This article reprinted with permission from nerd wallet.
Air travel is a mess these days given the onslaught of delays and canceled flights this summer. In fact, the number of on-time arrivals hasn’t been this low since 2014, according to data from the Bureau of Transportation Statistics. In the first six months of 2022, more than 20% of flights out of a US airport were delayed and more than 3% of flights were cancelled. Staff shortages and high demand further exacerbate why air travel is so broken.
For travelers hoping for a seamless in-flight experience, the odds aren’t high. But travel insurance can come to the rescue in many air travel nightmares.
Here are three common airline issues, the types of travel insurance coverage you need to get reimbursed, and how you might be able to get travel insurance at no extra cost.
1. Your baggage was damaged, lost or didn’t show up on time
According to travel insurance provider World Nomads, baggage delay claims increased by a staggering 122% from May to July 2022 compared to the same period in 2019. If your luggage is missing or delayed, you can endeavor to buy new items from the hotel’s pricey gift shops — not to mention the heartbreak of losing your treasures.
Luckily, lost baggage or delayed baggage insurance can reimburse items you need to purchase to use during your trip.
Baggage lost: While Lost Baggage Insurance cannot guarantee that your original items will be returned, it can reimburse you for replacements up to a covered amount. Coverage varies by policy, but expect reimbursement of anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 per traveler.
Baggage Delay: If you’re away from your luggage for more than a few hours but the airline eventually brings it back to you, you probably have insurance coverage too. If your stuff is delayed by a certain amount of time (usually six hours or more), you can usually get a refund if you buy essentials like toiletries and clothing. Coverage is usually less than if your belongings are completely lost; Coverage of up to $100 per day per traveler for up to five days is fairly common.
Related: When to get travel insurance and when to skip it
2. Someone in your family becomes ill or injured
Maybe you sprained your ankle on the first day of a week-long ski trip and would rather fly home than sit alone in a cabin. Maybe your child breaks their arm before the Little League World Series and you want to cancel your trip because they can’t play. If you have to cancel a flight before departure or have to cut short a trip, travel cancellation or trip interruption insurance can help.
Trip cancellation: Trip cancellation insurance can protect pre-paid, non-refundable reservations such as flights or hotel reservations if the trip is canceled due to extraordinary circumstances – and illness or injury are usually treated as such.
Trip Interruption: Trip interruption is similar to (and often comes with) trip cancellation insurance – but kicks in if illness or injury occurs during the trip and you’re unable to continue.
Note that this insurance only covers travel expenses; It differs from travel medical insurance, which covers actual emergency medical expenses during the trip.
Cash: This will make your trip more relaxed and stress-free
3. The weather forces you to postpone your flight to the next day
A weather delay can be irritating, but it’s better than flying through a thunderstorm in an aluminum tube or taking off from a flooded runway. When you’re stuck on the ground, take solace in the fact that travel insurance can often make up for Mother Nature’s inconveniences.
Travel cancellation or interruption insurance: This insurance can help if bad weather cancels your trip before you even get there, provided bad weather is a covered reason on your policy (included in most policies).
Travel Delay Insurance: When the inclement weather has passed and your trip is simply delayed, a policy that includes severe weather travel delay compensation can help. Typically, journeys delayed by 12 hours or more may result in reimbursement for expenses such as meals or lodging.
Coverage varies by policy but often offers reimbursements of up to thousands of dollars per person for unused flights, tours, and hotels.
Definitely read: These are the airlines with the most delays and cancellations
How to get travel insurance
The different types of travel insurance can be purchased through specialty travel insurance policies that are usually sold for a percentage of your travel expenses. Prices may vary depending on the type and length of your trip, your age and the exact coverage you want. Some travel packages also offer travel insurance, whether purchased through a travel agent or the company itself like Disney.
See also: How to choose the best seat on the plane
However, you may not have to pay for it. Many premium travel credit cards offer types of travel insurance as a benefit for card-paid trips — and often the coverage is as good as the coverage you pay for out of pocket. For travelers who typically purchase travel insurance, this benefit alone can easily offset the annual fees on the card.
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Sally French writes for NerdWallet. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @SAFmedia.