Q: Before the pandemic, I paid $1,025 for an annual travel insurance policy through Allianz for my wife and me. She’s in her 70s, and I’m in my 80s. Then COVID-19 came along, and we had to cancel everything we planned to do in Europe. So our policy became useless.
I asked Allianz if we could transfer our policy to next year when travel appears to be coming back. The company offered a 90-day extension, but it’s clear that there will be no travel for us during those 90 days. I’d like your help to either get a refund for the useless travel insurance or have the policy extended for another year when it appears we will actually be able to make use of it.
— Durndord King, Santa Monica, California
A: I’m sorry you had to cancel your trip to Europe. You would think that your travel insurance would be refundable, but it usually isn’t.
Allianz travel insurance plans offer coverage for any trips that are more than 100 miles from your home and occur during the policy’s effective period. So it would have also applied to your trips within the U.S. to visit friends and family during the summer and holidays. If you want to cancel your annual travel insurance, you can do so for any reason and receive a prorated premium refund.
It appears you asked for an extension of your policy. Allianz was offering extensions during the pandemic on a case-by-case basis, so it offered you an extra 90 days of coverage. But you told an Allianz representative that you couldn’t use the extra 90 days, which is totally understandable.
Travel insurance companies have some flexibility when it comes to requests like yours. You could have appealed to Allianz online (I recommend a written appeal with any documentation). You also could have appealed to an executive at Allianz. I list their names, numbers and email addresses on my consumer advocacy site at www.elliott.org/company-contacts/allianz.
By the way, I have the same annual policy that you do. It makes a lot of sense for travelers who take multiple trips in a year.
Unfortunately, the time for a prorated refund had already passed by the time you contacted me, and a 90-day extension wouldn’t have been useful. The terms of your travel insurance purchase were clear, but you were asking the company to bend a rule during a pandemic. I think that was a fair request.
I contacted Allianz on your behalf. A representative said that as a “one-time consideration” it would refund your plan in full.
Christopher Elliott is the chief advocacy officer of Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit organization that helps consumers resolve their problems. Elliott’s latest book is “How To Be The World’s Smartest Traveler” (National Geographic). Contact him at elliott.org/help or firstname.lastname@example.org.