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Who Pays When Airlines Ground Your Flight?

Disruptions caused by the grounding of 737 Max fleets worldwide have caused many thousands of travellers to dig into their travel insurance policies to see who pays for their delays, re-routings, unanticipated airport meals, extra nights in vacation locations, taxis back and forth between airports and hotels, rebooking airline fees, and on and on.

These unexpected costs can add up, especially if you’re travelling in family groups.

Already, one large US travel insurance aggregator has noted that simply “fear” of flying on a 737 isn’t enough for an insurer to pay for any rebooking fees, and most airlines are not obligated to do so. National regulations on such payments vary a lot from country to country.

What is clear, though, is that if an airline does agree to pay for rebooking, or other out-of-pocket personal charges caused by the disruption, or if the airline offers vouchers for future flights, your travel insurer is off the hook for any supplemental payments to you. No double dipping. And that’s a standard rule.

 

Don’t cancel before you know the possibilities

Also, if you have undergone a fit of nervousness about flying anywhere just now, on any kind of aircraft, and you would like to cancel or delay a vacation trip to a resort you have already prepaid (all or part), don’t cancel until you read your travel policy well. All trip cancellation policies—even those that claim you can cancel for any reason—stipulate some exceptions. You need to know what they are.

And also understand that the most you’re going to be reimbursed is for non-refundable money you have already paid out or committed to pay.  And even then, if your destination hotel or resort or cruise line tour operator does offer you a rebate or voucher for future travel, don’t expect your insurer to pay as well. Again: no double dipping.

Trip cancellation insurance policies are there to help you preserve your wealth, not to make you wealthy. They offer you protection against unanticipated events that may intrude on your forthcoming plans—sometimes made quite far into the future. You therefore should buy your insurance at the same time you buy your trip—some vendors will require you to do so, or within a few hours or days. It’s the protection over long periods of time that you are buying.  The more distant the date of your trip, the greater the chance of interruption.

Consequently, you may find that the closer you are to the date of departure, the smaller your reimbursement. Pay attention to the terms.

 

And most important, know your policy. You may be (pleasantly) surprised

Recently, according to story widely covered in the media, a schoolteacher from Georgia was rewarded for reading right through to the end of her travel policy, where she discovered a hidden clause giving the reader a $10,000 USD “Pays to Read” prize if she notified the policy vendor—Squaremouth—that she had found the clause.

The vendor commented that “Over the past 16 years, we’ve learned that many travelers buy travel insurance and just assume they’re covered if anything goes wrong, without actually reading the details of their policy… and… this often leads to claims for losses that are not covered. This lack of understanding is one of the biggest reasons travel insurance claims are denied.”

Travelling without proper insurance coverage is a risk. You need that policy.  But know what you’re getting.


Travel freely, travel blissfully. We cover Canadian Travellers with travel medical insurance and non-medical travel insurance such as trip cancellation, trip interruption, and baggage worldwide. We’ve got it all taken care of. For more information, visit https://www.ingleinternational.com/en/travel-insurance/canadian-travellers, call us at 1-800-360-3234 or email us at helpline@ingleinternational.com.