Winter Travel Chaos: How Travel Insurance can Help in Case of Sickness, Weather and More
Whether you’re escaping the cold on a trip to the tropics or headed to the slopes for a ski weekend, traveling during the winter season comes with its own set of hazards. Smart travelers know that getting caught without a travel protection plan could be a costly opt-out, especially when winter brings illness and travel delays.
Flu season has turned into Flu and COVID season and winter storms cause trip cancellations and travel delays across the world. Read below for risks to be aware of when traveling this winter season, tips to avoid the worst pitfalls, and how travel insurance might help.
Travel Insurance for the Virus Season
What used to be known as Flu season now includes other viruses like RSV and COVID – and a “tripledemic” can have serious consequences for a trip. For instance, just before you expect to leave on a vacation, you or someone in your family gets too sick to travel. You could be out of luck if you have non-refundable airline tickets, hotel reservations or other prepaid trip costs and can’t get a refund.
One in six U.S. adults have been forced to cancel, interrupt, or delay their travel plans, and medical conditions are often the cause. A travel protection plan can help you in this situation.
Generali Global Assistance travel protection plans include coverage in case you or a traveling companion gets sick and you need to cancel or interrupt your trip. You can be reimbursed for unused, non-refundable, pre-paid trip costs that you lose. Keep in mind that the illness must first commence after you purchase your plan, the sick person must seek the in-person treatment of a physician and can’t take their trip, according to a physician. You can also be covered if a non-traveling family member is hospitalized and you are unable to make the trip.
The flu/virus season usually peaks in January and February, but can last from October to May, and since the COVID pandemic has been starting on the early end of the spectrum.
Typically, people over the age of 65 are the most likely to be hospitalized during this season. Travelers in that age range should be especially aware of winter travel risks and how travel insurance can help.
Winter storms are inevitable. They happen every year, and whether you’re flying or driving to your destination, if you get caught in one, chances are you’ll experience some sort of travel delay.
Bad weather is always a risk when flying, but if a winter storm hits, flight cancellations and delays are bound to happen and you may take on some unplanned costs. If this happens, travel insurance can provide coverage for additional expenses to help get you to your destination as planned or back home, in addition to reimbursing for lost trip costs. Coverage is also included for certain out-of-pocket costs, such as meals, local transportation or even additional lodging or parking charges.
Check this list of the U.S. airports with the most weather delays to see if you can avoid connecting in those airports during the winter.
If a weather event, like a blizzard is foreseeable when you buy your plan, then travel insurance may not cover it. If the plan is purchased after a storm is named, coverage is typically not provided for losses resulting from that named storm. Be sure to read the policy and know exactly what the travel protection plan you buy covers.
Watch the Ice on the Steps
With winter weather comes the increased risk of injury from falling on ice and snow, shoveling snow or de-icing your car, accidents from winter sports and the rate of car accidents goes sky-high in this season. Each year, more than 418,000 people are injured in weather-related car crashes in the U.S.
The Centers for Disease Control ranks falls as the top cause of injury among older Americans, a situation that becomes even more concerning during the winter.
Similar to illness, a travel protection plan may provide coverage if you’re injured before or during your trip, and you can be reimbursed for lost trip costs and medical treatment on a trip. Whether or not you insure your trip, you should follow these tips to avoid common winter accidents that could throw a wrench in your travel plans.
If you’re traveling to take part in some winter sports like skiing, snowboarding, sledding, or ice skating, one wrong slip can send you to the hospital and put a quick end to your fun trip activities!
Almost 200,000 people per year are treated for winter sports injuries in the U.S. Medical evacuation from a ski resort or even from the mountain could require a helicopter, which is not cheap.
Travel insurance may provide coverage for medical expenses and emergency medical evacuations if you’re injured during your trip—a potentially important safeguard for winter sport travelers.
Our Preferred and Premium Plans include coverages especially helpful if you travel with skis, snowboards or other sporting equipment. Get coverage in case your equipment is damaged, lost, stolen or delayed, plus reimbursement of your rentals and other covered expenses incurred while your equipment is lost.
Airlines are updating technology each year and doing a better job of handling bags so they don’t get lost as often. But, all that progress can be quickly lost during the chaos of a winter storm. Just this year, thousands of bags were lost during a storm, and even 11 days afterwards, travelers were still left without their baggage.
The best tip for avoiding such a fate is to fly direct whenever possible, and if a connection is necessary during the winter, try to connect through an airport that isn’t usually hit by winter weather. Or, follow these tips to only pack a carry-on and still bring the winter weather clothing you need.
It may also be helpful to have travel insurance with Baggage coverage in case your bags are lost, damaged or stolen. Generali travel protection includes this with each of our Standard, Preferred, and Premium Plans. This means you may also receive coverage if you have to buy additional personal effects because your bags were delayed during your trip for the amount of time specified in the plan.
From storms to the flu, travel is all the more unpredictable during the winter months. And the best way to plan ahead for unforeseen travel mishaps is to get a travel protection plan as soon as you book your trip.