What is Missed Connection Travel Insurance? – Review

Most of us have had to run from one gate to another in an airport to catch our connecting flight because of a delay with the common carrier; like weather or mechanical breakdown. Unfortunately, many of us have missed those connecting flights and were late to a cruise or tour departure.  Wouldn’t it be great if there was missed cruise insurance?  Well, most trip insurance plans include a benefit called missed connection travel insurance.

According to policy documents reviewed by AardvarkCompare, missed connection travel insurance is a benefit used if You miss Your cruise or tour departure because Your arrival at Your Trip destination is delayed for a stated length of time, due to:

  • any delay of a Common Carrier (the delay must be certified by the Common Carrier);
  • documented weather condition preventing You from getting to the point of departure;
  • quarantine, hijacking, Strike, Natural Disaster, terrorism or riot.

The company will reimburse You, up to the Maximum Benefit Amount shown in the Schedule of Benefits, for:

  • Your Additional Transportation Cost to join Your Trip; and
  • Your Prepaid expenses for the unused land or water Travel Arrangements; and
  • reasonable accommodation and meal expenses necessarily incurred by You for which You have proof of purchase and which were not paid for or provided by any other source (the maximum amounts paid will be shown in the schedule of benefits listed on your policy documents).

Your delayed arrival must be due to:

  • any delay of a Common Carrier (the delay must be certified by the Common Carrier);
  • documented weather condition preventing You from getting to the point of departure;
  • quarantine, hijacking, Strike, Natural Disaster, terrorism or riot.

These benefits will not duplicate any other benefits payable under the Policy or any coverage(s) attached to the Policy.

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Missed Connection Travel Insurance – Worked Example

What this means is if your airline is delayed for a stated number of hours and you miss your cruise departure, the travel insurance plan will reimburse you for costs related to getting caught up to the cruise or tour. Typically you would catch up at the next port or next stop on the tour.

Something to remember is that the “common carrier” must be delayed the specified amount of time.  For example, you are traveling from Michigan to Florida to board a cruise ship for your exciting vacation in the Caribbean.  You leave Detroit on time and land in Atlanta where you have a short layover. Whilst in Atlanta waiting for your flight to Florida you are told that your connecting flight has been delayed due to weather.  The flight finally arrives 8 hours later.  You get to Florida and the cruise ship has departed and is heading to St. Thomas, the first port.  Your missed connection travel insurance benefits state that if you are delayed 6 or more hours due to covered reasons you will be reimbursed up to the stated amount for:

  • the additional transportation expenses and
  • reasonable accommodations and meal expenses.

So, in this example you met the conditions for the Missed Cruise insurance benefit. You would be reimbursed up to the amount listed on your schedule of benefits for a flight to St. Thomas to catch up with the cruise ship. This benefit will also reimburse you for the lunch and dinner you bought at the airport whilst waiting for your flight, again up to the limit listed on the schedule of benefits.

Here is another example of how missed connection travel insurance works:  You are all set to board an airplane and head to Alaska to go on a much-anticipated Alaskan Cruise.  Because of some inclement weather your plane is delayed from taking off for 1 hour. By the time you get to the layover airport, your connecting flight has left.  You wait for 5 hours and then get to Alaska where the cruise ship has departed.  Not a great day! You look at your missed connection benefit listed in travel insurance and you see that if you are delayed for 3 or more hours your benefits kick in. You might think that you’re all set in this scenario because you spent 5 hours in an airport waiting for the next available flight to get you to your cruise. However, you would be wrong.  Your common carrier was only delayed 1 hour and to meet the requirements of your missed connection travel insurance benefit, your common carrier had to be delayed for 3 or more hours.  Since the flight was only delayed 1 hour, you would not be able to claim benefits under the missed connection coverage.  You must meet the conditions. So, keep in mind that the delay must occur because of the common carrier and not the traveler. We always advise to build in some flex to your travel plans if planning to join a cruise or a tour. We like to arrive the day before, and relax.

What are “Reasonable” Accommodations and Meal Expenses?

The definition of “reasonable” will differ with each travel insurance provider but, in general, you can get a hotel room at the airport hotel provided it is not the Ritz Carlton or the Four Seasons.  The same applies for meals. You can grab a meal at one of the restaurants in the airport or surrounding the airport. However, you most likely would not be reimbursed for lobster, caviar and champagne. But, you would be reimbursed for fish and chips and a beer. 

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What is a Common Carrier?

You might be wondering if the missed connection travel insurance will help when your cousin’s car breaks down while he’s taking you to the airport and you miss the flight.  The conditions of the missed connection benefits state that the loss must be due to a covered reason, and that mechanical breakdown is a covered reason.  However, the policy also states that it must be a common carrier delay.  A common Carrier is defined as any land, sea, or air conveyance operating under a valid license for the transportation of passengers for hire.  Typically, airlines, cruise lines, trains and buses are considered common carriers. Your Cousin’s car would not be considered a common carrier even if you paid him to take you to the airport.

Is Missed Connection Travel Insurance Only Used If You’re Missing a Cruise?

No, missed connection travel insurance would also cover a missed tour departure.  For example; you are traveling by airplane to Tanzania for an 8-day African Safari.  Because of a mechanical malfunction in the plane, you are delayed 6 hours waiting for repairs.  You arrive in Johannesburg late and miss your flight to Kilimanjaro International Airport.  By the time you arrive at your destination the safari has begun.  In this case Missed connection travel insurance would reimburse you for the added expense of catching up with the safari plus reasonable accommodations and meal expenses incurred due to the delay.

Or you may be traveling by plane from Connecticut to California where you’ll be boarding a bus for a 5-day tour along the coast of California.  If your airplane is delayed for the stated amount of time and is delayed for any of the covered reasons listed under the missed connection travel insurance conditions, you can be reimbursed for your Additional Transportation Cost to join the bus tour.

Each travel insurance plan will be different, some may list a 3-hour delay of a common carrier while others list 5 or more hours of delay.  AardvarkCompare always recommends looking at your policy documents prior to your departure date to know what you are covered for, and what the benefits and limits of the policy are.

General Travel Insurance Recommendations

In addition to reviewing your travel protection documents, AardvarkCompare also recommends that you buy travel insurance early. Ideally, buy your policy on the day you place your initial trip payment or deposit.  This way you will be eligible for any time sensitive benefits available on the travel insurance policy and have financial protection for your exposure to loss.

What are time sensitive benefits?

Time Sensitive benefits are those benefits that are only available during a short period of time after you place the first payment or deposit on your trip.  These benefits include pre-existing medical condition exclusion waiver, cancel for any reason and cancel for work reasons to name a few.

Pre-Existing Medical Condition Waiver

All travel insurance plans exclude pre-existing medical conditions unless you have a pre-existing medical condition waiver.  This waiver is available in many, not all, travel insurance plans. The waiver allows coverage for any pre-existing medical conditions if you are medically fit to travel on the date you purchase your travel insurance plan.  A pre-existing medical condition is any condition that you have had medical treatment, medical testing or medication changes for in the 60-180 days prior to the date you purchased your travel insurance (depending on the policy you choose).  The pre-existing medical condition waiver is only available for the 10-21 days after you place your first trip payment or deposit (depending on the policy you choose).  It is this short window of time, 10-21 days after initial trip deposit, that determines whether this benefit will be included in the trip insurance policy. In other words, if you purchase the travel insurance policy within the specified amount of time after paying money on your trip (10-21 days), you will have coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. The pre-existing condition waiver does have conditions;

  • you should purchase the policy within the 10-21 days of initial trip payment
  • you must be medically fit to travel on the date you purchase the insurance
  • and with some policies, you must insure 100% of all pre-paid and non-refundable trip costs

Cancel For Any Reason Travel Insurance

All travel insurance policies have a list of perils, or covered reasons you can cancel your trip. The list typically includes cancellation due to:

  • unforeseen sickness, injury or death of you, a traveling companion or family member;
  • Financial default of a tour operator
  • mechanical breakdown that causes complete cessation of services, for a specified amount of time, of the Common Carrier on which You are scheduled to travel;
  • Inclement weather that causes complete cessation of services, for a specified amount of time, of the Common Carrier on which You are scheduled to travel;
  • Natural disaster that renders your destination uninhabitable

These are a few of the common covered reasons to cancel your trip. However, what happens if you must cancel for a reason that is not on the list?  In most cases you would not be eligible for benefits.  This is where Cancel For Any Reason Travel Insurance coverage would be helpful.

Some travel insurance plans include a benefit called Cancel For Any Reason if you purchase within that same time-frame, 10-21 days from initial trip payment or deposit. This benefit allows coverage for literally “any” reason.

With cancel for any reason coverage you could cancel your travel plans.  But, be aware of the conditions of this benefit:

  • You must purchase your travel insurance policy within the specified amount of time after initial payment on your trip, typically 10-21 days;
  • You must insure 100% of all pre-paid and non-refundable trip costs;
  • You must be medically fit to travel on the day you purchase the insurance;
  • You will only be reimbursed 75% of your pre-paid and non-refundable trip cost;
  • You must cancel more the 48 hours prior to the departure of your trip. So, you can’t cancel on the departure day or the day before your departure day.

Cancel For Work Reason Coverage

Most trip insurance policies will allow you to cancel your trip for certain types of work-related reasons:

  • If your place of employment is rendered unsuitable for business due to fire, flood, burglary or other Natural Disaster and You and/or Your Traveling Companion are required to work as a result; or
  • You, Your Traveling Companion or Family Member traveling with You is directly involved in the merger of Your employer or the acquisition of Your employer by another company.

Some travel insurance plans will include an additional cancel for work reason set of benefits:

  • You, Your Traveling Companion or a Family Member traveling with You is required to work during the Trip. A written statement by an unrelated company official and/or the human resources department demonstrating revocation of previously approved time off will be required.
  • This benefit only applies if the Policy has been purchased within a certain amount of days, typically between 10-21 days, of Your initial payment for the Trip.

So, this additional coverage will allow you to cancel if you must work, if you follow the conditions listed on the policy.

What is the Cost of Time Sensitive Travel Insurance Benefits?

The pre-existing condition waiver has no additional cost, as it is included in the policy if you meet the requirements. This adds to the value of the policy for anyone but especially for senior travelers who may be on medications or have had recent medical visits.

Cancel For Any Reason generally will increase the cost of the plan by 50%.

Cancel For Work reasons could be included or there could be an increase in the cost of the plan, typically with a minimal increase.

Travel Insurance Comparison – Will I Pay More Buying From a Comparison Website?

Due to the US anti-discriminatory insurance pricing legislation, AardvarkCompare can guarantee that you will not find the same plan at a lower price, not even if you go through the insurer. And if you have questions, remember we’re only a chat, email or phone call away.

Safe Travels

Recent AardvarkCompare Travel Insurance Customer Reviews

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I Panicked When I Discovered
I panicked when I discovered the Travel Insurance I had through Expedia had expired when I changed my flight reservation.
When I went to renew I was told I couldn’t.
I discovered Aardvark on my AARP site and I was excited I could purchase a an even better travel plan with coverage starting with my trip departure, at a cost I could afford.
I was confused with the initial site and was Mr. Breeze reached out to me for clarification.
He explained the policy more thoroughly and addressed all my concerns, can’t get any better then that!
Thank You Aardvark and thank you Jonathan for your assistance.
I can go on my trip now knowing I’ll be covered for medical emergencies, and then some. 
Barbara

 

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Good Choices, Well Explained
I liked the way insurance was explained. I had read an article your company had written explaining Expedia trip coverage versus other choices.
I used this advice to make the best choice for me and my traveling companions. That choice was to take a policy that provided much better medical and evacuation primary care.
Your site allowed comparisons, and I think I got the best value for my money. I don’t like constant follow up emails. You could back off a bit!!
Louise

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