In this article: What is flight insurance | What’s Not Covered | What It Costs | How do I get it | The Bottom Line | FAQs
A vacation isn’t just relaxing; it’s also an investment, especially if you’re traveling abroad. If your trip’s cost — combined with today’s uncertain travel climate — makes you more anxious than excited about your upcoming adventure, you might want to consider flight insurance.
The Home Media reviews team has researched the travel insurance industry to provide everything you need to know about flight insurance. Read on to learn more about the following:
- What flight insurance is and what it covers
- Extras your insurance might include
- What you can expect to pay for your flight insurance
- Guidelines for whether flight insurance is worth it for you
What Is Flight Insurance?
As the name suggests, flight insurance is a type of trip insurance that reimburses you for the cost of your airfare if you are forced to cancel your vacation. Further, since airlines are not legally required to compensate you for flight delaysflight insurance can help you recover the cost of the other legs of your journey if delays cause you to miss a connection.
Though some travel insurance companies offer flight insurance as a stand-alone offering, this protection is often sold as a part of a comprehensive travel insurance plan. You can also typically purchase flight insurance through a major airline.
Like other types of travel insurance, flight insurance includes protection for a limited number of circumstances. You’ll need to be forced to cancel your plans to qualify for a reimbursement on your tickets. Simply not wanting to attend the trip is insufficient in most circumstances.
Some examples of commonly covered situations include the following:
- An unexpected illness or sudden accidental death of a family member or travel companion
- Flight delays that cause you to miss a connecting flight
- Inclement weather that causes your airline to cancel your flight
What’s Not Covered by Flight Insurance?
Stand-alone flight cancellation protection can save you hundreds of dollars for less than a comprehensive travel insurance policy costs. However, its lower cost comes with coverage limitations. For example, if a late flight or other travel delay affects other parts of your travel plans, your insurance provider will usually reimburse you only for flight costs.
A complete travel insurance plan may include protections such as medical coverage, compensation for baggage loss, emergency medical transportation services and more. It may also include compensation for extras such as travel assistance and protection for your rental car.
The following are some extra coverages when you purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy from an independent, third-party provider:
- Emergency Medical: Your health insurance coverage and benefits will not extend when you leave the country. For example, if you get your medical insurance through Medicare, you’ll be personally responsible for all the medical expenses you incur abroad. With emergency medical coverage, your travel insurance provider will help reimburse you for any costs unrelated to preexisting conditions.
- Medical evacuation: The quality and availability of medical services vary dramatically from one country to the next. If you suffer a medical emergency and the area where you’re visiting is not equipped to provide adequate care locally, emergency evacuation services will pay for the cost of transporting you to the necessary facility.
- Trip cancellation: If you’re forced to cancel your trip at the last minute, trip cancellation insurance will reimburse you for lost costs. For example, if you break your leg before traveling and can’t go, trip cancellation insurance will compensate you for nonrefundable expenses, including flights, accommodations and excursions.
- Trip interruption: Trip interruption protection compensates you for unused expenses if you’re forced to end your trip early. Most trip interruption protections include coverage above the value of your trip to cover the extra expense that comes with leaving a domestic or international location at the last minute.
Read the fine print on your contract before signing up for coverage to know exactly when you are and are not covered. The specific circumstances that qualify for reimbursement will vary depending on your chosen policy and the travel insurance company issuing it.
If you aren’t sure what is covered, reach out to a representative for peace of mind knowing you have the protection you need. Be sure to note any exclusions on your policy and when they apply. The last thing you want is to pay for insurance, need to use your coverage, and only then find out you won’t be able to file a claim.
How Much Does Flight Insurance Cost?
The price you’ll pay for your flight insurance will vary depending on how and where you purchase it. Let’s look at a few sample vacation plans and what each traveler can expect to pay for their insurance.
New York City to Cancun, Mexico
The following pricing data is based on a seven-day trip from New York City to Cancun, Mexico, for a single 25-year-old traveler.
The total cost of the trip was estimated at $5,000, and the dates used were August 23, 2022, to August 30, 2022.
Los Angeles to Tokyo
The following pricing data is based on a 10-day trip from Los Angeles to Tokyo for a single 35-year-old traveler.
The total cost of the trip was estimated at $10,000, and the dates used were August 23, 2022, to September 2, 2022.
How Do I Get Flight Insurance?
You can purchase flight insurance and other travel assistance from two primary sources:
- Airline companies: When you book your flight, your airline will usually offer you the option to insure your flight for an additional cost. This is the most affordable way to get flight insurance, but the coverage and assistance services are less robust.
- Travel insurance companies: If you’re looking for complete protection, you can purchase a travel insurance policy through one of the country’s major insurance providers. Travel insurance policies almost always include flight insurance as a component of coverage and may also include safeguards for medical bills, baggage delays and more.
The Bottom Line: Is Flight Insurance Worth It?
When considering which coverage is right for you, consider the percentage of your total vacation budget spent on your flight. If your flight cost is the most significant portion of your trip, flight insurance can offer a low-cost alternative to comprehensive travel insurance.
However, if you spent thousands of dollars on other non-refundable trip costs beyond your flight, you may want to buy travel insurance coverage that comes with extra protections. Even if you aren’t sure that flight insurance is right for you, be sure to get a quote for coverage at least two weeks before you travel. Flight insurance might be more affordable than you think.