Friday, August 21, 2015

Vacation Insurance: Don't Leave Home Without It!

I don't know what there is about travelers that seems to keep them from investing in Travel Insurance to secure their vacation dollars from loss. Seems that all they can see is a little more cost added to their vacation expense. 

To be sure, they know that stuff happens. Weather can cause you to miss a flight or cruise departure; people get sick; close relatives die; and accidents happen all the time that cause prople to cancel their vacation just a few days prior to leaving. In addition these same things happen while on vacation and can add a cost greater than the vacation to your vacation cost.  

Yep, they know it happens but it only happens to other people. I suppose that is what the Armstrong's thought when they booked their Disney vacation. See their story in USA Today.  I'm not sure what your thought process is but when your Travel Agent suggests travel insurance you should take that advise seriously. Certainly we hope you will never need to actually file a claim but when you do it can save you thousands of dollars.  

Several years ago American Express had a tag line that said, "Don't Leave Home Without It." That was good advise then and it is really good advise regarding insuring your vacation investment.  Your vacation planning is not finished until your trip is insured.  

Travel insurance is a necessity if you're purchasing a complete vacation package and/or a cruise vacation.  These vacation suppliers are  notoriously inflexible with regards to their cancellation policies.  At best they will offer to rebook you at a later date and even then will often charge you a fee to do so. Most will partially refund your money if you cancel far enough out.  However,  . Last-minute cancellations typically incur a 100% penalty, with no exceptions, no matter how valid, serious or heartrending the reason behind the change in plans. 

Most cruise lines have stipulated cutoff dates for cancellations. These are usually staggered so that depending on the how far out from your travel date you cancel only a percentage of your payment is refunded. In most cases inside 30 days the entire amount paid is forfeited.  Cancellations made within this period of time offers little or no hope for recovering your money.  You also have little chance of getting any credits toward a future cruise as well. No one wants to loose a multi-thousand dollar vacation investment because of a flat tire or blocked highway. 

Travel insurance is about the only hope you have for recovering your investment. Not only that, travel insurance offers a number of benefits while your actually on your trip.  But alas, most traveler think that the unthinkable only happens to other people, like the folks in the USA Today article and will not happen to them. 

It is absolutely true that trip insurance will add to the cost of your vacation but it will only be a very small part of your total vacation expense. However, travel insurance is among the most affordable kinds of insurance you can purchase. So what should you do? The answer is simple and inexpensive, "Buy travel insurance!"  

There are several fine and dependable companies that offer travel insurance. We recommend TravelSafe but there are other companies that offer good policies as well.  Do your research or take the advise of your Travel Agent but don't leave home without it.   

Among the things you want to look at in a travel insurance policy is:

  • Cost: How much will the insurance cost you.
  • What does it cover? Does it cover pre-existing medical conditions; Does it have a cancel for any reason clause; What about luggage, late flights, etc.
Travel insurance may well be the smartest decision you can make about your vacation. Should tragedy strike, you or your Travel Agent can either plead your case with the travel supplier and hope they will bend their rules for you.  

If you choose this route make sure you document everything and supply your Travel Agents and the travel supplier with complete details of your situation. The make it clear what you want from the supplier. Do you want your money back; do you want future trip credits;  or do you simply want to rebook for another date.  

Or you can purchase travel insurance and file a claim for a refund of your money. Keep in mind this refund will not be in addition to what the supplier provides but makes up the difference for what they refund and what you spent.


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