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The Forecast for Weather-Related Trip Cancellation

A hurricane into the Caribbean Sea, the Mexican Gulf
Allianz - A hurricane into the Caribbean Sea, the Mexican Gulf

There are few factors that affect travel plans more significantly than the weather.

For starters, weather plays a big role in determining your destination.  Case in point: you don’t go to Miami in August to chill out. You go to sweat. And sure, Milwaukee is a walkable, vibrant city for 90 days a year — and then it becomes the backdrop for a “Frozen” sequel. 

The weather forecast also impacts your packing list: will you be bringing boots and a slicker or your entire collection of flip-flops?

Finally, in extreme cases, weather can affect your ability to reach your destination — on time or at all. Fortunately, if you have an Allianz Global Assistance insurance plan with a trip cancellation benefit, you may not need to sweat the financial loss of canceling a trip — including prepaid, nonrefundable costs — whether you’re headed to Miami or Milwaukee.

Like many of the covered reasons that cause trip cancellation benefits to kick in, weather-related claims need to pass muster with a few sensible conditions before any of your prepaid, non-refundable expenses can be reimbursed.

For starters, you can’t use travel insurance if you don’t have it. Plans need to be purchased before any inclement weather becomes a “foreseeable event.” Makes sense, right? If a hurricane or a nor’easter is named, it’s too late. Just a small point of clarity: Even if a gathering storm has been spotted and named, it doesn’t mean you can’t buy trip insurance. It just means that your pre-paid, nonrefundable costs can’t be reimbursed if you have to cancel due to that specific storm, i.e., the one with the same name.1

With that in mind, if you haven’t already done so, take a moment and find the Allianz Global Assistance travel insurance plan that’s the right plan for your itinerary and budget.

Will Your Trip Cancellation Be Covered?

OK, with the picture a little clearer, let’s look at some popular scenarios in which travelers may wish to invoke weather-related trip cancellation. We’ll even make it fun and interactive, assigning a forecast according to how likely these circumstances are to result in having any pre-paid, nonrefundable trip costs being reimbursed through a weather-related trip cancellation.

Scenario 1: Tropical Depression Nolan is depressing your Spring Break plans for a pampered getaway in Acapulco that’s just days away. It’s supposed to bring wind and rain smack dab above your all-inclusive resort. The beaches will be empty. But your hotel is open…

Forecast for Approved Weather-Related Cancellation: Cloudy with a certainty of “no.” Here is the thing: for a travel insurance plan to cover a weather-related cancellation, your airline, cruise line, or tour operator or travel supplier must stop offering all services for at least 24 consecutive hours where you're departing, arriving or making a connection. In this case, your hotel is open. And as long as your flights and ground transportation aren’t effected, neither is your trip status in the eyes of travel insurance. It’s just a case of bad timing and worse luck. But the good news is that the spa is open — and they don’t stop blending margaritas when it rains.1

Scenario 2: Your Breckenridge ski vacation outside of Boulder, Colorado starts tomorrow. You got a cheap room by booking in April. Only problem? It’s 85F and sunny — a record high and freak meteorological occurrence. (This is especially surprising considering the resort’s nickname is “Breckenfridge,” a nod to its cold temps and high winds.) Your flights are on time and the resort is open. The ski report is… well, there isn’t one. All the trails are closed and have been for a week. Both the room and ski passes are both non-refundable…2

Forecast for Approved Weather-Related Cancellation: Gloomy and bored. While the mountain is closed, it’s not technically a travel supplier. The resort is one — and it’s open. You should look to the resort for supplying a reimbursement. As for passing your time, how about a jog or a hike? It is gorgeous out, after all…

Scenario 3: While you’re packing to escape your mid-western winter that seems stolen from the Planet Hoth scene in “Empire Strikes Back,” a pipe freezes and floods your home. And while you’d like to hightail it to someplace warm and sunny right now, you have to stick around to deal with the upheaval, talking 24/7 with your insurance company and home restoration company. You will be staying at a hotel, but it will be 1 mile away from your house. It will also be snow-covered — not flanking a Tiki bar and beach volleyball court. But there is free breakfast, so you have that going for you.

Forecast for Approved Weather-Related Cancellation: Bright and sunny. If your primary residence is determined to be uninhabitable because of a natural disaster, fire, flood, burglary or vandalism, then this can be considered a covered reason for trip cancellation. And it’s a good thing, because who can relax and unwind on the beach when workers in biohazard suits are knocking down your walls with sledgehammers 1,200 miles away?3

Remember, always read your plan to determine whether or not you may be covered for trip cancellation before cancelling your trip. We cannot stress this enough. All plans are different.

If you do experience a covered reason for trip cancellation, interruption or delay, the travel insurance benefits can be wide ranging. Depending on the circumstances, these can include eligible travel costs for departing your destination early, such as flight, hotel and meal costs.

Other Ways that Allianz Global Assistance Parts the Clouds

Now that we’ve covered a wide range of scenarios during which a travel insurance plan can provide a little sunshine during trip cancellation — and what conditions need to be met for that to happen — here are a few other additional Alliance Global Assistance benefits you should know about:

  • TravelSmart App: Imagine having one convenient place to visit on your smartphone to ensure your flights are on time, to eye a claim, and to double check your travel insurance plan benefits. Indeed there is, the Allianz Global Assistance TravelSmart app! Successfully thwarting obstacles standing in the way of a smooth trip often requires making quick decisions on the go, whether an ice storm is taking down tree limbs or a heatwave is crashing the grid. And you don’t want to be the person digging through a folder of paperwork and chasing down the fine print when you’re next in line to chat with an airline gate agent.
  • SmartBenefits: On the surface, suffering a trip cancellation may seem like the most frustrating travel-related misadventure one can experience. But when you have a travel insurance plan from Allianz Global Assistance with a trip cancellation benefit, and the cancellation is considered a covered event per your plan details, it’s a clean break that took place before you even departed. Compare that with the uncertainty that accompanies trip and baggage delays, times you don’t know when you’re going, quite possibly where you’re going, and sometimes when you’ll see you’re checked bag again. This is just the scenario that inclement weather can rain down on you. But you know what can remedy long waits in depressing terminals, or not knowing if your dopp kit is in Key West or West Virginia? $100 arriving in your pocket! With Allianz Global Assistance’s aptly named SmartBenefitsSM, travelers can receive a fixed inconvenience payment of $100 per insured person, per day, for a covered travel or baggage delay. There’s no need to even submit a receipt (for claims up to the maximum no-receipts limit). Most convenient of all, if your flight is one of many monitored by Allianz Global Assistance, you will receive notification of your eligibility. So, why fear some rain on the runway when a trip delay can make it rain?4

Stop watching the Weather Channel and reading the Farmer’s Almanac. Instead, give yourself a little peace of mind before that upcoming trip with a travel insurance plan including trip cancellation protection.

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Jan 30, 2020