Who hasn’t canceled, postponed, or adjusted travel plans within the past two years? Physician travelers who would never have consider adding a travel insurance plan to their vacation budget are now giving the plans a second look. But is travel insurance worth it?
As with all insurance products, the answer is not straightforward. The biggest area of criticism tends fall on travel insurance sold by third parties. If you have ever booked a plane ticket online, you are probably familiar with the prompt that comes up just before you hit buy. It offers you “peace of mind” in the form of insurance for the ticket you are purchasing. However, according to AirFareWatchDog and NBC News, you might want to think twice before adding this airline-offered insurance. Always check the fine print on the plan. Oftentimes this type of coverage is very limited and has quite a few exclusions. Some even characterize airline-offered insurance plans as coverage for the outrageous change and cancellation fees that they shouldn’t be charging in the first place.
Since the arrival of COVID-19, you need to be very careful about what your travel policy excludes. As discussed in The New York Times, for many regular policies, the fear of contracting COVID-19 will not be covered. Identifying exclusions is key to understanding your travel insurance policy.
But who has time to read through pages of policy? Now might be the time to reconnect with your local travel professional. A trusted travel agent should be able to walk you through options to make sure you have the basics covered. These include:
- Cancellation due to unforeseen delay (eg, death, accident, unexpected illness)
- Missed connection due to delays beyond your control
- Lost or delayed luggage
- Medical emergencies while on the trip
Cheryl Cavalli, a travel agent with Cruise Planners, recommends that all her clients consider travel insurance. “There are differences among the policies available,” she says. “Because travel agents have experience working in the industry, we can help guide you toward appropriate options, and—because I am not an insurance agent—my primary concern is making sure that your trip goes smoothly. I have seen too many scenarios where travel insurance has saved the day or was wished for when things went wrong.”
In addition, a good travel agent is on top of every-changing travel alerts and restrictions. Travel insurance may not always cover everything, but some security is better than none, and the right advice is always helpful when investing in any insurance product.