Trip Insurance - How does it work?

Old Jun 22nd, 2005, 03:00 AM
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Trip Insurance - How does it work?

Can anyone tell me where you get trip insurance, and how it works? If I just see a hurricane coming, can I activate it? Does the hurricane actually have to destroy the hotel before it kicks in? I'm trying to book a honeymoon, and I'm considering simultaneously booking a back-up plan, but the idea is that I would only use that if there is a hurricane problem with the island I book. But if, a few days out from the wedding, the weather is clear, I want to cancel my back-up plan. But I can't afford to book two vacations and keep them, so I guess I'm wondering where the bar is set on using trip insurance. What I can't afford to have happen is I book a back-up plan, and think I have to use it, but for whatever reason the place I get the insurance doesn't think the damage was bad enough, and therefore I'm stuck with two sets of reservations. Does that make sense? Let me know what anyone thinks. Thanks very much.
ftrain is offline  
Old Jun 22nd, 2005, 03:30 AM
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Congrats on your upcoming marriage!

Trip interruption insurance (which is probably what you're looking for in terms of hurricane coverage) varies from carrier to carrier, so take anyone's advice with a grain of salt and read the particular policy. I'm writing from my particular experiences with Berkeley Care (sold only through travel providers) and Travelguard.

First of all, you should buy trip interruption insurance as soon as you book your trip (or within a week, at the latest). Not only is this likely to give you some benefits such as waiver of pre-existing health conditions, but most trip interruption insurance will NOT cover you if the event you're seeking coverage for has already started -- e.g. an airline strike if it's already underway, an airline bankruptcy if it's already been filed, or a hurricane if the particular storm has already been numbered/named.

While the storm does not have to hit your destination directly, it must disrupt your plans in an official sort of way -- the airline cancels your flights, or the hotel closes. Rainy weather is not covered. Nor does the insurance cover YOUR decision not to go somewhere.

The insurance typically covers your non-refundable losses, plus expenses you incur. Thus, if your flight is cancelled or delayed but the hotel doesn't close, you'll be covered for lost hotel deposits or prepaid days. The insurance also covers expenses you incur as a result of interrupted travel. If you are stuck in Miami or San Juan and can't get to your destination, for example, you'll be reimbursed for rental car, hotel, meals, etc.

If, as you suggest, you make two sets of plans and purchase trip insurance, you are gambling with losing the deposits and unused airline tickets. You will only be refunded for the trip you don't take IF the storm has a direct enough impact on that destination to cancel flights and close hotels. The hotel doesn't need to be destroyed, but the storm has to be serious enough that the management doesn't feel it's safe to endanger staff and guests by being open.

As a practical matter, it is highly unlikely that the particular destination you have in mind will suffer a direct hit. If a storm is threatened, you may end up delaying your trip for a few days until the danger passes (and airlines have proven to be quite flexible, and waive change fees in such situations), but the chances of a direct hit are statiscally small. And you can improve your odds (though no guarantees) by choosing your island carefully.

All that said, having collected five claims over the last few years, I'm a believer in trip insurance and don't leave the country without it.
Callaloo is offline  
Old Jun 22nd, 2005, 05:40 AM
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You got a pretty good summary from callaloo. You can go to and compare terms of coverage and premiums for just about all travel policies.

Coverages vary greatly from policy to policy as everybody's needs are different so read the terms carefully to be sure you are getting the type of coverage YOU require. You can often lower your premium costs by eliminating certain coverages that you don't need or want.
Old Jun 24th, 2005, 04:23 PM
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I have used TravelGuard many times (8-10)and had to collect once on a cruise and once on a flight delay. They are very responsive and payment came in a short time with sending necessary documentation. Once was delay of luugage the other was medical on a cruise. Yes, it cost 10-15% more than a few pthers but they have been there when I have needed them. If you take it out within 15 days of your deposit they cover 99% of pre-existing conditions.
StanKase is offline  
Old Jun 26th, 2005, 08:20 AM
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I recently purchased trip insurance and chose CSA as the carrier. They seemed to offer more bang for the buck - including collision coverage on a rental car. You cannot wait until right before the trip to get it because it will not cover as much then - most companies require getting the insurance within 14 days of your initial booking.
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