Does insurance cover travel delays caused by operators?

Amy Bryant

If travel delays have been caused by the operator, can travel insurance compensate? It’s the big question of the day, but thanks to travel insurance provider, SureSave, we’ve got a bit more insight.

SureSave is encouraging agents to ensure that travellers understand the cover provided for travel delays – in particular those caused by an operator.

“In most cases, if a travel delay, rescheduling or cancellation is the operator’s fault, most travel insurance providers will not cover it,” National Sales Director for SureSave, Talbot Henry, said.

“In these cases, customers generally receive a refund or some level of compensation directly from the operator for this inconvenience.

We’re pleased to say that SureSave is one of the few travel insurance providers that provides a level of cover under certain circumstances.”

SureSave’s cover for travel delays caused by the operator

SureSave’s latest Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) offers some cover for operator-caused trip disruptions. SureSave customers can claim for travel delays if their flight, or other scheduled transport or overnight tour, is suddenly and unexpectedly delayed, rescheduled or cancelled when they are already on their trip and it’s the ‘operator’s fault’.

The ‘operator’s fault’ refers to a delay, rescheduling or cancellation as a result of things like maintenance issues, repairs, timetable changes, service faults, corporate takeovers or industrial activity other than a strike.

To be covered, the travel delay must occur while the traveller is already on the trip. In other words, the traveller needs to have already departed their home, and the event must occur between the departure and return dates listed on their policy details.

What can you claim for?

  • Waiting around allowance: If transport departure is delayed by more than six hours).
    Extra accommodation costs: For example, if a customer’s flight is delayed overnight and they need to find alternative accommodation.
  • Unused arrangements: Pre-booked accommodation, day tours, transfers and public events that customers can’t use as a result of the delay. This does not include the cost of unused flights, or other scheduled transport, or overnight tours.
  • Amendment fees: For amending a pre-paid booking for a flight, other scheduled transport, or overnight tour that they will miss due to the delay
  • Getting to a one-off performance function, tour or cruise on time: If customers need to get to a one-off event (for example, a wedding, funeral, prepaid concert or overnight cruise) on time, SureSave will pay for the cost of alternative travel arrangements to get them there.

SureSave’s top tips for dealing with travel delays caused by the operator

  1. Contact the airline or other operator as soon as possible for information on alternative arrangements available and any compensation they offer and/or pay.
  2. Get a report in writing, confirming what’s happened, from the airport or other operator.
  3. Where you have no other alternative but to rearrange your plans, you must do so without delay. For example, if you’re going to miss a connecting flight, contact the airline to see if you can rearrange the flight instead of missing it altogether. Where you can’t rearrange some or all of your travel plans, cancel them as soon as possible to avoid incurring additional costs.
  4.  Collect all receipts for expenses occurred (for instance, extra meals, accommodation, etc.), along with documents where available (such as itineraries) that show the cost of your original and your altered travel plans. Having the correct documentation can help your claim be processed more efficiently, and it increases your chance of receiving a successful outcome.