How Does Your Travel Insurance Cover Missed Connections?

Many flights are delayed. Here are some ways to avoid both the frustration and extra travel costs delays might cause.
Many flights are delayed. Here are some ways to avoid both the frustration and extra travel costs delays might cause.

We often hear that the devil is in the details, and, as with many other things in life, this can be true with travel insurance.

Recently, a customer filed a claim because a flight delay caused him to miss a European flight connection, which in turn caused him to forfeit his first night’s hotel deposit in Europe. The claim was denied because the initial flight delay had been 2 hours. If it had been 3 hours or more, then his claim would have been honored.

In this case, the devil was definitely in the details. The policy this customer had purchased was very specific about covering missed connections only if the initial flight delay is 3 hours or more. If he had done a little more research, he could have purchased a policy from another insurer that would have covered him for a missed connection due to a flight delay of less than 3 hours.

So, how do you make sure that this doesn’t happen to you? Here are 3 tips I often share with customers:

  1. Read the fine print in policies. Like fingerprints, no travel insurance product is exactly the same as another. And problems sometimes arise for people when they don’t read policies carefully and just assume that they are automatically covered for a situation such as a missed flight connection—no matter what the specific circumstances are. As I like to tell people, “It’s important not to have misconceptions about missed connections.” If you feel this might be an issue for you, 2 insurance carriers whose policies are written in ways that are relatively beneficial to air travelers are American Modern and U.S. Fire. You can learn more about both on our site.
  2. Schedule Realistic Connections. As anyone who flies internationally with any regularity knows, flight delays—sometimes very lengthy delays—are common. So, take that into consideration when you’re booking flights. Also, if you’re flying within the U.S., say, from San Francisco to Miami to catch a flight to Brazil or a Caribbean cruise, build in extra time. In fact, we advise cruisers to plan to fly the day before their ship departs to be doubly sure they avoid a missed connection. We don’t consider this frivolous advice, either. The U.S. Research and Innovation Technology Administration (part of the U.S. Department of Transportation) reports that—even within the U.S.—only about 75-80% of flights actually arrive on time. (In 2013, for example, it’s expected to be 77.5%.) So, it’s better to be safe than sorry.
  3. Learn as Much as You Can About the Possibilities of Flight Delays in Specific Cities and Regions. A part of scheduling that many people don’t take into account is learning about specific local issues that may (and often do) affect your flying plans. For example, because the air space throughout China is so tightly controlled by the government, it’s virtually impossible to fly to or from any city in that country with less than a 3-hour delay. Here is an interesting recent article on this subject from Smarter Travel. If you are flying to, from, or through Frankfort, Germany, the security is very tight, and long delays are commonplace. In Frankfort, as well as many other cities, security for any flight going to Israel is also extremely tight. So, expect significant delays in these cases, too.

Terms and conditions of different policies can sometimes be complicated and lead to questions. And, if you would like clear, concise answers, just call one of our licensed insurance professionals at 1-877-219-8169 or email us at support@tripinsurance.com. You are under no obligation to buy from us. Our goal is simply to help people travel with confidence knowing that they’ve made the insurance decision that’s best for them.