You're sitting in an airport, watching your flight status switch from "on time" to "delayed" to "canceled." Great. Your trip is ruined before it even begins.
If you're an experienced traveler, you know that sinking feeling you get when a trip delay strands you. The best way to protect yourself is to purchase travel insurance that includes trip interruption and trip cancellation insurance. But how can insurance help, and when should you give up and cancel your trip?
You and your husband are taking the trip of a lifetime for your 25th wedding anniversary: a 6-day river cruise down the Danube River. On the day of your departure from New York City, a freak early-spring blizzard blows in and strands all planes. You're supposed to be in Budapest tomorrow afternoon to board your ship, but the airline just announced tomorrow's flights are all full. You have trip cancellation insurance — should you call off the trip?
If you experience a hiccup in your travel plans, you need to make every effort to continue your scheduled trip. In order to make a trip cancellation claim, you must have lost more than 50 percent of your scheduled trip length due to a covered travel delay — and you must have made a good-faith effort to continue your travels. Ask yourself, “What would I do if I didn’t have travel insurance?” If you knew you'd lose your entire investment in your European cruise, you'd try your hardest to catch up with the ship.
Here's what you need to do if your trip is delayed:
Let's go back to the river cruise scenario. With the help of Allianz Global Assistance’s hotline staff, you're able to get on a new flight from New York City to Paris the next day. You're too late to catch your cruise ship in Budapest, so you book a flight to the next port of call: Vienna, Austria. That's when bad luck strikes a second time: Mechanical issues ground your flight, and the next plane available doesn't leave until the evening. By the time you arrive, your ship has already sailed.
This is when trip cancellation insurance may kick in. If you miss more than half the total length of your trip because your travel was delayed due to a covered reason — including strike, common carrier delay, natural disaster, quarantine, a lost passport, hijacking or civil unrest — then you may be able to make a trip cancellation claim.
Before you cancel your trip, however, it's wise to check in with your insurer. Confirm that more than 50 percent of your trip has been missed and that your policy includes coverage for trip cancellation. Also, be sure to notify all your travel providers and your insurer as soon as possible once you cancel.
Allianz Global Assistance’s travel insurance includes many more benefits than just trip cancellation insurance. Depending on which plan you choose, these benefits may include:
Always read your policy documents carefully so you understand your coverage, and call Allianz Global Assistance if you have any questions. Safe — and swift — travels!