Darleen Hauck’s tour was canceled because of a lack of participants, and she received a refund for the cost of the tour from the tour operator. She would like to be reimbursed for the cost of the airfare as well, but that isn’t going to happen — and sadly, we can’t help.
Hauck reserved an Olympic National Park group tour through Wilderness Inquiry. She also booked a flight for the tour from Minneapolis to Seattle with Delta Air Lines. At the conclusion of the Delta booking process, Hauck was offered an option to purchase travel insurance through Allianz. Hauck purchased an Individual Travel Insurance Policy, which included trip cancellation coverage.
When Wilderness Inquiry subsequently canceled the tour, Hauck filed a claim with Allianz. The insurer denied the claim because cancellation by the tour operator wasn’t a covered event. So, what Hauck considered a cancellation wasn’t a cancellation to Allianz, because not all cancellations are created equal.
What determines when a cancellation is a cancellation? The fine print contained within the insurance policy. And you have to make yourself read it.
Hauck’s travel insurance policy covers trip cancellation for specified reasons, and cancellation by a tour operator is covered under very limited and very specific circumstances. The relevant portion of the policy provides:
Your trip is canceled before you get started, or interrupted after you’ve left, for one of the following covered reasons: Your airline, cruise line, or tour operator or travel supplier stops offering all services for at least 24 consecutive hours where you’re departing, arriving or making a connection because of a natural disaster or severe weather.
As Allianz advised our advocates when we contacted Allianz on Hauck’s behalf, trip cancellation by a tour operator due to low registration is simply not a covered reason.
Insurance policies are contracts between the insurer and the insured. Having a clear understanding of an insurance contract is vital. Weighing the likelihood of a tour operator canceling an itinerary for any noncovered reason is something to consider as well.
Hauck’s experience is a lesson for everyone: Read the insurance policy and evaluate the possibility of the tour operator canceling the tour for an uncovered reason.
We’re sorry that we couldn’t help Hauck. But we’re glad she contacted us because her experience with travel insurance has been a valuable learning experience for our readers.