Read the fine print before you sign.
Most people don't bother to look at the fine print when they sign up for travel insurance. Here are some common exclusions and exceptions to consider before you plan your next trip.
Your Tour Operator Cancels on You
We're not talking about when you cancel your trip; this is when your trip cancels on you. For example, if you're signed up for a Canadian rail tour, you might buy trip cancellation insurance in case you can't go, but what if the rail tour itself gets canceled? Most insurance policies won't cover that scenario so, for example, your non-refundable airfare isn't covered.
Acts of War or Local Protests
Although terrorism is covered by most policies, acts of war or civil unrest are common policy exclusions. Even if ongoing protests or sporadic outbreaks in international locations might force you to change your plans, most policies won't help.
Pre-existing Medical Conditions
This is a common exclusion in many insurance policies, but what does it mean? It refers to any medical condition that has required attention prior to travel or initiation of the policy. So while traveling, if you suffer a health problem related to that condition, your treatment might not be covered.
Baggage Delayed for Less Than 24 Hours
Most policies will not reimburse necessary expenditures for baggage delayed less than 24 hours, so it would be a good idea to carry on what you need for at least a day after you arrive at your destination. This applies to outbound flights only, which means the coverage does not apply to baggage delays for your trip home.
Death or Illness of a Pet
Bet you hadn't thought of this one. Many of us have beloved animals in our homes and we'd certainly not want to go on that family trip if Fido were terribly sick. Don't expect insurance policies to be sympathetic. Even service animals, such as Seeing Eye dogs, aren't covered, although that might change as the industry wakes up to the need for such coverage.
Loss or Damage to Keys, Money, Documents, Tickets or Credit Cards
These items are commonly listed under the exclusions to baggage and personal items coverage. Be sure to keep these and other valuables with you at all times.
Many insurance policies don't cover injuries from certain adventure sports, such as bungee jumping, paragliding, mountain climbing or white-water rafting.
Pregnancy and Childbirth
Insurance policies specify the conditions under which pregnancy complications or childbirth is covered (if at all). This is a common exclusion, so if you plan on traveling while pregnant, be sure to read the fine print.
Psychological Illness or Self-inflicted Injuries
Coverage for emotional and mental illnesses or emergencies is often excluded. If you suffer a nervous breakdown, your insurance won't let you cancel your trip without penalty.
Your Spouse Files for Divorce Before the Trip
Increasingly, insurance companies are adding coverage for this situation. However, some policies do not include divorce or legal separation as valid reasons for canceling or interrupting a trip.
Other Traveler's Tidbits
- American cuts miles for short trips
This isn't the first time an airline has offered such a perk, but it's noteworthy.
For travel between September 1 and February 29, American Airlines will require 15,000 frequent-flier miles instead of the usual 25,000 for travel up to 750 miles in length.
That means you can fly from Chicago to Atlanta or Philadelphia to Chicago, for example, for just 15,000 advantage miles. American says this "sale" will be available for a limited time, but it doesn't specify an end date.
More information is available through www.aa.com.
- JetBlue's the official airline of Springfield
Not Springfield, Illinois, but rather Springfield, the fictional town, home to Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie.
In case you've missed it, The Simpsons Movie marketing blitz to promote the movie has been in full swing, including converting 7-Elevens into Kwik-e-Marts complete with Krusty-O's Cereal and Buzz Cola and having 14 Springfields across the U.S. compete to host the hometown premiere of The Simpsons Movie (Vermont won).
On top of that, JetBlue is "The Official Airline of Springfield" and JetBlue recently unveiled its first-ever specialty aircraft christened Woo-Hoo, JetBlue! featuring an image of Homer.
More information about JetBlue is available at www.jetblue.com.