By the breadth of their experience working with hundreds of customers a year, travel agents have their own perceptions of why consumers should or shouldn’t purchase travel insurance.
But recently, the Cleveland Plain Dealer turned the discussion on its head, asking its readers for their experiences and comments about this often misunderstood product — and dozens of travelers responded, the publication said.
In a story this weekend entitled, “Making the case for travel insurance: Readers respond with their own stories,” one reader over 50 talked about having to suspend an extended trip on the Amalfi Coast a few years ago after a fall. The trip included a three-day land tour and seven-day cruise from Rome.
“The insurance took care of EVERYTHING, even the 600-euro taxi ride from the Amalfi Coast to Rome. To say that I was glad that I had purchased travel insurance is an understatement. Because I did, we were able to go back the next year and complete the land/cruise tour we missed,” the traveler said.
Another reader wrote about how they spent $195 on a policy for their first cruise in May 2017 that covered cancelling the trip after the family’s seven-year-old broke his arm and required a cast through June.
The family followed good advice and purchased the insurance in January. After submitting 22 pages of documentation, including a doctor’s recommendation that the family not take the cruise, “we got all our money back without problems,” they said.
Other readers talked about how travel insurance refunded trips when employers asked that the traveler stay home for an important work obligation; and how older travelers should realize that Medicare or private health insurance likely will not be accepted outside the U.S.
In an accompanying story, the Plain Dealer told more stories of readers who purchased travel insurance, and how with the increase in hurricanes and State Department travel warnings this year, travel insurance may never have been more popular.
The publication pointed out how, in general, travelers who are older are more likely to buy travel insurance because they're more likely to face health problems while traveling, and because they tend to take longer and more expensive trips.
One reader interviewed for the story is an insurance salesman. He talked about how another added benefit is that the insurance company will help a traveler find healthcare, often in an unfamiliar country, where it is hard to evaluate providers of quality care.
Still, the Plain Dealer pointed out, “most domestic travelers probably don't need insurance, unless a large portion of their trip is nonrefundable (a vacation home rental, say, or a Mississippi River cruise).”