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Travel Delay Coverage

This may surprise you but airlines are not required to compensate delayed passengers. Here’s where travel delay coverage comes in handy.

10 March 2011
Travel Delay Coverage

This travel insurance coverage provides reimbursement for additional meal and hotel expenses incurred when a trip’s departure or return is delayed for a covered reason.

Contents (click to jump down)
What the airlines owe you when a Travel Delay occurs
What does Travel Delay cover?
Important notes about this coverage
What type of policy covers this?
How much coverage does each company provide?
Summary

Let us tell you a story

All through the cold winter, Tony and Beth dreamed of their Jamaica getaway. When the day finally arrived, the first part of their trip started off on time. Landing in Dallas, they heard that an ice storm was moving in and they watched the weather get much worse through their layover.

When the connecting flight was scheduled to leave, the couple was informed that all flights would be delayed at least overnight. Because the delay was considered an ‘act of God’, the airline would not be compensating waiting passengers. Instead of sleeping in uncomfortable airport lounge chairs, however, Tony and Beth had travel insurance that provided reimbursement after a three-hour delay. So, they rescheduled their flight and contacted a local hotel to pick them up from the airport. They had a delicious meal and slept in a warm, comfortable room. It wasn’t Jamaica, but Beth and Tony could make the best of the delay.

What the airlines owe you when a Travel Delay occurs

Airlines are not required to compensate delayed passengers. They don’t guarantee their schedules and there are many events – like severe weather, air traffic delays, and mechanical issues – that can make it impossible for flights to leave on time. Airlines that fly in the U.S. are not legally obligated to provide any compensation to passengers when a delay occurs.

What does Travel Delay cover?

This coverage reimburses a traveler for reasonable expenses (up to the policy limit) for meals, accommodations, and transportation when the insured is delayed more than a certain number of hours depending on the plan. Travel insurance plans define a per-day maximum limit on reimbursements due to travel delays.

Some of the commonly covered reasons for travel delays include:

  • Delays due to common carrier problems, including inclement weather.
  • Delays due to lost or stolen passports, money, or other travel documents.
  • Delays due to quarantine of you or your traveling companion.
  • Delays due to hijacking.
  • Delays due to unannounced strikes.
  • Delays due to natural disasters.
  • Delays due to civil disorder, riots or unrest.
  • Delays due to severe weather causing a route to be closed by government officials such as the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

Important notes about this coverage

  • This coverage is in effect when the insured is en route on the scheduled departure date of their covered trip.
  • Benefits due to this coverage cannot duplicate the benefits provided by missed connection coverage.
  • Any refunds you receive from your travel suppliers as a result of a delay will be deducted from your travel insurance claim.

What type of policy covers this?

Travel insurance package plans, not travel medical insurance plans, provide coverage for travel delays. There are many package plans that provide this type of coverage with varying per-day and policy limits.

Summary

  • Airlines are not required to compensate delayed passengers
  • Coverage begins when the insured is en route on their scheduled day of departure
  • Coverage includes the unused part of your prepaid expenses
  • Each policy has varying delay minimums plus different per-day and policy limits
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Damian Tysdal
Author
DamianTysdal

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.

Damian Tysdal is the founder of CoverTrip, and he believes travel insurance should be easier to understand. He started the first travel insurance blog in 2006.