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How Travel Insurance Can Save Your Trip from Weather Disruptions

Travel insurance can provide you with extra protection and peace of mind should your flight be disrupted due to poor weather

by Fergus Cole

April 8, 2024

Photo: Courtesy of Laura Lefurget Smith / Unsplash

The aviation industry in the United States has encountered a multitude of difficulties in recent times, including aircraft groundings, shortages of air traffic controllers, and the possibility of strike action. Additionally, various severe weather events have resulted in substantial flight delays and cancellations, making it an arduous period for travelers, especially if they don’t have travel insurance.

While many travelers may have thought the worst of the weather was over, a series of storms across the country have caused further disruptions recently, especially during the busy spring break season.

If severe weather events have impacted your flights, you may be wondering what your rights are, whether you’re eligible for compensation, or how to prepare for future weather-related disruptions.

Photo: Courtesy of Nivenn Lanos / Unsplash

It’s important to understand the policies of each airline as they determine what happens in such situations and what passengers are entitled to. To empower passengers with knowledge of their rights and options, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) provides a consumer dashboard that provides a comprehensive overview of these policies.

For example, according to the dashboard, all ten major U.S. carriers will offer to rebook their passengers on a flight with the same airline at no additional cost. Additionally, Alaska Airlines, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue, and United Airlines will all offer to rebook their passengers on a flight with a partner airline at no additional cost. However, this service doesn’t extend to Allegiant, Frontier, Southwest, or Spirit Airlines.

Investing in travel insurance is one of the best ways to protect yourself from the hassle of seeking compensation or understanding your carrier’s terms and conditions. While it can’t prevent flight disruptions due to weather, it provides a safety net, ensuring you receive compensation, regardless of your airline.

Travel insurance offers a range of benefits that can significantly improve your travel experience. According to the experts at travel insurance provider InsureMyTrip, those who purchase a policy will receive a host of benefits after a flight disruption, offering a stark contrast to those who fly without cover.

Travel Insurance / Photo: William Potter/Shutterstock

For example, those covered by a travel insurance policy may be reimbursed for any meals they have while their flight is delayed. In contrast, those without will depend on their airline’s specific policy.

Airlines sometimes refuse to provide their passengers with meal vouchers or reimbursements when flights are delayed due to reasons beyond their control, which applies to flights disrupted by weather-related issues.

Also, passengers with travel insurance may receive reimbursement for any additional accommodation costs they are forced to make if their trip is extended due to flight cancellations. Trip interruption coverage may also reimburse any additional airfares required to make an emergency trip back home.

On the other hand, travelers without insurance will again have to rely on their airline’s varying policies, which in many cases will not reimburse prepaid and non-refundable hotel rooms.

Finally, people with travel insurance can get reimbursed if an outgoing flight delay or cancellation causes them to miss a cruise or tour departure. At the same time, trip interruption coverage may compensate for any additional flight needed to catch up with the trip.

Again, those without travel insurance will need to rely on their airline’s policy, which is unlikely to cover the costs of any external cruises, tours, safaris, or entertainment events missed due to their flight disruption.