Travellers and holidaymakers are being urged to check their travel insurance small print after a new study found a wide range of differing terms and pay outs in policies.
Comparison website Gocompare analysed more than 530 travel insurance policies and found that while 79% of polices provide some cover within the first 12 hours of a delayed departure, the pay-outs for travellers range between £10 and £400.
The majority of policies (69%) offer between £25 and £35 for each person on the policy but 21% do not provide cover at all, the website found.
Some 84% of policies offer cover for abandoning your holiday plans after an extended delay of typically between 12 and 24 hours. In most cases, travellers will need to provide their insurers with an official written statement confirming the reason for the delay and its duration, as well as any unused tickets to help support the claim.
The amount that can be claimed for abandonment will be listed in the traveller's policy schedule. Some policies limit payouts to £500, while a few provide cover of up to £20,000.
If you miss your departure because of public transport issues, bad weather, a motorway accident, or your car breaks down on the way to the airport, then 81% of policies provide missed departure cover, allowing you to try to claim for 'extra reasonable costs for travel and accommodation', with payouts ranging from £150 to £5,000.
Caroline Lloyd from Gocompare.com Travel Insurance said: "There is a wide variation in the level of cover offered by different policies so you'll need to check your policy wording for limits, excesses and any terms and conditions.
"In particular, when making a claim, insurers will require you to provide written proof from an official source as evidence of the delay or reason for you missing your scheduled departure time. For example, if you're involved in an accident on the way to the airport you will probably need to supply them with a police accident report."
She added: "It's also important to remember that you can't insure against potential disruption to your holiday plans that you were already aware of such as a publically announced airline strike or industrial action."