Buyer Beware: Obtaining Travel Insurance
Regardless of whether you fly or cruise, travel insurance is a worthwhile expense. Just ask the nearly 3,000 passengers aboard the Premier Cruise Line ships who were suddenly stranded in September of 2000 when that company abruptly suspended its operations. Travel insurance can protect you from a number of calamities, not just airline and cruise-line bankruptcies. Even if you purchase nonchangeable, nonrefundable airfares or travel packages, having travel insurance will enable you to recoup some or all of your travel-related expenses if you or another family member becomes ill or an emergency prevents you from taking your trip. You will, however, have to document a legitimate reason for your inability to travel; last-minute changes of plans do not qualify.
Especially if you're traveling with kids, investing in optional travel insurance is often a good idea. Some travel insurance will also give you added financial coverage if your luggage is lost or stolen or if you experience any type of emergency (medical or otherwise) during your trip. Some insurance will also provide assistance resulting from natural disasters, such as a hurricane, for example.
Travel Guard (www.travelguard.com) is one popular travel insurance company. Travel Guard International and its affiliate companies provide integrated travel insurance, assistance and emergency travel services throughout the world. Travel Guard offers customer service, available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week through its service center.
There are several ways to find the best travel insurance for your family vacation. Any travel agent can also help you purchase travel insurance. TripInsuranceStore.com (www.tripinsurancestore.com) is a good online source. At this Web site, you can shop for travel insurance online and obtain price quotes from over 100 insurance companies. You can get a free, no-obligation price quote in just minutes. A third option is the travel-related Web sites, which allow you to purchase insurance from specific companies when making your airline ticket purchase.