Travel Insurance for Flight Cancellations: 2024 Guide (2024)

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Understanding Travel Insurance Coverage for Real Scenarios

When you buy travel insurance, comprehensive plans typically reimburse you the costs of canceled and delayed flights through travel delay coverage and trip cancellation insurance. Depending on the plan you choose, you can get reimbursed full refunds or prepaid costs once you qualify during the claims process. Reimbursem*nts may include the money you paid for extra accommodations and food.

Whether you buy flight insurance with your airfare from major airlines or through another travel supplier, flight cancellation protection is subject to limited circ*mstances. These may include:

  • Bad weather or natural disasters that cause the airline to cancel flights
  • Medical emergencies causing you to cancel flights
  • The unexpected death or illness of a family member or travel companion
  • Delays caused by missed flight connections

For more flexibility, consider CFAR — cancel for any reason coverage. It’s still subject to exclusions and conditions, such as the requirement to cancel within 48 hours of the departure date. But the reasons for canceling are at your discretion. About 75% of prepaid non-refundable trip expenses get reimbursed.

Will Travel Insurance Cover Airline Cancellation?

According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, if an airline cancels your flight or makes changes that cause significant delays, you’re entitled to a refund if you choose not to reschedule. But the definition of a “significant delay” gets decided on a case-by-case basis, and refunds aren’t guaranteed.

Travel insurance covers the specific emergency reasons outlined in your policy. Under trip delay, interruption or cancellation policies, other expenses are covered. For example, if inclement weather results in a canceled flight with a delay to reschedule, you may need to cancel a non-refundable excursion through a tour operator. Insurance benefits help recoup these financial losses.

Does Travel Insurance Cover Delayed Flights?

If your flight is delayed significantly, an airline may offer to refund your money under certain conditions. Travel insurance features trip cancellation and trip delay benefits to reimburse you for applicable expenses incurred. Costs might include transportation, food and accommodations while you wait for a rescheduled flight if the airline doesn’t come through with hotel and food vouchers.

As a general rule, trip delay benefits apply after a specifically defined length of time. For example, you might need to be delayed for at least five hours to qualify for reimbursem*nt or extra transportation. Daily spending limits typically apply for additional expenses incurred.

Will Travel Insurance Cover Costs if I Need to Switch Flights?

Travel insurance for flight changes is also available. But most policies don’t cover you if you simply change your mind about a flight. Trip interruption and cancellation policies cover a range of unforeseen circ*mstances. For example, a trip cancellation claim may reimburse the difference in cost between a canceled flight and a more expensive alternative to get you to a destination on time.

Does Travel Insurance Cover If Connecting Flights Get Canceled?

If your connecting flights get canceled, the airline may offer you a refund or put you on another flight (likely the latter). Travel insurance reimburses you for non-refundable trip costs relating to trip interruptions or cancellations. If you miss a connecting flight for reasons listed in your policy, part of your prepaid trip expenses get reimbursed along with any extra expenses you incurred to get pushed forward on your trip or to get home.

Choosing the Right Travel Insurance Plan

The quality of travel insurance plans varies. That makes it important to compare as you shop. When selecting a plan for flight cancellations, choose one with competitive coverage for the following:

  • Trip cancellation coverage: This policy can reimburse you for non-refundable, prepaid trip costs for trips canceled for reasons that are covered by your policy, such as the death of a family member or a medical emergency. Reimbursem*nts include airline tickets, hotel rooms and tours. Coverage limits can range from $10,000 for basic plans up to $300,000 for premium plans.
  • Trip delay coverage: If your flight gets delayed for reasons that are covered in your policy, such as severe weather or airline maintenance, your plan provides financial relief for expenses, such as alternative transportation, food and accommodations. Basic plans may have a $300 coverage limit and a daily spending limit of $150.
  • Trip interruption coverage: You may need to cut your trip short because of an injury or an unexpected event. Trip interruption coverage may reimburse you for non-refundable expenses including prepaid airline tickets and accommodation. Coverage limits can range from $5,000 for basic plans to $300,000 for premium plans.

While it’s possible to buy basic travel insurance with trip cancellation policies only, most are comprehensive. They include emergency medical and baggage loss coverage. Upgrades for CFAR, pre-existing medical conditions and rental car coverage provide further protection.

Use the tool below to find and compare rates for plans with flight insurance to suit your travel requirements.

Making a Claim for Flight Cancellations

To file a claim, most travel insurance companies offer systems via websites, apps and customer support teams available by phone and email. For flight cancellations, claims are usually filed under trip cancellation, interruption or delay coverage. With each claim, you’re required to present supporting documentation highlighting reasons for cancellation. This may include:

  • Proof of an emergency or incident, such as a doctor’s certificate or a police report
  • Copies of itineraries for all trip components claimed, including flight bookings
  • Receipts for expenses incurred because of flight delays, such as meals and accommodations

Insurance companies process claims to approve them for reimbursem*nt. Once complete, most companies send a payment to your selected account (credit card, bank, etc.).

Common Challenges Travelers Face

You can get confused reading travel insurance policies as you figure out what’s covered and what’s not. A common challenge travelers encounter is misunderstanding a policy’s terms and conditions. As a general rule, travel insurance covers losses from unforeseen circ*mstances.

With flights and trip cancellations, covered reasons include emergencies, such as unexpected natural disasters, the death of a family member or a serious illness or injury. Otherwise, any flight cancellation refunds fall to the discretion of the airline.

Tips To Minimize Flight Cancellations Risks

Unless you experience an unexpected emergency, it’s possible to minimize the risks of flight cancellations and enjoy smooth journeys. Reduce the likelihood of it happening to you with the tips below.

  • Book flights that depart early in the morning. Statistically, they’re the least delayed and least canceled.
  • Choose nonstop flights to eliminate the risk of missed or delayed connections.
  • Pick airlines with multiple flights to your destination per day for easy rescheduling if necessary.
  • Ensure your airline offers a suitable cancellation policy.
  • Travel a day or two in advance of events or celebrations that you don’t want to miss
  • Monitor the weather at home and at your intended destination to be forewarned of potential cancellations.
  • Implement backup transport plans if possible, including driving routes, ferry and train timetables.

The Bottom Line

Travel is much more than a trip, it’s an investment. With so many things that can go wrong, it’s important to protect travel investments with comprehensive insurance for flight cancellations. Along with reimbursem*nt for flights in emergencies, you’ll enjoy peace of mind knowing additional costs, such as hotel rooms and meals, are covered if your trip is delayed.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Your airline will put you on another flight or, in some cases, offer you a refund. Travel insurance protects with reimbursem*nt for flights canceled via predetermined reasons covered by policies, along with additional expenses.

We recommend flight insurance as a safety net for unexpected circ*mstances. These may include the death of a family member or a serious injury that results in canceling flights.

As part of comprehensive travel insurance plans, flight insurance covers the cost of non-refundable, canceled flights subject to limited reasons. Most providers also offer coverage for flight delays and tours missed due to cancellations.

Yes. Trip interruption and cancellation coverage provide reimbursem*nt for hotel expenses, meals and alternative transport required due to canceled flights.

Methodology: Our System for Ranking the Best Travel Insurance Companies for Flight Cancellations

Our team created a comprehensive rating system to objectively compare and contrast each travel insurance company. We contacted each company over the phone and online, requested quotes, compared coverage options and costs, reviewed terms and conditions, and analyzed customer service both through our experience and by reading customer reviews.

Each company is scored in the following categories: number of plans, customization, coverage details, cancel for any reason coverage (CFAR) percentage, timeframe of delay coverage, coverage amount, customer service and support, and reputation.

If you have questions about this page, please reach out to our editors at

Travel Insurance for Flight Cancellations: 2024 Guide (9)

Nicole Leigh WestAuthor

Nicole Leigh West is an experienced lifestyle journalist and writer for publications including Wanderlust, TripSavvy and Vacations & Travel. Along with roaming the globe and penning fiction novels, Nicole works for World Words as a sub-editor and writer.

Travel Insurance for Flight Cancellations: 2024 Guide (2024)


Does travel insurance cover for cancelled flights? ›

Cancellation cover is a common inclusion with most standard travel insurance policies, but you can take it out separately if it doesn't offer enough cover. Alternatively, if you only want cancellation cover to protect you against cancelled flights rather than baggage protection, you can get it for that.

Does travelers insurance cover flight cancellations? ›

As a general rule, travel insurance covers losses from unforeseen circ*mstances. With flights and trip cancellations, covered reasons include emergencies, such as unexpected natural disasters, the death of a family member or a serious illness or injury.

What are you entitled to if an airline cancels your flight? ›

If an airline cancels your flight less than 14 days before departure and you choose to cancel your trip entirely, you're entitled to a refund of both your plane ticket and any pre-paid baggage fees (in most cases). This typically applies even if you have non-refundable tickets.

What qualifies for trip cancellation insurance? ›

Sickness, injury, death, or quarantine of a member of your travel party. A delay that causes you to miss or interrupt any part of your covered trip due to weather, mechanical reasons, or travel advisory. Loss or damage to your baggage and personal effects due to theft, burglary, fire, or transportation hazards.

How much do airlines have to reimburse for cancelled flights? ›

Canceled flights often qualify for compensation under EC 261 in Europe and ANAC 400 in Brazil. For flights within the US, however, there is no law that requires airlines to pay their passengers compensation for canceled flights, which means it is entirely up to the airlines to compensate you how they see fit.

What is the difference between travel insurance and trip cancellation insurance? ›

Travel protection focuses primarily on trip cancellation and gives limited protection for unforeseen circ*mstances that may cause you to cancel or interrupt your trip. Travel insurance supplies broader coverage, protecting against a wider range of possible financial losses during your travels.

What are valid reasons to cancel a flight and get a refund? ›

Top Reasons Most People Cancel Trips
  • Injury or Illness. Sickness and injury are the top reasons for cancelling a trip. ...
  • Death. ...
  • Natural Disaster. ...
  • Acts of Terrorism/Evacuation. ...
  • Financial Default of the Travel Company.
  • Death or Hospitalization of Host.
  • Residence Damage. ...
  • Jury Duty or Military Deployment.

Do you need flight insurance if the airline cancels your flight? ›

Travel insurance can provide coverage for your prepaid, nonrefundable travel expenses. If your flight is taking off and/or landing at a U.S. airport and is canceled (domestic or international flight), you're covered by the rules put in place by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

How far in advance do airlines cancel flights due to weather? ›

Airlines usually cancel flights hours or even days before departure time.

How to get full refund on flight cancellation? ›

First and foremost, we need to understand the eligibility criteria for getting refunds. Majorly, the refunding policy varies as per the distinct airline terms & conditions. However, in case you cancel your flight reservation before 24 hours, then you're eligible to receive the refunds on time.

How much flight compensation am I due? ›

But you are due the following amounts of compensation, depending on the distance: Short-haul flights (less than 1,500km) – you'll get 30% of your ticket cost back. Medium-haul flights (between 1,500km and 3,500km) – you'll get 50% of your ticket cost.

When to purchase trip cancellation insurance? ›

It is advisable to purchase travel insurance as soon as you book your trip or holiday.

Which insurance would cover the cost of the cancelled trip? ›

CFAR coverage typically reimburses up to 75% of your nonrefundable trip costs when you cancel a trip. But you have to cancel at least 48 hours before your scheduled departure if you hope to file a successful CFAR claim.

Does the airline have to pay for a hotel? ›

Generally, airlines are responsible for providing accommodation and meals for passengers if the delay is caused by factors within their control, such as mechanical issues or crew scheduling problems.

What is the 2 hour rule for flight delay compensation? ›

Two hours' delay and compensation

Your replacement flight must get you to your end destination within two hours of the original arrival time, or the airline has to compensate you for loss of time.

What is the passenger Bill of rights compensation? ›

Information regarding airline passenger bill of rights

This bill of rights created for the airline passengers' protection means that if they experience problems while flying and their flight meets the necessary criteria, they can enforce their rights and claim up to $650 per person for compensation.

How long can a flight be delayed before compensation American? ›

An American Airlines passenger is entitled to compensation in the event of the following: Flight delay: If your American Airlines flight arrives at your destination more than 3 hours later than expected.

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