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. They’re often unavoidable, you’re stuck in traffic or one leg of your journey was delayed, for example.

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?

Travelling can often be a stressful business, but one of the most frustrating experiences has got to be missing a flight or connection. They’re often unavoidable, you’re stuck in traffic or one leg of your journey was delayed, for example.

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?

Coronavirus (COVID-19) update: please check the latest government travel advice that sets out what you need to do, if anything, before you travel abroad and before you return home. You should also check the latest travel advice and entry requirements for each country you visit or transit through. Travel rules can change at short notice, so check the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) for the latest information.

Rebecca Goodman
Insurance expert
minute read
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Last Updated 11 MAY 2022

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, whether it’s your initial outbound flight, a connection, or an inbound flight to bring you home.  

But even if you are covered for a missed flight, there can be extra costs to watch out for, like having to stay in a hotel overnight or book an alternative mode of transport.

Check to see if your insurance provider covers additional costs you’ve had to pay – such as accommodation costs – because of a missed flight or connection. 

The amount you can claim is limited to a set maximum amount, which can be anywhere between £250 to £1,000, depending on your individual policy. 

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

  • public transport delays
  • road accidents – be aware though, 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 snow storm

However, not everything is covered and if it’s your fault you’ve missed the flight, such as not setting your alarm or leaving things until the last minute, you probably can’t claim on your insurance. 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 more serious pre-existing medical conditions

If you have a serious health condition, the price you pay for travel insurance is likely to be more expensive. However, there are still many providers out there and you should be able to find affordable cover. Whatever happens, don’t be tempted to lie to an insurance provider, because if you do and then need to make a claim, it could be rejected.

When you declare medical conditions on our website, we’ll only show quotes from insurance providers who will cover all declared medical conditions, with no exclusions. 

MoneyHelper has launched a directory of insurance providers who may be able to provide quotes over the phone if you have more serious medical conditions. Find more information at MoneyHelper or by calling them on 0800 138 7777.

Is cover for missed flights or connections part of a standard travel insurance policy, or an extra 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, and 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 connections?

If you miss a connection 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. 

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

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 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 video 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.

You can 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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