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Navigating Flight Cancellation Insurance

Flight Cancellation Insurance: What It Is and How to Get It

Joanna Teljeur
Written By Joanna Teljeur
7 minutes read
Last Updated: March 05, 2024

In 2023, 16.3 million flights were canceled according to the US Department of Transportation. Interestingly, this was the lowest number airlines have seen in a decade and 2024 is expected to be even better for travelers. Still, 16.3 million is a huge number, and if you happened to be on the passenger end of one of these cancellations, you know how agonizing the experience can be.

So what can you do? One option that seems to be growing in popularity is cancelled flight insurance. In this article, we’re going to explain what it is, why you might need it, and how to find a policy that fits your needs.

Have you had a canceled flight in the last 3 years? You could be able to get as much as $650 in airline compensation. Check your flight details below to see if your flight qualifies.

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What is Flight Cancellation Insurance

Flight cancellation insurance is a kind of travel insurance that protects you financially if you or the airline cancels your flight. It provides you with extra peace of mind by reimbursing you for any non-refundable tickets, cancellation fees, and other expenses related to your canceled flight. Flight cancellation insurance isn’t something you can find as a stand-alone offering, but instead it is offered as part of other, larger travel insurance packages.

Why Get It

Flight cancellation insurance is a good idea for anyone wanting to protect their business or holiday travel plans. For starters, it helps protect your investment by providing coverage for any unexpected events that may lead to you having to cancel all or a part of your trip.

Not only that, but depending on the policy, it can also protect you if you have flight delays or other kinds of travel disruptions. In some cases, cancellation insurance can even provide you with alternative transportation and accommodation when a fight is canceled at the last minute.

Man flight delays Manchester Airport

What Flight Cancellation Insurance Covers

Picture this: You’ve planned a holiday overseas. For months you’ve been looking forward to it, but then at the last minute, you break your wrist and have to go to the hospital. You can still travel, but you have to push your flight back a few days. So, who covers the unused portion of your trip and can you get money back for your canceled flight?

If you have flight cancellation insurance (or flight delay insurance), it will usually cover the cost of your flight if you have to cancel suddenly because of emergencies, natural disasters, family emergencies, illness, or injury. Additionally, this type of travel insurance will also cover other expenses related to your trip like the unused part of your hotel stay, car rentals, the cost of rebooking your flight, additional accommodation, and transportation.

Of course, travel insurance policies vary considerably, but some offer additional coverage for lost baggage, trip interruptions (like having to go home early), and other unforeseen situations.

Check also: does travel insurance cover cancelled flights?

When the Airline Cancels Your Flight

If your flight is canceled by the airline in the US, UK, EU, or Canada, they are generally required to rebook you on another flight or offer you a cash refund if you decide not to travel. 

In some regions, you could even get flight cancellation compensation in addition to the refund or rebooking, if the airline was responsible for the canceled flight.

But if the airline cancels your flight for a covered reason in your policy, like bankruptcy, air traffic control shut down, or the failure of mechanical systems, then the insurance will usually protect the unused and non-refundable parts of your journey.   

What Flight Cancellation Insurance Won’t Cover

Again, travel insurance companies and policies can have vast differences, so some situations might not be covered. Some typical reasons for a travel insurance claim being denied include:

  • Flight cancellations that stem from a pre-existing medical condition that was not disclosed at the time you bought your policy.
  • A cancellation caused by a known foreseeable event like a hurricane that was predicted
  • Any cancellation that could be attributed to the airline like staff shortages or technical problems.
  • A cancellation because of personal reasons like if you decided you just didn’t feel like going.

Disrupted flight? You might have a right to compensation - up to €600 (£520).Check Your Flight

The Different Types of Canceled Flight Insurance

Flight cancellation insurance can be found in two different kinds of policies: Trip Cancellation and Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR).

Trip Cancellation

Trip Cancellation insurance provides coverage for cancellations as a result of specific, unforeseen events. So, if you get ill or injure yourself and can’t travel, as in the example above, or you have to cancel or put off your trip until a later date for something like an urgent family matter, then trip cancellation insurance will cover the cost of your flight. Plus, it will also usually cover other pre-paid and non refundable expenses like hotel bookings, car rentals, and tour reservations.

Generally speaking, trip cancellation insurance can be an excellent choice for anyone worried about a specific event that could make you cancel all or part of your trip.

PRO TIP: Make sure you pay attention to the details of your specific policy because each plan will outline exactly which unforeseen events are covered and which are not.

Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR)

Cancel for Any Reason insurance usually gives you more comprehensive coverage that lets you cancel your trip for any reason as the name implies. This is almost always sold as an upgrade to other travel insurance packages, and it will reimburse you for a portion of your canceled expenses. 

Again, pay close attention to the details of each policy because some CFAR insurances will not cover you if you canceled with less than 48 hours notice. Also, if you have refundable expenses, CFAR will not provide coverage. CFAR typically has more restrictions and criteria for you to meet than Trip Cancellation insurance.

Counting money

The Cost of Cancellation Insurance

Once again, the cost of various policies differ quite a bit, but this allows you to find the plan that suits you - not only for what it costs, but for what it covers.

Price determining factors include:

  • The insurance provider
  • Level of coverage
  • Duration of your trip
  • Cost of your itinerary

To give you some idea, the average travel insurance can cost anywhere from 3-8% of your total trip cost. So, if your travel plans cost about $1,500, then you can expect to pay between $45 to $120 for insurance.

Finding the Right Flight Cancellation Insurance

In order to find the best travel insurance for your particular situation, think about what sort of coverage you need based on your travel plans and budget. Then you can start narrowing your search for providers by researching their individual policies and pricing options.

Before you start shopping for providers, check to see what kind of coverage you might already have available to you. Many credit cards come with all sorts of travel perks including some form of insurance, but you might have to use that card to purchase your trip in order for the coverage to kick in.

Once you’ve found a few policies that look like a fit, you can measure them against each other with any number of online comparison tools. But again, pay close attention to exclusions and restrictions like pre-existing medical conditions or specific reasons that are excluded from coverage.

You should also look at what additional benefits the insurance plan provides like baggage coverage, trip interruption, and emergency medical coverage, and consider the claims process for each. Whichever policy you choose, you’ll want to know what’s needed for claims like what documentation is required and how long you have to submit a claim as well as how long it will take for you to be reimbursed.

Is Flight Cancellation Insurance Worth it

The honest but vague answer is that it depends on your situation and especially your budget. As we touched on earlier, you might not need to look for travel insurance if you only want to have protections against canceled flights. Basically, if you’re traveling to the EU, UK, or Canada, you will be largely protected if your flight is delayed or canceled. The difference however is that, without travel insurance, you won’t have any protection for the missed, non-refundable portion of your journey.

Have you recently experienced a canceled flight? Enter your flight details below to see if your flight qualifies for compensation.Check Flight

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