What is a flight delay insurance?

What is a flight delay insurance? Do you need it?

In short, it’s a type of insurance that covers flight delays. In most cases, it’s included in your travel insurance policy. It offers coverage for costs related to missed flights, missed connections, and more — providing you with financial protection should your airline fail to be timely or reliable. Read on for a look at the importance of flight delay insurance and travel insurance in general.

What if you don’t have any insurance when travelling? Fortunately, European regulations offer some protections even if you don't have a special insurance.

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Travel insurance

What is a flight delay insurance?

Flight delay insurance is a type of insurance policy that covers the costs associated with unexpected flight delays or cancellations. It can provide reimbursement for hotel, meals, and other expenses incurred as a result of the delay or cancellation. It can also help cover costs for re-booking flights and transportation costs.

Flight delay insurance often is a part of an all-in-one travel insurance policy.

However, don’t forget that these things differ from company to company. Make sure you check what does the policy that you are looking at cover, before buying a travel insurance.

If your travel insurance policy does’t cover flight delays and trip interruptions, you can often buy such an insurance when booking a flight. Many third party flight booking sites offer such services. One such example is kiwi.com. Thanks to such insurance, you will be protected in case of trip interruptions and missed connections. So, think of that!

Some airlines might also offer some sort of travel insurance.

Where can you buy flight delay insurance?

Flight delay insurance can be purchased from airlines, travel agents, and online flight booking websites. Insurances of all sorts are one of the most popular extra services businesses offer. As a result, you can buy it from multiple places.

Additionally, certain credit cards offer flight delay coverage as part of their benefits package, so it may be worth looking into your card's features if you already have one.

To make the best decision, it is important to compare different policies and read reviews before making a purchase.

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Do you need flight delay insurance to claim EU flight compensation?

No, very often you don’t need an insurance to claim flight compensation.

Here we are talking about European flight compensation:

All European airlines follow the same regulations when it comes to flight compensation. The same regulations also apply to non-European airlines, but only on flights departing from European airports.

If your flight is eligible to compensation, then you still qualify for EU flight compensation despite not having any coverage. All thanks to European flight compensation regulations — Regulation 261/2004 and Regulation UK261, both of which are almost identical.

Insurance and right to care

According to the European flight compensation regulations, all passengers are entitled to receive care in case of flight delay, flight cancellation, and denied boarding.

If you are stuck at the airport due to 3+ hour-long delay, last-minute cancellation or denied boarding, you are entitled to receive care from your airline. Here is what the airline must offer you, if you have to wait at the airport.

According to the Regulation (EC) No 261/2004, Article 9:

  • free meals and drinks in a reasonable relation to the waiting time,
  • free hotel accommodation if a stay of one or more nights is necessary,
  • two free phone calls, e-mails or faxes.

You don’t need to have insurance to be entitled to this.

You don’t need an insurance to have a right to care.

Insurance and missed connection

If you miss your connecting flight due to the delay or cancellation of your previous flight, the airline will book you on a new flight free of charge. If you have to wait overnight, the airline has to provide you with a free hotel stay (+transfer), too.

The latter is true as long as the flight falls under the European flight compensation regulations. In the rest of the situations, it will depend on your airline's policies (mostly you’ll get something very similar).

Anyway, you don’t need to have an insurance in order to be entitled to this.

These are the laws, and airlines have to comply with these laws.

Ryanair airplane

In what situations do you need flight delay insurance / travel insurance?

As you can see, when it comes to flight delays, in a lot of situations you are protected by law, or by the policies of the airline. But there are situations when you won’t be protected under these European flight compensation regulations, or airline policies.

This is where flight delay insurance and travel insurance in general might come in handy.

Let’s look into some of these situations.

Self-transfer flights

Flight delay insurance is highly recommended with self-transfer flights.

If you have a self-transfer flight, the connection is not protected by the airline. For example, you have two separate flights with Ryanair.

With self-transfer flights you are in charge of everything. That means you have to manage your own connections between airlines and airports. You also have to collect and re-check baggage after every flight. Because, to put it simply, these are separate flights. Even though, you may have booked them as a single flight. Some flight booking websites allow you to do that. They show you that this is going to be a self transfer (pay attention to this).

Unfortunately, there are many factors that can cause you to miss a self-transfer flight, such as unexpected delays, cancellations, or long lines at security checkpoints. Travel insurance can help protect you if you miss your self transfer flight in a few ways.

  • First, it can reimburse you for any costs associated with the missed flights, such as the cost of the tickets themselves, or any additional travel fees associated with the delay.
  • Additionally, travel insurance can provide financial protection in the form of trip cancellation/interruption benefits if there is an unforeseen medical or family emergency preventing you from taking your original flight. The same works, when and if you have to fly back sooner than planned.
  • Lastly, it can cover additional expenses such as alternative transportation or accommodation fees that may be incurred while waiting for a new flight to be arranged.

Read more: Self-transfer flight compensation in Europe

Other situations

But, of course, it isn’t only about flight delays and cancellations.

There are many situations when travel insurance may be useful.

Other situations when travel insurance might come in handy include:

  • Lost or stolen items
  • Accidents or illnesses while abroad
  • Unexpected trip cancellation/interruption
  • Unforeseen emergency medical expenses
  • Financial protection in the event of a tour operator failure
  • Other travel mishaps

It’s always a great idea to check if the insurance policy you are about to buy covers all those things — all the things that matter to you on your trip.

It's important to note that coverage for missed connections can vary among travel insurance policies, so it's crucial to carefully review the policy details to understand what is covered and what is not. Additionally, there may be specific requirements you must meet in order to be eligible for coverage, such as arriving at the airport a certain amount of time before your flight's scheduled departure time.

By Europe and EU here on this page we mean all EU Member States, the United Kingdom (UK), Guadeloupe, French Guiana, Martinique, Reunion, Mayotte, Saint Martin (French Antilles), the Azores, Madeira, the Canary Islands, Iceland, Norway, and Switzerland.

Featured photo by Kindel Media