Does travel insurance cover me for turbulence?


Published on

Extreme turbulence on at least two separate flights this past week have raised concerns for concerned travellers.

One man died and 20 were left in intensive care after severe turbulence hit a Singapore Airlines flight early last week.

Just a week later 12 people were injured after turbulence hit a Qatar airways flight to Dublin.

does travel insurance cover me for turbulence

Those shocked by the sudden uptick in turbulence may be wondering who pays when travellers are injured or affected by such an event, and whether travel insurance may be of assistance.

In fact, this type of unforeseen scenario is exactly what travel insurance is designed for.

Whether you are injured on land or in the air, travel insurance would likely cover any necessary medical treatment you require overseas, as well as any additional expenses you incur as a result.

What to do if you're affected by turbulence

While passengers unexpectedly delayed as a result of severe turbulence would likely receive compensation from the airline, any additional costs incurred may be covered by travel insurance.

Travel insurance would reimburse you for any additional out-of-pocket expenses incurred, such as meals, accommodation, and new flights that were not covered by the airline.

Just make sure you keep any necessary receipts and documents.

Speak to your airline first

Passengers should first speak to their airline in regard to any reimbursements or changed travel arrangements. In the case of Singapore Airlines,' passengers were likely placed on new flights by the airline, however, any additional costs not covered by the airline can be claimed.

Any necessary additional accommodation or travel expenses can be paid for upfront and submitted to your claim to your insurer for reimbursement.

Keep in mind however, that most travel insurers state that you should take all reasonable steps to minimise and reduce the cost of your claim. You will also need to provide all supporting documentation of the event and expenses incurred.

Seek medical treatment

In the event of serious injury, travellers are urged to seek medical attention immediately and contact their insurer as soon as possible if they are hospitalised overseas.

Your insurer will often guarantee payments directly with the hospital so that you don't need to worry about mounting medical bills. However, if you are already being compensated for any medical expenses, accommodation and/or meals, you would be unable to make a secondary claim through your travel insurance.

Get organised

To ensure a smooth claims process, you will need to submit all relevant supporting documentation to your travel insurer.

Whether you're claiming for medical treatment or additional travel and accommodation expenses, make sure you keep any receipts, medical certificates, and other relevant documentation.

This includes a letter from the airline outlining any compensation, refunds or credits that you'll receive.  Additionally, you should have proof of your original, pre-paid travel arrangements along with a copy of your passport.

Finally, make sure your documents are all uploaded together to ensure your claim will be assessed and processed within 10 business days.  Drip-feeding documents will usually result in delays, so try to get all your ducks in a row for a timely payout.

Get stories like this in our newsletters.

Related Stories


Natalie Ball is a travel and money writer, and director of travel insurance comparison site With 20 years of experience in the financial services and digital tech spaces, she is a financial literacy campaigner passionate about making insurance clear and customer-friendly.