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Travel insurance for missed flights and delays

Travel insurance can cover missed or delayed flights but only in certain circumstances.

What you need to know

  • Travel insurance can cover you for missed flights and delays for reasons outside of your control.
  • It typically will not cover you if the airline is at fault for the delay.
  • An injury, bad weather and industrial action, are typically considered valid grounds for a claim.

Compare policies with cover for missed flights

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Does travel insurance cover missed flights?

You are typically covered for reasons outside your or your airline's control.

You are covered for missed flights provided you miss your flight due to an event that is out of your control and is recognised by your insurance provider. This may include a vehicle accident, natural disaster, hijacking or strike. You will be covered under cancellation and trip interruption.

In most cases, missed flight travel insurance only provides cover for flights that are missed due to circumstances beyond your or your airline's control. Circumstances outside of an airline's control such as bad weather and industrial action, are usually considered valid grounds for a claim. Pre-booked accommodation expenses are usually covered in these situations too.

Good to know – if you missed your flight because of mechanical problems or overbooking, your airline is usually responsible for providing compensation or an alternative flight as they were responsible for your delay. In lots of cases, travel insurance can't help you.

Finder survey: What is the biggest concern for Australian travellers?

Flight disruptions/cancellations57.82%
Source: Finder survey by Pure Profile of 1112 Australians, December 2023

When won't I be covered?

You're not covered in situations where you are at fault for the delayed or missed flight, for example:

  • You did not allow enough time to get to the airport before your flight's departure.
  • You booked connecting flights with arrival and departure times too close.
  • You missed your flight due to issues with your travel documents and/or passport.

Circumstances such as being caught in a traffic jam on the way to the airport are generally not covered. However, situations such as your train breaking down may be. The reason train delays are covered is because there will be a record of the breakdown, which will provide proof when you're making a claim.

missed flight
Delays extremely common
Having a flight delayed or cancelled was the most common travel issue (29%) Australians had to deal with when flying in the past 12 months, according to a Finder survey of 1,000+ people.

Missed flight compensation

As part of your travel insurance policy, you might be eligible for compensation for accommodation, transport, meals and other additional costs. These costs may also be recoverable through your airline. However, this is at the airline's discretion and not all airlines will be accommodating.

Make sure you keep receipts of any out of pocket expenses you incur as you'll need to provide your insurer or airline with evidence of these costs.

Don't jump the gun. Be mindful that if you're delayed and find yourself alternate transport without consulting your airline or insurer, there's a good chance you'll lose your chance to recover the costs of your plane tickets.

What other cancellation cover is available?

As well as compensation for missed flights, travel insurance can provide cover for trip interruptions and cancellations of different kinds. Cancellation cover protects policyholders from lost deposits and cancellation fees for prepaid travel arrangements that are interrupted by unforeseen situations. Circumstances that cancellation insurance may cover includes:

  • Extreme events. Situations where your travel arrangements are affected by natural disasters.
  • Severe illness or injury. Trip cancellation expenses incurred as a result of a doctor declaring you unfit to continue your journey.
  • Severe illness, injury or death of a close relative. Trip cancellation expenses incurred because you must return home to be with a sick or dying relative.
  • Emergency accommodation expenses. Accommodation expenses incurred due to trip delay or disruption.
  • Alternative transport expenses. Transport expenses incurred in getting to a pre-booked event such as a wedding, funeral or sporting event after your journey has been cancelled or disrupted.

As with missed flight insurance, there are certain circumstances that trip interruption or cancellation insurance will not cover. These include:

    Insure-N-Go, CGU and Itrek will provide cancellations cover and medical and emergency costs resulting from such activity.
  • Pandemic/epidemic. While insurers such as AAMI and iCover don’t provide cancellation cover in the event of a pandemic or epidemic.
Angus Kidman

Meet our travel expert Angus Kidman

Angus Kidman is the international editor-at-large at Finder. He's an award-winning journalist, avid travel enthusiast and passionate frequent flyer. Angus appears regularly on Sunrise, Today, The Project, Seven News and other TV and radio shows to share his expert tips.

Angus's top flight insurance tips

  • Flying is quick, but airports are slow. Always aim to be there at least 2 hours ahead of time.
  • Remember, flight delays that are the airline's fault won't typically be covered by insurance - that's the airline's problem to solve.
  • Taking out insurance purely to cover the risk missing flights doesn't make sense, but it's a potentially useful extra you'll find in most cover.

Frequently asked questions about missed flights and delays

  1. Finder Consumer Sentiment Tracker June 2023

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