A missed departure is when a customer doesn’t make it to their departure point – the airport, ferry/cruise terminal or train station where their trip begins – in time to go on their journey.
Types of complaints we see
Most of the complaints we see are about missed flights.
Travel insurance policies cover any additional accommodation and transport costs the customer incurs to get to their intended holiday destination – as long as the reason the customer is late is covered under the policy.
Reasons usually covered include:
- mechanical breakdown or failure of public transport
- heavy traffic or road closures
- the customer’s vehicle breaking down or being involved in an accident
Missed departure is not the same as travel delay. Travel delay applies when your customer made it to their international departure point in time – but their transport was then cancelled or delayed.
What we look at
We’ll look at:
- Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 – “the cancelled flights directive” – this sets out customer’s entitlements to compensation from their airline in certain circumstances if their flight is cancelled or delayed
- Insurance Conduct of Business Sourcebook (ICOBS) rules on insurance product sales
We’ll check the policy terms and conditions, to make sure the specific reason the customer missed their flight, boat or train is covered.
Did the customer leave enough time?
If we think a customer left home too late and didn’t give themselves a reasonable amount of time to reach their international departure point, then we wouldn’t expect the claim to be covered by their travel insurance policy.
For missed flight complaints, we’ll consider the airport’s recommendations for check-in. If the airport recommended the customer check in two hours before their flight time, then the customer should leave themselves enough time to get to the airport two hours before their flight.
Most travel insurance policies don’t cover missed departures that happen because of long security checks at the airport.
Connecting flights and policy exclusions
Most travel insurance policies cover missed departure claims caused by ‘mechanical breakdown or failure of public transport. The definition of public transport usually includes aircraft.
Most policies cover their customers if their flight delay means they then miss a connecting flight.
Some policies only cover the first leg of the outbound journey leaving the UK, or the first leg of the return journey.
If you have an exclusion like this in your policy, it should be clearly highlighted in your policy documentation. If the exclusion isn’t clear, and we think it’s unfairly affected your customer, we might say you can’t rely on the exclusion when assessing the claim.
Policies that don't have missed departure cover
Missed departure cover is found in most travel policies – and it’s unusual for a policy not to include it. Some policies may have missed departure as an optional add-on. We’d expect you to make it clear to your customer if your policy doesn’t have this cover included.
Most policies also cover missed departure on the outward and return flights. If you want to limit your cover to just the outward flight, you should clearly highlight this. If the exclusion isn’t clear, and we think it’s unfairly affected your customer, we might say you can’t rely on the exclusion when assessing the claim.
Private taxis and public transport
Some policies cover customers if they’re using public transport and there’s been a mechanical breakdown. But some insurers might not accept a private taxi as public transport.
We’d look at what’s fair and reasonable. If we think your customer would have missed their flight regardless of whether they’d travelled by public transport or by private taxi/their own car, then we might think it’s fair and reasonable for you to pay the claim.
Putting things right
If we think you’ve wrongly turned down a claim, we may ask you to:
- reconsider the claim
- pay the claim and add interest at 8% simple per year from the date of the claim until the date the settlement is paid
Find out more about how we put things right for customers who've made a travel insurance complaint.
I missed the ferry departure, but my insurer has turned down my claim