Lesson from Christchurch–What If Your Flight is Cancelled?

The airport in Christchurch, New Zealand opened today for domestic and international flights after being closed since Tuesday due to a 6.3 earthquake.  Even though flights have been permitted to fly that does not mean that yours will be the next to depart.  The question becomes what you do if your flight is detained and your travel plans change due to an unforeseen event?

Preventative measures are the best.  Today’s travel may change at any time due to natural or manmade causes and requires protection.   Trip insurance is recommended for all travel and choosing a trip insurance provider is as important as planning your trip.  Equally important is the plan which you choose.

The primary concern of  trip insurance companies is for the safety of its customers.   There are many good trip insurance providers out there but make sure that the one you choose has a reputation for working hard to identify its customers and providing immediate assistance to them if  impacted by an event.  Keep in mind that all policies must be purchased prior to the event or they do not cover losses related to it.  When purchasing your trip insurance always make sure that your policy includes Travel Delay and Trip Cancellation/Interruption benefits which are commonly utilized as a result of a natural disaster.

Always remember to contact your travel professional to cancel any reservations which will be affected due to the delay.  If your letter of confirmation from your trip insurance provider lists Travel Delay as a benefit you may be eligible for additional out of pocket meal or lodging expenses incurred as a result of a delay for  6 days or more.  Some policies allow for pre-paid, non-refundable expenses lost due to the Travel Delay.  Clients may also qualify for Trip Cancellation/Interruption benefits if their travel supplier must cancel services for 24 hours or more due to a natural disaster, or if the destination is uninhabitable because of a natural disaster.

Manmade reasons for Travel Delay and Trip Cancellation/Interruption includes political unrest.  All of the above information applies if you are in a country when political unrest occurs.  If you are about to embark upon your trip to a country in which political unrest is occurring you may change your travel dates which means you need to also change the dates on your insurance coverage.  Review your policy beforehand for specific terms and conditions of your insuring agreement and contact your travel professional to cancel existing reservations. 

Be prepared before you leave on your next adventure.  Trip insurance, don’t leave home without it!