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Travel insurance won't cover problems caused by volcanic ash

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Sydney
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851 posts
7 reviews
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Travel insurance won't cover problems caused by volcanic ash

I've been trying to get travel insurance for my daughter's proposed trip to Italy and France in September. Every insurer I've spoken to say that they won't be paying claims related to any future issues arising from the Iceland volcano, unless the policy was purchased prior to April 16th.

This exclusion will be in place indefinitely, until such time as it can be shown that the volcano no longer represents a known risk.

I was told "We only insure for unforeseen occurrences" and in this case, it could be reasonably expected that there will be more ash episodes ongoing.

Clearly, travellers are still planning trips to Europe, so I was wondering how others feel about taking insurance in the knowledge it won't cover for every contingency? My daughter is devastated she may not get to take a much-anticipated trip. Fortunately we have only paid a smallish deposit so far, with the balance payable in July. I'd rather lose the deposit than risk a much larger sum.

Montreal
Destination Expert
for Paris
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18,647 posts
148 reviews
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1. Re: Travel insurance won't cover problems caused by volcanic ash

I am going to take my chances, I plan to leave in mid-June and then have flights scheduled within Europe during the summer.. will just hope for the best.

Paris, France
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for Paris, Loire Valley
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20,856 posts
4 reviews
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2. Re: Travel insurance won't cover problems caused by volcanic ash

The greatest risk is assumed by those who stay in apartments or Gites and commit to a large cash outlay. Usually hotel and restaurant reservations can be canceled and airfare either refunded or used on an eventual return home.

As someone who has an apartment in France I rent for at least a month every year, I too am concerned but ultimately there is little one can do. I wonder what tickets cost on an ocean liner?

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5,896 posts
109 reviews
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3. Re: Travel insurance won't cover problems caused by volcanic ash

The ins. companies are in it to make money. I heard there were some that did pay ash compensation, but the majority won't. We've always taken out travel insurance in the past up to just last month, in fact, but we've decided to take a chance and do without for our upcoming trip. Besides the insurance company we usually buy from have put British Airways on their strike list. Unfortunately we've booked with BA this time around and should they strike (most probable) again we wouldn't be covered by the insurance company anyway. Fortunately we have booked hotels that accept cancellations 24 hours before arrival, and the airline we'll just have to deal with them as unsavory as it will be. Once the strike dates are announced we're planning on requesting a refund from BA and booking at whatever cost with a competitor.

Florida
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17,083 posts
10 reviews
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4. Re: Travel insurance won't cover problems caused by volcanic ash

Trip insurance is a small % of your total trip expense and covers quite a few potential situations other than 'acts of God' type issues... For instance in 2008 my husband had heart surgery and we had to postpone for a month. The trip insurance covered the additional airfare, the change fees, and the difference in the hotel rate for the delayed trip.

Victoria, Canada
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21,480 posts
84 reviews
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5. Re: Travel insurance won't cover problems caused by volcanic ash

I have never taken out travel insurance,, only medical insurance. The only exception would be if one was cruising or paying for a tour, and needed to pay all up front. Since when I go to Europe I stay in hotels ,, its not a big deal to cancel . I only book at hotels that have reasonable cancellation policies.. most are 24-48 hrs notice, a few are a few days more,and most penalties are only one nights fee,, I do not book at hotels that want whole booking up front or will take it as a penalty.

I am leaving for Paris and London in 2.5 weeks. If my flight is cancelled I won't have a huge problem ( other then terrible sadness) ,, since airline will change dates if they cancel, and my hotels have only one nights notice required. I will lose out on my Eurostar ticket , but that was only 80 euros anyways, and my tickets to Rouen and Provins( daytrips) both of which( together) were under 50 euros anyways.

I would be nervous if I had booked an apartment, they tend to have least flexible cancellation policies. Even some tours were allowing date changes.

I hope if it blows again I am already there, I would rather get stuck there then at home. I do have a way of staying longer without increasing my accomadation costs, elderly relatives would take me in,, not ideal, but free.

atlanta
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258 posts
17 reviews
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6. Re: Travel insurance won't cover problems caused by volcanic ash

Have you talked to Travel Guard? I bought a policy with them last week for our trip to Europe in June. They covered the volcano issue unless we were traveling to Iceland which we're not. Check with them and see what they say. I also use tripinsurancestore.com. Talk to the owner. He should be able to help you.

atlanta
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258 posts
17 reviews
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7. Re: Travel insurance won't cover problems caused by volcanic ash

Have you talked to Travel Guard? I bought a policy with them last week for our trip to Europe in June. They covered the volcano issue unless we were traveling to Iceland which we're not. Check with them and see what they say. I also use tripinsurancestore.com. Talk to the owner. He should be able to help you.

Los Angeles
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1,394 posts
15 reviews
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8. Re: Travel insurance won't cover problems caused by volcanic ash

I'd also talk to Travel Guard. I've been buying their insurance for years and had to file a claim once as I got stuck in L.A. due to fog (quite common) in San Francisco and by the time I got to San Francisco (some 5 or so hours later), the one flight to Paris had left.. So, I ended up stuck in S.F. and didn't show up at my hotel, in Paris, until a day later.

When I got home, they paid for theParis hotel room, as I was charged as a no-show, for one night. They also asked me why I hadn't included the food expenses and whatever other expenses I might have incurred while stuck in S.F. I had just forgotten about such and only filed for the room expense in as it was a substantial amount. Plus, United had given me a voucher for a motel stay in S.F. Happy Travels!

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5,896 posts
109 reviews
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9. Re: Travel insurance won't cover problems caused by volcanic ash

If you buy from Travel Guard be sure you are not flying with British Airways which is on their strike list. They won't pay for anything if your trip gets affected due to any impending strikes with the airline.

California
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602 posts
14 reviews
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10. Re: Travel insurance won't cover problems caused by volcanic ash

I've traveled quite a bit, and always without insurance. But the volcano disruption did unnerve me on this last trip.

There's some helpful info here, and best read prior to takeoff or even booking your ticket (where you book matters).

www.nytimes.com/2010/05/02/travel/02prac.html

Also, if you find yourself stranded in Europe indefinitely due to the volcano and can't afford (or find affordable) another night in a hotel (and have no friends in the city you're in), I'd suggest couch surfing. Seriously.

http://www.couchsurfing.org/