Travel disruption cover – everything you need to know

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Woman with her head in her hands at airport with suitcase beside her

If something delays your trip or it’s cancelled or disrupted in any way, it’s important you know what your travel insurance covers. 

What is travel disruption?

The term 'travel disruption' can cover a few different events and situations:

  • cancellations or delays
  • extreme weather or natural disasters

Disruption is when schedules or expectations aren't met, or you find yourself in a dangerous or unpredictable situation which affects your trip.

Your policy book will outline in detail what situations you’re covered for.

Why do I need cover for travel disruption?

If you’ve booked a package holiday through a travel agent or company, you should be entitled to some holiday disruption cover. Make sure you choose a company with Air Travel Organiser’s License (ATOL) or the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) protection. 

In some situations you’ll be entitled to compensation or a replacement trip. Keep in mind that ATOL and ABTA will cover certain things like supplier failure, but not all scenarios.

If you’ve booked your travel and accommodation independently, you might not have protection if there are cancellations, delays or things don’t go to plan. 

The right travel insurance policy should cover you for costs caused by disruption

What if my flight (or other transport) is delayed or cancelled?

International departures (either outbound or return) are usually covered if :

  • your transport breaks down
  • there’s an accident which causes a delay
  • there’s a strike or industrial action (which was not known about beforehand)

We count a delay as anything 12 hours or more. 

You’ll be covered as long as you have already checked in and you eventually go on the trip.

What happens if I abandon my trip?

If something delays your flight or transport for more than 24 hours and you decide to abandon your trip, you can claim for irrecoverable losses up to your policy limits. 

Your policy can cover for:

  • accommodation
  • pre-booked excursions
  • unused deposits
  • car parking fees

Catastrophe cover

We refer to natural disasters as ‘catastrophes’, but other insurance policies can give them different names, like ‘force majeure’. 

This can include things like earthquakes, floods, hurricanes or tsunamis. You can claim for certain costs caused by natural disasters, like your accommodation being uninhabitable or being forced to return home early, on our Gold and Platinum tier policies. 

Read our guide on travel insurance and natural disasters.

Hijacking cover

Some insurance companies will compensate you for any costs related to a hijacking situation. You can claim if you don’t reach your destination, as well as for return journeys or temporary accommodation.

We won’t cover hijacking en route to a destination that the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) has deemed unsafe.

What disruptions am I not covered for?

There are some disruptions we can’t provide cover for. These include: 

  • any form of war (including civil war), rebellion or revolution or any other similar event
  • disruptions caused by staff shortages or delays caused by technical issues
  • acts or threats of terrorism
  • radioactive contamination from nuclear or toxic waste
  • anticipated events where you knew something was going to happen or could have reasonably expected it
  • disruptions relating to cruises or winter sports activities – if you have not added the additional cover for these 
  • disruption to connecting transport, like connecting flights

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