As I book this year's travel, I am being asked at every turn... "do you want insurance on this flight?", "...on this cruise?" Which button do I click? Yes or no?
The travel insurance question hits at the very core of me. Why? Because I'm cheap.
Cheap cheap cheapity cheep.
Did I mention I'm cheap?
I'm so cheap that instead of an angel or devil on my shoulder, there's actually a tiny little Scrooge whispering in my ear.
It sounds ridiculous, considering how much I do actually spend on travel. But I expect each of my travel dollars to work HARD for me. For years, travel insurance seemed as silly to me as $1,400 purses - and at least when you spend that much on a purse you have something to show for it! There's no tangible return (hopefully) on purchasing insurance. But I'm well over 40 and my perspective is changing for 4 reasons.
ACCIDENTS: As I get older, and my friends get older, I'm losing that young person's sense of invincibility. I fell down in Mexico a couple of years ago and bruised my knee quite badly. What if I had broken something? What if I broke it badly enough to need surgery and medevac? That wasn't in the budget!
ILLNESS: One word - norovirus. Especially in a contained environment like a cruise ship or airplane, germs travel fast and hit hard. And again, we aren't getting any younger. Even routine illness and injury takes longer to recover from than it did a decade or two ago.
OBLIGATIONS: I took care of my mom for a couple of years before she passed away. If she was doing well, I could take a trip. If she took a turn.... then what? Cancel my trip? Or if I'm already on the trip, pay out of pocket to fly home? Both are costly options in an already stressful time.
ENVIRONMENTAL: The 2014 "Polar Vortex" paralyzed much of the midwest, including airports. 2018's hurricane season destroyed Puerto Rico - so if you had a cruise scheduled to PR, you were out of luck!
Maybe I'm just getting old (we'll call it more mature... maybe even wise), and maybe part of it is having more disposable income in our peak earning ears, but peace of mind is starting to mute the Scrooge on my shoulder.
So I started clicking YES. But then I became a travel agent, and started clicking NO again. Why?
When I became a travel agent, I learned about the difference between "vendor insurance" - that provided by the airline, cruise line, etc - and "comprehensive trip insurance". And oh boy, is there a difference.
Vendor insurance covers only the flying portion of the trip. Cruise insurance covers only the cruise portion of the trip. But Comprehensive insurance covers me from the day I leave my house to the day I get home. So I click NO, and then book my travel policy separately.
Picture this scenario: I live in Michigan. I have a 3 hour drive to fly from O'Hare. The roads are too icy for me to get there in time, but my plane still takes off when it should because the storm didn't affect the Chicago airports. Which policy do you think will cover my problem? Hint: not Vendor insurance!
I work with Allianz travel insurance. They are the industry-wide best bang for the buck. They'll even cover you if the paid caregiver of your ailing family member gets sick - something that would have been very reassuring when my mom needed care.
Pro Tip: Even if you booked your trip yourself, or with another travel agent, I can still insure your trip!!
How much does it cost?
It is a percentage of the value of your trip. (That means you can include every excursion too!) What percent you pay depends on your age, as we become more prone to risk as we get older. My typical client pays 10-15% of their trip's value.
Curious about what is covered? Let me know and I'll mail you a brochure explaining the options. Call me at 1-800-990-3614 or firstname.lastname@example.org