The pure, white snow falls gently upon the frozen pond. With the descent of Persephone, Winter has taken grasp on the world. The pain is not just felt by Demeter, and those who work with the harvest. As the holidays onset, so too is the sting felt by travelers near and far.
Wait – travelers near and far in the world of Olympus, feeling the sting of winter travel? Yes, you read that all correctly. At the end of the year (and into the next), weather has a huge effect on how – and when – we travel back and forth across the world. Rain and wind on the west coast, and snowstorms in the east can put a huge damper on getting where we want to go - especially when they lead to trip delay and trip cancellation.
Which is what lead me to my surprise when I picked up my copy of the Los Angeles Times last week (yes, I still read the LA Times – even in Central Ohio). The LA Times quoted a report from the National Consumers League, stating that travel insurance is usually a bad deal.
No, there’s not a whole lot of snow on the West Coast – but there’s still always the potential for storms, winds, and rain to wreak havoc on winter travel. Does nobody out there remember the El Nino storms of 1993 that left a wake of damage and delays in California? I do - and the entire winter I spent in the dark as a result thereof...but that's another story entirely.
What I do agree with the National Consumer League on is that a travel insurance plan purchased directly through your travel provider (such as an airline) might not be the one you want. Those plans are written with the airlines in mind - meaning you might not be getting all of the benefits that you are paying for. Instead, many travel experts (myself included) always recommend that you go through a third party when looking for a travel insurance product. Especially during the winter months - when storms can threaten to cancel your trip very quickly.
Why look at a third party product? Third party products (like Travel Insurance Select) offer benefits for events (such as winter storms) that other insurance plans may not necessarily offer. If you purchase before a storm is named, or an event is identified, then you may be able to recover at least part of your travel investment. Additionally, purchase far enough ahead of time and you may qualify for the Cancel for Any Reason benefit – allowing you to do just what the name implies. If you don’t want to go out in the cold, or fight against the storm, then simply cancel your trip, and you may be able to recover at least some of your costs. It beats the high cancellation fees that your airline might charge you.
What else can a third party plan offer you? Your travel insurance plan may also offer you benefits in the event your flight is delayed 12 hours or more, your trip is interrupted midway due to an event, or your baggage is lost or destroyed on the way there or back home. Additionally, if you’re traveling outside of your home country, your third party plan may include medical benefits and emergency evacuation. Which I certainly hope doesn’t happen to you, these benefits can be great to have should you need them.
Yes, the sting of winter is setting in on the world. Demeter’s sadness is felt by us all. Especially us who try to brave the cold rain and snow for winter travel. But not considering travel insurance as part of your winter travel regimen is like Icarus flying too close to the sun. An ounce of prevention today can make your winter travels that much smoother.
How do you prepare for winter travels? Do you consider travel insurance as a part of your winter travels? Let me know by leaving a comment below!