The Financial Ombudsman Service received more Covid-related complaints about travel insurance than any other products since the pandemic started.

The service said it had more than 3,500 complaints related to Covid-19 so far this year, and travel insurance accounted for almost one quarter (23%).

Business protection insurance was the second highest category, with 20%, followed by credit cards at 9%.

The ombudsman service said: “As airlines cancelled flights, and lockdown meant people couldn’t travel, we heard from people having difficulty getting refunds from hotels, airlines and holiday operators. Some concerned consumers found themselves stranded abroad unable to travel back to the UK, and travel companies and airlines started going into administration.

“The majority of travel insurance complaints referred to us since March 2020 have been about how insurers have been handling claims for cancelled holidays as a result of Covid-19.

“Other consumers looked to get their money back for cancelled holidays from their bank by making a claim under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act.

“The increase we saw in complaints about unsuccessful claims made under Section 75 reflected this.”

Other complaints arose when consumers tried to get their money back for sports fixtures, concerts or weddings that were cancelled.

The Financial Ombudsman Service adjudicates on unresolved complaints between financial businesses and their customers.

More than one million people contact the service each year with complaints about insurance, bank accounts, payment cards and loans.