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Air travel is a mess these days given the onslaught of delays and canceled flights this summer. In fact, the rate 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 from a US airport were delayed and more than 3% of flights were canceled. Staff shortages and high demand further exacerbate the reasons why air travel is so disrupted.
For travelers hoping for a smooth flight experience, the odds are not good. But travel insurance can come to the rescue in many potential air travel nightmares.
Here are three common issues with airlines, the types of travel insurance coverage you need to reimburse expenses, and how you might get travel insurance at no additional cost.
1. Your baggage was damaged, lost or did not show up in time
According to travel insurance provider World Nomads, delayed baggage claims increased by 122% from May to July 2022, compared to the same period in 2019. If your baggage is missing or delayed, it may require you to scramble to buy new items from the expensive one. hotel gift shop – not to mention the heartbreak of losing your treasures.
Fortunately, lost baggage or baggage delay insurance can reimburse items you need to purchase to use on your trip.
Loss of baggage: Although 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 $1,000 to $3,000 per traveler.
Baggage delay: If you’re separated from your luggage for more than a few hours but the airline eventually returns it to you, you’ll likely have coverage as well. Typically, if your belongings are delayed for a period of time (usually six hours or more), you’ll be reimbursed when you buy essentials like toiletries and clothing. Usually the coverage is less than if your stuff is completely lost; coverage of up to $100 per day per traveler for up to five days is quite common.
Related: When to buy travel insurance and when to ignore it
2. A member of your family becomes ill or injured
Maybe you sprained your ankle on the first day of a week-long ski trip and would rather go home than stay alone in a cabin. Maybe your child breaks his arm before the Little League World Series and you want to cancel your trip because he can’t play. If you need to cancel a flight before takeoff or cut a trip short, trip cancellation or interruption insurance can help.
Trip cancellation : Trip cancellation insurance can protect prepaid, non-refundable bookings like flights or hotel reservations if the trip is canceled due to extraordinary circumstances – and illness or injury is generally considered as such.
Trip Interruption: Trip interruption is similar to (and often combined with) trip cancellation coverage, but it kicks in if an illness or injury occurs in the middle of the trip and you can’t continue.
Note that this insurance only covers travel expenses; it is different from travel medical insurance, which covers actual emergency medical expenses while you are traveling.
Check: How to make your trip more relaxing and less stressful
3. The weather forces your flight to be postponed to the next day
Weather lag can be irritating, but it’s better than flying through a thunderstorm in an aluminum tube or taking off from a flooded runway. If you’re grounded, rest assured, travel insurance can often pay for Mother Nature’s inconveniences.
Trip cancellation or interruption insurance: This insurance can help you if bad weather cancels your trip before you even get there, assuming bad weather is a covered reason under your policy (it is on most policies).
Trip delay insurance: If bad weather is about to pass and your trip is simply delayed, a policy that includes bad weather trip delay reimbursement can help. Typically, trips delayed by 12 hours or more can earn you reimbursement for expenses, such as meals or accommodation.
Coverage varies by policy, but often provides reimbursements of up to thousands of dollars per person for unused flights, tours, and hotels.
Be sure to 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 dedicated travel insurance policies, usually sold for a certain percentage of the cost of your trip. Prices may vary depending on the nature and duration 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, such as Disney.
Also see: How to choose the best seat on an airplane
However, you may not need to pay for it. Many high-end travel credit cards offer types of travel insurance as a benefit for trips paid for with the card – and often the coverage is only as good as the coverage you pay out of pocket. For travelers who typically purchase travel insurance, this benefit alone can easily offset the annual fee on the card.
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Sally French writes for NerdWallet. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Twitter: @SAFmedia.