Like the seasons, it happens certain times of the year; Christmas and Thanksgiving Holidays, summer vacations, oncoming hurricanes and blizzards. Usually you will see a news blurb or sound bite of a news reporter, stationed at a metropolitan airport or a train station, microphone in hand, interviewing a frustrated traveler about cancelled flights, missed vacations and delays. Vacationers and businessmen trying to get to their destination, spending hours stranded in airports and train terminals.
Last week there was a major glitch in the Delta Airlines computer network that lead to the cancellation of hundreds of flights across the country and internationally. People scrambled to re-book on other airlines to find a way to get off of the ground and get home. Some lost a day or two of vacation, missed connecting flights and missed some major milestones such as family weddings.
I will guarantee you that many of the airline passengers that were waiting for flights in airports around the country were looking at the monetary loss of the situation and were seriously annoyed that they did not invest in “Travel Insurance”.
A bit of history about Travel Insurance: (from Explaining Travel Insurance):
· Lloyds of London became the sole proprietor of Travel Insurance until the mid-20th Century. It was actually an addendum to Personal Accident Coverage, and virtually no individual travel insurance policies were sold.
· In the 1950’s with the rapid expansion of air/train/boat travel and the long distance family vacation, the insurance industry found an expanding market in offering Travel Insurance.
· By the 1960s the majority of travel insurance was sold by Tour Operators, alongside the purchase of a package holiday. You could even purchase travel insurance at Kiosks and vending machines in airport and train stations.
· In 1978, the entire air industry was shut down due to the Air Traffic Controller Strike. The airlines were financially decimated by the work stoppage and travelers lost faith in the industry. This lead to the introduction of travel insurance designed to cover delays due to “industrial action.”
· By the mid-80s the majority of travel insurance policies were sold through travel agents as part of the travel package. Once the internet took hold in the early 2000’s and travelers began booking their own flights and hotel reservations, individuals would often go to independent insurance agencies or looking online for travel insurance.
Do I Need Travel Insurance?
The answer is, "YES! depending on your individual situation."
Take a look at the reason for your trip, how long you are going, what you are taking and what is your destination.
1. Are you traveling during hurricane season or when major snow storms interrupt travel?
2. Are you taking expensive equipment with you such as high end cameras or computers?
3. Will your business suffer if you do not depart on the date scheduled?
4. Will you lose out on your hotel room, miss your boat, miss a wedding or event if you do not leave on the date scheduled?
5. If you are traveling overseas and suddenly have a medical emergency, does your health insurance cover the costs of hospitalization/care/surgery/rehabilitation?
The specifics of each Travel Insurance policy, depend on what coverage the insured needs. Travel insurance is often sold a la carte. Therefore, certain policies might cover overseas medical care and lost or stolen luggage, while others might only cover you if your trip is canceled or interrupted for some reason. Consumers are encouraged to find the right coverage for their needs. It is best to shop around and supply your specific circumstances to an agency.
Mark Hiss, editorial manager at travel insurance firm “World Nomads”, states, “The best way to find a comprehensive policy that suits your particular trip or travel style is to shop around for a policy that covers what you really need – and nothing more. Contact a number of agencies and let them know the specifics of your trip.” A reputable carrier should be able to tailor a policy that addresses the financial loss that you would receive if something occurred to compromise your trip. If the company is not finding coverage that suits your requirements, move on.
As airline travel has become more congested, overbooked, delayed, interrupted or cancelled; as terrorism, Zinka viruses and Hurricane Sandys seem to be more prevalent; as the expense of travelling has skyrocketed over the years, it is always a good idea to take out an insurance policy. It is the one thing that will give you comfort if you are stranded in an airport or stuck in a foreign destination.