You are not my travel agent - Cancellations, school trip, and Travel Ins
March 19, 2020 4:56 AM   Subscribe

Not sure how travel insurance works with airlines cancelling flights and travel bans in place with regards to school trips, and where travel insurance vs individual bookings fall into all this there's

This is somewhat low on my list of priorities, but was hoping the green could help.
My son's high school trip to England and Scotland for Mid-April was cancelled by the school board recently. We all purchase AIG Travel Insurance. At this point, the "group claim" was already denied, although we are not being told why, other than we need to file individual claims and see if they will honor.

I've never had travel insurance before, and the website is not very helpful.

I'm confused as to why we are pursuing that avenue vs going directly to the airlines, hotels, etc. and, to be honest, the Band Parent club (who did all the booking) and the school are a bit too busy for me to be asking them at the moment (although I will once I have more information).

Since we booked through a travel agent, shouldn't we either be going through them for a refund, and/or have our individual information for flights and hotels to go directly to the providers? My understanding of the insurance would have been to claim for things that were not able to be refunded, AFTER we tried going directly, but maybe I misunderstand insurance. With the travel bans, etc in place, I feel like this should be simple enough to contact the bookings directly?
posted by niteHawk to Travel & Transportation (2 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
With the travel bans, etc in place, I feel like this should be simple enough to contact the bookings directly?

Depends on a lot of stuff - most likely the school/you doesn’t have a direct “contract” with the airline/hotel, but only with the travel agent. In that case you can’t cancel directly with them, only the travel agent can.

There’s also a question of timing - if the school board cancelled before there was an actual travel ban in place, or if mid-April is “too long” away, it’s possible that everyone is trying to treat this as a “normal” cancellation rather than a travel ban related one. Typically it’s only the more expensive tickets/reservations that have even semi-decent refund options available.

The travel insurance policy may also have limits on when they pay for a cancellation. Quite often it’s only serious issues like an injury/illness that they will pay out on.

Add to that the fact that the general position of most companies is not to refund unless basically forced to. (Even at the best of times)

Were you given any sort of info about the terms of the travel agent and/or the travel insurance policy? You can’t completely rule out that they have some sort of exclusion regarding epidemics/pandemics. (I just checked my last travel insurance and it does say it doesn’t cover epidemics/pandemics, for example.)
posted by scorbet at 6:49 AM on March 19

If the hotels are open and the airlines flying, they will argue that there is no reason why they should refund
posted by TheRaven at 7:11 AM on March 19

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