Aviation

Flight delays and cancellations: What’s covered by travel insurance?

After a blanket of fog caused numerous delays and cancellations at Melbourne Airport yesterday, there’s no doubt many people flocked to their travel insurer for advice.

They were probably busier than our local pub during a schnitzel lunch special!

And that’s pretty busy.

We had a chat with Comparetravelinsurance.com.au director, Natalie Ball to learn more about the ins and outs of travel insurance coverage in these instances.

Here’s what she had to say.

Travel Weekly: What does travel insurance cover?

Natalie Ball: In a nutshell, travel delays or cancellations within the airline’s control – mechanical problems, staff shortages, or overbooking – are not covered.

However, anything where the airline is not at fault, such a bad weather and natural disasters, will generally be covered by travel insurance.

If you experience a cancellation outside the airline’s control – such as the flight cancellations and delays due to poor weather and visibility at Melbourne Airport – a comprehensive policy is likely to cover you for any additional expenses, such as meals and accommodation if you’re delayed for more than a minimum period.

It would also cover you for alternative travel expenses if you have to reach a planned event, such as a wedding or a departing tour on time.

Such claims are assessed on a case-by-case basis, so if you’re going to be delayed overnight and need accommodation, or have something planned that can’t be rescheduled, contact your insurer’s claims team so know exactly how much you’ll be reimbursed for.

TW: How can I stay up-to-date with flight rescheduling?

NB: As the airline call centres tend to be at capacity at times like this, make calling them a late resort. Instead, keep up-to-date by checking that your email address and mobile numbers for your flight booking are current, and stay tuned to the airline’s website and social pages.

If you’re already at the airport, pay close attention to announcements and flight boarding screens.

TW: Why is domestic travel insurance important?

NB: Things can go awry no matter where you are.

Local flight delays and cancellations occur, luggage gets lost or stolen, or someone breaks their leg and can no longer go on holiday.

While many Australians only think to book travel insurance for international trips, domestic policies are very affordable and can save you a lot of money and stress.

Knowing that you’re going to be able to get some sleep in accommodation that your insurer is paying for is more desirable than being stuck inside an interstate airport, particularly if you have small children in tow.

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