“The Companies Are Leapfrogging One Another”


. . .  More than 17 million travel insurance policies are sold each year, according to the United States Travel Insurance Association, whose members have seen a surge in interest since Sept. 11, 2001. Policies typically cost between 4 percent and 7 percent of the price of the trip, with fees based on the traveler’s age and on the cost and length of the trip.

As the market matures, “the companies are leapfrogging one another” to expand coverage, said Chris Harvey, chief executive of Squaremouth.com, an online travel insurance agency. “One will come out with $50,000 medical, the next $100,000.”

More traditional travel insurance policies reimburse travelers who are forced to cancel because of weather, airline strikes, acts of terrorism that affect their destinations, serious illness or the death of the traveler or a close family member. Typical policies also provide coverage for medical emergencies, lost or damaged luggage, and major travel delays. But until recently travelers weren’t reimbursed if they simply changed their minds and decided not to go. AIG Travel Guard’s new Cancel for Any Reason add-on coverage, offered on two different package plans, reimburses 75 percent of the trip expenses if a traveler cancels a covered trip up to two days before departure — no questions asked. It follows a similar policy introduced by TravelSafe Insurance in 2005.

This flexibility comes at a price — 30 percent to 40 percent more than for standard coverage. But the option may be worth considering if you want the flexibility of changing your travel plans at any time without losing the bulk of what you paid.


For the full story, see: 

MICHELLE HIGGINS.  "PRACTICAL TRAVELER | TRIP INSURANCE; Protecting Against the Dread ‘What If?’"  The New York Times, Section 5  (Sun., May 6, 2007):  6. 

(Note:  the ellipsis and the bold were added.)


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