So crazy it just might work...
This a phrase I often associate with Warren Buffet and his dynamic and genius way of approaching business. So, it should be no surprise that Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, a subsidiary of Buffet's Berkshire Hathaway, has entered the travel insurance game with an offbeat approach.
When I purchase a flight or trip somewhere, I almost never check the box for travel insurance, except if it's an international flight or an extended trip where something could go wrong. Many other people also throw caution to the wind and choose not to buy it, mostly because some trips are low risk and low cost, so insurance doesn't really seem worth it.
Travel insurance is easy enough to buy and relatively cheap, but people are still a little hesitant to get it. Probably because they are confused by what it covers, how much it covers and when exactly it's necessary. But I think when people hear about this new plan from Berkshire Hathaway, they might just decide to check that box.
Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection unit, is basically a new form of trip protection. When people sign up for typical trip protection, they generally get covered for three things: cancellations (in the event you need to cancel the trip, your prepaid expenses are reimbursed), delays (if an airport is shut down due to weather, your prepaid hotel expenses are covered) and trip interruption (if you have to cut a trip short for any reason, your covered). The cost of each of these varies depending on the price of the trip or how much you want to cover.
But AirCare is a bit different.
Remember when your flight got delayed and you missed your connection? AirCare will give you $500. Or the time you thought you were about to take off, but instead got stuck on the tarmac for three hours? Here's $1000 bucks in your pocket. I think you get the idea.
Coverage costs $25 per trip and every time any of those airline inconveniences occur, you get paid. Flight is delayed more than two hours? Here's $50 transferred automatically to your bank account to spend on food, drinks or whatever you need to get through the rest of your stay at the airport. Delayed or lost luggage? Just snap a picture of the airline-issued baggage claim tag, send it to BHTP, and they start processing the claim right away and transfer either $500 (delays) or $1000 (lost) into your account. *Bonus: The coverage can be purchased online up to an hour before your flight!
And guess what? These types of inconveniences are happening more and more. According to reports from FlightAware, about 90,000 flights have been canceled since December 2013, and about 30 million U.S. passengers are affected by delays or cancellations, costing even more money in lost productivity and additional expenses, according to masFlight.
The airline industry can be unreliable, we all know that, but when those inconveniences happen, it would be nice to know you have a check coming your way. I know it's something I might consider on my next trip, especially since the last two times I've flown, I've experienced a delay. Unfortunately, those delays weren't long enough to warrant any reimbursement. So I guess that's the risk you take. Spend $25 and possibly get some money if things go wrong, or spend $25 and have everything go right. And if the latter happens, at least you had some reassurance that not all would be lost if you happened to miss your connection.