We surveyed American travelers and discovered that the majority are unprepared should their flights be canceled or delayed over the Thanksgiving weekend and Holiday season.
Most surprisingly, the survey found that 66.6% of people who are traveling over the Holidays have not bought and do not believe in Travel Insurance. Staffing shortages are leading to overworked flight crews and most of the canceled flights that are seen daily on the news. The Transportation Security Administration has also just released that only 60% of its workers are vaccinated with the vaccination deadline only two weeks away. This could potentially cause a lot of delays through security, through the airport and a lot of frustrated travelers.
When airlines cancel flights, the rules vary on how they are required to reimburse passengers, but for the most part the only effort they have to make is rebook passengers on a new flight which could be days later or provide a travel voucher. Airlines do not reimburse travelers for the cost to stay in a hotel, rent a vehicle, meals, and other bills that can add up when a trip is unexpectedly delayed or canceled. Despite thousands of flights being canceled in the past month alone, the majority of consumers seem to be willing to risk paying out of pocket for added costs due to delays and cancelations.
Not only do travelers need to worry about flight cancelations and interruptions, but unexpected COVID-19 expenses can create a large financial burden. While COVID-19 appears to be less threatening at the moment, the reality is people are still getting sick, and if a positive COVID test delays travel plans, the cost of rebooking and medical care can add up quickly. However, of the people who are traveling over the Holidays, only 33.9% are worried about expenses such as quarantines, medical treatment, or flight cancellation / interruptions due to COVID-19 reasons. As of March 5, 2020, COVID-19 is considered a known event worldwide, and regular Travel Insurance will not provide coverage for COVID-19 reasons even with the official global advisory in place for policies purchased on or after this date.
76.3% of people who will be traveling for the holidays said they would be traveling out-of-state, but within the U.S. and 4.8% said they had international travel plans. Even a trip to a neighbouring state can put an individual outside their health care network, and should they become ill or injured during their trip they may have to pay out-of-pocket for out-of-network care.
What can you do?
Trip Protection can reimburse your travel costs should you be unable to make your trip. When you compare the cost of an insurance policy for a trip with the several hundred or thousands of dollars that could be spent trying to get a flight with another airline at the last minute or a hotel room, the choice seems simple. However, as we mentioned, this won’t cover you for COVID-19 expenses, which is why it was surprising to learn that 78.1% of people traveling over the Holidays have never even heard of COVID-19 Insurance.
In addition to Travel Insurance, a COVID-19 Insurance plan is another option that travelers may be wise to consider. Goose’s COVID-19 annual policy starts as low as $124.99, and is intended for unexpected medical expenses, trip interruption and cancelation, and meals and accommodations due to COVID-19 when you are traveling abroad.