Travel plans can easily go awry. All it takes is one flight delay, and suddenly a whole vacation is affected. A traveler can find themselves missing connecting flights, arriving at hotels a day or two late, and missing scheduled tours. An event that is completely outside of a traveler’s control can lead to some very expensive adjustments to their travel plans.
What can travelers do to protect themselves against unforeseeable circumstances that ruin a trip? Having trip protection can certainly be a huge help, especially when travelers understand exactly how it works and what it covers.
One important thing to know is that travel insurance (with trip cancellation coverage) will cover travelers for expenses they have already paid for and that they cannot get back. Sometimes hotels and car rental companies do not charge their customers until they arrive. In these situations, if customers cannot arrive at all, the expenses they face are minimal – so trip protection may not be applicable. Similarly, travelers who have purchased tickets or booked a room that the travel provider is willing to refund directly under whatever the circumstance may be would not be compensated by their travel insurance provider because there would be no need.
However, these post-pay and refundable travel components can be rare, and this is where people can really benefit from having some sort of trip protection plan in place. For example, some airlines allow refunds for document-able medical situations – but most won’t. It would be a negative situation for a traveler already facing high medical expenses to also not be able to recoup travel related losses. A good travel insurance plan can be a huge relief for such a traveler to have – they can submit their documentation instead to the insurance provider and have that as an option for reimbursement. Or a family traveling for a quick weekend vacation can have an option to get their money back for a non-refundable hotel room when their flight is cancelled for a snowstorm.
These days there are so many ways to purchase travel. Travelers can purchase components directly through an airline or hotel or car rental company. Or they can use airline miles. Also, most major credit cards offer travel reward points for loyal customers. It is important to note that travel insurance generally will not cover rewards points, miles or their dollar equivalent – only trip costs paid in dollars can be insured.
So while it is important to understand that travel insurance does not necessarily cover expenses that are refundable, it is an important item to consider when booking travel given that the bulk of your trip costs will generally be at risk. Unforeseen circumstances that are completely outside of travelers’ control often ruin travel plans, and trip protection can be a life-saver in these situations.