NEW YORK (9/7/11)--Hurricane Irene created a massive headache for travelers as it hit the East Coast Aug. 30-31. More than 11,000 flights were cancelled in a series of pre-emptive cancellations performed by airlines to keep people and planes from being stranded, a practice airlines also employ when faced with an approaching blizzard (Bloomberg.com
Aug. 29). Cancellations to rail and bus service in the wake of the hurricane compounded travelers’ woes, leaving those in transit with few options to reach their destination until the storm passed and service was restored (Kiplinger.com
Aug. 26). Of course, it doesn’t take a hurricane to disrupt your travel plans. What can travelers do during standard travel disruptions--say the kind that happen on any idle Wednesday in the middle of September? Purchasing travel insurance may offer some protection. This information from consumerreports.org
can help you decide if travel insurance is right for you:
* Compare. Not all coverage is the same. Compare competing policies to understand exactly what’s covered and how each policy applies coverage. For example, some emergency medical assistance accompanying travel insurance policies provides evacuation to the closest hospital, while other policies allow for evacuation to a hospital at the policy holder’s discretion. This can be especially important when traveling overseas. * Review. You already may have certain travel-related coverage thanks to existing insurance policies, credit card agreements, and membership in automobile clubs or other organizations. Check related documents to see if these provide adequate coverage so you can avoid buying duplicate coverage. * Double-check. Contingencies for travel-related disruptions may be included with your travel arrangements. Read the fine print accompanying reservations and purchase agreements to determine what may or may not be addressed. For example, airlines must reimburse travelers up to $3,300 to each passenger for lost baggage on domestic flights.
For related information, read “Travel Documents Take You Around the World” in the Home & Family Finance Resource Center