Travel assistant, how much does it cost and what does it cover? – 2024-02-22 08:57:07

It is not travel insurance, rather it is assistance to the traveler and the benefits range from the medical field, for example, emergency dental care, for a sprain or fracture or general discomfort, to other types of assistance such as luggage location, reimbursement of expenses for delayed or canceled flights, assistance in case of theft or loss of documents, among others.

It is important to keep in mind that, although it is optional, in some countries it is mandatory to have traveler assistance to be able to enter and be in the territory.

María Casasola, president of the Guatemalan Association of Travel Agents (AGAV), commented that the ideal is to buy plane tickets up to 8 months in advance, for cost savings. However, because it is an advance purchase, there is a risk that unforeseen events may arise when the time of travel arrives.

For this reason it is advisable to purchase travel assistance. And it is the travel agent who must advise you to determine the type of assistance available and which one best suits your needs to solve any unforeseen event that arises “due to reasons of force majeure.”

What does it cover?

Dinah Herrera, special account advisor for traveler assistance at the Celeste company, commented that this service normally covers up to US$3,000 (Q23,430).

Some plans already include between US$1,000 and US$2,000 in assistance and if the person wants to add a larger amount they must pay additionally.

Among the situations that travel assistance, for the most part, covers in full or a percentage are:

  • If the passenger cannot travel for reasons of force majeure, they can receive a refund of 70% to 100% of what they have paid for plane tickets, cruises, hotels, tours, among others depending on the case.
  • The death, serious accident, pre-existing serious illness, or not, of the beneficiary or of a relative in the first degree of consanguinity, spouse, parents, children, siblings, which makes it impossible to start the trip on the originally contracted date.
  • Medical quarantine as a result of an accidental event
  • Proven dismissal from work, with a date after hiring assistance
  • Pregnancy complications
  • emergency delivery
  • Wedding cancellation
  • Kidnapping of the beneficiary or direct family members as long as it is verifiable and public knowledge
  • If the travel companion, understood as people who share the same hotel room or cruise cabin, or are first-degree relatives of blood, spouse, parents, children or siblings who also have an assistance plan under the same conditions, are were forced to cancel the trip for any of the reasons listed above.

What it does not cover

According to Herrera, travel assistance does not normally cover the following situations:

  • Cancellation of sporting events
  • Cancellation of concerts or other artistic events
  • Tickets to theaters, museums and all types of entertainment canceled or postponed

What it offers

Among other services, traveler assistance can offer:

  • Medical assistance for illness or accident
  • Medical transfer, medical and/or funeral repatriation
  • Air ticket for transfer of family member due to hospitalization
  • Hotel for convalescence
  • Compensation for lost luggage
  • Expenses for delayed flight
  • Legal assistance for traffic accidents, among others

Cost

Casasola commented that the prices of travel assistance are purchased based on the duration of the vacation or trip and if the person travels frequently it is recommended to purchase an annual one.

In the latter, the person who travels for vacation or business must not stay more than 30 days outside their country of residence for it to apply.

For his part, Herrera agreed that prices vary according to the maximum global amount, that is, the maximum amount contracted for assistance; however, taking into account an average, the following costs can be considered:

  • Daily cost between US$5 to US$7 (between Q39 to Q55)
  • 15 days between US$75 and US$150 (between Q585 and Q1 thousand 170)
  • Annually around US$245 (Q1 thousand 900)

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