Many travel packages include a range of non-refundable clauses, and the airlines have limited responsibility to compensate travelers who experience a missed connection. (See our FAQ on how travel insurance covers missed connections.)
As hotels look to further trim their costs, theyâ€™ve created additional restrictions for travelers by allowing online booking sites to fill up the rooms in their hotels – but only with non-refundable reservations.
When a traveler misses a portion of their trip due to a missed connection through no fault of their own, what options do they have? Letâ€™s take a look at the pros and cons of missed connection coverage to understand this little-known benefit a little better.
Weâ€™ll start with a definition: missed connection coverage reimburses an insured traveler for flight change fees and unexpected transportation costs in the event of a missed connection due to a carrier delay or bad weather.
Pro #1 – Get reimbursed for non-refundable trip costs
Letâ€™s say you are on a flight that will make a stopover before heading on to your final destination. That stopover – originally less than two hours – turns into an overnight ordeal as a snowstorm grounds all flights.
Eventually, you get to your destination, but in the meantime, you lost two nights of non-refundable lodging and a prepaid evening show.
Depending on the travel insurance plan, missed connection coverage reimburses the insured (up to the limit) for prepaid, non-refundable trip costs for the unused portion of your trip.
Pro #2 – Get reimbursed for unexpected transportation costs
Letâ€™s say youâ€™re on a flight that has to make an emergency landing due to equipment malfunction. While you are waiting and the airline works to get an alternate plane to pick up the passengers and take everyone to their intended destinations, your cruise ship leaves the dock without you.
Instead of being out thousands of dollars in cruise costs, travel insurance will reimburse you (up to the plan limit) for the unexpected transportation costs (usually air and/or water) so you can catch up to your cruise in the next port.
Con #1 – Some plans limit missed connection benefits to cruises
Some travel insurance plans limit their missed connection coverage only to missed cruise departures, so travelers who are not taking a cruise, but lose a portion of their trip due to a missed connection are simply out of luck.
Con #2 – There are other restrictions to missed connection coverage
As with all insurance coverage, there are limits and restrictions to understand, so it pays to read the description of coverage carefully. In the case of missed connection coverage, here are the key points to note:
- The reason for your missed connection must be a covered reason. For example, you canâ€™t wander into a comfortable lounge during a layover, fall asleep and expect to have travel insurance pay up when you miss your next flight.
- You must allow enough time in your planned itinerary to reach your next flight or cruise.
- Any refunds you receive from other suppliers, such as the airline, will be deducted from your claim benefit.
- The benefits received as a result of a missed connection claim canâ€™t duplicate those provided by travel delay coverage.
- The benefit amount for a missed connection is limited by the planâ€™s definition.
- The missed connection is determined by the number of hours you are delayed as defined in the plan.
Missed connections are no fun and they put a traveler in a really tough spot, so avoiding them is ideal. The best way to protect yourself from having to endure a missed connection? Allow plenty of time in your itinerary and donâ€™t book tight connections.
See our full review of missed connection coverage for more details.