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Compare Travel Insurance Travel Insurance Tips Travel Insurance and Missed Flights

Travel Insurance And Missed or delayed Flights

15 August, 2023 By Crystal Moran

Have you ever had that rising feeling of desperation that you are going to miss your flight? Final boarding call. Gate Closed!...Hearing these words at an airport can ruin your day. Who is going to pay for this!

Exactly who pays will depend upon who was at fault for the missed departure and whether or not you took out comprehensive travel insurance.

There is no clear-cut yes or no answer for missed flights being covered by travel insurance, but in a nutshell, you would be covered if you missed your flight for an insured reason.  The reasons covered would be detailed in your insurer's policy wording.  However, if you miss a connecting flight because of travel delays caused by the airline, then you wouldn’t be covered.

Whilst in Australia, airlines are not obligated to compensate passengers whose flights are deferred or cancelled, they are required by law to assist you in rescheduling your flight if you are bumped from an oversold flight.

Terms vary by airline, but most airlines will either rebook you on their next available flight to your destination at no additional charge or provide you with a credit for future travels.

Travel insurance is there to cover you for unexpected, unforeseen events, not regular travel disruptions.  So far in 2023, 22% of flights have been delayed. 

Connecting Flights On Different Airlines

Understanding when you’re covered (and when you’re not) can get a bit fuzzy when two legs of your journey are with different airlines.

If your journey all the way through to your destination is with one carrier – you should be fine. If you miss your connection, the airline will make sure you get on another flight, or they will provide food and accommodation if long delays are expected.

However, if you are booked on two airlines and miss your connecting flight, Housten, you could have a problem!  The second airline is not responsible for putting you on another flight just because of the first carrier’s delay. And because travel insurance does not cover missed connections caused by the airlines, you might not be covered for the cost to buy a new airline ticket.

So When Does Travel Insurance Cover For Missed Flights?

You’re covered for travel and accommodation expenses if:

  • You miss your connecting flight because of a motor vehicle (or rail, bus, marine) accident you’re involved in.
  • You miss your flight because of natural disasters, severe weather, hijacking, riots or civil unrest. The event must have begun after the insurance policy was issued.
  • A medical practitioner notifies the insurer that you are unfit to continue with your trip. You will need this in writing and it cannot be a pre-existing medical condition unless this was disclosed and covered.

When You Are Not Covered?

When it comes to travel insurance, it is important to know that most policies will not cover delays that are caused by the airline. So you wouldn’t be covered for…

  • Mechanical issues, delays or overbooking. The airline should provide compensation in these instances.
  • You wouldn’t be covered if you missed your flight because you didn’t leave enough time to get there. This includes traffic on the way to the airport delaying your journey.
  • If you are offered compensation or alternative flights by your airline and you do not take them.
  • If you miss your flight for a covered event such as severe weather, but you book another flight on a higher class ticket. Your insurance will only cover the cost of the initial ticket price that you booked. So don’t go upgrading yourself too quickly!

What Do You Need To Have Ready To Claim For Missed Flights?

  • Know how to claim with your insurer - read their product disclosure statement, and check the sections on cancellation and lost deposits, alternative travel expenses, and general exclusions.
  • Proof proof proof. If you experience delays or cancellation of any sort you will always need written proof of the cancellation or delay from the airline.
  • If you’re involved in a road traffic accident that stops you from making your flight, make sure you get evidence from the transport authority in that destination.
  • If you cannot travel for health reasons, make sure you get documentation from your doctor.

5 Tips To Avoid Missing Flights

With so many fun things to do in life, most of us tend to time our arrival at airports with just enough time to get through security and walk onto the plane. Traveller be warned, it doesn’t take much to set off a domino effect of missed flights and misplaced luggage. It’s no fun running through an airport hearing “Last boarding call for Eugene Wylde”.  So here’s some words of wisdom…

  • When travelling by plane, assume you’re going to be delayed by traffic, experience long check-in queues or be stopped by security for packing a python in your suitcase.
  • If possible, book all flights to your destination with the same airline. That way the airline is obligated to get you on the next flight and/or put you up if long delays are expected.
  • If you know you’re likely to miss a connecting flight – call the airline. They might be able to put you on a later flight and then problem is solved!
  • Do your research – don’t just go with the cheapest option and have to pay later. Look for flights with better connecting times. You might find you’ll only be paying a few dollars more anyway.
  • Don’t leave yourself less than 3 hours for a connecting flight - why not enjoy the stopover? Break up the journey and stay overnight rather than leave yourself no time to make the next flight.
  • See if you can check your bags all the way through to your final destination, even if you’re flying with different airlines.
  • If you plan to snooze at the airport, do it at your gate, so if you wake up at the last minute, you have a chance of getting on board.
  • Remember that some policies will be more favourable than others when it comes to missed flights. So take a look at your policy documentation, check out travel insurance reviews from customers, and give your insurer a call to check their cover. 

Travel Insurance FAQs on Flight Cover

Have a question on flight cover? Here are some of the most common questions we get from our customers.

Does travel insurance cover delayed or rescheduled flights?

Typically, travel insurance will cover you for missed flights and travel delays, provided it's not your, or your airline's, fault. Many travellers wrongly assume that travel insurance covers flight delays or rescheduling due to operational, technical or mechanical reasons caused by the airline. This isn't the case. So far in 2023, 22% of flights have been delayed. It is ultimately. your airline's responsibility to provide you with the service that you have paid for. Where possible, they should get you on the next availale flight and compensate you for lengthy delays if meals and accommodation are required. Travel insurance will however cover you for missed flights and delays, as long as it's because of a reason outlined in your policy. This would usually include a motor vehicle accident, natural disasters, riots and strikes.

Am I covered to buy new connecting flights?

Travel insurance won't usually cover you if you miss your connecting flight due to a delay caused by the airline. In this case, the liability falls with the airline. In the event that you have an important special occassion such as a concert, wedding or funeral where the date cannot be moved and you have to buy new flights to reach your destination on time, there may be provision to claim on travel insurance. Special terms will apply, such as allowing plenty of time betweeen the original connecting flight booking. This is usually in the realm of 3 hours. Commonsense prevails when planning your trip. Flight delays are commonplace so it makes sense to arrive at least one day prior to any planned event.

Will I be covered if I miss my flight due to traffic?

Not usually. It is up to you to monitor the expected time to get to the airport allowing for heavy traffic. In particular you should allow plenty of time to check-in, expecting queues during peak holiday periods. You may be covered if you are involved in a car accident.

Am I covered if my flight is cancelled?

As with flight delays and rescheduling, whether or not you're covered for flight cancellations depends on the cause of the cancellation. If your flight was cancelled due to a mechanical fault, overbooking, maintenance, repairs, rescheduling, service faults, a pilot sleeping in, or the airline closing down then you are generally not covered. You've paid the airline for a service that they haven't delivered. The exception is where insurers offer alternative transport expenses or disruption of journey benefits, which help you get to a special event such as a wedding or funeral on time. This may include cover for additional meals and accommodation regardless of whether the airline was at fault. There are also of course unforseen and expected circumstances where you are cancelling your trip would be covered. Visit cancellation cover to learn more about the benefits of travel insurance when you have to cancel your trip.


Can I lodge a formal complaint against the airline?

If your flight is delayed or cancelled, the rules for compensation are generally set by the country the flight is departing from and it seems that Australian flyers are in a world of pain copmared to the USA and Europe. Airlines have been allowed to write the rules on how they operate putting the consumer at their mercy and the Australian government has taken its hands off the wheel. Under Australian fair trading laws, you have the right to make a complaint to the airline if it fails to deliver an adequate service. In the event that you have a dispute with an airline which isn't resolved to your satisfacytion, you can lodge a formal complaint with the ACCC. Visit the ACCC website to learn more.



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