Will travel insurance cover flight cancellation?

April 14, 2022

No one likes to book a holiday thinking that their plans will change and they’ll have to cancel their flights and other associated holiday costs, but sometimes it cannot be helped.

In our guide below, we explain how to get a refund for cancelled flights on your travel insurance policy and whether you can actually get travel insurance for flights.

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Can I get a refund on my travel insurance if my flight is cancelled?

Travel insurance is there to help cover the costs associated with issues while travelling, such as cancellation costs, lost or stolen baggage, medical costs and more.

Therefore, you might be wondering whether you can get a refund from your travel insurance provider if your flight is cancelled due to a reason beyond your control. With most standard travel insurance policies, you will be covered for flight cancellation of some kind.

However, the terms and conditions surrounding the circumstances of the cancelled flight will vary depending on your travel insurance provider and the type of policy you have. For example, if a natural disaster (or ‘Act of God’ as it’s sometimes referred to by travel insurers) occurs, such as a thunderstorm or extreme winds, which means the airline cancels your flight, you may be able to make a claim on your policy.

In these situations, your airline won’t usually cover any costs associated with a natural disaster as it obviously wasn’t their fault, however, as it wasn’t your fault either, you should be able to make a claim through your travel insurance policy, depending on the type of policy you have.

The type of compensation you will receive will also differ, as some providers will offer you a full monetary refund, whereas some may offer a partial refund and some may refuse to cover you at all.

With most travel insurers, you are usually able to make a claim and receive a full refund if you meet one of the following criteria:

  • If your flight is delayed by more than 24 hours
  • If your flight is cancelled due to a natural disaster and they don’t rebook you on another flight within 24 hours.

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What is covered with flight cancellation travel insurance?

Of course, just as with any type of insurance policy, the exact things you’ll be covered for will depend on the type of policy you have and your insurance provider. However, you can usually expect most travel insurance policies to cover the following:

  • Natural disasters (such as extreme storms, tornadoes, hurricanes, floods, earthquakes and more).
  • If you’ve been summoned for jury duty and you’re no longer able to go on holiday.
  • If you’ve lost your job and you can no longer afford to go on holiday.
  • If you’ve suffered a bereavement in your family and you can no longer travel.
  • If the place that you’re travelling to becomes unsafe and it is no longer advised to travel there.
  • If you can no longer travel due to an injury or illness suffered by you or a member of your family (the exact inclusions of the types of injury and illnesses differ between policies).
  • If your home was broken into or has been damaged by a fire or flood just before you’re due to travel.

Of course, it entirely depends on the level of cover you have as to what you’ll be covered for when it comes to your travel insurance covering a flight cancellation, but you can typically expect to be covered for the above.

Read more: How to get the best deal on travel insurance

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What is not covered with my travel insurance and flight cancellation?

Unfortunately, you won’t be covered for every possible circumstance or situation that could arise that led to flight cancellation, so you must be aware of the following exclusions of most types of travel insurance policies for a cancelled flight.

  • If you travelled with the knowledge that a close family member suffered from an illness that resulted in you needing to cancel your flight.
  • If you have any medical conditions that you failed to declare when taking out your policy which means you can no longer take your flight.
  • If there is organised strike action on behalf of the airline you’re supposed to travel with.
  • If you or a family member suffer from an injury or illness relating to drug or alcohol abuse.

You might be interested in: How to Get a Refund on Travel Insurance due to Covid-19

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How do I get compensation for a cancelled flight if it’s not covered by my travel insurance?

In the event that your flight is cancelled by your airline or is delayed by more than three hours, the airline itself is usually responsible for organising an alternative flight or for compensating you if there is no alternative flight.

Each airline’s policy will differ in what they can offer you in terms of compensation for these kinds of eventualities, so it’s important to check your travel insurance policy documents and check with the airline themselves to see what you’ll be covered for.

If the airline won’t arrange an alternative flight for you and won’t offer you compensation, check what you can claim in the cancellation section of your travel insurance policy. You might not be able to make a claim for a flight, but you might be able to claim for other costs associated with your cancelled flight such as accommodation, hire car or a connecting flight.

You might like: When is the cheapest time to book a holiday?

How can I make a claim for a cancelled flight?

The airline will be responsible for arranging another flight or offering you a full refund if your flight is cancelled or delayed and it was them who cancelled it. In this circumstance, they have an obligation to work with you to resolve the issue, whether that’s offering you a new flight, a full refund or a voucher that allows you to book another flight in the future.

However, if it’s not the airline’s fault and you decide to cancel your flight or it has been cancelled due to circumstances outside of the airline’s control, you will have to go through your travel insurance provider to make a claim.

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