June 1, 2020
Due to travel restrictions, plans are only available with travel dates on or after
Due to travel restrictions, plans are only available with effective start dates on or after
Ukraine; Belarus; Moldova, Republic of; (North) Korea, Democratic People's Rep; Russian Federation; Israel
What’s the number-one biggest threat to your upcoming travel plans?
Most likely, it’s the weather. Inclement weather is the reason for more than 75 percent of all flight delays, according to the FAA.1 With this in mind, you’re probably wondering: Can Allianz Travel Insurance protect you in case of a trip cancellation due to weather? How about delays?
It can, in certain covered situations and circumstances. Here’s an in-depth look at how travel insurance can help when severe weather threatens your trip.
If your Allianz Travel Insurance plan includes the travel delay benefit, it can do a lot to protect you when you experience a covered weather delay. This benefit can reimburse you for:
For your claim to be eligible for reimbursement, the delay must have been caused by a covered reason, such as a weather-related airline delay, and it must have lasted for the minimum time stated in your plan. Maximum limits and exclusions apply.
When severe weather or a natural disaster causes an extended delay so your travel carrier can’t get you to your destination for at least 24 hours from your original scheduled arrival, that can be a covered reason for trip cancellation. If you cancel the whole trip, your trip cancellation benefits can reimburse your prepaid, nonrefundable costs, such as airfare, cruise tickets, tour bookings and hotel reservations.
Other weather-related covered reasons for trip cancellation:
Benefits and covered reasons vary by plan, so be sure to read your policy documents for details and exclusions.
A lot of people think this… but unfortunately, it’s not true. In the U.S., airlines generally provide passengers with a hotel voucher (plus transportation to the hotel) and/or a meal voucher only if the flight delay/cancellation was caused by a reason within the airline’s control.2 A crew shortage, a cleaning delay, or a mechanical problem would be a controllable reason. Weather is not. For a weather-related flight delay or flight cancellation, airlines in the U.S. are only obligated to give you a refund (if you choose not to fly) or a seat on a different flight.
What about in the E.U.? There, airlines are supposed to compensate you for a flight delay longer than 3 hours, unless it was the result of an “extraordinary circumstance,” such as severe weather. You may be able to argue that bad weather wasn’t an extraordinary circumstance if, for example, other airlines’ flights departed on time and yours didn’t.3 But you’re not guaranteed any compensation.
That’s why travel insurance is so valuable! Find the perfect plan for your next trip.
We define severe weather as “hazardous weather conditions, including but not limited to windstorms, hurricanes, tornados, fog, hailstorms, rainstorms, snow storms, or ice storms.” These are the most common types of severe weather that cause travel disruptions. But other weather phenomena can cause problems too, such as:
Hurricanes may grab all the headlines, but regular old thunderstorms (aka convective storms) are the number-one flight disruptor in the U.S. Summer storms “typically form, grow and move swiftly, covering large swaths of airspace,” the FAA notes. “Many start in the Ohio Valley and move east, impacting air travel in the Northeast, particularly New York.”4
Lightning forces airports to close ramps for safety, which can cause “notable air traffic impacts on both departures and arrivals,” according to the National Center for Atmospheric Research.5 “The inability to ready aircraft for departure during ramp closures will result in a delayed gate pushback time.”
More flights than ever before are being affected by super-hot weather. If the ambient temperature is too high, planes sometimes have to reduce the weight they’re carrying in order to take off. That means ditching some fuel, unloading some baggage, and/or bumping passengers.6 If you’re flying out of an airport that’s known for high summer temperatures, consider booking an early-morning flight to avoid problems.
Remember when the polar vortex caused thousands of flight cancellations? While airplanes have no problem flying in super-low temperatures, cold conditions can cause problems on the ground. Planes have to be de-iced, and airport workers can’t stay out in harsh conditions for long. This causes delays in readying planes for takeoff.
While a wildfire itself may be considered a natural disaster rather than a weather phenomenon, the smoke that pours into the atmosphere can become a big problem. Wildfire smoke causes more flight delays than rain or fog, the FAA explains, because aircraft navigation systems don’t work as well when the air is full of smoke and ash.7
If you (not the airline or other travel carrier) decide to cancel, interrupt, or delay your trip simply because the weather is unfavorable, that typically won’t be covered by insurance. A few examples:
Travel insurance would not reimburse lost trip costs in any of these situations… unless you had purchased the Cancel Anytime upgrade. Available as an add-on to our most popular plans, OneTrip Prime and OneTrip Premier, Cancel Anytime can reimburse 80% of your prepaid, non-refundable trip costs if you cancel your trip for almost any unforeseeable reason your plan does not already cover (exclusions still apply; not available in all states).
Remember: To protect yourself, you have to buy travel insurance before bad weather is on the horizon! If you already have a trip planned, purchase travel insurance right now. Get a quote.