June first marks the start of hurricane season.   No one wants to experience a hurricane season like that of last summer and fall.  And no one wants to think that possibly it could happen again or to them.  The scientists at Colorado State University recently advised this year’s hurricane season will be above average – with three named storms becoming hurricanes of at least a Category III. To protect your financial investment in your vacation or honeymoon, we strongly recommend travel insurance that includes Trip Cancellation, Delay and Interruption plus Medical coverage.

Proper insurance can protect you if you must cancel or are cancelled by refunding all prepaid non-refundable trip expenses.  This includes the big ticket items like cruises, tours and resorts.  It can reimburse you for the costs of hotels/meals/transportation needed if your trip is delayed.  If your trip in interrupted it may reimburse you for expenses to get you home or to another destination.  Hurricanes are prime drivers of trip insurance!  Be sure you read and understand the policy you buy as there are options that make a difference.

A comprehensive travel policy will also provide you with medical and/or dental coverage while outside the USA.  Check your personal medical insurance policy (including Medicare)  to verify your potential coverage. Let’s hope you don’t need it, but plan for all contingencies.  It’s far better to have to reschedule a trip than to lose one.

Travel Insurance is important for travelers of all ages and all destinations.  It’s not just for those with the potential for health issues or those traveling to hurricane-prone areas–travel insurance is an important part of modern-day travel.

A recent article in a popular magazine suggested that travel insurance might be an unnecessary expense for most travelers. The article mentioned that since most travelers would not experience a claim, the experience was unnecessary.

This advice, in my opinion, was a bit reckless and stemming from unfamiliarity with today’s traveling realities!  These days, more and more hotels and car rental companies are offering deeply discounted “Buy It Now” rates that are unchangeable and incur a full penalty if cancelled.  Most airlines institute an ever-increasing hefty change fee and cruise lines, tours and packages levy high fees when cancelled.  Even a hotel that is simply guaranteed with a credit card will charge a one night’s stay if not cancelled within their cancellation period, which could be anywhere from 24 hours to a week–or more in peak times.

I am a great believer in “self-insuring” my risks, but even I have my limits.  A family vacation can easily cost $10,000 and that is much more that I am willing to risk!  A vacation is a big investment–the memories are worth it–but we need to ensure we have the actual memories to go with the out of pocket expenses.

We cannot control the unexpected….even a trip that is set in stone on one’s calendar can be cancelled or delayed for a variety of unexpected reasons:  severe illness with an aging parent or with the travelers themselves, traffic accident en route to the airport, involuntary employment termination, weather, strike, and airline delays or cancellations.  A traveler cannot expect a tour company or cruise line to offer a refund if a cancellation was not the fault of the cruise line itself (for example, if your flight from your departing city was cancelled).

The article suggested that traveler’s health insurance would cover them while traveling and their credit card companies would cover car rental insurance overseas.  While every policy is different, I would strongly recommend that travelers call their health care insurance provided to determine if they are indeed covered while outside the United States as many policies do not.  Travelers should not assume that they get the same insurance coverage with their credit cards as they do while traveling within the United States—call your credit card company for details.

The following is a list of actual events our clients have used insurance to cover:

Stepping off the curb the wrong way while in the UK and breaking a bone on the last day of the trip.  The family had to stay an additional week in London while their traveling companion had surgery to repair the break.  The travel insurance covered their medical expenses, the airline change fees, the extra nights of hotel and flight arrangements to get the patient back home in a way that did not compromise the broken leg.

Being diagnosed with a life-threatening medical condition weeks before departure.

Death in the family that resulted in an early return from vacation

A client injured his knee three weeks before departing on vacation.  The injury required surgery and his doctor would not clear him for a tour where long walking tours were a major component.  The trip had to be postponed.

A broken wrist and a trip to the emergency room while in Spain.

A client vacationing in the Caribbean slipped on wet marble (boy have I done that!!) and broke his knee cap the first night of their vacation and had to be returned home for surgery (and fly business class to keep the knee stabilized).

Icy conditions causing airline cancellation during a holiday travel period where the next flights were full for days and the vacation was involuntarily called off.  They were so disappointed their vacation was called off  and the potential of having to pay 100% of a trip not taken would have added insult to injury.

Our list goes on and on and on.  The purpose of insurance is to protect you in case of an UNEXPECTED emergency and as your travel agent, I can honestly say that I hope you NEVER have to use it, but I want you to have it in case you NEED it.

At Bella Travel Planning, we have carefully vetted the insurance companies we recommend.  We educate ourselves in the important differentiators in companies and coverages so our valued clients are sufficiently protected.  Give us a call to arrange your travel insurance.

Bella Travel Planning is a boutique travel agency in the Johns Creek and Roswell communities just north of Atlanta.  They are experienced travel planners and offer comprehensive travel planning services.  Call today to schedule an appointment.  770-702-0787. 

Next:  Summer Beach Reads