To help travelers deal with unexpected delays and emergency situations, insurance providers come to the rescue with a variety of plans
Today traveling is chaotic, and even more so if you’re flying. Flight cancellations, along with flight delays and more delays, are the norm, and it’s not going away.
Over the recent July 4 holiday, nearly 17,000 flights were delayed, and there were more than 1,400 flight cancellations. This is continuing, with no immediate relief in sight. Why? More people are traveling. And with that, airlines are dealing with a major staff shortage, including pilots.
So what options do travelers, including groups, have?
Take steps and have a back-up plan in place. Purchase a travel insurance policy.
Travel Insurance is a Must-Have
In the past, people might have considered purchasing travel insurance only when traveling to a location in hurricane season. Today, though, there are more reasons to invest in such a policy. Not only are flights being cancelled or delayed, but lost luggage issues have also increased.
What happens when your flight gets delayed, then you miss your connecting flight, and you’re rebooked on a flight the following day? You get stranded at the airport and might have to find a place to stay (at your own cost) that evening because the airline hasn’t provided any assistance.
This is where travel insurance is a must-have.
COVID-19 Changed the Insurance Picture
After COVID-19 reared its ugly head, purchasing travel insurance became even more important because of the uncertainty factors. For example, what might happen if the traveler became ill with COVID-19 while on his or her trip and needed emergency medical or transportation coverage? Or if the traveler had to make a last-minute cancellation or interrupt the trip due to coming down with COVID-19?
In March 2020, travel insurance companies like Allianz Partners put into place some temporary accommodations to assist travelers who had been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis. Then in March 2021, Allianz Partners added some epidemic enhancements for their per-trip travel product. And then in August 2021, Allianz Partners added coverage for epidemic-related cancellations, interruptions, delays and medical emergencies to some of their annual products. These annual products are ones that people can purchase to cover multiple trips taken within one year.
Flight Cancellations and Delays
With thousands of flights being cancelled, along with unexpected delays due to airline staffing shortages, it’s extremely confusing on what the airline may or may not provide to the traveler who’s been impacted.
Daniel Durazo, director of external communications, Allianz Partners, said, “For a routine flight cancellation in the United States, you generally have two basic contractual rights: either 1) a seat on your original airline’s next available flight or 2) a refund of the unused portion of your ticket. Some airlines do say in their contracts that if your flight is canceled or delayed due to a reason within their control—such as a crew shortage—they may give passengers meal vouchers or hotel accommodations. But these policies vary by airline and situation and don’t offer the same coverage as travel delay insurance.”
Durazo added, “For travel expenses besides flights, a travel insurance policy protects your total trip investment by providing refunds for pre-paid, non-refundable expenses like excursions and accommodations when the trip is cancelled for a reason covered by the policy.”
As far as dealing with a flight cancellation or delay, he said, “A flight delay or cancellation may be the first domino to fall when things start to go wrong on a vacation. Up your game and be prepared for the unexpected with a travel insurance policy that provides benefits for travel delay, trip interruption or cancellation, emergency medical coverage and more.”
A Bit More About Allianz Partners
Allianz Partners’ portfolio includes a number of different products, and they offer travel insurance through most major U.S. airlines, travel agencies, tour operators, hotel companies and cruise lines. Plans also can be purchased directly through Allianz Partners. Popular plans include:
- Annual Travel Insurance
- Cruise Insurance
- Domestic Travel Insurance
- International Travel Insurance
In addition, Allianz Partners has a Travel Delay Insurance policy as well as a Trip Interruption Insurance policy. When it comes to the benefits, coverage and maximum limits, these vary by plan, so it’s important to choose a policy that fits your travel plans and budget.
Allianz Partners’ Annual Travel Insurance Plan
Durazo said, “For those who are planning three or more trips in the next 12-month span, an annual plan can protect all those trips and also save money as it’s often cheaper than insuring each trip separately. Big vacations, weekend getaways, road trips, business trips—they all can be covered for one affordable price. Frequent travelers, and those with a big family or young kids, may want to carefully consider the benefits that an annual plan can provide.”
He explained, “Annual plans offer a full year’s worth of protection for health, property and trip costs. All of Allianz’s AllTrips annual policies feature the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement and may include benefits for baggage coverage, travel delays, covered emergency medical care, emergency medical transportation, and rental car damage and theft coverage. Benefits apply to each insured person per trip.”
Allianz’s AllTrips annual policies:
- AllTrips Premier features up to $50,000 in emergency medical benefits and up to $500,000 in emergency transportation benefits. Multiple benefit levels are offered for trip cancellation and interruption coverage.
- AllTrips Executive provides up to $50,000 in emergency medical benefits and up to $250,000 in emergency transportation benefits. Multiple benefit levels are offered for trip cancellation and interruption coverage. Designed for the business traveler, office equipment loss and rental coverage is included, but personal travel/vacations also are included on this policy.
- AllTrips Prime has up to $20,000 in emergency medical benefits and up to $100,000 in emergency transportation benefits plus coverage for trip cancellation and interruption up to $3,000 per insured per year.
- AllTrips Basic also offers up to $20,000 in emergency medical benefits and up to $100,000 in emergency transportation benefits. However, this option does not include trip cancellation/interruption coverage.
When making a decision, Durazo said, “choosing the ‘best’ policy depends on the traveler’s desire to include trip cancellation or trip interruption coverage and can depend upon their ideal coverage level of benefits. Additionally, medical evacuation charges vary based on the destination, so travel plans also may be a factor in selecting an appropriate level of coverage and related policy.”
Peace of Mind for Your Group
Making sure your group members purchase travel insurance is even more critical today as you plan your next group trip. Using professional resources like Allianz Partners is now even more important. Yes, today purchasing travel insurance is a must-have.
—By Cindy Bertram
Cindy Bertram has 15+ years of cruise industry expertise in marketing, content creation, sales and training as well as social media. Her MBA from Loyola University Chicago complements her high creative edge and liberal arts BA. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.