A simples guide

Does travel insurance cover missed flights or connections?

(For simplicity, in this article we speak of ‘missed flights’, but cover may also be available if your initial international transport is by ferry, train, etc. and you miss that).

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Does standard travel insurance cover missed flights/connections?

Some travel insurance policies provide some of form of cover should you miss a flight, whether that is your initial outward flight, a connecting flight or the flight that is due to bring you home.

If you miss a flight and it’s not the airline’s fault, then the company has no obligation to provide any compensation. However, your travel insurance policy may provide cover for any additional costs you incur in reaching your destination, and any additional accommodation costs you need to pay, as a result of missing your intended flight.

The amount you can claim for a missed flight will be limited to a set maximum amount, which might typically be anything between £250 and £1,000 depending on your individual policy.

An insurance provider may accept a claim for a missed flight if the delay was due to:

  • Public transport delays
  • Road accidents, whether these affect your vehicle or if they delay your journey. However, if you’re delayed by someone else’s accident, cover may only be available if it occurred on a motorway or dual carriageway
  • Vehicle breakdown
  • Adverse weather

You’re unlikely to be able to claim if you missed the flight as a result of:

  • Oversleeping
  • Not getting yourself organised
  • A protest or civil unrest that had not been publicly announced in advance
  • General ‘heavy traffic’ that was not caused by an accident.

Whatever the reason for missing your flight, and whether you can claim or not, missing it is likely to cause you a great deal of inconvenience, so always leave plenty of time for your journey and allow extra time for the possibility of general traffic delays.

Some insurance providers also offer cover for missed connections, say if you missed a connecting flight because your first flight was delayed. Just make sure you check the T&Cs in your policy to make sure it’s included.

You may also be covered if you miss a connecting journey on another method of transport, e.g. train, bus, ferry as a result of your flight being delayed.

Which companies cover missed flights/connections as standard and which have it as an add-on?

Missed departure insurance is far from being a standard feature of travel insurance policies. The cheaper policies will almost certainly not include any cover of this type, and some policies will also only cover missing your initial flight and not missed connecting flights.

For example, a policy may cover you if you miss your initial departure, and if you miss a connecting flight as a direct result of missing the original flight.
If missed departure / missed connection cover is important to you, check the policy terms and conditions carefully before you buy, otherwise you will need to pay any additional transport costs out of your own pocket.

airport

What to do if you miss your initial flight or you have missed your connecting flight

Your first step if you arrive at the airport too late to catch your intended flight is to go to the airline’s customer services desk at the airport, explain what has happened and find out when you can expect to be able to obtain a place on an alternative flight.

If you miss your flight, you should also gather evidence as to why this was not your fault that you can present to your insurance provider. Examples of evidence that is likely to boost your chances of a successful claim include:

  • Photos of the scene of a road accident – but only if it’s safe to do so
  • Photos of weather conditions that contributed to an accident occurring
  • Photos of display boards showing public transport delays
  • Testimonies from eyewitnesses to the incident that caused the delay
  • Your travel tickets and any other relevant receipts
  • Your route itinerary or travel plan
  • Evidence from the transport operator that a delay occurred – see if this is displayed on their website, or contact their customer services department and ask them to confirm the delay in writing
  • Evidence from a breakdown company that your vehicle was involved in an incident
  • Evidence from the Department of Transport or Highways Agency, or the equivalent body in another country, that there was an incident on the road you were travelling on

As can be seen, some of these can only be collected during your journey to the airport, and at the time you might not know if the delay will cause you to miss your flight. So for example, if you get to your local railway station and find that the train to the airport is delayed, take a picture of the departures board there and then.

Once you’ve gathered all the evidence you possibly can, you should contact your insurance provider to make a claim.

Why not compare travel insurance today and see how much you could save?

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