What you need to know about flight delay or cancellation insurance

Flight delays or cancellations are, unfortunately, more common than ever. And they can really throw a wrench in your travel plans. While there’s no way to guarantee your flight will take off on time, having a travel insurance policy that covers flight-related issues can help if you find yourself in this all too common situation. Here’s what you need to know about travel insurance coverage specifically for delayed or canceled flights.

What is flight cancellation or delay insurance?

Flight cancellation or flight delay coverage can be added on to a travel insurance policy that you would buy for any upcoming trip. It may pay out a set amount of money in the event your flight is canceled, or delayed for at least a minimum amount of time, as determined in your policy documents.

For example, let’s say you show up for an evening cross-country flight home at the end of your vacation, only to find that your flight has been grounded due to mechanical failure and you must wait until the next morning to fly home. Your flight delay coverage will kick in and can pay you a specific amount of money for your inconvenience. You’ll simply need to provide proof of the delay when you make your claim.

What does flight cancellation or delay insurance cover?

Generally speaking, your coverage kicks in when your flight is delayed or canceled for any reason. Most commonly, it would be due to airline mechanical issues, flight crew shortages, overbooking, or inclement weather.

More specifically, there are four main types of coverage related to flight delays or cancellations. Be sure to review your plan details for your specific coverage.

Flight delay

Flight delay coverage can be activated when you are delayed in landing by 12 hours or more. After 12 hours, you’re eligible to apply for a payout from your flight delay insurance. You may receive the full benefit as outlined in your policy documents — there’s no partial payout, for example, for a delay of six hours.

Flight departure delay or cancellation

You may be eligible to flight departure delay benefit in the event that your flight is delayed in taking off for a set period of time, such as two hours. Just as for a flight delay claim, you’ll need to file a claim with proof that your flight departure was delayed. This type of benefit may also be available to you if your flight is canceled after a delay.

Flight delay lounge access

If you’re having to endure an extended delay at an airport, having somewhere more comfortable than the departure hall to wait it out can help ease the inconvenience. Flight delay lounge access benefit may reimburse you for costs related to buying a day pass for an airport lounge. Most airport lounges provide food, beverages, Wi-Fi, and other creature comforts, helping to make the delay a little more bearable. The delay generally needs to be a set period of time, such as one hour or more.

Tarmac delay

Just like other delay coverage, tarmac delay benefit may be available in the event that you get stuck waiting on the tarmac for a set amount of hours. The exact terms vary depending on the details of your flight delay coverage, but it’s usually after a specific period of time, for example, two or more hours, as tracked by the Department of Transportation.

Should I purchase flight cancellation or delay insurance?

Flight delays and cancellations are common and inconvenient. With a travel insurance plan and flight delay or cancellation coverage in place, you can rest easy knowing that you may receive payment for your inconvenience resulting from delays, or be reimbursed for unexpected expenses that can really add up when your flight is delayed.

In addition, since flight delay or cancellation coverage can be part of an overall travel insurance policy, you’ll also enjoy the security of other coverage, including lost or delayed baggage, travel medical coverage, and rental vehicle damage.

battleface is unique among travel insurance providers in that you can pick those coverages you want and need — you don’t have to buy a packaged product. You may want to consider adding this coverage to your selection of benefits if you’re traveling internationally, have multiple connections, or if you just want the assurance that you’ll be compensated if one of these covered events occurs.  And, when you purchase travel insurance with battleface, assistance will also be available 24/7, which can come in handy when, for example, you need help finding a last-minute hotel room in an unfamiliar city.

What’s the difference between flight delay and trip delay coverage?

Flight delay benefits, as detailed above, may provide a flat amount of benefit after a covered event. You’re able to use that money as you see fit, and the reason why your flight was delayed is unimportant. This is truly intended to compensate you for your inconvenience.

Trip delay coverage, which is standard in most travel insurance policies, may reimburse you for a specific set of extra expenses related to unanticipated travel delays. These typically include hotel accommodations, meals, and transportation to and from the airport if you have to leave and return the next day. It can also reimburse you for any non-refundable travel bookings you may have missed due to the delay. You’ll need to provide receipts in order to receive reimbursement, and there’s a daily limit on how much you can claim.

Another difference is that with trip delay insurance, there are defined reasons why you can make a claim. This is just a sample of some of the covered reasons: you’re involved in a traffic accident en route to the airport; you or your traveling companion are dealing with lost or stolen passports; there’s an airline strike or civil disorder; or there’s a natural disaster at the point of departure or arrival.

Additional documentation may be required in some cases. For example, you’ll need to show a police report if you’re involved in a traffic accident that prevents you from arriving at the airport in time to take your flight.

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