Flight Travel Insurance – What should you know? How do you save 40% or more?
Flight insurance is often a good investment, but you might want to know more before buying from your airline. Our guide explains why.
If you're planning to travel by air soon and want to get travel insurance, we've put together a comprehensive guide to help you buy flight insurance that will save you money and help you get the best travel insurance coverage. Travel insurance can seem complicated at first, but we can help take the mystery out of evaluating coverage options and finding the best value for you.
“If you compare plans, you can usually get a much better value and better coverage at a better price.”
What's the biggest potential mistake in buying flight insurance?
If you don't shop around, you're making the most common mistake in buying air travel insurance. If you compare plans, you can usually get a much better value and better coverage at a better price. And buyer beware: the insurance your airline offers usually doesn't provide the best value.
Do you really need to buy air travel insurance?
Travel insurance covers the non-refundable portion of your trip so that you don't incur penalties if you have a covered reason to cancel your trip. It also covers medical expenses, medical evacuation costs, baggage, and trip interruption costs. Most travel advisors will recommend buying travel insurance. It's a smart investment.
“If you experience bad weather and your flight is delayed, for example, the airline has no obligation to pay for a hotel room. Travel insurance, on the other hand, will cover this cost.”
If you experience bad weather and your flight is delayed, for example, the airline has no obligation to pay for a hotel room. Travel insurance, on the other hand, will cover this cost.
Most important features to look for:
- Pre-existing conditions waiver
- 150% Trip Interruption benefit limit
- At least $1000 in travel delay coverage
- If traveling outside the USA: $50,000 in Medical Coverage
Things to consider:
- Canceling for work reasons – some policies include this
Should I buy flight insurance for my frequent flyer mileage tickets?
Travel insurance for the rest of your non-refundable travel expenses is a good idea, but you don't need insurance for frequent flyer miles.
“When you buy your insurance, include the taxes and airline fees for using your mileage as part of your non-refundable expenses.”
When you buy your insurance, include the taxes and airline fees for using your mileage as part of your non-refundable expenses. Check the certificates of coverage for the insurance you are considering. Some insurance plans cover the cost to restore mileage to your account in the event you have to cancel your trip. (This can run as much as $150 for some airlines.) Other insurance plans consider these non-reimbursable administrative fees and don't cover them.
Who should you buy your flight insurance from?
Many people simply buy their insurance from their airline. It's easy, the airline recommends a certain plan, and travelers just want coverage. If you want the best value, the best strategy is to shop around online. There you can compare various plans and their costs just by filling out a quote form. In the end, you will almost always save a lot of money and get much better coverage.
Is there a difference between plans you buy from the airline and your travel agent?
Insurance plans you buy from an airline are wholesale plans designed to be sold exclusively by the airline. They never cover the possibility of the airline going bankrupt and always leave you exposed to this risk.
The cancellation provisions are often customized and limited and may only pay out a portion of your non-refundable airline ticket costs. They can often be purchased for a lower cost, but lower cost often comes with less comprehensive coverage. Often, for example, these plans will cut back on cancelation reasons and/or coverage limits. Typically, you can get better coverage for a few dollars more.
“Policies from a travel agent or from online comparison sites usually offer broader coverage and will insure additional hotel and travel costs you may not have purchased through the airline.”
Policies from a travel agent or from online comparison sites usually offer broader coverage and will insure additional hotel and travel costs you may not have purchased through the airline. These retail policies will typically cover you for default by, or bankruptcy of, a travel supplier.
Online comparison sites usually sell the same plans offered by travel agents at the same commission levels. The difference is that they let you compare the cost and coverage of multiple plans to find the lowest cost plan with the best coverage for you. The main benefit is comparison, not necessarily cost.
One exception among these online comparison sites is TripInsurance.com, which has a unique travel insurance selling model. We have negotiated exclusive plans with several leading insurers that enable you to purchase from these companies directly at consumer-direct prices and save 40% or more on the same or better coverage.
“Buy your insurance within 14 days of purchasing your airline ticket.”
When should you buy it?
Buy your insurance within 14 days of purchasing your airline ticket. There are time-sensitive provisions such as pre-existing condition waivers that enhance your coverage if you buy within that window. You can usually purchase insurance up to the day before you depart, but you get better coverage when you buy within 14 days.
What should I look for when I compare plans?
If you are buying within 14 days of your initial deposit, always look for a plan with a pre-existing conditions waiver. For international trips, get at least $100,000 in medical evacuation coverage. If you need serious medical attention and need to return to the US in a private jet with medical escort, the expense can range from about $100,000 to $200,000.
Trip interruption benefits are also important to consider. If an ash cloud covers Europe and you can't return home, the trip interruption coverage will pay your extra travel expenses. Some plans offer cancel-for-work reason provisions that will cover your cancelation penalties if your boss tells you at the last minute that you can't take your vacation.
Do you have a question we haven't answered here?
Call our toll free number at 877-219-8169, and our licensed travel insurance experts will answer any questions for you. There is no obligation to buy. We're just happy to help.