You're sitting in an airport, watching your flight status switch from "on time" to "delayed." Not the great start you were hoping for.
If you're an experienced traveller, you know that sinking feeling you get when a trip delay strands you. To protect yourself it is recommended that you 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?
Here's what you need to do if your trip is delayed:
In almost every scenario, there's a way to get your travel plans back on track. Even if your cruise or tour has already departed, it's possible to catch up at the next port or stop. If you're feeling angry, frustrated or overwhelmed, try to regain your calm. Airline representatives will typically try harder to help you if you're patient and polite.
Call Allianz Global Assistance's 24-hour emergency assistance number
Remember that if you have travel insurance offered by Allianz Global Assistance, you're not travelling alone. While the travel insurance experts at Allianz Global Assistance cannot pay travel costs up front, they can provide numbers for airlines and help explain the benefits available to you through your plan. The emergency assistance team will also document that you called for help rescheduling your travel, so if you end up having to cancel your trip they'll have evidence of your efforts to continue.
Here's what you need to know about trip interruption insurance:
Don't make Trip Cancellation insurance your first option
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 Toronto, 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.
When Trip Cancellation insurance will cover your delayed trip
Let's go back to this river cruise scenario. With the help of airline representatives, you're able to get on a new flight from Toronto 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 travel insurance provider. 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 insurance provider as soon as possible once you cancel.
How travel insurance helps when you have a trip delay
Travel insurance does not cover everything. Please refer to the policy wording for full terms and conditions, including limitations and exclusions. Travel insurance is underwritten by CUMIS General Insurance Company, a member of The Co-operators Group of Companies and administered by Allianz Global Assistance. Allianz Global Assistance is a registered business name of AZGA Service Canada Inc. and AZGA Insurance Agency Canada Ltd. Please note that remuneration may be payable to the distributor of this insurance.