Marriott is now selling travel insurance: Here’s what you need to know
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Even if you never purchased travel insurance before the pandemic, chances are the idea has been top of mind considering the uncertain times we’re all living through.
While you hopefully never have to use the benefits of a travel insurance plan, they can come in handy when emergencies happen, flights get delayed or trips get canceled for reasons covered by your policy.
Now, Marriott is offering travelers the option to purchase comprehensive travel insurance through Allianz Global Assistance when booking directly on the Marriott website or through the company’s iOS app.
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This travel insurance can go beyond protecting your hotel stay, though the option to add coverage is currently only available to U.S. residents traveling domestically or abroad.
Here, we’ll break down the benefits of the new coverage options and how to include Marriott’s travel insurance in your booking.
What travel insurance is Marriott offering, and what does it include?
Marriott is now offering travel insurance plans issued by Allianz Global Assistance, a highly rated travel insurance provider. The plans can be purchased for a price based on the cost of your reservation during the checkout period when you make a reservation with Marriott or through Marriott’s travel insurance landing page.
One great feature of the travel insurance plans created for Marriott is that they can cover all the guests (including friends and family) staying in one or more rooms of the reservation the policy is attached to. This is true even if the guests are not listed on the reservation.
Some of the potential protections shared by Marriott include reimbursement for prepaid, nonrefundable items like airfare, tours and ticketed events; expenses related to covered medical emergencies or injury; expenses related to travel delays, such as having to book an airport hotel or call a cab; lost baggage; and the original Marriott booking.
These reimbursements are all based on the plan purchased and are subject to maximum reimbursement amounts that depend on the category of the claim as detailed in your “letter of confirmation,” which you’ll receive after purchasing insurance from Allianz through Marriott. The letter provides all of the specifics about your plan.
Depending on your home state, these reimbursements may vary. In the table below, you can see just how much a New York resident is generally entitled to for a number of covered issues, including trip cancellation, trip interruption, travel delays and baggage delays.
According to Allianz, trip cancellation coverage provides benefits for losses you incur for trips canceled up to the time and date of departure. Trip interruption coverage provides benefits for losses you incur for trips that are interrupted or delayed after the time and date of your departure.
As for travel delays, this plan covers a number of issues, including carrier delays, lost passports or documents, bad weather and unannounced strikes.
Again, the specifics of your plan are detailed in the letter of confirmation.
It’s easy to get lost in the language of travel insurance policies, but luckily, we’ve broken down everything you need to know in TPG’s comprehensive guide to independent travel insurance. It’s worth noting that while Marriott is now offering the option to buy travel insurance directly through them, you can still purchase travel insurance independently from a handful of companies offering different plans and rates based on the level of protection you want.
Another benefit of Marriott’s plan through Allianz is access to a 24/7 team of trained, multilingual experts, who can help guests with a number of issues. This team can help with medical- or travel-related emergencies, organize roadside assistance and make transportation arrangements. Plus, they can assist with other kinds of requests, such as providing information about your destination, booking spa or restaurant reservations and even helping you find concert tickets.
Does the insurance cover COVID-19?
According to Allianz’s statement on COVID-19, “COVID-19 is a known and evolving epidemic that is impacting travel worldwide, with continued spread and impacts expected. Our travel protection plans do not generally cover losses directly or indirectly related to known, foreseeable or expected events, epidemics, government prohibitions, warnings or travel advisories, or fear of travel.”
That said, certain Allianz travel insurance plans do offer a new Epidemic Coverage Endorsement that provides the following benefits, according to the COVID-19 statement:
- Emergency medical care for an insured who becomes ill with COVID-19 while on their trip (if your plan includes the Emergency Medical Care benefit).
- Trip cancellation and trip interruption if an insured, or that insured’s traveling companion or family member, becomes ill with COVID-19 either before or during the insured’s trip (if your plan includes trip cancellation or trip interruption benefits, as applicable).
When booking directly through Marriott, it’s unclear if the policy offered at checkout includes the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement. A small disclaimer below the policy directs people to the COVID-19 statement but only says to “refer to plan details for more information,” despite the fact that you haven’t actually purchased a plan yet.
In a call to Allianz to see if Marriott’s plans include the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement, I was told by a representative that the plan’s trip cancellation benefit covers if you test positive for COVID-19 before you travel and the trip interruption benefit covers testing positive while on the actual trip.
As the representative explained, the exact features of the policy are determined by the cost of the trip, the state you reside in and where you’re traveling, but ultimately, there seems to be some form of COVID-19 protection.
I’d recommend reviewing the COVID-19 statement on the Allianz website for more information.
Does the insurance cover multiple hotel stays?
Your policy only includes coverage for the dates of travel in which you booked the hotel room. Those dates and the cost of the hotel room are used to generate your quote and, if purchased, the policy itself. If you’re booking multiple Marriott hotels for the same trip, you’d still have to buy individual policies for each individual hotel.
With that in mind, if you do plan to stay at multiple hotels during a single trip, you might be better off skipping the Marriott plan and instead purchasing a separate travel insurance policy from Allianz or another travel insurance provider to cover the entire trip.
What benefit does buying through Marriott provide?
One of the best parts of Marriott’s trip insurance is the ease of simply purchasing the comprehensive package while booking your hotel room. If you decide it’s right for you, you’re also purchasing peace of mind that certain parts of your trip will be protected and potentially reimbursed if anything goes wrong.
Allianz is a highly rated travel insurance company. Beyond its actual coverage, the company offers 24/7 concierge service as an inclusion, which can help you avoid a disaster on a trip or guide you through a situation if the worst does happen.
Can I get a refund if I cancel my trip?
With this insurance, travelers have a review period that lasts a minimum of 15 days, depending on their state of residence. During that time, you can receive a total refund on the policy purchased. After that grace period, however, you cannot receive a refund, even if you cancel your hotel reservation. That exact time period will be detailed after purchasing a policy.
Note that simply canceling your hotel reservation does not qualify you to use the insurance’s trip cancellation coverage. Trip cancellation coverage provides reimbursement for prepaid, nonrefundable expenses if you must cancel your trip due to a covered reason.
What if my credit card offers trip protection?
Many travelers forgo travel insurance when booking trips using a credit card that offers some level of travel protection.
Some of the top consumer cards that offer travel insurance include the Chase Sapphire Reserve ($550 annual fee), the Chase Sapphire Preferred Card ($95 annual fee) and The Platinum Card® from American Express* ($695 annual fee, see rates and fees).
Deciding between sticking with your credit card protection or purchasing trip insurance independently or when booking a flight or hotel room is highly personal and varies from traveler to traveler. Before making a decision, it’s best to compare your options and benefits to see what works best for you in terms of coverage, cost and benefits.
*Eligibility and Benefit level varies by card. Terms, conditions and limitations apply. Please visit americanexpress.com/benefitsguide for more details.
How can I purchase travel insurance through Marriott?
Purchasing Allianz travel insurance through Marriott is very straightforward. Simply find the hotel you’re looking to book on the Marriott website or iOS app, put in your travel dates, pick a room and head directly to the booking page where the option to include the insurance will be at checkout.
Prices for coverage are dependent on a number of factors, including how long you’re staying and the total cost of your trip. Below are two examples for the same night at two differently priced Nashville hotels to show you how the insurance costs change.
At Moxy Nashville Downtown, adding the protection costs $9 for a one-night stay on Jan. 18 based on the total (without insurance) of $182.29.
Here, you can either opt in for the protection or decline and continue checking out.
As a comparison, I also looked at a luxury suite for the same one-night stay at the more expensive Joseph, a Luxury Collection Hotel. The all-in room rate was $1,074.33, which made the insurance option cost $48.34.
The only way to know exactly how much this travel insurance will cost is to put in your dates at your selected hotel directly with Marriott. Doing this will help you shop around for different travel insurance options or decide if you’d rather lean on the protections offered with the credit card you use to make your reservation.
How does the price of this insurance compare to Allianz (or other) plans you could buy on your own?
With all of the coverage benefits included with plans purchased directly through Marriott, the pricing seems very reasonable, even compared to purchasing other travel insurance plans directly from Allianz.
For example, when you plug in the same dates and cost for Moxy Nashville Downtown on the Allianz website (as linked from Marriott), two plans come up: Explorer Care Plus and Trip Insurance.
At $20, Explorer Care Plus offers most of the same benefits as the plans available when booking directly through Marriott but does not include trip cancellation coverage or change fee coverage. At $62, all of the same benefits are included with the plan simply called Trip Insurance but at a higher premium.
Again, each plan is based on your trip and the cost of that trip, so it’s important to compare benefits and prices to decide what’s right for you.
Other quotes for this trip with similar benefits included $23-$37 from AIG Travel Guard, $59-$119 from American Express Travel Insurance and $22-$30 from IMG, though each of these quotes only takes into consideration one traveler.
When purchasing a policy directly through Marriott, everyone in your party is covered. When purchasing travel insurance independently (like through IMG, for example), you are usually required to add each traveler to the quote, which can make it more expensive.
With IMG, adding a second traveler to the $182.29 quote doubled the price.
Deciding whether or not to purchase travel insurance ultimately comes down to the amount you want to spend and the types of coverage you’re looking for — if any. While there are a lot of coverage options out there, including ones available through credit cards and other travel insurance providers, it is nice to know that Marriott can help you easily purchase a plan while booking your hotel room.
For rates and fees of the Amex Platinum card, click here.
Featured photo by Justin Paget/Getty Images.
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