Four in 10 travel insurance policies offer no protection for cancellations caused by airport or airline staff strikes, according to Which?
The consumer group analysed 199 packages provided by 71 insurance firms and found just 60% (120) offered cover in the event of industrial action.
This means a significant proportion of travellers could find themselves unprotected this summer amid airport staff shortages, while unions vote to strike for fairer pay and working conditions.
British Airways and EasyJet passengers have been told to brace for travel disruption over the coming months, while Ryanair's boss warned flight delays and cancellations will continue "right throughout the summer".
An estimated 700 BA check-in and ground-handling agents at Heathrow Airport could stage a walk out in summer after voting to strike, while easyJet cabin crews in Spain are to strike in three phases in July.
Which? journalist Harry Kind explains the consumer group's findings and what to look out for in your insurance policy
Jenny Ross, Which? money editor, said: “With many airlines warning of widespread disruption this summer and Covid cases on the rise, travellers should ensure they’ve taken out adequate insurance to cover any losses or unexpected costs they might face."
“We advise travellers to always check policies carefully to ensure they offer the cover that will be most appropriate to their trip, and to ensure they have cover in place from the time of booking," she added.
Which? also warned that it found huge disparities in the level of cover offered against Covid-related disruption.
Of the 199 policies researchers examined, fewer than one in 10 offered what it considers to be ‘complete’ protection in the event that a holiday is disrupted by Covid.
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What to look out for to make sure you're covered for strike action:
Which? suggests five tips for ensuring your travel insurance provides the cover you need.
Before taking out insurance, always check the 'policy wording' to ensure you understand what it offers and any limitations. This should be available before you complete purchase of a policy.
If there are specific reasons you’re buying the cover, check these sections to make sure they align with your expectations. Some policies specify - and so limit cover to - certain causes of delay or cancellation such as strike, mechanical failure or adverse weather.
Though airlines have to refund you the cost of a cancelled flight or reroute you and pay compensation if the flight was cancelled less than 14 days before departure, additional costs incurred such as emergency accommodation and meals won’t always be met by your carrier. It may therefore be worth exploring policies which can plug this gap.
It is important to check claim limits to ensure they meet your individual requirements, as these can vary significantly. For example, in the case of cancellation due to serious delays or disruption to transport, Which? found that the average claim limit was £4110.22, with the most generous policies offering up to £15,000.
Also check the policy’s general exclusions and conditions. If anything in the policy is unclear, contact the insurer.