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Does travel insurance cover missed flights or connections?

Travelling can often be a stressful business, but one of the most frustrating experiences has got to be missing a flight or connection.

When it comes to choosing travel insurance, is it possible to get cover for if the worst happens and your flight takes off, leaving you behind? Let’s find out.

Travelling can often be a stressful business, but one of the most frustrating experiences has got to be missing a flight or connection.

When it comes to choosing travel insurance, is it possible to get cover for if the worst happens and your flight takes off, leaving you behind? Let’s find out.

Written by
Rebecca Goodman
Insurance expert
Last Updated
5 MAY 2023
5 min read
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Are missed flights covered by travel insurance?

Although travel insurance differs between providers, many do offer some form of cover if you miss your flight or connection.

What will travel insurance cover?

This can vary between policies. Some will cover flights and accommodation if you have to stay overnight in a hotel. Others will only cover the flight itself. That’s why it’s important to read your policy carefully, so you know exactly what’s covered and what’s not. 

An insurance provider may accept a claim for a missed flight if the delay was caused by:

  • Public transport delays
  • Road accidents – but be aware that some insurance providers only offer cover if the accident happened on a dual carriageway or motorway
  • Your car breaking down
  • Extreme weather conditions – such as a snowstorm.

What isn’t covered?

You’re unlikely to be able to claim if you missed a flight due to:

  • Oversleeping
  • Not getting yourself organised and leaving enough time to get to the airport or get through security
  • A protest or civil unrest that had not been publicly announced in advance
  • Heavy traffic delays that weren’t caused by an accident – for example, roadworks
  • If you refuse compensation or alternative flights offered by your airline.

Customers with pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, your travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. Whatever happens, don’t lie to an insurance provider, because this could mean your claim is rejected. When you declare any medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show you quotes from insurance providers who will cover them, with no exclusions.

If your condition is more serious, MoneyHelper has a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone. You can call them on 0800 138 7777.

Are missed flights and connections covered by travel insurance as standard, or as an add-on?

Most insurance providers who offer missed flight insurance don’t include it in their standard policies, and only offer it as an extra add-on.

The cheaper policies will almost certainly not include any cover of this type. And some policies will only cover missing your initial flight, not connecting flights.

If missed flight or connection cover is important to you, check the policy terms and conditions carefully before you buy. If it’s not included as standard, speak to your insurance provider to see if they can offer it as an add-on.

You may have to pay more for the cover, but you’ll need to weigh this up when compared to the cost of a new flight if you do end up having to pay for one.

Will travel insurance cover missed flight connections?

It usually depends on whether it’s the airline’s fault or not.

If it’s the airline’s fault:

Most insurance providers won’t cover you for delays and missed connections caused by the airline.

If you miss a connecting flight and it’s the airline’s fault – for example, your flight is cancelled – they will be responsible for getting you on another flight and paying for food and accommodation.

Also note, your airline is only obliged to pay compensation if you have a through ticket with them (one single ticket with the same airline for all connections).

So, for example, if you have two separate tickets for two separate airlines, it’s only the first airline that made you miss your connection that’s responsible, and not the connecting airline.

If it’s not the airline’s fault:

If you miss your flight and it’s not the airline’s fault, then the airline has no obligation to compensate you.

Some insurance providers will cover missed connections if the airline is not obliged to pay compensation. Just make sure you check your policy to see whether connections are included.

You may also be covered if you miss a connection on another type of transport due to a delayed or cancelled flight, such as a train, bus or ferry.

It all comes down to the small print with insurance, and checking exactly what’s included even before you pay for a policy. The levels of cover can vary quite a bit, so it’s well worth putting in the time to read the details before you sign on the dotted line.

What should you do if you miss your initial flight or connection?

If you arrive at the airport too late to catch your flight, go straight to your airline’s customer services desk, explain what’s happened and find out if they’ll offer you an alternative flight.

If you’ve already checked your luggage and you’ve missed your flight due to airport security queues, for example, and the flight has already departed, your luggage may be stored securely at the destination airport until you can pick it up. However, if you’ve booked two flights with different airlines, then you might have to claim and re-check your baggage before your connecting flight.

What do I need to make a missed flight travel insurance claim?

If you missed your flight through no fault of your own, make sure you can prove it to your insurance provider. Examples of evidence to help boost your chances of a successful claim include:

  • Photos or videos of the scene, if you were delayed by a road accident
  • Testimonies from any eyewitnesses to the accident
  • Confirmation from a breakdown company that your vehicle was involved in an incident
  • Confirmation from the Department of Transport or Highways Agency that there was an incident on the road you were travelling on
  • Photos or videos of extreme weather that caused your delay
  • Photos of display boards announcing a public transport delay
  • Travel documents, tickets and receipts
  • Your itinerary or travel plan
  • Evidence that your airline acknowledged a delay occurred – for example, an announcement on their website, or you can ask their customer services department to confirm it in writing.

Remember, if you were involved in a road accident, you’ll also need evidence of the incident for your car insurance provider too.

Compare travel insurance

Start by letting us help you find and compare travel insurance providers. Just remember to check each policy carefully to see if the cover you want is included. If not, you may need to contact individual insurance providers to see if they can add missed flight or connections cover to your policy.

Compare travel insurance today and see how much you could save.

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Frequently asked questions

How much can I claim for missed flight connections?

Each insurance provider has their own limits on how much you can claim for a missed flight. This is usually limited to a set maximum amount, which can be anywhere between £250 and £1,000, depending on your individual policy. Don't forget you’ll need to pay the excess on any claim you make.

Can I still claim if I make my own travel arrangements after a missed flight?

Yes, you should be able to claim on your travel insurance as long as the missed flight or connection wasn’t your fault.

However, you’ll only be compensated for the cost of the original ticket. If you decide to upgrade or choose a more expensive option or route, the extra expense will have to come out of your own pocket.

If I miss my departure flight, will the return flight still be valid?

If the outbound and inbound flights are with the same airline, you’ll need to tell them you still intend to use the return ticket. Otherwise they might cancel it.

If you booked the outbound and inbound flights with different airlines, your return ticket will still be valid and won’t be cancelled.

How can I avoid missing my connecting flights?

Preparation. Make sure you know exactly where to you need to go when you’re at the transit airport. Find out beforehand if you’ll need to go through customs or change terminals.

Some airline turnarounds can be incredibly tight, so don’t waste time shopping or wandering around. Get to the departure gate first.

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