Hotwire trip insurance is sold and administered by Aon Affinity Travel Guard, a global insurer under its parent company AIG.
Aon Affinity offers a variety of insurance plans under its own name but also administers policies sold through Hotwire’s booking site, which are limited to flight cancellation and vacation package protection plans.
The underwriter is the National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh.
Hotwire is a well-known name in the travel industry.
The company offers deeply discounted rates on undersold vacation packages, car rentals, flights, and hotels, in addition to Hotwire trip insurance.
The company launched in 2000 and instantly gained a following thanks to its innovative business model, which doesn’t provide customers with the name or address of their booking until after the checkout process has been completed.
Hotwire offers travelers the opportunity to purchase trip protection during the final reservation step on its website.
Whether you are looking to cruise the open waters, fly across the country, or stay in a luxury suite, you should safeguard your deal with Hotwire travel insurance.
|Coverage Options||Costs||Customer Reviews & Reputation||Customer Service Benefits||Financial Strength|
|Hotwire offers limited vacation package protection plans.||Costs are much less than typical insurance plans.||An A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau for the plan administer indicates a willingness to respond to consumers.||Hotwire policyholders can manage their trips and payment methods via an online account.||AIG, the parent company of the underwriter, has a strong financial profile.|
|Its coverage is limited to trip cancellation and some medical expenses.||Prices are given immediately during the booking process.||Hotwire has a very low TrustScore showing on Trustpilot, 0.7 out of 10.||The plan administer provides customers with access to a 24-hour hotline.||The policy’s underwriter also has high ratings with A.M. Best.|
Coverage & Plans
Hotwire trip insurance options are offered depending on the type of vacation you book and may include medical coverage, trip cancellation and interruption, and baggage loss.
Flight Cancellation Plan
Hotwire offers travelers the ability to select flight cancellation insurance during the flight reservation process.
It’s the final step before payment of the trip is completed, and purchasers must either choose the option or deliberately reject it.
Without flight protection, all monies spent on airline tickets are forfeited if you are unable to fly due to an illness or injury.
Package Protection Plan
This basic travel insurance plan gives policyholders the opportunity to recoup costs for hotel lodging, other types of accommodations, paid for excursions, and airline tickets if their trip is canceled for covered reasons.
In addition to injury and illness, travelers are reimbursed for other unexpected occurrences, such as jury duty and work-related excuses.
This plan also includes coverage for medical expenses, baggage protection, and accidental death and dismemberment.
The limits are rather low, and individuals who are going on an extended trip or a risky adventure may want to purchase a more comprehensive policy separately.
There are many travel insurance providers that offer a variety of all-encompassing plans made for the needs of frequent travelers, families, or older adults with pre-existing conditions.
Although not an insurance plan, Hotwire does offer a one-time use vacation waiver.
Travelers who purchase this waiver when they book a vacation may use it to receive a full refund of any cancellation fees and travel credits.
Vacation waivers apply to the whole party of a reservation and can only be purchased when the initial reservation is made.
|Covered Excuses||Flight Protection||Package Protection|
|Tour Operator Cancellation|
|Injury/Illness/Death of Traveler||Yes||Yes|
|Injury/Illness/Death of Non-traveling Family Member||Yes||Yes|
|Injury/Illness/Death of Business Partner||Yes||Yes|
|Injury/Illness/Death of Host|
|Injury/Illness/Death of Host’s Family or Friends|
|Natural Disaster at Destination||Yes||Yes|
|Tour Operator/Airline/Cruise Line Ceases Operation||Yes||Yes|
|Terrorism/Evacuation at Destination||Yes||Yes|
|Home or Business Damaged||Yes||Yes|
|Jury Duty/Court Appearance||Yes||Yes|
|Victim of Crime Prior to Trip||Yes||Yes|
|Car Accident Prior to Trip||Yes||Yes|
|Theft of Passport Prior to Trip|
|CFAR Coverage (Cancel for any reason)|
|Coverage||Flight Protection||Package Protection|
|Trip Cancellation||100 percent of trip costs (max of $100,000)||100 percent of trip costs (max of $100,000)|
|Cancel for Any Reason|
|Trip Interruption||100 percent of trip costs (max of $100,000)||100 percent of trip costs (max of $100,000)|
|Interrupt for Any Reason|
|Accident and Sickness Medical Expenses||$5,000|
|Emergency Evacuation, Medically Necessary Repatriation, and Repatriation of Remains||$15,000|
|Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation|
|Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D)||$50,000|
|Air Flight Only AD&D|
|Baggage and Personal Effects||$1,000|
|Change Fee Coverage|
|Reimbursement of Miles or Rewards Points|
|Rental Car Damage|
Travelers can generally expect their trip insurance to cost somewhere in the vicinity of 4 to 8 percent of the total trip.
Premiums are determined by several factors that include the policyholder’s age, the length, and destination of the trip, and the method of travel.
Hotwire, however, doesn’t seem to take as many factors into account in its actuarial math, determining policy prices based solely on the destination, length, and cost of the trip.
The website does not request its traveler’s ages, and likely doesn’t often sell discounted packages for areas with significant political upheaval or epidemic illnesses.
Quotes are provided immediately during the booking process and travelers have the option of previewing the premium and plan document up front.
For example, a $650 cross-country flight has an add-on cancellation insurance of $46, whereas a week-long Las Vegas vacation including flight and hotel costing $850 shows a package protection plan of $35.
There is also an optional waiver for $26 that provides a one-time change-for-any-reason benefit.
The waiver lets you change or cancel your flight and hotels once, without any cancellation fees.
Hotwire’s plans are less comprehensive than most, so it may be more cost-effective to consider purchasing complete coverage from a separate insurance provider.
Adventure travelers who might need emergency medical assistance and those traveling in groups should check out other types of providers.
Travelers who purchase an insurance policy through Hotwire and then cancel their plans prior to beginning the trip have the option to terminate their policy.
The customer can cancel within 15 days of purchase (five more than the standard ten) if no claims have been filed.
Customer Reviews & Reputation
Since Hotwire trip insurance is sold and administered by Aon Affinity Travel Guard, it’s best for travelers to research the customer reviews and ratings available for Hotwire and the plan administrator.
AIG, the parent company, has an A- rating and is not currently accredited by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) due to three unanswered complaints.
However, the BBB listing encompasses all aspects of the company’s insurance offerings in addition to travel policies.
Travel Guard has an A+ rating from the BBB.
Of the 114 complaints closed within the past 12 months, many of them dealt with non-covered items, pre-existing conditions, and slow payment of claims.
Aon Affinity also shows an A+ rating with the BBB.
Hotwire has an abysmal score of 0.7 out of 10 on Trustpilot.
Although most of the complaints were about the booking division of the company, there were a few that touched on Hotwire’s travel insurance.
It’s critical that you read all the exclusions and disclosures in your policy document before embarking on your trip.
This saves aggravation and prevents you from having your claims denied due to non-coverage.
Most of the complaints online revolve around consumers not understanding what their policy does and doesn’t cover.
Customer Assistance Services
Hotwire has a help center on its website that includes a lengthy list of FAQs, and a helpline is available 24/7, which is toll-free within the U.S. and Canada, but not internationally.
You can also set up an account with Hotwire to manage your trips, save payment methods, and view travel advisories.
Hotwire’s available help centers on booking and handling trip reservations.
If you want to discuss your insurance, you should call Aon Affinity.
There is a phone number included on your policy, but other assistance methods including a website link, mobile app, and online account appear to be nonexistent, which makes dealing with your carrier cumbersome.
Hotwire travel insurance customers do have access to a 24/7 customer service hotline, which can be accessed from anywhere in the world.
Travel Guard states on the policy that all assistance services are “not insurance benefits,” and that the company uses a variety of partners to supply the services and you may be charged separately for them. Some of the benefits include:
Travel Assistance Services
- Finding a local doctor, pharmacy, or hospital
- Dealing with hospital personnel to set up visits
- Replacement of eyeglasses and contact lenses
- Information on regional epidemics and available vaccinations
Worldwide Travel Assistance
- Help with lost or delayed baggage
- Assistance with lost documents, such as passports
- Finding your home country’s embassy
LiveTravel Emergency Assistance
- Rebooking of flights and hotels
- Rental car return and exchanges
One of the most important factors to consider when choosing a travel insurance provider is its financial stability.
Companies with poor financial ratings may be unable to honor the policies they write, and purchasing insurance from these companies can therefore carry enormous risk.
Consumers can access credit reports from independent rating agencies such as Moody’s, A.M. Best, and Standard and Poor’s.
The policy’s underwriter, National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, is a subsidiary of AIG.
The underwriter has an “A” rating from A.M. Best for financial strength and an “a” for long-term issuer credit.
AIG, the parent company, also has a strong economic outlook with a “bbb” long-term issuer credit.
The company’s many subsidiaries scored well in both ratings.
Phone Number & Contact Information
- Homepage URL: www.hotwire.com
- Provider Phone: 1-866-381-3981
- Aon Affinity Phone: 1-855-266-4975
- Headquarters Address: 333 Market St., Ste. 100. San Francisco, CA 94105
- Year Founded: 2000