Travel insurance helps mitigate the money you could lose due to unforeseen situations.
Travel delay is the most common situation that travelers face. For significant delays, it’s good to know that travel insurance may cover your airport meals or even a night in a hotel. While nobody likes to be delayed, having those extra expenses covered can take the sting out of an unexpected situation.
How Trip Delay Insurance Works
Travel insurance benefits for a trip delay generally kick for a covered reason after a specified length of time, which varies by insurance plan.
In addition, the cause of the delay must be specified as a covered reason in the policy.
Common causes include mechanical failure and inclement weather, but they could also include traffic accidents en route to your departure, lost or stolen passports or natural disasters.
Trip delay coverage will have a per day and a total maximum benefit limit per person.
If you are delayed for a reason covered by your policy, you can be eligible for reimbursement of reasonable expenses—up to the coverage limit specified in the policy. These expenses could be for meals, hotel accommodations and transportation.
Trip Delay vs. Trip Interruption Insurance
People often confuse “trip delay” and “trip interruption” coverage. The difference is that trip interruption pays for the portion of your trip that you weren’t able to use because you had to cut the trip short. Trip interruption coverage could cover the cost of return transportation if you need to end the trip early, for example.
Trip delay, on the other hand, is for cases when you’re stuck in transit or experience a temporary setback. It covers what you need—such as accommodation and meals—to tide you over until your trip gets back on track.
How to Make a Trip Delay Insurance Claim
Some travel insurance companies like Allianz have user-friendly mobile apps that help when filing claims.
It’s easy to do on the go or online. You’ll need to have some information handy like your policy number and specifics about your travel delay circumstances.
You’ll also need to submit your receipts to make a claim.
If your insurer doesn’t have an app, or if you aren’t tech-savvy, you can log on to the company’s website and file a claim. You can also call the customer service number for additional assistance.
How to Be Prepared for Travel Delays
While no one wants to face a few extra hours in a terminal, or an unplanned hotel stay, preparing for this possibility can make a delay easier to manage.
Be prepared for the possibility of a delay
packing for a single night’s stay in your carry-on luggage is recommended.
Just in case, prepare a document ahead of time with a list of contacts at your destination in the case you need to get in touch with tour operators, hotels or transportation companies to let them know about your delay.
It is recommended that you have apps on your smartphone that can come in handy in case of delays. For example, the TravelSmart app is a convenient way to access a travel insurance plan, file and manage a claim, track flights, receive live updates for flight delays and easily contact 24-hour assistance and concierge services, who can assist with outreach to those tour operators,” he says.
Have Access to Emergency Funds
Since benefits are reimbursement-based—you pay out of pocket, then file a claim, so you should be sure they have enough funds available to cover the costs in the event you need to book another flight or stay in a hotel.
Know the Caps for Reimbursement
Travel delay benefits generally have a per day maximum and also a total maximum, per person. If you need to pay for lodging and meals during a trip delay, keep the caps in mind.
You’ll want to keep your per-day limit in mind before you book that five-star hotel or extravagant meal that’s going to be outside of your budget.
You could still have extravagant meals, but be prepared to pay the amount yourself that’s above your insurance limit.