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Old October 5th, 2012, 02:27 PM
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Only one thing I'll add to that is be careful when looking at 'travel insurance' offered by these online sites. Often, it's not travel insurance, it's travel protection and there is a HUGE difference in the two. First of all, travel protection is not policed by your State's insurance commission. Second, the coverages are usually alot less and there are alot more 'exclusions' in those policies.

Here's an article I wrote about the differences and why it's important to know and understand what you're getting:

We've talked alot about travel insurance and it's something I always recommend. But I highly recommend it under these circumstances:

1) Traveling during the Winter - obvious travel delays.
2) Traveling during hurricane season - doesn't need explanation.
3) Anytime traveling to Europe - lots of lost baggage and possible health problems.
4) Traveling with children - common illnesses and injuries that can occur before or during the trip.
5) Traveling with seniors - as with children, there's a higher possibility of illness or injury.
6) Traveling with pre-existing health conditions - could crop up before or during the trip.

I always look at buying travel insurance that I hope it's a waste of my money, because if I need it, then it's usually not a good thing. It's always best to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it.

A friend of mine who's a travel agent had a client who's worse-case scenario became reality. The client's husband had a heart-attack and ended up in a foreign hospital where he was in a coma for a month before he died. Total bill was around $100,000! Luckily, she had travel insurance and was covered for all the expenses.

So, there's no question that we always purchase the travel insurance whenever we travel and hope we never need it.

Unfortunately, we did have an occasion where we needed it and we were sure glad we had it. Our son, who was not going with us, got sick the day we were leaving on a two-week European trip that included a 7-night river cruise. We had to cancel our trip because he had to have his gall bladder removed. The insurance reimbursed us for all of our out-of-pocket expenses.

But the one thing that no one talks about is the difference between travel protection versus travel insurance.

What's the difference? It can be huge!

Do not buy travel protection - it's not the same as travel insurance. Don't assume that what you are buying from your agent is travel insurance. Make sure you read the policy before you buy it and find out if it will cover you in situations that might arise.

There was a story on our local news that I thought would help explain it:

It's about a couple who purchased travel protection through their travel agent with their Mediterranean cruise worth over $6800. The husband injured his knee playing golf and had to have surgery and they had to cancel their trip. Even though they had all the documentation from their doctor showing he had to have the surgery, this was considered 'elective surgery' by the travel protection company, they lost all their money. And because this was not sold or advertised as travel 'insurance', there was nothing the State insurance commission could do about it.

Here's another story that you'll find interesting; http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/28/yo..._r=2&emc=eta1&

Bottom line, always buy travel insurance not travel protection, but ask questions, read the policy, and make sure you know exactly what you are getting. And don't assume a big name means best policy - it ain't true! Some of the biggest problems we've had with companies have been some of the biggest names in the business.

Pete
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Travel Agent/Cruise Specialist w/12 yrs exp and 47 Cruises on 11 cruise lines! Favorites: Paul Gauguin - Tahiti: Uniworld River Cruises - Europe; Celebrity Solstice-class ships; Holland America - 12-nights Baltics & Russia; RCCL - 14-nights Greek Isles, Turkey, & Croatia; Holland America - 14-day Alaskan cruisetour; 10-night Canada/New England cruise; 21 days Hawaii w/7-night NCL cruise; Oceania - 25 days in Asia; more than 3 months touring Europe by train. And many all-inclusive resorts!
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