How travel insurance can protect you from flight delays

When your flight is delayed, you have enough to worry about. Travel insurance can keep financial stress off the list.

Getty Images

Air travelers hoping things would smooth out once the pandemic receded had been sorely disappointed. The recent Southwest airline delays are just the latest in a string of delays plaguing the industry.

In 2022, Southwest Airlines flights were delayed roughly 26% of the time, according to Statista. American Airlines, Delta and United Airlines weren’t much better, with delays ranging from about 16% to about 22%.

When your flight is delayed, you have enough to worry about. You can avoid adding financial stress to the list by purchasing travel insurance.

Travel insurance covers a range of trip-related issues, from lost luggage to canceled flights. And depending on the insurance provider and plan, you may also be entitled to travel delay coverage, which covers delay-related costs like meals, lodging and toiletries. This type of coverage is especially common with comprehensive travel insurance.

In this article, we’ll explore how travel delay coverage could save you money if your flight runs late.

Learn more about travel insurance here.

How travel insurance can protect you from flight delays

If you’re traveling by air anytime soon, here’s how travel insurance could save you money if your flight is delayed.

Nearly one in four flights are delayed

According to Bureau of Transportation Statistics data, 21.66% of flights have been delayed so far in 2023. That’s nearly one in four. The BTS classifies a delayed flight as any flight that arrives 15 minutes or more after its scheduled time.

That may not seem like much, but as anyone who’s sprinting from one end of an airport to the other to catch a connecting flight can tell you, even a few minutes delay can seriously mess up your trip, leading to a logistical nightmare. If your flight is delayed by hours, there’s a good chance it will cost you. Travel insurance could save you hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars in these cases.

Compare travel insurance options now to see how much coverage you can get.

Airline compensation policies may not cover you

Some airlines may reimburse you for expenses incurred due to delays, but not all do. There is no law requiring airlines to compensate passengers whose flights are delayed. And even those that provide compensation may exclude delays caused by things they consider outside their control, such as weather or mechanical issues.

“People are accustomed to not getting travel insurance because historically they haven’t needed it,” travel agent and full-time traveler Veronica Hanson previously told CBS News. “Their own experiences have taught them over the years that insurance is a waste of money. If something goes wrong, companies usually step up and make it right for the customer. These days are a whole different story. Infrequent travelers might not realize the chaos of the airline industry these days.”

A delay can ruin the rest of your travel plans

A flight delay can quickly affect the rest of your itinerary.

“There is no guarantee that a confirmed seat on a plane will actually get you to your intended destination,” Hanson said. “A leg of your journey mid-trip can be canceled without notice, which causes a ripple effect. Hotels are sticking to their cancellation policies, meaning travelers are paying for rooms they aren’t able to get to because of delays or cancellations.”

With travel delay insurance, you can at least minimize your losses if a delay wrecks your plans.

Ready to buy travel insurance? Start by getting a customized price quote here.

The bottom line

Flight delays lead to a whole host of headaches, from the logistics of rescheduling connecting flights to extra lodging and food expenses. Whether you’re flying internationally or domestically, travel insurance could at least help you with the costs if your flight is delayed. With traveling already stressful enough, the peace of mind this brings could be well worth it.