The association to which the major travel insurance companies belong issued a statement on Friday.

In their release, The Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada first specifies that travellers who have trip cancellation, interruption or delay insurance, and have been affected by volcanic ash disruptions, to contact their insurers or assistance providers such as their travel agents for information about their coverage, for help while they are travelling and for setting up claims.

The important point is that the companies consider the disruption to travel resulting from the volcanoes in Iceland as an event that is covered if the insurance was purchased or in effect before April 14, the start of the volcano eruption.

In addition they say, if travellers were stranded beyond the expiration dates of their policies, coverage is most often being extended until the insured traveller is able to return home, at no additional cost. Generally, this coverage extension will apply to both emergency medical and non-medical provisions.

Clients currently travelling in areas affected by the volcanic eruptions, who have trip interruption coverage, will under most policies have limited coverage for additional accommodation, costs to contact the insurer or assistance company, and meal expenses if they are unable to return to Canada as planned. Some coverages will reimburse the cost of alternate travel arrangements if available.

THIA encourages all travellers to contact their insurance or assistance company for specific coverage details, coverage limits and details about how to submit a claim.

Trip cancellation coverage would apply to cancellation or interruption of any non-reimbursable, fully insured and prepaid portion of the trip, including airfares, pending cruises, land tours, hotel stays or other excursions that are beyond the control and stated responsibility of the air carrier or tour operator. In some cases, airlines or tour operators offer vouchers for future travel in lieu of immediate refunds. Many insurers will extend the dates on a policy at no charge.

In general, clients who are scheduled to travel in future would still be covered if they bought their policy before April 14. No coverage is available for those who purchased insurance after the eruption.