AAA: Pandemic prompts more to get travel insurance

More than 30% say they are more likely to purchase travel insurance because of COVID.
Travel Insurance
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PITTSBURG, Kan. – A new AAA Travel survey finds that more people will be getting travel insurance due to the pandemic.

Before the end of next year, more than half (55%) of American adults are planning at least a one-night vacation. That’s according to the survey. But, nearly one-third (31%) of them say they are more likely to purchase travel insurance for those trips because of COVID-19.

“The survey very much reflects what AAA travel advisors are experiencing. Travelers are still booking trips for this year, into next year and even into 2023 and 2024,” says Micki Dudas, director of leisure travel sales for AAA. “Travel insurance provides them with the peace of mind to do so – more valuable than ever in light of the pandemic.”

Recent AAA Travel bookings have increased 11% over 2019 levels, and interest in travel insurance has increased in turn. 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.

Travel Insurance Benefits

Travelers cite the ability to cancel a trip and get a refund as the frequently the benefit of travel insurance. They say 69 percent of those travelers add this is the most important to them when considering travel insurance for an upcoming trip.

AAA advises these travelers to look into travel insurance policies that include a “cancel for any reason” component. It could offer more flexibility and protection in the event a traveler needs to cancel their trip.

Plans to Cover some losses

While travel insurance policies have historically not covered epidemics or pandemics, in response to shifting consumer expectations, some providers have started to introduce plans that cover some losses due to COVID-19 or other epidemic diseases. AAA recommends travelers consult the expertise of a knowledgeable travel advisor to help plan their trips and evaluate the various travel insurance options available.

The Right Travel Insurance Policy

Choosing the right policy is important. Increasingly, travelers want policies that protect against common covered reasons for trip cancellations and interruptions. They also want it to cover other travel-related incidents including change fees, delays or lost/damaged luggage, to name a few.

International Travel

Also, it’s important to note that some international destinations may require visitors to carry travel insurance. One reason, to help cover any unexpected medical costs that may be incurred while visiting. A knowledgeable travel advisor can help travelers navigate these and other evolving travel requirements.

AAA encourages all travelers to ‘know before you go.’ They advise being well-versed on all travel restrictions that might be relevant to your destination and/or any stops along the way.

Travel Advisors

The AAA Travel survey also found that six in 10 Americans (60%) see the benefit of working with a travel advisor. 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 advisor can help you navigate through those complexities,” continued AAA’s Dudas. “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.”

AAA Travel advisors are available to help members evaluate travel options and plan their vacations, when they are ready. You can get more information and get started at AAA.com/Travel.

Methodology

AAA conducted the survey from August 13–15, 2021. They used 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.