If you didn’t use your annual travel insurance policy, is a refund possible?

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Christopher Elliott

Durndord King is hoping to get a refund for his annual travel insurance policy he couldn’t use because of the pandemic. Is that possible?

Question

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 this useless annual 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, Calif.

Answer

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 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 could have also appealed to an executive at Allianz. The Elliott Advocacy research team lists the names, numbers, and email addresses in our database.

A gesture of goodwill from Allianz: A refund for your annual travel insurance policy

By the way, I have the same annual travel insurance policy that you do. It makes a lot of sense for travelers who take multiple trips in a year.

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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.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes weekly columns for King Features Syndicate, USA Today, Forbes and the Washington Post. He also publishes Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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