This situation presents itself all too often – you’ve spent much time and effort researching vacation spots, flights, rental vehicles and have finally made the decision to book. You get through the various steps and are presented with one final question: Would you like to buy trip insurance or travel protection?
While on the surface this trip insurance or travel protection seems like the responsible thing to do, you should look further before agreeing to purchase it. There are a number of exclusions that allow insurers to get out of paying for your travel expenses if you are forced to cancel. While it seems simple – I bought the insurance; I had to cancel; the trip should be covered – there are often many factors that play into whether your trip cancellation will be covered. And those factors generally stem directly from the reason you are cancelling. Thus, always read the terms!
Another document to examine if you’re booking a vacation or flight in the upcoming months contain the different policies of the airlines or Airbnb or rental company with regard to how COVID19 impacts your trip. Check whether or not you have to cancel the same way. Many airlines are allowing you to change flights or cancel for free if you book before or after a certain date, while others will offer you flight credit that remains in effect for a longer period of time than usual because of the current uncertainty in the travel industry. If these policies generally protect you in the event you have to cancel a trip or other aspect of a vacation or trip, you may not need travel insurance. However, again, you should always read before agreeing to anything!
Last, before making the decision to purchase travel insurance, you need to look at the time frame for being able to do so. Often you are required to purchase insurance at the time of booking, while other times you have a week to do so, etc. It is important to know your options before deciding to purchase or not to purchase insurance.
In sum, whether to buy travel insurance or not is a personal decision. However, it can be more complicated than it appears. Look into the terms and conditions of the travel coverage being offered and evaluate the situation you are in and reasons you believe your trip may be cancelled. It is also important to keep in mind whether the price of the insurance is worth it in comparison to what you have spent on your vacation or travel. The more costly the trip, the more likely you may want travel insurance. Again, always read the policies, terms and conditions. Happy booking!