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'You have to have it'| Why experts say travel insurance is a must

Posted at 10:33 PM, Feb 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-03 23:36:32-05

CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — For a lot of people, it’s time to travel. After two years of being cooped up, many Americans are planning epic vacations this year.

But how do you plan a big trip during a time of such uncertainty; including COVID-19 restrictions, flight cancellations and a whole lot more? Experts say the answer is travel insurance.

If you’re getting ready to take-off for that much needed vacation, then you're certainly not alone. 68% percent of Americans are expected to fly, and that’s about three out of every four people.

Popular destinations include Rome, London, Bali and Paris, just to name a few.

Local pilot Tom Buettner went to flight school in Corpus Christi nearly three decades ago, and now flies private jets out of Corpus Christi International Airport. He’s seen travel rebound firsthand from the beginning of the pandemic.

"I was pretty much grounded for about three or four months,” Buettner told us. “I took a flight down here out of Dallas and I had two people on-board and the airport was a ghost town.”

Fast forward to today.

“And then after that, things picked up,” Buettner remembers. “As things got better, we got busier and so now we are pretty much back to full scale.”

Right now, airlines are offering major deals so travelers get on-board.

“Airfares are at historic lows,” travel expert Peter Greenberg says. "They're never going to get any lower than they are now.”

Low fares ,yet at the same time, Greenberg and others recommend travel insurance, and that means more money out of your pocket. Greenberg says there's no question that you'll need it.

“You have to have it,” he says.

But we wanted to know if you really have to have it. Greenberg says, since most people buy their tickets online, that’s where they also opt-in or out of insurance, so he says think carefully.

“You don't know what you're covered for and worse, you don't know what you're not covered for,” Greenberg says. “And so many people discovered that on page 95 on that website that you never got to, there was that clause that says 'oh, by the way, we don't cover for pandemic.' They essentially bought worthless insurance.”

We told you about COVID-19 insurance Wednesday night. It covers medical emergencies, quarantine benefits, trip cancellations and interruptions. Experts tell us it will cost about $175, and that's for an entire year of travel.

As for local pilot Tom Buettner, he's not an expert on travel insurance, but from his view in the cockpit looking back, people are taking to the skies in record numbers.

Buettner says there’s a reason for that.

“I think people are living their lives again,” he says. “They're concerned about covid but no longer scared.”

As always, you’re urged to read the fine print. All of it. Travel insurance companies have changed the language in their policies.

And remember, if the airline cancels your trip, the U.S. Department of Transportation makes the airline pay you back. But if you cancel the trip, essentially, you're out of luck.