What can we learn from HIM (Harvey, Irma, Maria)?


In the aftermath of Harvey, Irma and Maria on her way, I think the issue of travel insurance is important to consider. Travel insurance is not only about your health or missed connections.

Consider this: You were smart and didn’t plan your Caribbean vacation during hurricane season. Pat yourself on the back. You planned Christmas, New Year’s or President’s Day week. Well Irma may have blown your lovely little piece of Paradise to smithereens and it won’t be rebuilt in time. And whatever she missed, Maria will be sure to get. Try getting your deposits back or the paid air fare. The airlines may be flying, there just won’t be any place for you to stay. No place to stay is a covered reason in a travel insurance policy. “Your destination is uninhabitable because of a natural disaster, fire, flood, burglary or vandalism.”

To buy or not to buy Travel insurance; that is the question.

I get it all the time.  It seems people fall into 2 camps, those who want to buy and those who think it’s not worth the price.  Well it’s not worth the price if nothing happens.  Just like your home insurance, it isn’t worth the price unless your house burns down.  Yes the travel insurance industry is a billion dollar a year business.  But we aren’t talking statistics when it comes to your vacation that you have dreamed, planned and saved for, that is ruined.

I am a personal believer.  I have a travel agent policy that covers me for small trips.  When I go on a longer trip, I buy an individual policy for that trip.  Premiums vary depending on age, destination and duration. Children 17 and under are free if they are traveling with a parent or grandparent. 

Are you 65 and on Medicare? Medicare does not cover medical costs outside of the USA. If you have a supplemental policy, it may or may not include some minimal foreign medical coverage. Look at your passport, Item 3 under “Important Information”, advises you to check on your health insurance coverage to see if or what it pays outside of the US. Does it pay the foreign hospital or doctor? Or do you have to pay and get reimbursed.  Do you have $30,000 or more available to you, should you need it?

If you buy a policy within 14 days of your initial trip deposit, you can have preexisting conditions waived for yourself and close family members who may not be traveling with you. I have 2 clients who didn’t want insurance and then just within the 14 days they decided to buy.  Both had claims.  One’s husband had a heart attack, the other needed knee replacement.  Both are very thankful that they bought insurance.

I can go on and on about clients, families with young kids, that used their insurance and were happy to have it.  My feeling is this; it costs between 5-10% of your trip. Is that really out of your budget?  What if your bags get lost or delayed?   It can happen to anyone. You trip and break a leg on safari in Kenya, do you want to stay in Kenya or would you prefer to be medevacked to another county for treatment?

Don’t buy a policy through a cruise line or tour company.  Those have the least coverage.  Some are only good for the cost to be put towards a future trip, not for reimbursement. If the supplier goes bankrupt, you are out of luck. If you are adding on to your cruise or tour and it is independent of the operator, that portion is not covered.

Always buy a policy from an insurer that has an AM Best rating of A or higher. I offer Allianz and Travel Insured International to my clients. Only insure the amount of money you have at risk.  Don’t insure for the whole trip if you only have made an initial deposit.  No use paying for more insurance than you need.  As you increase your trip costs, you can increase your insurance coverage.  Just remember to increase within the 14 days to keep your preexisting condition waiver valid.

So you are saying to yourself, I’m not elderly, I’m healthy. I’ve already confirmed with my boss, 3 times that I can have the time off. Nothing is going to keep me from going on vacation and nothing is going to go wrong while I am there. Right? 

Consider these possibilities:

One of your parents falls and injures them self and needs you to be their caregiver 

One of your adult children falls ill or needs surgery and has nobody to watch the grandchildren…they need Grandma! 

Your flights to Miami are delayed or canceled due to the new Polar Vortex and you miss the Caribbean cruise you have been planning all year…The ship has the nerve to sail without you! 

2 days before your Italy tour, your largest client at work announces that they will be canceling the contract if you aren’t in their offices by 9:00am, 3 days from now

The volcano in Iceland erupts again, spewing ash into the sky and all transatlantic flights are canceled for 3 days.  You are stuck in Paris for an extra few days where the average hotel room is $400 per night and you miss an important sales call back at work that costs your company a huge contract. 

And the list goes on.

Isn’t protecting your dream vacation worth the minimal cost of travel insurance?  

Is your peace of mind and financial well-being well worth the investment?




CALL ME - LET'S TALK ! 415-931-1945

Enjoy reading my blog? Sign up for my newsletter to be a We Make Travel Easy travel insider.