Qantas strikes: what does your travel insurance cover?

By David Flynn, October 25 2011
Qantas strikes: what does your travel insurance cover?

Business travellers who've already had their plans disrupted by ongoing Qantas strikes – being hit with flight cancellations, delays leading to missed connections and wholesale changes to the timetable – now face another hurdle: getting their travel insurance company to cover any loss due to the industrial action.

The trick is that 'loss' is the operative word, and some travel insurance companies are playing hard rules when it comes to paying out on their policies.

A report at cites Insurance Council of Australia spokesman Campbell Fuller advising that "Generally, if an airline rebooks the traveller on a different flight, or pays compensation to the traveller, it's likely that no loss has been incurred."

Fuller says that the situation varies between insurers and policies, with study of the dreaded 'fine print' necessary to determine how issues such as industrial action are treated.

"In some policies the reasons for cancellation of an airline flight, giving rise to a travel insurance claim, may need to be 'unforeseen' - check with your insurer about how your policy will operate if your flight is cancelled due to protracted and predictable industrial action," he suggests.

Allianz Global Assistance Australia, for example, has issued a statement specifying that its "travel insurance policies provide cover for unforeseen and unexpected circumstances only", for all policies issued before October 13. (Policies taken out after that date are individually assessed).

Industrial action for which the unions have given warning, and flights which Qantas has already advised will be cancelled or delayed, don't seem to fall into the category of "unforeseen and unexpected circumstances."


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.

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