It’s essential you check for advice and support from your operators before trying to claim on your insurance.

However, if you do need our support there is a number of scenarios that would currently be considered under your policy cover.

Subject to the normal terms and conditions, you’ll get cover for:

  • Emergency medical issues and repatriation – we’ll consider claims for any illness or injury that happened because of the fires or the weather conditions. You can read more in Section 1 of your policy book. You can call our emergency medical assistance line on +44 (0)292 010 7777.
  • Personal belongings lost due to evacuation – we’ll consider claims if you’ve been forced to evacuate your accommodation and were unable to bring your belongings with you. Read Section 4 and Section 6 of your policy book for more information.
  • Personal belongings destroyed in a fire - we’ll also consider claims where the accommodation’s destroyed by the fires, but we’d need evidence to confirm this. Read Section 4 and Section 6 of your policy book for more information.
  • Missed cruises – we’ll consider cruise cover claims under Missed Port Departure and Cruise Itinerary change if the wildfires have impacted it.

You may get cover for:

  • Missed flights – if you miss your flight or can’t make it to the airport on time because of the fires, then we’d cover reasonable expenses like accommodation and travel. Section 5 of your policy book covers this.
  • Delayed flights – for a delay of more than 12 hours to or from Greece, you'll get cover as long as you aren't claiming for Trip Abandonment. Section 5 of your policy book explains more.
  • Abandoned flights – if the flight to Greece is cancelled and no alternatives are offered within 24 hours, you may be covered to abandon your trip and stay home. Read more in Section 5 of your policy book.
  • Catastrophe cover – this only applies to our Gold and Platinum customers. Read Section 10 of your policy book for a list of what’s covered if your holiday has been affected by the wildfires.

What happens if you cancel your trip

We recommend contacting your tour or travel operator initially as they may be able to offer alternative solutions such as a refund, change of holiday location or moving your dates.

Section 2 of your policy book sets out all the reasons you would be covered for cancellation.

You can read our holiday cancellation guide for more information.

We can cover you for this if the FCDO’s advice changes after you’ve booked your trip, as it’ll no longer be considered a safe destination.

What to do if you’re delayed at the airport

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) says that under UK law “your flight provider must offer you care and assistance if a flight is significantly delayed”.

That means they must give you:

  • food and drink – usually in vouchers
  • opportunity to contact someone – usually by refunding your calls
  • accommodation – only applies if the flight’s delayed overnight
  • transport – to and from accommodation or your home (if it’s close enough)

If your airline’s experiencing staff shortages and can’t offer you the above, they should provide reimbursement as long as it’s seen as reasonable. Contact your airline if you need clarity on their policy. 

Read more about your travel rights on the CAA website.

Travel insurance may cover for travel delays too. We’ve mentioned our policy above, and you can read more in Section 5 of your policy book.

Is it still safe to travel?

The FCDO states:

“Extreme temperatures are affecting many areas of Greece and there are a number of active wildfires. If you are a British national affected by wildfires, please follow the guidance from the emergency services.”

However, it hasn’t said not to travel at this point. Please keep up to date with FCDO advice regularly as this can change.

It’s important to remember not all of Greece and its islands are affected. We recommend keeping up with relevant news outlets and your holiday provider to see how the situation evolves.

If you’re one of our customers, please contact us if you need anything.