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Let's Go to Plan B: How to Navigate Unexpected Trip Delays & Flight Cancellations

Navigating Trip Delays
Allianz - Navigating Trip Delays

Most people buy travel insurance to protect them in case of a last-minute trip cancellation, so they won’t lose all the money they spent on their trip.

Did you know travel insurance can also help you avoid canceling your trip? When circumstances out of your control — such as severe weather or a natural disaster — make your original travel plans impossible, don’t give up on your trip. Here’s how we can help.

Trip cancellation/interruption benefits can help you get to your destination another way.

You’re packing for your long-awaited trip to Portugal when a news report catches your attention: There’s a major strike of airline personnel in Lisbon, and your airport has announced it can’t accept any international flights. Does this mean you have to cancel your entire trip?

No! If your travel carrier is unable to get you to your original destination for 24+ hours from your originally scheduled arrival time due to a strike (or another covered reason), try to find another way to get where you’re going. Your trip cancellation/interruption benefits can reimburse you for reasonable costs of the alternate transportation and the cost of any lost prepaid accommodations caused by your delayed arrival (minus available refunds).

In this scenario, you realize that you could fly into Madrid instead, then take the night train from Madrid all the way to Lisbon. You contact Assistance for help making the new travel arrangements, and you’re set! When you return from your trip, you file a claim for the extra cost of the Madrid flight and the unused hotel night you’d originally booked in Lisbon.

Two things to note:

  1. When you make alternate transportation arrangements, they must be in a similar or lower class of service as you had originally booked. So, if your original fare was economy, then travel insurance would not reimburse you for a first-class ticket.
  2. You don’t have to wait the full 24 hours before making new travel arrangements, as long as you can prove that there’s no way your travel carrier can get you to your destination for 24 hours (by showing a notification from the carrier, for instance.)

Travel insurance can cover hotels/meal expenses if your trip is interrupted.

You’ve planned a week-long  road trip along the California coast, taking time to visit all the little towns and wild parks along the way. While you’re staying the night at the Big Sur Lodge, a sudden downpour washes out Route 1 in multiple places. The road’s completely impassable to the north; to the south, a mudslide is blocking both lanes. You’re stuck while crews work to clear the mess. Can travel insurance help?

Yes! Travel delay benefits can reimburse you for your lost prepaid trip expenses and additional expenses for accommodations, meals, and other eligible expenses during a covered travel delay (up to the limits described in your plan).

In this scenario, your travel delay benefits could pay for additional nights at the lodge while you wait for the road to be cleared, as well as your meals. Your benefits also could reimburse you for the hotel stay you had to cancel at your next planned stop, or other non-refundable prepaid trip expenses. Because travel insurance has all your losses covered, you decide to enjoy the unexpected delay: You spend the next few days exploring Pfeiffer Beach and hiking.

A closed or impassable road is only one of the covered reasons for travel delay. Your benefits can also apply if your delay is caused by:

  • A travel carrier delay
  • A strike, unless it was threatened or announced before you bought your plan
  • Quarantine
  • A natural disaster
  • Lost or stolen travel documents
  • Hijacking
  • Civil disorder
  • A traffic accident

It’s important to note that while epidemics are generally excluded as a covered reason for delays, some of our travel insurance plans now include the new Epidemic Coverage Endorsement, which adds covered reasons to select benefits for certain losses related to COVID-19 and any future epidemic. (Benefits vary by plan and are not available in all jurisdictions).

To see if your plan includes this endorsement and what it covers, please look for “Epidemic Coverage Endorsement” on your Declarations of Coverage or Letter of Confirmation. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply. Benefits may not cover the full cost of your loss.  All benefits are subject to maximum limits of liability, which may in some cases be subject to sublimits and daily maximums.

We are also currently offering certain temporary accommodations for COVID-19 related claims.

Read more: Travel Insurance and COVID-19: The Epidemic Coverage Endorsement Explained

SmartBenefitsSM can automatically pay you $100 for a covered flight delay.

You’re about to board your flight for Tokyo, to spend a week there with your brother. Then the airline announces a short delay… which turns into a seven-hour delay. This is excruciating. Is there anything travel insurance can do to make it better?

Yes! If your plan includes SmartBenefitsSM, you can receive an automatic payment of $100 per insured person, per day, after Allianz Global Assistance confirms a covered delay on a monitored flight. No receipts are required; just proof of the delay.

Here’s how it works: When you purchase your travel insurance plan, add your flight information to your account on (or through AgentMax, if you’re using a travel agent). We’ll monitor your flight status. If the airline announces a covered delay, then we’ll let you know you’re eligible for an automatic claim payment of $100, sent by check within 5-10 business days. If you want the money faster, just tell us how to send it — by direct deposit or to your debit card.

In this scenario, you could get your $100 before you even arrive in Tokyo. Then, you spend it on an unforgettable omakase meal with your brother at his favorite sushi bar.

Learn more: How SmartBenefitsSM Can Give You Super-Speedy Claim Payments (and More)

The Allyz® TravelSmart app can alert you to travel delays.

Your flight to Dublin leaves in precisely two hours, but you haven’t yet left for the airport. You have a good reason: You can’t find your passport. As you’re ransacking your apartment, your phone dings. It’s your Allyz TravelSmart app, telling you that your airline just announced a three-hour departure delay. What a relief!

Travel expert Lee Abbamonte, who has visited every country in the world, calls the Allyz TravelSmart app “one of my favorite tools for simplifying my trips.” Why? This powerful free travel app (for Android and iOS) gives you rapid access to crucial travel info: not only flight delays but also travel alerts for your destination, local medical facilities and emergency numbers, a medical translator tool, policy and claim information, and more.

In this scenario, the Allyz TravelSmart app lets you know that you have a little more time to find that passport. (Have you tried looking in the laundry hamper?) And if you don’t find it until after your plane departs, it’s OK: Your travel delay benefits apply when a delay is caused by lost or stolen travel documents.

Read more: How to Conquer Flight Delays with Allyz TravelSmart

Assistance Services can help you figure out your options.

You’ve spent months preparing for the adventure of a lifetime: an 8-day walking safari in Tanzania. As you’re heading to the airport, another driver runs a red light and smashes into your car. You’re not hurt, only shaken — but as a result of the accident, you miss your flight. The next departure isn’t until tomorrow, which means you’re going to miss your tour’s chartered flight from Dar-es-Salaam to remote Ruaha National Park. How will you ever catch up with your tour when they’re in the middle of the savannah? Help!

Don’t panic.  Contact Assistance.

Every travel insurance plan from Allianz Global Assistance includes 24-7 access to our team of travel experts. When an unexpected delay threatens to derail your trip, Assistance can help figure out a solution. Connect with the Allianz Assistance team from almost anywhere in the world, via the free Allyz TravelSmart app or by phone.

In this scenario, your Assistance coordinator does some rapid research and finds a flight with a different airline that can get you to Amsterdam in time to make your connection. He books the new flight on your behalf, and off you go. A few days later, you’re enjoying your long-awaited safari.

Read more: Trip Delay, Trip Interruption and Trip Cancellation Insurance Explained

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