(Media release from AAA, The Auto Club Group):
The COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on Americans’ travel plans. New data shows that a growing number of travelers are turning to travel insurance to protect their vacation investments and health while traveling.
According to a recent AAA Travel survey, one-third (31%) of U.S. travelers say they are more likely to purchase travel insurance for their trips planned between now and the end of 2022, specifically due to the pandemic.
“Travel insurance is relatively inexpensive for the large amount of peace-of-mind it affords, and that’s more valuable than ever in light of the pandemic,” said Debbie Haas, Vice President of Travel, AAA – The Auto Club Group. “Americans have seen how valuable travel insurance can be in protecting their vacation investment and health, and are prioritizing this purchase now more than ever.”
AAA’s travel insurance sales have increased more than double digits year-over-year, as members return to travel and see the value of protecting that investment. Choosing the right policy is important, and increasingly travelers want policies that protect against commonly covered reasons for trip cancellations and interruptions, as well as other travel-related incidents including change fees, delays or lost/damaged luggage, to name a few.
Most Popular Benefit of Travel Insurance
The ability to cancel a trip and get a refund is by far the most frequently cited benefit of travel insurance. Sixty-nine percent of travelers say this is most important to them when considering travel insurance for an upcoming trip. Since policies vary, AAA advises these travelers to look into travel insurance policies that include a flexible cancellation component, which could offer more options and protection in the event a traveler needs to cancel their trip.
Providers Adjust Plans to Meet Consumer Expectations
While travel insurance policies have historically not covered epidemics or pandemics, in response to shifting consumer expectations, some providers have begun introducing plans that cover some losses due to COVID-19 or other epidemic diseases. AAA offers policies that provide assistance and financial benefits if travelers get COVID before or during their insured vacation. AAA recommends travelers consult the expertise of a knowledgeable travel agent to help plan their trips and evaluate the various travel insurance options available on the market.
Importance of a Travel Advisor
Also, it’s important to note that some international destinations may require visitors to carry travel insurance, to help cover any unexpected medical costs that may be incurred while visiting. A knowledgeable travel agent can help travelers navigate these and other evolving travel requirements.
The AAA Travel survey also found that six in 10 Americans (60%) see the benefit of working with a travel agent to plan their upcoming trips. Travelers’ top benefits of working with a travel advisor reflect the important role they play in today’s more complex travel environment, including:
- To save time when researching or planning a vacation (40%)
- For help with complicated new travel restrictions/requirements (34%)
- To find the best deals (33%)
“Travel insurance options vary greatly, but a knowledgeable travel agent can help you navigate through those complexities,” continued Haas. “A trusted travel advisor serves as your advocate before and during your trip. Partnering with a travel advisor to review your travel insurance options offers another level of protection, so you can focus on making lifelong vacation memories. Our research shows that discussing travel insurance with our travel advisors increases traveler satisfaction. It’s most beneficial to purchase travel insurance when booking a trip, but coverage can also be added later prior to travel.”
AAA Travel agents are available to help members evaluate travel insurance offerings and plan their vacations, when they are ready. For more information and to get started, visit AAA.com/Travel.
The survey was conducted August 13–15, 2021, using a probability-based panel designed to be representative of the U.S. household population overall. The panel provides sample coverage of approximately 97% of the U.S. household population. Most surveys were completed online; consumers without Internet access were surveyed over the phone. A total of 1,126 interviews were completed among U.S. adults, 18 years of age or older. The margin of error for the study overall is 2.9% at the 95% confidence level. The margin of error for U.S. travelers is 3.9% at the 95% confidence level. Smaller subgroups have larger error margins.