James Shillinglaw, Nov 19, 2021
Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection (BHTP) unveiled the findings of its seventh annual State of Travel Insurance survey, which revealed that while travel volume is reaching some of its highest levels since the start of the pandemic, consumers look at travel with new skepticism and caution, largely due to widespread flight disruptions and epidemics. This is fueling a greater awareness of what travel insurance does and driving consumers to purchase it more often.
According to the survey: 29 percent of respondents purchased travel insurance most of the time they traveled in 2021, compared to only 7 percent who purchased it for most of their 2020 travels; 41 percent said epidemics were a reason to buy travel insurance more frequently in 2021, up from 30 percent in 2020; 30 percent of respondents cited knowing what travel insurance covers as a reason to buy insurance more frequently in 2021, compared to 23 percent in 2020, an indication that the upheavals of the pandemic drew travelers to educate themselves on travel insurance benefits.
“With widespread flight cancellations and travel disruptions dominating the news recently, it’s no surprise that more travelers are buying insurance more often,” said Carol Mueller, vice president of Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection. “During these uncertain times, people want to protect their travel investments and health while traveling and are actively educating themselves about coverage that can help with extra expenses that come with common inconveniences.”
Other key findings from the State of Travel Insurance related to traveler safety and travel behaviors and intentions include: Behavioral changes travelers adopted during the pandemic will continue into next year, with respondents indicating they will continue to travel to see family, wear masks, wash hands more often, and keep distance from crowds. The safest and least safe destinations, as rated in the survey, include:
- A low incidence of violent crime and crimes/harassment against travelers of color and the LGBTQ+ community ranked among the most important factors that contributed to a traveler feeling safe at a destination. These factors influenced perceptions of safety more than a location being free from disease and terrorist incidents.
- Montreal and Singapore ranked as the safest cities among the 30 frequently traveled destinations listed by respondents, while survey participants rated Rio de Janeiro, Cairo and Mexico City as less safe than other cities.
- Canada and Iceland ranked in the top positions of the 30 safest countries listed by respondents, while Israel and Egypt were rated less safe than others.
- Millennials, who are leading international travel numbers, consider Europe and Asia the safest destinations.
- Millennials (particularly high-income Millennials) have the highest intentions to travel, with 70% agreeing they would spend $10,000 on travel in 2022.
BHTP’s State of Travel Insurance research has been conducted each fall since 2015 by Polymath Research + Marketing, using independent national panels surveying thousands of consumers on future expectations in travel insurance and travel habits. For a full report, email Carol.Mueller@bhspecialty.com. This year’s survey collected responses from approximately 1,500 U.S. travelers about their travel habits, their travel business, their experiences in 2021 and expectations for 2022. For more information, visit www.bhtp.com.