Consumer Reports

Travel Insurance: To Buy or Not to Buy?

Whether it's natural disaster or even a personal injury, in life, things happen. So, if you have to cancel your upcoming spring break vacation last minute, we want to make sure your money doesn't go to waste.

Paulette Mann and her family love to travel, but one ski trip was canceled abruptly. Two weeks before departure, Mann tore her knee and had to have surgery.

"The first thing I thought was: Oh my god, I have travel insurance," said Mann.

She had prepaid everything from airfare, hotel, ski lifts, rentals and excursions plus 10 percent of the trip's cost to her insurance company.

"I think the insurance company probably paid back about 80-90 percent," she explained.

Premium insurance policies like Mann's are more expensive but allowed her to cancel for any reason and gave her the most flexibility.

"It's really important that consumers read the policy carefully so they understand exactly what is and isn't covered," said Margot Gilman, Consumer Reports Business Editor.

Like when the policy offers a waiver for pre-existing medical conditions, provides health care coverage or covers medical evacuations for more adventurous trips.

Do your research. Travel agents may have preferred relationships with only a couple of insurance providers.

Instead use comparison websites like and, each sells more than a hundred policies from a variety of companies.

Stick to insurance that will cover potentially bigger losses, just ask Mann.

"It makes you feel like you're not at risk for losing a whole chunk of change. Absolutely gives you peace of mind," Mann said.

You can also call the comparison websites like who can clearly explain coverage and determine exactly what you need.

Also, don't forget many credit card companies also offer travel insurance, so it's good to check with them, too.

Copyright CR - Consumer Reports
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