Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Snowed in at the airport? Your rights...

Oh the joy of winter travel.  Maybe you're getting the hell out of the snowy Midwest and are heading for the Caribbean.  Perhaps holiday travel has you jumping form state to state.  Whatever the case, know your right if you find yourself stuck at the airport due to weather.  Since the big blizzard has kicked in this week almost 10,000 flights in the US alone have been canceled.  And at least 1,335 flights were canceled on Tuesday as airports cleaned up from the snowy mess.

 I can't even reach the airport, am I covered?

This depends. If you cannot reach the airport because your train or bus is delayed, for example, then you should be able to claim on your insurance.  However, if you take your car and miss your flight then it becomes a bit more difficult, as the insurer will want to know that you left enough time for your journey.  Aim to get proof of any issues that held you up, for example, if you had to call out roadside rescue then keep the paperwork to show your insurer.

 Delays while you're AT the airport

Most travel insurance policies pay out for delays at snowbound airports, although you usually have to be delayed by a specific period of time, often between eight and 12 hours.  Most policies will then pay a set cash amount, typically $50, for each subsequent 8/12 hour delay. It will usually be enough to buy you some hot drinks and food, but not to put you up in a hotel.

Snow means my flight is canceled, will my insurer pay?

Your travel insurer will not need to pay out if your flight is canceled due to poor weather as the airline will cover the cost.  However, depending on the level of cover you have purchased, you should be able to claim for other expenses and losses.  For example, if you cannot get a refund on hotels and other holiday expenses, such as booked day trips or car hire, a comprehensive policy should reimburse you for these irredeemable costs. Check your policy carefully as they all differ.

For more reads about travel insurance check our past posts here:  Travel Insurance Posts.   


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