Recent airport delays caused by bomb threats and bad weather have disrupted hundreds of thousands of travel plans around the world. Missed or delayed connections, cancelled flights, and hours spent in security lineups cost you money and can shatter plans you have been putting together for months.
Travel insurance trip interruption and cancellation benefits can’t make up for the loss of well-earned holiday time, but they can minimize your disruption, pay for unscheduled hotel bills and meals, cover alternate travel arrangements, and help you catch up on what is left of your vacation.
But travel insurance doesn’t cover everything—no matter what some travel agent may tell you. It has exclusions and limitations. It’s not going to reimburse a plane ticket or cruise tariff if the carrier promises only a credit for a later voyage; technically, that’s not a loss, and insurers only cover losses. It’s not going to put you up in the fanciest hotel in town if your flight is cancelled and you’re forced to sleep over (and then only if your airline doesn’t pay the cost). It’s not going to pay for five days in London if you could have gotten home in two. It’s not going to pay for a missed airline connection if you didn’t leave enough time for the connection to be made in the first place (i.e., two hours at a minimum).
The bottom line is that trip delay and interruption insurance is an absolute necessity in these uncertain times, but before you buy (and you should only buy from a professional who specializes in or knows travel insurance), know what the exclusions are. Ask. And then read them for yourself.
Travel insurers will also only pay for the portion of prepaid fees you can’t get back from your destination hotel, or airline, or cruise ship, or tour package. Again, it will only pay for actual losses that are beyond your control. That’s all it’s designed to do. For example, if you decide to head into a hurricane zone in August after an official hurricane warning has been posted, don’t expect a refund if you’re blown away. The same thing goes for a trip you decide to make to a part of the world that your government has officially warned against travelling to.
All travel insurers now offer trip delay or interruption insurance. Check it out. It’s a good deal if you know what to expect of it.