Flight Insurance: Your Ultimate Guide


What is flight insurance?

As the name suggests, flight insurance is a type of travel insurance that covers airfare costs if you have to cancel your vacation. Additionally, airlines are not legally required to compensate you for flight delays, so if you miss your connection due to a delay, airline insurance can help reimburse you for the costs of other parts of your trip.

Some travel insurance companies offer aviation insurance as a separate product, but this protection is often sold as part of a comprehensive travel insurance plan. You can also usually purchase aviation insurance from major airlines.

Like other types of travel insurance, aviation insurance includes protection for a limited number of situations. You must cancel to receive a refund for your ticket. In most cases, simply not wanting to participate in a trip is not enough.

Some examples of commonly considered situations include:

  • Death due to unexpected illness or sudden accident of a family member or travel companion.
  • Flight delays cause you to miss your connecting flight
  • When an airline cancels a flight due to bad weather

What is not covered by aviation insurance?

Standalone flight cancellation protection can save you hundreds of dollars for less than the cost of comprehensive travel insurance. However, coverage limitations make it less expensive. For example, if a flight delay or other travel delay affects other parts of your travel plans, insurance companies will typically only reimburse the cost of the flight.

A comprehensive travel insurance plan may include protections such as medical coverage, loss of baggage coverage, emergency medical transportation, and more. This may also include reimbursement for additional costs such as travel assistance and rental car protection.

Here are some additional coverages you get when you purchase comprehensive travel insurance from an independent third-party provider.

Emergency Medical: Your health coverage and benefits will not continue while you are leaving the country. For example, if you have health insurance through Medicare, you will be responsible for all medical expenses incurred overseas. Emergency medical coverage allows your travel insurance company to reimburse you for all costs not related to a pre-existing condition.

Medical evacuation: The quality and availability of health care services vary greatly from country to country. If a medical emergency occurs and the area you are traveling to is not equipped to provide appropriate medical care on site, emergency evacuation services will pay for your transportation to the necessary facility.

Trip cancellation: If you have to cancel your trip at the last minute, trip cancellation insurance will cover your lost costs. For example, if you break your leg before your trip and can’t go, trip cancellation insurance covers non-refundable costs such as airfare, lodging, and travel expenses.

Trip Interruption: Trip interruption protection reimburses unused costs if you have to end your trip early. Most travel interruption protection includes coverage beyond the cost of the trip to cover the additional costs of leaving or going abroad at the last minute.

Before signing up for insurance, read the fine print of your contract to know exactly when you are covered and when it is not. The specific circumstances in which you may be entitled to compensation will depend on the insurance product you choose and the travel insurance company that issues it.

If you’re not sure what’s covered, talk to your representative to make sure you have the peace of mind you need. Write down exclusions in your policy and state when they apply. The last thing you want is to pay for insurance, use it, and then find out you can’t file a claim.

How much does aviation insurance cost?

The price you pay for aviation insurance depends on how and where you purchase it. Let’s look at some examples of vacation plans and insurance costs every traveler can expect.

Do you need travel insurance?

Whether you need aviation insurance depends on the nature of your holiday. If flights are the most expensive part of your trip, it’s usually a good idea to insure them. For example, if you’re going on vacation to Vietnam, you could pay thousands of dollars more for airfare than for accommodation, which means airline insurance can be an affordable form of travel protection. However, if airfare is only a small portion of your total vacation cost, consider a more comprehensive travel insurance policy.

How do I sign up for travel insurance?

You can purchase aviation insurance and other travel assistance from two main sources:

Airlines: When you book a flight, the airline usually gives you the option to secure the flight for an additional fee. This is the cheapest way to get aviation insurance, but the coverage and support services are less reliable.

Travel insurance company: If you want complete protection, you can purchase travel insurance from one of the country’s largest insurance companies. Travel insurance policies almost always include aviation insurance as a component of coverage and may also include protection against medical expenses, baggage delays, and more.

Bottom line: Is aviation insurance worth it?

When choosing the insurance coverage that’s right for you, consider what percentage of your total vacation budget is spent on flights. If airfare is the most important part of your trip, airline insurance can be a cheaper alternative to comprehensive travel insurance.

However, if you’ve spent thousands of dollars on non-refundable travel expenses other than airfare, you may want to consider purchasing travel insurance to provide additional protection. Even if you’re not sure whether airline insurance is right for you, find out the cost at least two weeks before you travel.

Frequently asked questions

Does flight insurance cover cancellation?

Whether or not you need flight insurance depends on your vacation’s specifics. If your flight is the most expensive part of your trip, flight insurance usually makes sense. For example, if you’re taking a vacation to Vietnam, you might pay thousands of dollars more for your flight than you did for your accommodations, which means that flight insurance can be affordable travel protection. However, if the cost of your airfare was only a small percentage of your overall vacation costs, consider a more comprehensive travel insurance policy.

What does flight insurance normally cover?

Flight insurance policies cover the cost of your nonrefundable airline ticket. Depending on the insurance provider, your flight insurance might also cover situations such as flight delays or concierge services if you must rearrange your flights at the last minute.

What is the difference between flight insurance and trip cancellation insurance?

Though flight and trip cancellation insurance are both travel insurance plans, they offer different levels of protection. If you purchase flight insurance and need to cancel your trip, your insurance company will only reimburse you for the cost of your flight (though select companies offer additional benefits). With trip cancellation coverage, your insurance provider will cover additional nonrefundable trip expenses, such as hotel costs, excursions you’ve booked in advance and trip interruption coverage.

What are some disadvantages of flight insurance?

While flight insurance might be more affordable than other travel insurance options, it has drawbacks. Unlike a full trip cancellation policy, flight insurance will only provide you with a reimbursement for the cost of your flight.


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