Travel Insurance….why do I Need It?
One of the most ignored things when planning a vacation is travel insurance. In my experience as a travel agent, many travelers don\’t think they need it or that it\’s an unnecessary expense! A good share of the time guests will wave their hands in front of their faces when you try to discuss travel insurance with them. They feel that they are already paying plenty for their vacation, and quite a few of my clients, when I tried to discuss insurance, would say, “Nope, that is why we are using you!\” Um…thanks for the vote of confidence, but there are things that I cannot resolve with just “faith, trust and a certain Pixie’s dust.\” Why do you need travel insurance?
Our world has gotten smaller and crazier over the last few years with medical outbreaks, terrorist threats and the like filling the headlines of today’s media. I hate upselling to add insurance; I’d simply rather not, thank you. I really don\’t even like to bring up the idea of travel insurance. Who wants to bring up more reasons for you to be concerned about traveling? Is it wasted customer service to sell them something they wouldn’t need? The truth is, by getting my clients to purchase insurance, I actually saved a few people some pretty high expenses, and they have even gotten money back on occasions. Here are some of my experiences:
My hubby and I were travelling to Disneyland for the first time ever. His step-mom, unfortunately, was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer just prior to booking our trip. Family dynamics being what they are, we knew if she passed before the trip, or near the trip, that flying off to California wasn’t even an option. Or, if one of us needed to come back, we needed that trip interruption to help with the additional fees for airline changes which can be mind boggling. For us, the cost of the trip and the peace of mind while out there made the insurance a no-brainer.
Two travelers in their 20’s asked me to book them a vacation in Mexico. They had a very set budget and a limited window to travel. I told them about the insurance, and they were certain that they would not need it. Nope, not them. No matter what happened, they were going. On the way to the airport, they were in a car accident and missed their flight. Thank the powers that be that no one was hurt. They called me and wanted to know what I could do for them. I called in all the favors I could, and the best I could do was to get them to Puerto Vallarta…not exactly the hot spot like Cancun they wanted to go to, and they ended up paying $300 more a piece.
Parents booked a once in a lifetime cruise costing them about $7000. This was an oceanview balcony cabin with the works. One of the parents worked for the Post Office and found out the day before they sailed that he was furloughed. They had to cancel the trip. They would have been out all the money for their cruise without the insurance. Both of them had enough seniority with the postal service that neither even thought they would be let go. They did re-book later, and for a lesser trip, but at least they had the money to live on thanks to their trip insurance which allowed them to cancel and get their money back.
My brother-in-law and his family went to Disney World in October one year. I told them they needed insurance, but they said, “No.\” Once they landed, it was apparent that my niece was quite sick. Disney did arrange for a taxi to bring my sister-in-law and niece to Celebration, Florida, where they waited in the ER while my brother-in-law and my nephew stayed at the hotel. My sister-in-law spent most of her vacation running back and forth to the hospital while my brother-in–law tried to get refunds on Mickey\’s Not So Scary Halloween Party and other activities they had planned to do for Food and Wine Festival. It was an experience, and while they were able to recoup some of their money, they lost a good bit of money that trip. Insurance not only would have covered all those expenses but would likely have been fewer phone calls!
I booked three nurses on a trip to Greece. One of the nurse’s bags never left
Minneapolis! Fortunately, with their insurance policy, she was able to get a few clothes for the trip. She got her original bag back two days after she returned home, and she had to go to the airport to do it. All she got from the airline was “Sorry.\” Thank goodness her travel insurance allowed her to buy clothes and enjoy her trip!
The last thing I want to do when I suggest insurance to you is to give you something that will make you worry more. But for both the travel agent and the traveler, there is a piece of mind that comes with insurance. I always say to my clients after I give them the price of a vacation with the insurance that they have the option of not taking it, but as an agent, I highly recommend insurance. I gently remind them that their vacation is an investment and even tell them to even shop around for options. You don\’t have to book Disney\’s travel insurance! Remember, you\’ve spent a lot of money on a great vacation. Perhaps you have the ability to forfeit the money, but at a fraction of the cost of your trip, trip insurance will help you recoup some, if not all, of your hard-earned money. I may say to you, \”This sounds like a great adventure with a lot of great excursions. Things have happened to other travelers in the past when they least expected it. You may want to check to see just what your insurance will cover if you are out of the country, or we can find a policy for you. Chances are you won’t need it, but it may bring you peace of mind to know it is there.” I won\’t say that to scare you but to prepare you so that you can relax and enjoy your trip! Debbie Walden has years of travel planning experience and over 40 trips to Disney under her belt! Contact Debbie to plan your next Disney vacation and get the scoop on travel insurance!