Why an Annual Travel Policy is NOT a good idea, especially through Allianz

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Jul 22, 2019
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#1
My wife and I travel a lot and have always bought individual travel insurance policies through Allianz for our trips. Last year when discussing another trip we were taking the salesman suggested an annual policy. He explained the limits, $15,000 max each year but other benefits (medical, lost luggage etc.) would pay for every trip. We thought that was a good idea and signed up for the policy running from November 1, 2018 through November 1, 2019.
We had a trip in January 2020 to Cuba. Our travel company charged $250 per person to cancel if we cancelled before July 20th. Because we couldn't go to Cuba we cancelled and were refunded what we paid less the cancellation fee. If we would have cancelled after July 20th the fee would have been $500 per person. I filed a claim with Allianz. After filing the claim I reached out to the salesman at Allianz who sold me the policy and inquired about the claim. I asked about the issue of the annual policy expiring on November 1, 2019 but the trip was scheduled for January 2020. He told me via email "It’s when you have to cancel the trip not when the trip is scheduled so you would be eligible now to file a claim for that trip." I received a denial from Allianz stating that the "policy's coverage ends November 1, 2019. Any trips after this date cannot be considered in this policy." I reached out to the salesman again and advised of this denial and he confirmed that the policy should cover the cancellation because the trip was cancelled prior to the expiration date of the policy. He suggested I reach out to the claims department and advise them that the claim should be paid. I called Allianz claims today and asked to speak to a Supervisor. She advised that the claim was denied because the policy does not cover a trip in January 2020 but I could appeal the decision if I wished. I asked if when I renew my annual policy (only allowed 60 days prior to the expiration of current policy) if they would then cover the cancellation fee and she advised no because the cancellation occurred prior to the effective date of the policy. I asked her "then you are telling me that the annual policy is absolutely useless to me" and she responded "yes, if you do not time the cancellation right that is correct." So, the US government restricts US citizens from visiting Cuba and my trip is cancelled and because of the timing my annual policy does not cover this cancellation.
 
Feb 3, 2017
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#2
Your travel company is charging you a fee to cancel even though it the US Government's prohibition of travel to Cuba that is responsible for you not being able to travel?

I would think that that travel company would waive that fee. How disappointing - I admit to being surprised by this.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#3
The real problem might be that this isn’t a covered reason to cancel according to the policy. My annual policy only covers cancellation due to death, a covered illness or supplier bankruptcy.

What kind of a trip to Cuba were you going on?

Do you have a link to the policy you hold?
 
Mar 14, 2018
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#4
The real problem might be that this isn’t a covered reason to cancel according to the policy. My annual policy only covers cancellation due to death, a covered illness or supplier bankruptcy.

What kind of a trip to Cuba were you going on?

Do you have a link to the policy you hold?

From the description, I'm guessing they have an Allianz AllTrips Premier policy. Here's a link.

From what I can tell, Bfjplt is correct that it doesn't matter when the trip is--just when the event causing cancellation occurred (and when the trip was booked for some cancellation reasons).

However, only cancellations for a specified set of reasons qualify for coverage. Bfjplt, what was the reason for your cancellation?
 

Neil Maley

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#5
From the description, I'm guessing they have an Allianz AllTrips Premier policy. Here's a link.

From what I can tell, Bfjplt is correct that it doesn't matter when the trip is--just when the event causing cancellation occurred (and when the trip was booked for some cancellation reasons).

However, only cancellations for a specified set of reasons qualify for coverage. Bfjplt, what was the reason for your cancellation?
If you read this policy, there are only certain trsdjnz for canceling that are covered just as I said above. If the cancellation is not for one of the listed reasons, the insurance wouldn’t pay anyway.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#8
I’m going to call the company we have our annual policy through and ask how they would handle this. It’s an interesting thing to consider.

It seems that the OP is stuck in the middle. This is an interesting dilemma that many people with an annual policy need to get clarification on.

I think the biggest issue is that it sounds like the fee that is being charged is by the agency they booked through, not the supplier. We charged a small cancellation fee but if this were a land based trip that was canceled, we would wave the fee in an incident like this. Might be a different story with a cruise because most cruise lines were giving great deals for folks that still did the cruise.

But $250 pp is a big penalty. This might be an eye opened for people to ask about an agency’s cancellation fees before booking. Some policies may not cover a travel agencies fees.
 
Jul 22, 2019
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#9
Thanks for all of the comments. The denial letter specifically says "This policy's coverage ends November 1, 2019. Any trips after this date cannot be considered in this policy." There is nothing in the denial letter stating that this is not a covered reason.

Please, please do not make comments about the travel restrictions being a covered reason or not. I am not disputing that. This post is ONLY about the timing issue of the cancellation, not whether the cancellation reason is covered.

In answer to other questions asked above:
- smd - yes, we have the AllTrips Premier through Allianz - obviously I would NEVER have purchased this policy if I had know that the timing of a cancellation would have affected whether or not I would be reimbursed for a cancellation

***IMPORTANT****
I am not disputing that the actual cancellation may not be covered for other reasons. My issue here is that the annual policy has timing requirements, according to the Allianz claims supervisor. I believe this is wrong.

HOWEVER, to answer some other questions that have been raised, here is a bit more of the details. (Please, please do not tell me that this won't be a covered reason - I suspect that and I know that, again, I am questioning the issue of the timing of a cancellation with having an annual policy not whether the government restriction on visiting Cuba is a covered reason or cancelling because of a change in itinerary (both of which IMHO are vague in the policy document).

This was a cruise through a specialty travel company. The contract I signed with that company allows them to change the itinerary. We were taking my mother and her friend with us and ONLY booked the trip because it was going to Cuba. It is on my mom's bucket list and doing it as a cruise was a perfect solution for not having to navigate non-ADA hotels etc. When the government imposed the travel restrictions to Cuba and the travel company changed the itinerary (the travel company buys the whole ship, in this case Holland America and Holland America said they can't go to Cuba) we discussed the new itinerary and decided we are not big cruise goers and the only reason we booked this cruise was for Cuba so we cancelled. We waited until the travel company decided how they were going to deal with the situation before cancelling. Their answer? $100 onboard travel voucher, go to Key West, Roatan and somewhere else and no refunds. To say we were disappointed was an understatement. (to compare, I recently talked to a travel specialist at a high end cruise line and he advised his company also changed the itinerary, refunded 50% of the cost and the passengers STILL get to go on the cruise, albeit to a different destination) - but I digress.

Again, the only reason I am flaming mad about this situation is that the annual policy is useless to us if there are timing requirements. I don't see anything in the policy that says it only covers for trips that start within the policy period. This just doesn't make sense to sell a policy like this.
 
Sep 26, 2017
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#10
After filing the claim I reached out to the salesman at Allianz who sold me the policy and inquired about the claim. I asked about the issue of the annual policy expiring on November 1, 2019 but the trip was scheduled for January 2020. He told me via email "It’s when you have to cancel the trip not when the trip is scheduled so you would be eligible now to file a claim for that trip."
Since you have it in an email from someone at Allianz that it would be covered, couldn't you use that as ammunition in the appeals process?
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#11
I’m going to call the company we have our annual policy through and ask how they would handle this. It’s an interesting thing to consider.

It seems that the OP is stuck in the middle. This is an interesting dilemma that many people with an annual policy need to get clarification on.

I think the biggest issue is that it sounds like the fee that is being charged is by the agency they booked through, not the supplier. We charged a small cancellation fee but if this were a land based trip that was canceled, we would wave the fee in an incident like this. Might be a different story with a cruise because most cruise lines were giving great deals for folks that still did the cruise.

But $250 pp is a big penalty. This might be an eye opened for people to ask about an agency’s cancellation fees before booking. Some policies may not cover a travel agencies fees.
It seems that this is another cruise itinerary change, not a canceled cruise. Insurance would not cover this regardless of the policy dates. Unless this is a covered reason for cancellation, the policy dates do not matter. The booking agency/cruise line will generally not waive cancelation fees in this type of circumstance where the traveler decides to cancel.

The cruise was not canceled, simply a port visit.

As has been said in previous posts, a cruise to Cuba, even if it makes it to Cuba, is not a good way to explore Cuba.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#13
Thanks for all of the comments. The denial letter specifically says "This policy's coverage ends November 1, 2019. Any trips after this date cannot be considered in this policy." There is nothing in the denial letter stating that this is not a covered reason.

Please, please do not make comments about the travel restrictions being a covered reason or not. I am not disputing that. This post is ONLY about the timing issue of the cancellation, not whether the cancellation reason is covered.

In answer to other questions asked above:
- smd - yes, we have the AllTrips Premier through Allianz - obviously I would NEVER have purchased this policy if I had know that the timing of a cancellation would have affected whether or not I would be reimbursed for a cancellation

***IMPORTANT****
I am not disputing that the actual cancellation may not be covered for other reasons. My issue here is that the annual policy has timing requirements, according to the Allianz claims supervisor. I believe this is wrong.

HOWEVER, to answer some other questions that have been raised, here is a bit more of the details. (Please, please do not tell me that this won't be a covered reason - I suspect that and I know that, again, I am questioning the issue of the timing of a cancellation with having an annual policy not whether the government restriction on visiting Cuba is a covered reason or cancelling because of a change in itinerary (both of which IMHO are vague in the policy document).

This was a cruise through a specialty travel company. The contract I signed with that company allows them to change the itinerary. We were taking my mother and her friend with us and ONLY booked the trip because it was going to Cuba. It is on my mom's bucket list and doing it as a cruise was a perfect solution for not having to navigate non-ADA hotels etc. When the government imposed the travel restrictions to Cuba and the travel company changed the itinerary (the travel company buys the whole ship, in this case Holland America and Holland America said they can't go to Cuba) we discussed the new itinerary and decided we are not big cruise goers and the only reason we booked this cruise was for Cuba so we cancelled. We waited until the travel company decided how they were going to deal with the situation before cancelling. Their answer? $100 onboard travel voucher, go to Key West, Roatan and somewhere else and no refunds. To say we were disappointed was an understatement. (to compare, I recently talked to a travel specialist at a high end cruise line and he advised his company also changed the itinerary, refunded 50% of the cost and the passengers STILL get to go on the cruise, albeit to a different destination) - but I digress.

Again, the only reason I am flaming mad about this situation is that the annual policy is useless to us if there are timing requirements. I don't see anything in the policy that says it only covers for trips that start within the policy period. This just doesn't make sense to sell a policy like this.
Most cruise lines did offer big discounts for the itinerary changes to make sure people still sailed. I guess because this was a whole ship charter, the agency chartering the ship could do what they wanted.

What a huge disappointment. Sorry this happened. Would they give you a credit for their fees if you booked another cruise with them within a year? I’d try anything instead of losing that money.
 
May 1, 2018
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#14
t seems that this is another cruise itinerary change, not a canceled cruise. Insurance would not cover this regardless of the policy dates
I think the OP is presenting a hypothetical travel insurance quagmire. He's saying that if he would have canceled for a covered reason, he would still be out of luck due to the timing. His 2019 policy would not cover him because the actual travel dates are in 2020 and his 2020 policy would not cover him because he canceled before the effective date of the policy.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#17
Curious as to the eventual outcome. I can't speak for the Allianz policy, but another policy clearly spells out that the trip cancellation policy covers trips booked within the policy period as long as the trip date is within 12 months of the booked date.

Thus, policy in effect 1/1/19-1/1/20. If the trip is booked 7/1/19, the cancellation would be covered if canceled before 1/1/20 and the trip date was before 7/1/2020.

In the OPs case, his policy was in effect Nov 18 - Nov 19. Trip date was Jan 2020. I can see a scenario where if the trip was booked in Nov or Dec 2019, the trip may not be covered because > 12 months has elapsed from booking to cancellation even though the trip was booked while the policy was in force.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#18
Curious as to the eventual outcome. I can't speak for the Allianz policy, but another policy clearly spells out that the trip cancellation policy covers trips booked within the policy period as long as the trip date is within 12 months of the booked date.

Thus, policy in effect 1/1/19-1/1/20. If the trip is booked 7/1/19, the cancellation would be covered if canceled before 1/1/20 and the trip date was before 7/1/2020.

In the OPs case, his policy was in effect Nov 18 - Nov 19. Trip date was Jan 2020. I can see a scenario where if the trip was booked in Nov or Dec 2019, the trip may not be covered because > 12 months has elapsed from booking to cancellation even though the trip was booked while the policy was in force.
Correction, if the trip was booked in Nov or Dec 2018
 
Jul 22, 2019
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#19
Thank you to those of you that responded and obviously read my DESPERATE plea to NOT comment on whether the Cuba restrictions are covered or not. In answer to comments:

Neil Maley - I did ask if when I renewed my policy at this end of this term would it be covered and was told NO because the policy would have been purchased AFTER the cancellation, despite the trip being during the new policy term - can't win with either scenario there - once again pointing to the fact that an annual policy is useless in many circumstances.

DanD - exactly, except that I was told my new policy would not cover the cancellation because it would have then been cancelled prior to the new policy effective date.

Chris in NC - I actually think the trip was originally booked prior to the policy effective date but it was the 3 trips I had booked and were insuring that led the salesman to suggest the annual policy. He advised that all trips are covered for the policy time frame regardless of how many trips you book, even weekend getaways etc. There is a $15,000 cap per year for cancellations but the medical, baggage, delay etc. applied to every trip. One of the 3 trips was already insured and Allianz refunded that policy when I bought the annual policy (obviously much more expensive than the single trip) but when you travel a lot and we had 3 big trips planned the annual policy seemed like a great idea. Not so much on the great idea now.

I think what annoys me the most about this is I trusted Allianz and the salesman to sell me a policy that addressed my needs. I believed what he told me and now that I need to make a claim I am being told something different. I realize they are a business and businesses make money when they don't pay on claims but to sell a useless policy to a client is a despicable and predatory business practice and I expected more from a company like Allianz. As a side note, they are based in Richmond, Virginia, where I live so I was thrilled to support a "local" company with my business.