The U.S. Department for Transportation recently revealed they were proposing new rules that require airlines to compensate passengers for cancellations and disruptions. However, this is yet to come into effect.
While airlines are required to issue refunds if a flight is disrupted by factors within an airline’s control (such as staff shortages and maintenance problems), travelers generally aren’t covered against delays caused by things like bad weather, lengthy passport queues, or delays when passing through security. This is where travel insurance can make a huge difference in your stress levels.
David Parker, divisional director at A-Plan Insurance, stresses the importance of protecting yourself against airport delays, regardless of when and where you’re traveling. “It’s never been more important to consider all eventualities when taking out travel insurance, as airport strikes are becoming a common occurrence, and unpredictable IT outages and summer storms mean travelers end up missing their flights,” he says. “Sadly, your airline isn’t liable to offer a refund or alternative flight if you end up missing your plane due to airport security or border control delays, so it’s up to you to protect yourself.”
Here, Parker reveals ways you can save money on your travel insurance:
Organize coverage as early as possible. Many people put off getting travel insurance until right before they fly, rather than sorting it out immediately after they’ve booked their flights. However, this means you’re vulnerable in the weeks running up to your trip and will lose money in the event of a last-minute cancellation or delay.
Compare different deals and providers. Although it can be tempting to opt for the first reasonably priced policy you see, shopping around and comparing different providers is the best way to ensure you’re getting the best deal. Make sure to check what each policy covers, as price doesn’t always correlate to quality. Make sure that you keep an eye out for sponsored deals too. Some comparison sites have partnerships with providers to promote their rates and skew the deals you see first.
Consider taking out a group policy. Combining coverage for your family or partner on a shared policy can be cheaper than covering everybody individually—just make sure everyone’s individual circumstances (like medical conditions) are accounted for. This is because covering everyone under a single policy reduces the admin and premiums needed to process a claim, making it cheaper overall.
Avoid paying for unnecessary extras. Excluding certain terms from your policy can reduce the cost of your insurance, so make sure you actually need what you’re paying for. For example, you can forgo any winter sports coverage for a beach holiday.
Check whether you’re already covered. You may already have travel insurance without realizing it, so check whether you’re still covered from an annual policy you took out last summer, or that you don’t already have coverage as an added feature with your current account or credit card. But even if you are already covered, double check that the policy applies to this trip and that you’re fully protected.