For most Canadians, vacation comes but twice a year in the form of 10 paid days, meant to be used before the calendar year is up.
That means we take our holidays very seriously—isn’t it obvious from all of the joyous “Out of Office” posts on social media?
According to the latest data supplied by Allianz Global Assistance, Canadians don’t shy away from forking up the big bucks to enjoy quality holiday time—on average, we spend $2,573 per year on a trip. This year, a whopping 71 per cent of Canadians will take a trip.
Baby boomers spend the most, averaging about $3,357, while tech-savvy millennials who tend to spend a lot more time researching, can get away for roughly $1,873.
But despite the numbers, there’s one thing that both generations tend to forget to add to their travel checklist.
Although Canadians are relatively good when it comes to booking their travel insurance, as Dan Keon, vice president, market management, Allianz Global Assistance, told PAX, we tend to oh-so-politely decline trip cancellation insurance.
What is trip cancellation insurance, anyways?
Trip cancellation insurance is not the same as travel insurance, and health insurance isn’t the same as travel insurance!
“When Canadians think about travel insurance, they tend to think of medical insurance, given that they’re aware of the fact that provincial healthcare doesn’t travel with them,” Keon explained. “Travel agents are in a very unique position because they have an opportunity when they’re booking this dream vacation for their clients to help them protect it by letting them know about trip cancellation and what it offers.”
According to Allianz's latest findings from their Winter Vacation Confidence Index survey conducted through IPSOS, 20 per cent of Canadians book their vacations with a travel agent, and 44 per cent of them book anywhere from two to six months in advance.
Trip cancellation rates typically land within the range of eight to 10 per cent of the total trip cost— a small price to pay for peace of mind.
In its simplest form, trip cancellation insurance refers to protecting all of the prepaid expenses booked before the trip. This could be flights, accommodations, or tours, to name a few examples. And, though trip cancellation insurance is usually a quick and easy add-on service once flights and accommodations are booked, Keon says travellers can always contact their travel agent a few days after booking to re-add the service.
“It’s not uncommon for people to decline trip cancellation insurance because they say they’ve got coverage through their credit card, but it’s really important for travel agents to stress to their clients that they review their coverage with their provider,” Keon said. “Oftentimes, benefits through credit cards have certain stipulations, including a dollar limit that could be less than what they’re looking to have covered for their trip; it’s very risky to assume you have coverage when you haven’t validated it.”
Trip cancellation insurance allows travellers to protect their investment, in case something happens that forces them to cancel a trip. Trip cancellation insurance means the individual doesn’t have to worry about paying out of pocket for travel expenses they’ll never even get to enjoy.
Why might a trip be cancelled?
There are several reasons that a trip could be cancelled, and many of them have to do with factors beyond the individual’s control, Keon explained.
When trip cancellation insurance is purchased, the traveller is protected from these kinds of situations, but if they’re not, it means they stand to lose the total price of the trip.
Most trip cancellation plans will have a list of eligible reasons for cancellation. Some include, but are not limited to:
- Illness or injury
- Jury duty
- Inclement weather delays
- Mandatory evacuation at destination
- Legal separation or divorce
- Passport theft
Recover your costs
With trip cancellation insurance, any costs you’ve incurred are automatically recovered, and yours to use again at a later travel date.
Trip cancellation insurance generally applies to prepaid expenses that are non-refundable or non-transferable.
If a trip must be cancelled, and the reason is protected by trip cancellation insurance, all the individual needs to do is provide necessary documentation, including one that confirms their reason for cancellation fits within the guidelines allotted in the cancellation policy.
Then, it’s just a matter of submitting the unused tickets, and proof of payment for the components of the trip that were prepaid and now being claimed for.
One of the most important factors to note, is that trip cancellation insurance isn’t just about protecting the individual. If you’re travelling in a group, or with a partner, and something happens that forces him or her to cancel, you’re taken care of as well, Keon said.
“Sometimes it goes beyond how you perceive your own likelihood of risk, and it extends to things you just can’t control, like a travel companion falling ill, or injuring themselves,” Keon said. “In cases like this, it’s good to be protected by trip cancellation insurance.”
Allianz Global Assistance is actively encouraging its partners to enroll in courses offered by the Allianz Academy, so that they may become more familiar with products like trip cancellation insurance, travel insurance, and health insurance, so that they can recommend the best products for their clients.
Agents can learn more, or sign up for courses free of charge at https://allianzacademy.travelinsurance.ca/#/login.
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