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Travel delays (ugh!). They are one of the great frustrations of travelling. We often don’t fully understand why they happen (and sometimes we don’t care). But the fact is – they do come around once in a while and there’s not much you can do.

The good news, though, is that while you’re sitting around in the airport, you can potentially get some money back from your travel insurance.

Travel Delays & Travel Insurance

First, a few ‘common sense’ things about travel delays and travel insurance.

  • Travel insurance covers you for delays on your departing flight from your home country and your flight returning – it doesn’t cover delays on your other flights overseas.
  • Your travel delay cover applies to flights only, not other modes of travel. So, if you’re leaving on a cruise, for instance, you should take out cruise travel insurance instead, which will cover your cruise delays.
  • You can’t claim if you don’t check in or go on the trip at all. If your flight ends up being delayed and you decide not to travel altogether, you won’t be able to claim (since you didn’t actually travel).

Plane seats

How do Travel Delay Claims Work?

  • In most cases, a travel insurer will pay you a set amount of money (e.g. $100) for every completed block of time (e.g. 12 hours) your flight is delayed.
  • So, if your flight is delayed by, say, 24 hours – your claim would be $200.
  • The funds can go towards essential items caused due to the delay, such as meals or toiletries you’ve had to buy because you’re stuck at the airport or even something like transit accommodation.

What Kinds of Delays are Covered?

  • You’re covered if your flight is delayed because of unexpected bad weather, a mechanical problem, a strike or industrial action.
  • If you want cover for natural disasters, you’ll need to check the appropriate box on the final checkout page when you buy your policy. If you do, you’ll be able to claim for delays due to unforeseen natural disasters under ‘Additional Emergency Expenses.’
  • Note that if you are aware of anything that could disrupt your flight when you buy your policy, you won’t be able to claim. For example:

Daniel is going to Mexico for a wedding and suddenly finds out that there will be a strike on the day he is flying out. He rushes to take out travel insurance, but because the strike was already public knowledge, he won’t be able to make a claim if his flight is delayed.

How Do You Claim?

In most cases, all you need is a letter or written statement from the airline carrier that includes the reason for the delay and how long it lasted for.

The insurance provider will then determine how much money you’re able to get back, which will ultimately be dependent on the policy and level of cover you took out.

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Megan is an Australian Journalist who has been travelling and blogging since 2007, with the main aim of inspiring others to embark on their own worldwide adventure. Her husband Mike is an American travel photographer, and together they have made the world their home.

Committed to bringing you the best in adventure travel from all around the globe, there is no mountain too high, and no fete too extreme! They haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on their list.

Follow their journey on Facebook, TwitterYouTube, Pinterest and Instagram.

Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Company, Limited, ABN 49 000 525 637, issues InsureandGo Travel Insurance (the insurance). Please read the combined product disclosure statement and financial services guide available at to decide if the insurance is right for you.


  1. What fantastic information. Insurance is a valuable aspect of any vacation. Weighing the pros and cons of purchasing insurance and getting to know the insurance you already have for health and property before traveling is really important. You just never know what you might run into with travel – AND that is a great part of the fun.

    Once while traveling to CA, it seemed that everything that could go wrong did! We ended up flying 1/2 the night to a different city and driving the other 1/2 of the night to the right city….the luggage managed to join us though so we know it could have been worse. LOL!

    In addition to delays, losing your luggage can be a big disappointment on any vacation! You can lower your odds of losing your luggage with some simple tips like labeling your luggage and double checking the tags put on by the airlines.

    Great tips for what to do if things go amiss!

    • Thanks Natalie – so glad you found the post helpful :) Agree that insurance is probably the most valuable aspect of any vacation – it’s one of those things you never want to understand the value of, but if it comes to it, you don’t want to be stuck without!! As you said, you never know what you’ll run into with travel, and you don’t even have to be on an adventurous trip for something to go wrong.

      Sorry to hear about your trip to CA!! Hopefully future travels are much less troublesome for you! Great tips on labeling your luggage – we recently had a bag not show up in Venice … luckily it was returned to us the next day :)

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