Airlines will not be covered by insurance for compensation made to passengers where flights are cancelled or delayed, experts warned.

Under EU rules that came into force this week, passengers using European airports could be eligible to claim up to £415 if their flight is cancelled or over-subscribed. Previously the pay-outs were around £100.

Primary Insurance Group's managing director John Bibby said existing policies are unlikely to cover airlines for the cost of compensation as the fault will "most likely lie with them and could therefore be avoided".

He added: "It is very unlikely the airlines will have cover for what is in effect a standard travel payment, and can be controlled by the airlines themselves.

"Such cover may also lead to complacency on the part of the airlines, who may be less concerned with ensuring they are reliable if they know they are insured."

It remains to be seen whether enterprising insurers will step into the breach by offering some form of extended cover, he said.