Dubai International Airport floods, says that under the current circumstances, airlines are not necessarily obliged to compensate affected travellers.

“According to Emirates airlines, travellers are entitled to compensation for flight delays over three hours. However, this does not apply to delays caused by ‘extraordinary circumstances.’”

Ball says that natural disasters, such as flash flooding, could fall under this category.

“When delays or cancellations are caused by circumstances outside of an airline’s control, they are usually not responsible for your out-of-pocket expenses,” she notes. “They may try to get you on the next flight available or offer you a flight credit, but in many scenarios this may not be sufficient.

“This flooding event is precisely why you should buy travel insurance. When unforeseen events like bad weather or natural disasters strike, you’d likely be eligible to claim for cancellation and flight delay costs, including additional accommodation if required.”

Ball says cover for natural disasters and major weather events are an often-overlooked aspect of travel insurance.

She says if you are unable to proceed with your trip plans due to a major weather event, travel insurance would provide you with cancellation benefits and cover for lost deposits. Or if you’re stranded mid-route, you would be provided with accommodation, meal and transport expenses.

However, travellers should take note of their policy’s terms because not all insurers provide cover for natural disasters. “It’s important to consider a policy that covers trip cancellation and delays, Ball says. “But, insurance only covers unforeseen events; the Dubai floods are now a known incident, so if you buy a policy now, it won’t protect you from cancellations related to this incident.”

Lastly, Ball warns travellers not to leave their cover to the last minute.

“Extreme weather events can strike at any time. Always (arrange) travel insurance well in advance of your trip to mitigate your risks. When in doubt, remember these wise words from ‘If you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel!’”

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