Nearly half of insurance policies fail to protect holidaymakers against cancellations caused by industrial action, consumer group Which? found.
Its analysis of 199 packages offered by 71 providers found that 40% did not offer coverage in the event of a strike.
Travelers are warned to prepare for chaos this summer as unions vote to strike in a fight for better wages and working conditions.
More than 700 BA check-in staff and ground handling agents at Heathrow could come out at the height of the summer season after recently voting in favor of the strike.
Meanwhile, easyJet workers in Spain said they would strike sporadically throughout July as unions in France, Italy and Portugal continue to clash with airlines and airports, which suggests the prospect of new trade union actions.
Overall, the situation paints a gloomy picture for travelers this summer.
Many are naturally looking for protection: insurance that will cover them if their flights are cancelled.
But only six policies out of 10. Which one? examined actually offered reimbursement to travelers forced to cancel a trip due to strikes, leaving many policyholders unprotected.
“We advise travelers to always check policies carefully to ensure they offer the most appropriate cover for their trip and to ensure they have cover in place from the time of booking,” said Jenny Ross, Managing Editor at Which?.
She added that travelers “should ensure they have adequate insurance to cover any unforeseen losses or costs they may face.”
Who? also analyzed policies for their level of protection against coronavirus-related disruptions.
The group said it had seen huge disparities in the level of cover offered – with cases on the rise in many European countries.
Which of the 199 policies? assessed, less than 10% offered what they considered to be full protection in the event of a holiday interrupted by COVID-19.
Know your rights
The group defines comprehensive coverage as giving travelers the option to claim emergency medical care if they catch COVID-19 while abroad, and also giving them the option to claim cancellation costs if they are tested positive for the virus before their trip.
Comprehensive policies should include reimbursement if the legal requirement to self-isolate is reintroduced for those identified as close contacts, or if the government restricts travel to and from the country you are vacationing in.
Other tips from Which one? always include booking your holiday by credit card if possible, as your bank is legally obliged to refund any purchase over £100 if the services provided are not as advertised, and the company responsible will not refund you.
The group also said that “anyone whose holiday is canceled by a package tour operator is entitled to a refund in accordance with the law. Airlines are also required to reimburse passengers when they cancel flights – including when the cancellation is caused by their own staff on strike.
“Similarly, a package holiday from an ATOL-protected company will ensure that you are reimbursed if the company goes out of business and repatriated if this happens while you are overseas.”