Hurricane Sandy has reminded us once again of the importance of travel insurance for both corporate and vacation travel. While many companies and organizations cover their business travel insurance needs within their duty of care policies, these road warriors often forget the issue of insurance when they become vacation travelers. A leisure traveler’s first priorities are often based on the specifics of their itinerary and include details like seat selection or baggage fees. But what happens when you can’t make it to that seat?
“The interesting thing about Hurricane Sandy was that it created a total cessation of service,” said Karen McCrink, Atlas Travel Vacation & Cruises manager. “Since the storm closed entire airports, the airlines were responsible for providing ticket refunds to travelers or allowing them to reschedule their plans within a certain amount of time without penalty. Another recent example of this was the giant ash cloud that covered Europe in 2011 and wreaked havoc on airport operations for weeks. Under normal circumstances – when your flight is canceled but the airport is open – that’s a totally different story.”
According to McCrink, airline delay and cancellation policies might surprise even a seasoned traveler and make travel insurance a serious priority for any trip. Plus, if you encounter a personal situation that prevents you from making your flight, proper travel insurance becomes crucial to reclaiming any of that expense.
“We call it ‘protecting your investment,’” explained McCrink. “Wintertime in New England brings more flight concerns than usual, but what we as agents are most concerned about is what waits for you on the other end of that flight. If you are visiting family, you can more likely reschedule your plans, but a cruise line is understandably less forgiving. They run a business, and they very openly encourage their customers to purchase insurance. If you miss your flight or, for whatever reason, cannot get to your port of call, that ship is not going to wait for you. Plus, they can’t make up that revenue by filling your cabin(s) at the last minute. For common itineraries like these, insurance is huge.”
McCrink also points out, “All insurance policies aren’t equal.” While the basic minimum policy might seem attractive at first, it is important to consult your travel agent to identify the coverage that is right for you and your itinerary.
“There are so many details in any travel insurance policy – just like any form of insurance – and a modestly more expensive policy can drastically affect the ultimate payout in your time of need,” says McCrink.
For example, if your return trip is delayed for any reason – like many Sandy victims who were already abroad and became stuck at foreign airports waiting to return home – the level of your travel insurance coverage dictates how much allowance you receive for hotel costs during your delay. These expenses can add up very quickly while you are waiting to continue your journey, and higher-level policies could guarantee a much more pleasant wait, especially for families or large groups.
Atlas Travel has great industry partnerships that can help anyone who is seeking insurance for either business or leisure travel. To learn more about our Vacations & Cruises options, consult your Atlas Travel vacation agent about our various options through Travel Guard. For corporate needs, please contact your Atlas Travel account manager, who would be happy to help you research options that will work for your company or organization if you have questions.