Prevent a Financial Disaster
When you shell out a lot of money for a vacation, whether it’s for a packaged tour, cruise or individual travel, one of the most important things you can do is purchase trip cancellation insurance. This is a habit I’ve developed over the last few years and it’s been worth every penny.
Case in point: last October, I was prepared to go on my dream trip to Egypt. I’d spent more than $900 on a plane ticket from New York to Cairo and I’d made reservations at two different — and not inexpensive — hotels. And then it happened. A few days before my trip, I became too ill to travel.
With a doctor’s note, the airline would have allowed me to re-use my ticket between the same two airports within six months, after paying a penalty and any difference in the airfare on the new dates I would travel, but I wasn’t sure if I’d be well enough — or able to take the time off to travel again that soon.
Canceling the trip was difficult emotionally, as I’d looked forward to visiting Egypt for years. But financially, the pain was lessened, as I had purchased trip cancellation insurance on the airfare and was able to obtain a full refund.
If I’d included the hotel costs in the insurance I purchased I would have been even better off. I canceled one of the hotel reservations with no problems. The other hotel charged me one night’s stay because their cancellation policy called for a week’s notice — but I could live with that.
This advice isn’t just for seniors or those who tend to get sick easily. Even if you’re in perfect health, you never know if you might have to cancel or cut your vacation short because of the illness of a family member.
So where do you purchase travel insurance, and how do you find the best quotes? My favorite place to go is InsureMyTrip.com. This website offers a free comparison of quotes from top U.S. insurance providers on the best travel insurance for your needs, listing nearly 50 policies from 14 companies. I’ve used this site several times and have found it easy to navigate, and friendly help was available by phone when I had questions.
If you are booking travel through a tour company, they usually offer travel insurance that you can purchase directly from them when you book your trip. This is a good option. They may give you a week or two after you book your trip to decide if you want the insurance, but ask to be certain.
You could also Google “travel insurance” if you want to check out a variety of sites.
The travel insurance I purchased for my Cairo trip helped ease the pain of canceling my dream vacation. With my airfare refunded, I will be able to plan another trip to Cairo — at a time when I’m healthy and able to travel.