Flight Insurance: How to Buy & Is It Worth It?

Flight Insurance: How to Buy & Is It Worth It?

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When booking travel, there’s always a risk that things won’t go according to plan. Unforeseen events such as medical emergencies, severe weather, and lost luggage can put travelers in stressful situations, ruin their travel plans, and result in financial loss.

Flight insurance is designed to protect travelers’ financial investments and provide them with peace of mind heading into a trip.

What is Flight Insurance?

Flight insurance is an insurance option that protects the cost of a traveler’s flight. These single trip policies can be purchased by insuring all prepaid and non-refundable flight costs for an upcoming trip.

Many flight insurance policies include protection against common travel disruptions, such as trip delays, flight cancellations, and baggage loss. This type of coverage is great for travelers that want to make sure they’re covered if their trip doesn’t go according to plan.

How Does Flight Insurance Work?

Flight insurance works as a layer of financial protection if and when things go wrong with your departing or returning flight.

In the unfortunate event your flight is impacted by an unforeseen event, you may file a claim directly with your insurance provider. Once the proper documentation is provided, your provider may then issue reimbursement that covers your financial loss. 

You may contact your provider at any time to determine if you are eligible for coverage in specific situations. The best travel insurance companies offer 24-Hour Emergency Assistance to policyholders before, during, and after their trip. 

What Does Flight Insurance Cover?

Travelers who purchase a policy that covers their flights can be reimbursed their prepaid, non-refundable flight expenses in the event their trip is canceled, delayed, or interrupted by a covered reason outlined in the plan’s certificate. 

While policies may vary slightly from one plan to the next, the best flight insurance policies will include the following benefits: 

  • Trip Cancellation: Provides reimbursement for prepaid and non-refundable trip costs if a trip is canceled due to unforeseen circumstances, including illness, injury, inclement weather, and natural disasters.
  • Travel Delay: Reimburses the cost of meals and accommodations when a flight is unexpectedly delayed.
  • Trip Interruption: Provides reimbursement for prepaid and non-refundable trip costs if a portion of a trip is missed, or the traveler must return home early due to a covered reason.
  • Baggage & Personal Items Loss: Provides reimbursement for lost, stolen, or damaged luggage.
  • Baggage Delay: Provides reimbursement for the purchase of clothes and essentials if the traveler’s luggage is delayed.

In addition to the benefits above, most comprehensive travel insurance policies that you purchase for your trip will include medical benefits, too. These benefits will typically cover the costs of medical emergencies, such as hospital bills, ambulance rides, and other treatment services. 

Buying Flight Insurance

Purchasing a flight insurance policy is a smart investment for those looking for a layer of protection while traveling. This is especially relevant for international travelers, where the costs of flights can be significant, or domestic travelers who purchase non-refundable airline tickets.

The Cost of Flight Insurance

Typically, flight insurance policies with cancellation coverage for flights – along with other comprehensive benefits – will average between 5-10% of the total trip costs. Travelers today spend over $300 on travel insurance for their trips. Keep in mind, the cost of travel insurance depends on a wide range of factors including the trip costs, age of the travelers, destination, and coverage limits. 

When shopping for flight insurance, it’s important to only cover non-refundable trip expenses. Travel insurance is reimbursement-based, so travelers can save money by only insuring their non-refundable trip payments that are eligible for coverage.

Is Flight Insurance Worth the Money?

Due to the high price tag associated with international air travel, flight insurance is often well worth the investment for travelers going abroad. Purchasing a policy for your next upcoming trip could save you thousands of dollars in the event an unexpected event disrupts your travel plans. 

Flying on time without interruption is also never a guarantee. In recent years, the U.S has seen a large spike in flight delays and cancellations. For travelers flying domestically to visit friends or family, a flight insurance policy is a great way to protect their flight costs in the event their trip is impacted unexpectedly. 

It’s also possible that you may not need coverage. If your trip is refundable through your supplier, travel insurance won’t be necessary. Also, you may have existing travel protection from your travel credit card benefits. 

When to Buy Flight Insurance

The best time to purchase travel insurance is directly after making an initial trip payment. In most cases, Squaremouth recommends purchasing flight coverage near the time of booking your flight.

When a travel insurance policy is purchased, it goes into effect at midnight of the next day. This means that the longer travelers have the policy, the longer they have protection in the event something goes wrong.

Where Can You Buy Flight Insurance?

Flight insurance is commonly purchased at the same time a traveler purchases their airline ticket. Many airlines, such as American and United, offer basic insurance options to their passengers at the time of checkout to create a simple, streamlined approach to trip protection.

Flight insurance can also be purchased from third-party travel insurance providers, like Tin Leg. Third-party travel insurance can often be less expensive when compared to similar policies offered through airlines, and often times provide more coverage.

If you have the time, Squaremouth recommends setting some time aside to compare plans from multiple sources, paying attention to the price, insurance benefits, and coverage limits.

Is Flight Insurance Right For You?

Given the uncertainty surrounding travel, and the likelihood that things won’t always go as planned, securing a travel insurance policy of any kind is a great way to protect yourself and your investment. With that said, everyone’s financial situation is different, and only you can determine if purchasing flight insurance is the right decision. 

Before making a purchase of any kind of insurance policy, it’s best to evaluate your needs and compare plans that tick all your boxes. Coverage and prices will vary between policies, so make sure to take your time and read through each policy before making a decision.