Holiday travel is back and booming, and Business Insider predicts that Thanksgiving and Christmas travel in the United States this year could reach or even surpass pre-pandemic levels. This means that the days of short security lines, empty lounges and half-sold flights are sadly a thing of the past! As the industry grapples with the incredible return to travel as the holiday season approaches, a traveler preparing for their vacation may be wondering: will travel be crazy enough to warrant travel insurance?
The answer is…maybe. Travel insurance, i.e. purchasing an insurance plan that would insure against misfortunes like massive flight delays, cancellations, overbookings, lost luggage, weather, etc., can be a good idea, especially when travel forecasts for the season indicate busy, if not chaotic, conditions. But in reality, it depends on various factors, including starting points, destination, mode of travel and method of booking. So, coming back to the question “should a traveler buy travel insurance for the holidays this year?” read the pros and cons below to see what might be the best answer depending on the circumstances!
What does vacation travel really look like in 2022?
Well, there is good news here. Although the number of travelers based on airline bookings and hotel stays appears to be exceeding the number of 2021 vacations, the turbulent summer travel season has actually primed the industry for what’s to come in the end of the year. Experts are ‘cautiously optimistic’ that travel agencies have learned from their logistical and customer service challenges over the summer and have had enough time to ‘recover and regroup’ to to make the holiday travel boom more efficient and less painful for travelers in general.
Let’s hope that this prediction eventually comes true. However, a shortage of pilots and airport personnel, along with the growing possibility of erratic winter weather, threatens to derail even the best precautions and preparations in the industry. However, a traveler can take certain mitigating measures to minimize the headaches (and heartaches) caused by travel disruptions and upheavals. Some industry analysts encourage travelers to bring carry-on bags rather than checking bags. But what if there is no more space in the space of the upper compartment? Other experts suggest flying in the morning on a nonstop flight. Well, what if an evening flight after work is the only choice due to work duties? Or is the destination too small to have non-stop flights? Many experts also say to avoid Thanksgiving Eve and the Friday before Christmas, but again, many vacationers simply have no choice. So what can be done? This is where travel insurance can come in.
Ways to get your money back: travel insurance professionals
Travelers can obtain insurance in different ways – some companies, such as Allianz Travel Insurance and AIG Travel Guard – allow customers to customize and create insurance plans that best suit their travel needs, while others insurance companies offer comprehensive predefined plans. which works well universally. Often, it’s also possible to add a plan to existing insurance a traveler already has, such as through AAA or Medicare. Sometimes credit card companies also include travel insurance as long as the traveler books all of their trips with that credit card.
Did you know that according to the United States Department of Transportation, airlines are not required to provide “extras” when a flight is canceled or delayed? This means that an airline is not required to reimburse or cover hotel rooms, food vouchers, transportation to and from the airport, etc. Also, even though travelers are entitled to a full refund, even on non-refundable tickets due to cancellations or delays, this does not mean that the refund is always effective or sometimes not at all.
Thus, travelers may find themselves on the hook for a hefty emergency-induced bill. Travel insurance could reimburse the insured up to a certain amount for these additional costs. Canceled trains for domestic travel in the United States are a bit murkier than aviation rules and regulations, which means there’s an even greater chance that train passengers will be left dry without recourse in case of delay or cancellation. Traveling during the holiday season, an unpredictable time period, means delays or cancellations are totally within the realm of possibility.
Travel insurance may cover delayed or lost baggage
Although certain technologies such as airline apps and airline beacons can help minimize the time it takes for a traveler to realize that their baggage is lost or did not arrive on the plane. , what recourse is there for the inconvenience of losing the bag?
Again, airlines are not required to provide any compensation for delayed baggage (some policies require airlines to reimburse lost or damaged baggage, but again this may be more difficult than necessary). So it’s possible that a flier either has to figure out how to live off what they’ve brought on board, or buy some basic necessities.
Also imagine losing all the holiday gifts wrapped in a checked bag – while it might be heartbreaking, at least the gifts are more easily replaceable via insurance coverage.
Accidents (and thefts!) happen
Airline accidents aren’t the only reasons it’s worth investing in travel insurance over the holiday season. Traveling during this time inevitably means travelers are carrying valuables they normally wouldn’t, like nicer clothes to wear for the festivities, expensive gifts, or expensive cameras to take that family reunion picture a times every ten years.
Crowded spaces like airports or train stations during holidays mean that items can be lost or stolen, and again, travel insurance can help offset the cost of replacing these items.
Perhaps, as a savvy traveler who knows vacation travel is hectic, he manages to hire a car. Even the best intentions to avoid headaches can come to an abrupt end in the event of an accident (remember winter driving can be dangerous!), a flat tire or a stolen vehicle. Although travel insurance will not solve everything related to the accident, it will surely help in case of monetary damages.
Is it worth it? Disadvantages of travel insurance
Sometimes travel insurance really isn’t worth choosing a plan or creating coverage for or the added cost of a travel credit card or the plan itself. Travel insurance is expensive, and it takes research to find the best setup that meets individual needs, so the price associated with the time investment means a lot of work for something that can’t be used.
Even the cheapest coverage can cost into the triple digits, which is way beyond what many budget travelers can afford. Speaking of costs, travel insurance will also only insure up to certain amounts for certain things, so while a traveler may have a policy, not everything they lose will be 100% covered. While something is better than nothing, it can still be very frustrating, especially with the price of some of these plans, to not get a return that feels worthwhile.
In addition, reimbursement by travel insurance requires some foresight. To be compensated for any of the above things, the insured must document the cost of whatever they are seeking money for. On a hectic trip, it might not occur to someone to keep that tiny airport receipt for a toothbrush and toothpaste; it can be stuffed in a pocket or buried in the bottom of a purse or backpack, so having travel insurance becomes a theoretical nuisance if the policyholder isn’t the kind of person who would keep the documentation.