Winter Travel Chaos: How Vacation Rental Insurance can Help in Case of Sickness, Weather and More

Whether your guests are escaping the cold or headed to the slopes for a ski weekend, traveling during the winter season comes with its own set of hazards. Smart travelers know that getting caught without a travel insurance plan could be a costly opt-out, especially when winter brings illness and travel delays.

Last winter was one of the most severe flu seasons in recent memory and winter storms packed a wallop, causing trip cancellations and travel delays across the country. Read below for risks for guests to be aware of when traveling this winter season, how travel insurance might help alleviate those risks, plus some winter travel tips.

Vacation Rental Insurance for Flu Season

Flu season can have serious consequences for a trip. For instance, just before your guests expect to leave on a vacation, someone staying at the reservation gets too sick to travel. Your guests could be out of luck if they have a non-refundable reservation, airline tickets or other prepaid trip costs and can’t get a refund. One in six U.S. adults have been forced to cancel, interrupt, or delay their travel plans, and medical conditions are often the cause. But, a travel insurance plan can help your guests in this situation

Generali Global Assistance vacation rental insurance plans include coverage in case your guests get sick and need to cancel or interrupt their trip. They can be reimbursed for unused, non-refundable, pre-paid trip costs that they would otherwise lose. Keep in mind that the illness must occur after your guests purchase their plan, the sick person must seek the in-person treatment of a physician and be unable to travel, according to a physician. Your guests can also be covered if a non-traveling family member is hospitalized and your guests are unable to make the trip.

The 2018 flu season was one of the most severe in the last 40 years, with record hospitalization rates and more than 80,000 deaths.  The flu season can last from October to May, but often peaks in January and February.

Typically, people over the age of 65 are the most likely to be hospitalized during flu season. Travelers in that age range should be especially aware of winter travel risks and how travel insurance can help.

Watch the Ice on the Steps

With winter weather comes the increased risk of injury from falling on ice and snow, shoveling snow or de-icing your car along with accidents from winter sports. The rate of car accidents also sky rockets this season. Each year, more than 418,000 people are injured in weather-related car crashes in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control ranks falls as the top cause of injury among older Americans, a situation that becomes even more concerning during the winter.

Similar to illness, a vacation rental insurance plan can cover the cost of your guest’s vacation if they’re injured before or during their trip and they’re within a penalty window. Whether or not your guests decide to insure their plans, we recommend following these tips to avoid common winter accidents that could throw a wrench in their travel plans.

Winter Storms

Winter storms are inevitable. They happen every year, and whether your guests are flying or driving to their destination, if they get caught in one, chances are they’ll experience some sort of travel delay.

Bad weather is always a risk when flying, but if a winter storm hits, flight cancellations and delays are bound to happen and your guests may take on some unplanned costs. If this happens, travel insurance can provide coverage for additional expenses to help get your guests to their destination as planned or back home, in addition to reimbursing for lost trip costs. Coverage is also included for certain out-of-pocket costs, such as meals, local transportation or even additional lodging or parking charges.

Check this list of the U.S. airports with the most weather delays. Your guests may wish to avoid connecting in those airports during the winter.

Keep in mind, if a weather event, like a blizzard is foreseeable, then travel insurance may not cover it. If the plan is purchased after a storm is named, coverage is typically not provided for losses resulting from that named storm.

Winter Sports

Whether your guests are traveling to take part in wintertime sporting activities or are ice skating, skiing, snowboarding, sledding or any of the other cold weather sports before their trip, one wrong slip can send someone to the hospital and put a quick end to their vacation plans.

Travel insurance also provides coverage for emergency medical evacuations if a guest is injured during their trip—a potentially important safeguard for winter sport travelers.


Airlines are updating technology each year and doing a better job of handling bags so they don’t get lost as often. But, all that progress can be quickly lost during the chaos of a winter storm. Just last year, tens of thousands of bags were lost at JFK Airport during a storm, and even 11 days afterwards, hundreds of travelers were still left without their baggage.

47% of airline’s delayed bags in 2016 were misplaced during transfer.

The best tip for avoiding such a fate is to fly direct whenever possible, and if a connection is necessary during the winter, your guests should try to connect through an airport that isn’t usually hit by winter weather. Or, follow these tips to only pack a carry-on and still bring the winter weather clothing you need.

It may also be helpful for your guests to have travel insurance with coverage in case their bags are delayed. Generali travel insurance includes this with each of our vacation rental insurance plans. This means they can receive coverage if they have to buy additional personal effects because their bags were delayed.

From storms to the flu, travel is all the more unpredictable during the winter months. The best way to help your guests plan ahead for unforeseen travel mishaps is to offer a vacation rental insurance plan when booking their trip.  To learn more or to set up a training session, contact your account manager.

Travel insurance plans are administered by Customized Services Administrators, Inc., CA Lic. No. 821931, located in San Diego, CA and doing business as Generali Global Assistance and Insurance Services. Plans are available to residents of the U.S. but may not be available in all jurisdictions. Benefits and services are described on a general basis; certain conditions and exclusions apply. Travel Retailers may not be licensed to sell insurance, in all states, and are not authorized to answer technical questions about the benefits, exclusions, and conditions of this insurance and cannot evaluate the adequacy of your existing insurance. This plan provides insurance coverage for your trip that applies only during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home and automobile policies. The purchase of this plan is not required in order to purchase any other travel product or service offered to you by your travel retailers. If you have any questions about your current coverage, call your insurer, insurance agent or broker. This notice provides general information on Generali Global Assistance’s products and services only. The information contained herein is not part of an insurance policy and may not be used to modify any insurance policy that might be issued. In the event the actual policy forms are inconsistent with any information provided herein, the language of the policy forms shall govern.

Travel insurance plans are underwritten by: Generali U.S. Branch, New York, NY; NAIC # 11231. Generali US Branch operates under the following names: Generali Assicurazioni Generali S.P.A. (U.S. Branch) in California, Assicurazioni Generali – U.S. Branch in Colorado, Generali U.S. Branch DBA The General Insurance Company of Trieste & Venice in Oregon, and The General Insurance Company of Trieste and Venice – U.S. Branch in Virginia. Generali US Branch is admitted or licensed to do business in all states and the District of Columbia.