There’s no doubt that the Age of the Internet has changed the way we travel, from the way we book airfare and hotels to options that didn’t exist a few short years ago like Airbnb and other home-sharing services. The one thing that hasn’t changed about vacationing, though, is that things can and do go wrong.
From annoyances like lost luggage to true catastrophes like serious illness or a hurricane, the best-laid plans … well, you know the rest. And that’s where travel insurance can be invaluable in helping you recover those non-refundable expenses, replacing a lost passport or prescription medicine, or even making alternate flight or hotel arrangements.
Many travelers associate insurance only with complex or higher-cost trips like overseas travel. And to be sure, there’s a lot that can go wrong between multiple connecting flights, illness, unrest and many other things. One couple covered by one of our carrier partners discovered just before departing for their dream European vacation that their tour operator had gone bankrupt. Thankfully, they were covered not only for the tour expenses but for their non-refundable rental car deposit, and were able to reschedule the trip.
It’s not only distant travel that invites the unexpected, though: ask anyone who had booked a beach house in North Carolina this autumn … many will be uninhabitable thanks to Hurricane Florence. And we wonder how many vacations were cancelled or interrupted last year when a contractor accidentally cut an underwater cable, leaving much of the Outer Banks without power for several weeks.
Travel insurance can even step up to the plate when the unexpected has nothing to do with your travel at all: the loss of employment, or the passing or sudden illness of a family member, for example. You may be the most detailed planner of itineraries ever, but the fact remains that there are things you just can’t plan for.
So, a few tips for protecting yourself and your wallet before your next trip:
Think it through. Consider your trip, how you’re getting there and the other details, and think about the things that are most likely to go wrong. If you’re driving to a beach rental, for example, flight cancellation coverage need not be on your radar screen.
Compare. Policies not only differ from insurer to insurer; most insurers will offer varying levels of coverage at different price points. Look at what’s covered (and what’s not) at each level and compare with your own needs.
Details, details. Understand exactly what will happen if you have a problem, and look for gaps. Some policies will cover, say, 75% of a non-refundable deposit (and that’s much better than no coverage at all). A policy purchased directly from your cruise line may or may not cover you on shore excursions. Find out before you go. And if you’re hoping to avoid a hurricane, be aware that once the storm is named, it’s usually too late to purchase coverage.
Questions about travel insurance? Contact Consolidated Insurance + Risk Management.