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Travel Insurance on Flights — Is it Worth the Cost?

Is flight insurance from an airline a good value? Let’s investigate.

Published on December 18th, 2023 in Travel Insurance, Travel Tips

If you buy something expensive, odds are you’re going to want to protect it with insurance. This is a common practice for our vehicles, our homes, and even some appliances.

And if you’re going to spend good money on a trip that includes a flight, you might want to protect that as well.

Travel insurance on flights helps ensure that you’re reimbursed should something go wrong with your flight (so long as whatever goes wrong is covered in your policy). But purchasing protection for your flight can be confusing; people often have questions like:

  • Is “travel insurance” and “flight insurance” the same thing?
  • Should you buy it from the airline or an insurance company?
  • How much does it cost?
  • What does it cover?

In this post, we’ll clear up the confusion around travel insurance coverage types, discuss different scenarios where you might want to buy, and provide tips for making sure your flight is protected.

What’s the difference between travel insurance and flight insurance?

First, let’s clear up the wording, as “travel insurance on flights” can refer to two things:

  1. Coverage from a travel insurance policy that includes flights
  2. Flight insurance that you buy from an airline

Since we have written several articles about travel insurance in the past, today we will focus on flight insurance, the second item on the list above.

However, you may also be interested in these related articles:

What is flight insurance?

Flight insurance, also known as air travel insurance or flight protection, is a type of insurance that provides coverage for specific events and incidents related to air travel. This insurance is typically purchased for individual flights or trips and is designed to offer financial protection in case certain unexpected events occur during your flight. Flight insurance can be bought as a standalone policy, and it is usually offered by airlines, travel agencies, or insurance companies.

What does flight insurance cover?

We must begin this section with a huge caveat: There is a huge variance in individual travel insurance policies. The following list contains items that are often covered, however if you need a specific area of coverage, it’s best to define that before you purchase flight insurance plans. That said, here’s a list of situations that flight insurance plans may cover:

  1. Flight cancellation: Covers non-refundable expenses if you need to cancel your flight due to a covered reason such as illness, injury, death in the family, or severe weather conditions.
  2. Flight interruption: Provides reimbursement for the unused portion of your trip if you have to cut it short for covered reasons.
  3. Flight delay: Reimburses expenses incurred due to a covered trip delay, such as meals, accommodations, and transportation.
  4. Missed connection: Covers additional expenses if you miss a connecting flight due to a delay or cancellation of the previous flight.

It’s essential to carefully read the policy terms and conditions to understand the specific coverage, exclusions, and limitations of your chosen flight travel insurance plan. Additionally, policies may have different coverage levels and options, so you should select a plan that aligns with your travel needs and preferences.

What’s NOT covered by flight insurance?

Flight insurance, like any insurance policy, has exclusions and limitations that specify what is not covered. While the specific exclusions can vary depending on the insurance provider and policy, here are some common elements that are typically not covered by flight insurance:

  • Voluntary changes and cancellations: Insurance typically won’t cover expenses related to changes or cancellations made at your discretion without a valid reason (e.g., changing your mind about the trip).
  • Losses resulting from negligence: Insurance may not cover losses that result from your negligence, such as leaving your belongings unattended and having them stolen.
  • Acts of war or terrorism: Most flight insurance policies exclude coverage for events related to war, civil unrest, acts of terrorism, or other acts of violence.
  • Natural disasters: Some policies exclude coverage for natural disasters like earthquakes, hurricanes, or floods unless you have purchased additional coverage.
  • Losses covered by other insurance: Flight insurance may not provide coverage for losses that are already covered by other insurance policies, such as your health insurance, homeowner’s insurance, or credit card insurance.

Of course, always thoroughly read through the fine print in your policy to compare to the list above, as they might include different restrictions.

How much does flight insurance cost?

Flight insurance varies in cost depending on variables such as:

  • The plan you choose
  • The duration of your trip
  • Your total trip value
  • Your age

In general, however, the cost of a flight insurance plan will be a fraction of the cost of the flight. According to USA Today, flight insurance from Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection’s Aircare plan could be $26 for a $1,000 trip. Compare this to the average cost of more comprehensive travel insurance is $61 for a $1,000 trip and you can see that it is indeed the lower cost option.

But is it worth it?

Is a flight insurance policy worth the cost?

In short: Probably not.

The answer to this, of course, is highly subjective, but even though the actual cost of flight insurance is fairly low, so is the value you get from it.

The main reason a flight insurance policy isn’t a great value is because the benefits are pretty much limited to your airplane ticket, which is only a small portion of your trip. For instance, let’s say your flight is canceled: With flight insurance, you’ll likely be reimbursed for the cost of the ticket, but not the hotel at your destination or the rental car you’ve booked.

If looking for a bright side of flight insurance, it usually covers reimbursement of nonrefundable costs that are airline tickets, so you can buy a ticket with a bit more confidence. The downside even to this benefit, of course, is that you’re only reimbursed if the airline makes a mistake; not if you choose to reschedule.

If you’re looking to protect your trip against scenarios like baggage loss, interrupted travel arrangements, medical emergencies, and more, you have better options than flight insurance.

Two alternative ways to protect your trip

1. Comprehensive travel insurance plans

As we mentioned earlier, a comprehensive travel insurance plan will most likely offer protection for your flight as well, but they can offer so much more. Many travel insurance companies offer plans that also have:

  • Trip delay coverage
  • Trip cancellation coverage
  • Trip interruption coverage
  • Accidental death and dismemberment coverage
  • Services for a family member (or family members)
  • Baggage delays and lost luggage

And quite a few more areas of coverage. For an in-depth look at travel insurance, please check out this related post.

Ready to explore travel insurance plans? Get an instant quote from TripInsure Plus!

2. Travel assistance memberships

Another option you have to protect yourself while traveling is travel assistance memberships. As opposed to travel insurance, which reimburses financially after you return home, travel assistance is to have a team of experts actually provide you help in the exact moment you need it.

Common services include:

  • Emergency medical evacuation
  • Transportation home
  • Nurse escort
  • Companion assistance
  • Medical specialists
  • Return of remains

The list above contains actual travel assistance services provided by Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+), but there are far more you can check out on our membership page.

One key thing to note: Travel insurance and travel assistance are complementary services.
While travel insurance may be a good option to reimburse you for missed flight connections or lost luggage, travel assistance will lend you a hand while you’re still on your trip so you don’t have to pay for unexpected medical transportation costs out of pocket.

Additionally, travel assistance plans from EA+ have many services that are also suited for road trips and domestic travel. To learn more, visit our website or call: 866-863-4460.

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Emergency Assistance Plus® (EA+®) is not insurance, it is a membership plan. This is only an outline of the plan’s features. Hospitalization (admitted as an inpatient) is a requirement to be eligible for some services. All services must be arranged and provided by EA+. Please read the EA+ Member Guide carefully to understand all the services available to you, as well as any rules and regulations. EA+ is only available to U.S. residents at this time and is not available to residents of New York. Washington state residents must be traveling more than 100 miles away from home to be eligible for EA+ services.