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Does travel insurance cover flight cancellation?

Does travel insurance cover flight cancellation?

Your travel insurance does not usually cover a flight cancellation. However, the right policy can help you to recover some of the costs you might face if your flight is cancelled.

Patrick Ikhena
From the Travel team
minute read
posted 29 JANUARY 2020

My flight was cancelled (or severely delayed). Do I have flight cancellation insurance as part of my travel insurance?

Usually, you won’t be able to get compensation in the event of a flight cancellation that is caused by strike action, severe weather, or anything else the airline deems beyond its control. That said, it’s always worth checking with the airline just in case.

But your travel insurance policy may allow you to reclaim all your costs if:

  • Your flight is delayed more than 24 hours, or
  • Your flight is cancelled and the airline doesn’t rebook you on an alternative flight within 24 hours.


As of 23rd Match 2020, the UK Government announced a series of restrictions to travel, public spaces and gatherings. For a minimum of three weeks, people are being instructed to stay at home whenever possible. For this reason, travel insurance policies purchased from this date, for trips within the UK with a start date before 13th April 2020, will not be valid.
The UK Government also instructed all British tourists and travellers, that are currently abroad, to return to the UK as soon as possible.
As of 17th March 2020, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have advised against all non-essential travel abroad for an initial period of 30 days. This means that any travel insurance purchased from this date, for trips outside of the UK with a start date before 16th April 2020, will not be covered by the provider.
Coronavirus was declared a pandemic on 11th March 2020, so this may also affect your policy, particularly those taken out on or after that date. Please check any existing policies carefully, to find out what you’re covered for.
For more information please see our coronavirus and travel insurance page.

My flight was cancelled, and my policy doesn’t cover it. How can I get compensation?

If your flight is cancelled or is delayed by more than three hours, your airline should compensate you. To find out the airline’s specific procedure for making a claim, check its website or call in.

You have a legal right to compensation if you were flying to or from a European Union (EU) country or with an EU-based airline. Depending on the extent of the disruption you suffered, you could receive up to £532 in compensation.

It’s also worth checking what’s covered by the travel cancellation part of your travel insurance. It could help you cover costs for your hire car, to cancel a connecting flight, or to cover that hotel room you pre-booked.

I need to cancel my seat on a flight. Am I covered?

Your travel insurance could well cover you if you need to cancel your seat on a flight due to unexpected events like these:

  • Unforeseen illness or injury suffered by you or by a close relative, by your intended travelling companion or by the person you were going to stay with when you were away.
  • If you have to attend a court of law as a witness or on jury service.
  • If you are made redundant from your job.
  • If you or your travelling companion is a member of the armed forces, police, fire, nursing, or ambulance services or a Government employee who can no longer travel because authorised leave has been cancelled.]
  • The police requesting you to remain at home or return from your holiday because of damage to your home caused by fire, explosion, flood, theft.

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