How flight insurance work

How Does Flight Insurance Work & Is It Even Worth It?

12 minutes, 47 seconds Read

Last Updated on March 27, 2024 by Rick Spiegel

Whether it’s a long-awaited trip with your loved ones or a cross-country trip for your favorite cousin’s wedding. Trips are not just a chance to relax and chill, but they also require an investment. So, there is an option to protect a portion of your investment through flight insurance. However, if you have never purchased flight insurance, then you might be  wondering how flight insurance works or if it is worth purchasing travel insurance.

So, if you have such doubts in your mind and want answers to your concerns, then don’t worry. All your questions will be answered here. In this guide, we have included all the important details, such as:

● How flight insurance works?

● What it covers?

● What it doesn’t cover?

● The cost required for purchasing the travel insurance, etc.

By understanding all these factors, you’ll be able to make the best decision on whether to buy travel insurance or not. So, now let’s begin with the basics first.

By understanding all these factors, you’ll be able to make the best decision on whether to buy travel insurance or not. So, now let’s begin with the basics first.

What Does Flight Insurance Mean?

In simple words, flight insurance is a contract between the airline and the traveler. The travel provider or the travel insurance company specifies how and under what circumstances a passenger will be compensated for the cost of their nonrefundable plane tickets if their trip is disrupted.

Moreover, flight insurance also refers to the coverage that a flyer purchases from the airline or the travel provider. So, if you are unable to travel due to any injury, illness, or emergency, then you can reserve a ticket that offers refunds for your Airfare.

Here are a few things that you must know about flight insurance:

  • The benefits that you get from the travel experience can vary depending on your plan. So, it is essential for you to select a plan that fits your needs, budget, and travel plans.
  • Also, flight insurance cannot cover every possible situation. So, the coverage that you’ll receive depends on the specific events, situations, and losses included in your plan and under the conditions that your airline or insurance describes.
  • Moreover, flight insurance is designed to cover unescapable events. Not for those situations that are under your control.

How Does Flight Insurance Work?

One of the most important things that you must know while purchasing flight insurance is that any perks are secondary to what you’ll get in compensation directly from the airline. In most situations, you have to file a claim for the compensation, and once it is approved by the insurer, they will reimburse you for the expenses covered by your policy. However, the insurer will ask you for proof of your expense or loss before approving the loss.

Different Types of Flight Insurance

Different airlines offer several types of flight insurance to their passengers. Here is a list of the most common types of flight insurance that you’ll get in different situations:

  • Trip cancellation: Under trip cancellation, the cost of your trip is included if you cancel your reservation due to any reason. These reasons can be the demise of a family member, sickness, or any other reason that is listed in the policy of your airline. Moreover, some airlines also provide compensation for the natural disaster at your home or the place you planned to travel or for any legal obligations as well.
  • Trip interruption: The trip interruption covers the pre-paid travel expenses if you are required to end your trip in the middle way. Your flight can get interrupted due to several reasons such as your family member getting sick or dying or any other interruption that is already listed in the policy of your specific airline.
  • Travel delay: If you have purchased flight insurance, and your flight gets delayed. In such a case, the airline will reimburse the prepaid expenses. So, if delays mean that you’ll miss your flight, then you are eligible to get a reimbursement.
  • Cancel for any reason: Cancel for any reason is the most expensive kind of flight insurance. If you have this insurance, then you’ll get a reimbursement from 50% to 75% of your trip’s total cost.
  • Travel health: Travel health policy is the additional security that you get on top of your existing health insurance. It can be helpful for you if you are traveling abroad.
  • Medical evacuation: Medication evacuation is also a type of flight insurance. This insurance covers the cost that is related to transporting you if there is a medical emergency to a licensed medical facility.

Does Airlines Offer Flight Insurance on Award Tickets?

If you use your airline miles to reserve an award ticket, then the airline offers flight insurance on the checkout page. Also, if your trip gets canceled, then this also covers a redeposit of your miles back to your frequent flyer account.

Additionally, the trip insurance policy and credit card travel insurance will reimburse you for the fees and taxes that you paid on your award ticket. However, always ensure to check the policy of your airline if you are booking your flight ticket with points.

What Does Flight Insurance Cover?

As we have already discussed the standard flight insurance generally compensates the flyers for the non-refundable cost of their airfare. So, if any unforeseen events occur, then they are covered as per the policy of their selected flight.

Here are some of the most common issues that are covered in the flight insurance:

  • An unexpected illness or injury before the departure of your flight.
  • Demise in the family or the travel companion.
  • A terrorist event within proximity to the city you are traveling to.
  • A mid-flight diversion that forces you to arrive at a different airport.
  • Cancellation of your flight due to bad weather conditions, including blizzards and storms.
  • Unexpected flight delays that caused you to miss your connecting flight.

What is Not Covered Under Flight Insurance?

Usually, flight insurance compensates passengers under various unforeseeable circumstances. However, there is still a lack of certain coverage that you might not get with a travel insurance company.

Most of the flight insurance plans automatically exclude the following conditions from the coverage or compensation:

  • Loss due to a pre-existing medical condition.
  • Loss for the tour or ticket that was won as an award or by redeeming the frequent flyers or credit card miles.
  • Cost of the travel where the trip’s purpose was to obtain medical treatment outside the home country.
  • Extreme high-risk activities or sports such as scuba diving, sky diving, heliskiing, etc.
  • Any losses due to military actions, wars, riots, or civil disorders.
  • Losses incurred while the insured was participating in anty unlawful act.

How to Select a Flight Insurance Plan?

If you are confused about which flight insurance plan you should select, then here are some of the important points that you must keep in mind while selecting the insurance plan:

  • Evaluate the financial risks- Evaluating the financial risk is the most important factor that you must keep in mind while booking your flight tickets. If you can bear all those costs, then you can skip the plan. However, if not, then you can go with buying the trip insurance plan.
  • Examine what coverage you already have- It is essential for you to examine the coverage that you already own. Do you have any travel cards that offer travel insurance? If yes, then there is no need to purchase any additional flight insurance. All your losses will be covered by the insurance that you’ll be getting via your travel card.
  • Get quotes for trip insurance online- Another thing that you can do before choosing any specific flight insurance plan is get quotes for the trip insurance online. After that, select a package of the benefits that you require. Also, compare the similar coverage among the other carriers.
  • Narrow your choices- Narrow your choices and read the policies of different flight insurance providers. This will help you in understanding what is covered, and what are the limitations and exclusions. There are chances that you midget the lowest priced insurance but it will be too restrictive.

How Much a Flight Insurance Cost to a Flyer?

The flight insurance cost that a flyer will pay depends on the type of policy. Moreover, the length of your trip, age, and total cost of the trip also affect the flight insurance cost.

Let us understand it with the help of an example. Suppose an AIG Travel Guard insurance policy sold by United Airlines costs around $250 for a 20-day trip to Italy for flyers who are around 45 years old. Also, that is for the economy class flight costing $3,070.

In addition, a Travel Guard preferred plan is sold by AIG for the same trip and the passengers with a total trip cost of $5,500 have to pay $510. So, this is the double amount, but it has much higher benefits in comparison with the other plan.

The United Airlines flight insurance policy sold at the check-out will provide around $8,500 in travel medical insurance, and $18,000 in medical evacuation coverage, per person.

Now, let’s take another example for a better understanding.

So, here is another example of the flight insurance cost for a seven-day trip in the U.S. for the two passengers 34 and 36 years old. The estimated full trip cost them around $2,000, and the flight reservations haven’t been paid in full yet. Their policy includes travel delay, trip interruption, and emergency median coverage of up to $500.

ProviderPlan    Policy costPercent of total trip cost
Trawick InternationalSafe Travels Voyager$72.70  3.6%
Seven CornersRoundTrip Choice$1527.6%
Generali Global AssistanceStandard$81.084.1%
TravelexTravel Select$1125.6%

Tips to Get the Most from a Flight Insurance Plan

Here are a few tips that you can follow to get the most from the flight insurance plan:

  • Don’t wait too long to buy travel insurance- The best time to purchase flight insurance is right after you make your flight reservation with any airline. The earlier you buy the flight insurance, the bigger coverage window you’ll get. Moreover, you must ensure to purchase your plan within 14 days of making your initial trip deposit in order to be eligible for the advantage of the pre-existing medical condition.
  • Read your plan documents before you leave- If you have not started your trip or initiated a claim, then you can request a refund within 15 days if you are not completely satisfied with your plan.
  • Call your insurer to ask queries- If you have queries on how the flight insurance works, how to file a claim, or which perks you require, then you should reach out to your insurer ASAP. Moreover, if you are already traveling and facing a travel crisis or need some assistance, then you must reach out to the emergency assistance hotline.

Is Purchasing a Flight Insurance Worth It?

The fight insurance offered to a flyer when they purchase a travel ticket is not always worth the cost. However, if you have any nonrefundable deposit invested in your trip including the hotel stays excursions, and tours, in such a situation, purchasing flight insurance to cover your entire trip can be a good option.

The basic flight insurance might be worth it if:

  • The airfare is the only trip expense that is non-refundable. Also, you didn’t purchase your flight insurance through your credit card.
  • Or you don’t have the option to get a refund or credit for the airfare directly from your airline.

Moreover, you must ensure that you have already read all the cancellation and flight change policies before purchasing the flight insurance. Also, you should check your credit card benefits to see if you already have some form of flight insurance. Some credit card companies offer protection if you reserve your flight ticket via your credit card.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How does insurance on a flight work?

Flight insurance refers to the coverage you purchase from a travel provider or an airline while reserving a trip. So, if you are unable to travel due to any emergency including any injury or illness, then you can make a claim for the reimbursement. However, the insurer will ask you to provide proof of your loss or expense before approving your claim.

Does flight insurance give you a full refund?

The trip cancellation is a standard inclusion on most of its travel insurance policies. Also, it provides a full refund of your non-refundable or prepaid cost if you cancel your reservation for a specific unescapable covered reason.

Does cancellation insurance cover flights?

Yes, the cancellation insurance covers flights. The trip cancellation or any interruption in the plan can be reimbursed for more than the ticket price or other travel arrangements. Moreover, these plans can also cover the cost of your meal, taxi transportation, and accommodations if your trip is interrupted or canceled for a covered reason.

How does flight insurance work for domestic flights?

You can buy travel insurance for your domestic flight. It will not only provide you with a sense of relief but will help you mitigate the financial loss if you experience a trip interruption. Moreover, there are various companies that offer flight insurance such as AXA Assistance USA or Travelex. These all are the leading companies that can assure you provide comprehensive coverage from a reputable provider.

What does ticket insurance cover on a flight?

A complete ticket insurance plan includes protections like medical coverage, emergency medical transportation services, compensation for baggage loss, etc. Moreover, it also includes compensation for extras such as travel assistance and protection for your rental car.

Should I get trip insurance for the flight?

Yes, you should get trip insurance for the flight as you’ll get multiple benefits from it. If you lose the money that you paid for your accommodation, flight, or other activities, in such a situation, you can get your money back through your flight insurance. In such a way, you’ll not bear any financial loss.

Is it advisable to get travel insurance?

Yes, it is advisable to get travel insurance as you get your non-refundable trip cost which is much more than you can afford to lose. Moreover, if you are traveling internationally, then purchasing flight insurance is a must.

Is it better to buy flight insurance early or late?

If you are planning to buy flight insurance, then you must purchase it right after making your reservation. The reason for buying flight insurance on an early basis is, that the earlier you get the flight insurance, the bigger coverage window you’ll get.

What are the things that are not covered under the flight insurance?

There are a bunch of things that are not covered under flight insurance. These are any loss due to a pre-existing medical condition, loss due to wars, civil disorders, and much more. So, before buying any flight insurance, you must read out all the policies and guidelines of the flight insurance.

What are the different types of flight insurance available for the passengers?

If you are traveling by air, then you must ensure to purchase travel insurance to make your trip more secure. Also, there are different types of flight insurance such as trip cancellation, travel delay, travel health, travel interruption, etc.


Rick Spiegel

I'm Rick Spiegel, a dedicated traveler and writer with a passion for all things related to airline travel. My love for exploring new destinations and my commitment to helping fellow travelers navigate the skies have led me to create a space where you can find all the information you need to contact airlines and resolve air travel issues seamlessly. With years of experience in the aviation industry, I've made it my mission to provide you with expertly crafted airline travel guides, ensuring that your journeys are as smooth as possible.

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