What happens if your flight is cancelled due to a strike? When an airline goes on strike it can of course, have a massive impact on your travel plans.
As you scramble to find bookings on other flights, airports and nearby hotels will fill up with stranded travellers, leading to growing lines and thinning patience. Travel insurance won’t alleviate the headache of dealing with these delays or inconveniences but buying the right travel insurance may help protect you against unexpected out-of-pocket expenses.
Does Travel Insurance Cover Airline Strikes?
Travel insurance can certainly help in the event of an airline strike but, as with all travel insurance, it’s important to understand the role of the insurance policy in mitigating any strike-related issues, and when these benefits may or may not apply.
By purchasing a comprehensive travel insurance policy that includes cover for unannounced strikes, you may be covered for travel delays, cancellations or interruptions that come up thereafter. All of this assumes, however, that you purchased your travel insurance policy while the strike was still an ‘unforeseen event’.
Understanding Travel Insurance Limitations for Strikes
When travel insurance refers to ‘known perils’, it really means that it’s not going to cover you for something that could reasonably have been expected to happen. We most often talk about ‘known perils’ in relation to weather events, like tropical storms, but the term also applies to airline strikes. Just as a storm is considered a ‘known peril’ once tracked on meteorological radar, an airline strike can be considered a ‘known peril’ once there’s been a public announcement that a labour dispute may be imminent.
If you follow the news at all, you’re probably aware that many possible strikes in any industry are publicized days, or even weeks, before they actually occur. Once that happens, the strike is no longer considered an ‘unforeseen event’, but rather a ‘known peril’. Even if you’re unaware that your airline has declared the possibility of a strike when you purchase your travel insurance, the fact is that the travel insurance company is fully aware, and they are no longer going to be extending benefits to customers who purchase after the announcement has been made.
What Can You Do to Protect Yourself?
The best thing to do, is twofold: First, make sure to purchase your travel insurance policy as soon as possible after making your initial trip payment. Doing so will often provide the most benefits and cover options.
Secondly, be mindful of any news surrounding potential travel suppliers before you secure your booking. If you book your travel with an airline who hasn’t announced any imminent strikes and immediately follow up by purchasing a suitable comprehensive travel insurance policy, you should be protected from any labour dispute that may come up thereafter.
Most people think they’ll be covered by the travel insurance from their bank when buying their air tickets with their credit card. But be warned: this cover may not be enough as it often places restrictions on age, costs, services and certain destinations.
But even if you opt for additional insurance, you should be aware that not all travel insurance includes cover for airport or airline strikes. In fact, a strike may be listed as a specific exclusion, which is why you should always take the time to double check the terms of your policy with your insurer or broker.
* This article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal or financial advice.