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Do you REALLY need travel insurance?

Updated: Sep 28, 2020

Last September, I was visiting southern California when fires started breaking out all over the state. I went to bed on a Wednesday night, and on Thursday morning awoke to hear that the 405 freeway was closed in both directions due to the Getty Fire. And I started thinking. What if one of my clients was flying that morning out of LAX to the Greek Isles? They'd awakened at the appropriate time to get to the airport, only to find the major routes blocked and the streets congested with everyone trying to make their way around one of the biggest arteries in Los Angeles.

A year ago, one of my travelers booked a Bahama get-away for December of 2019. In September, Hurricane Dorian caused serious devastation to the exact part of the island where they were scheduled to be. The hotel advised they would be open and ready by December, but travelers who were there said the nearby town of Freeport was a disaster and while the hotel was attempting to be optimistic, I was advised not to have my clients travel there. Because my couple had purchased travel insurance, I had no problem relocating their stay to Nassau. (Where they had a lovely time, I might add.)

More and more, travel insurance is becoming a prerequisite, a necessary evil to protect your investment, 'just in case.' We don't pay for health insurance because we want to cover our annual visit to the doctor. We pay the fee to protect us from the unexpected; the car accident or serious illness that can devastate financially. In fact, in an effort to protect themselves from the financial burden left by unpaid medical bills left by tourists, more and more countries are requiring that US travelers show proof of travel insurance. France, Germany, Italy, Iceland, Norway and Switzerland are just a few and Thailand has it under consideration.

Most of the time, our travels are uneventful. We arrive on time, we don't misconnect, our bags are waiting for us on the other end. We've never experienced an airline strike or a coup in a foreign country. We've never suffered an illness so severe we had to cut our trip short. BUT, what if?

You often get the best deals booking a year in advance, especially on cruises. But so many things can happen within that year: an illness, a parent's illness, a death in the family, an unexpected change in your job, a new baby (yeah!), a breakup (oh no!). I had a friend who surprised her boyfriend with a trip to Mexico in May as a Christmas present, but they'd parted ways before the trip was to occur. Unfortunately, they couldn't cancel or even name change without full penalties because they didn't have insurance. They decided rather than waste the money, they'd travel together anyway and luckily, reconciled during the trip. Honestly, though, how often does THAT happen?

COVID-19 Update: 2020 has been a year of unprecedented upheaval and the travel industry, like many others, has taken a severe hit. To encourage travelers to venture out, many tour operators, hotels, cruise lines, etc., are offering spectacular deals with very flexible cancellation penalties. Travel Insurance has become the industry standard and CFR (Cancel For Any Reason) has become the insurance of choice. La Tortuga Travel heavily recommends CFR for your future travels. Whatever its cost, it is way less than the cost of losing your entire vacation. We will all travel again, hopefully soon. Let me book you with peace of mind on your next adventure.

Please feel free to contact me if you have questions regarding travel insurance!

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