Europe’s most active volcano, Mount Etna has erupted. The volcano lies in the Italian island of Sicily and this morning’s eruption has caused chaos for flights that are due to land in two of the countries airports.

A huge ash cloud restricted landings for both Catania Airport and Palmero Airport, and only four flights per hour were able to land. It is believed departures were not affected.

As the ash cloud clears, the airports are hoping to resume normal operations however passengers should expect travel delays.

Both British Airways and Easyjet have routes from the UK to Sicily and passengers are being advised to check for delays and disruption directly with their transport provider.

If your flight is delayed leaving the UK, provided you are checked-in, you may be able to claim a small amount of compensation from your travel insurance provider, however the delay must be for 12 hours or more before you are entitled to compensation on most travel insurance policies, but there are a few policies that will offer to pay out after a 6-hour delay – so check your policy wording.

If you are already abroad and your flight home has been cancelled or delayed due to the ash cloud, although if cancelled it is the airlines responsibility to reschedule the flight, your travel insurance may cover the cost of additional accommodation and expenses until you are able to return home – as long as the policy offers Force Majeure cover.

The Force Majeure section in your travel insurance policy wording covers for climatic conditions, such as a volcano eruption. Most travel insurance policies will not cover force majeure as standard so, it’s worth keeping an eye open for one that will or alternatively a policy that offers a Force Majeure extension.

Travel insurance policies purchased after Tuesday 20th February 2019 will not offer Force Majeure cover for this particular volcanic eruption as is now a ‘known event’.

For more on Force Majeure cover click here.