CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Last week, the Better Business Bureau told us how holiday travel scams had already accounted for more than $650,000 lost by travelers.
Today, Bobby Godwin, with Leisure Travel Alliance says travel insurance is similar to health insurance. It's protection from the unknown.
"Your medical insurance that you have here in the States is probably not going to cover medical in other countries," said Godwin.
COVID-19 protection is a major consideration when making travel plans. Godwin encourages awareness of rules, regulations, and restrictions where you're traveling to because they can change frequently.
"Do you need to test before you go? How many days before you go do you need it? Are vaccinations mandated or is it optional ?"
He offers these three tips when it comes to inquiring about travel insurance:
1. Get as much coverage as possible
2. What are rules, regulations, restrictions for COVID-19 where you're going?
3. What is the hotel/flight cancellation refund policy?
So Godwin suggests purchasing as much insurance as you can afford to protect yourself.
Make sure you thoroughly understand what the COVID-19 considerations are where you're going.
Make sure you thoroughly understand hotel, rental car, and airline cancellation policies.
Michael Grossman is director of sales for Starr Insurance, a global insurance company. He says another benefit to inquire about is pre-departure coverage.
"That would be your trip cancellation and that could be for COVID or non-COVID reasons. Be sure you understand that before purchasing the policy," said Grossman.
Grossman adds that there are also policies called Cancel for Any Reason.
"You have to purchase your policy within a certain amount of time, but it does allow you to cancel for fear of travel or any other reason."
How about going through third-party sites like Expedia, Orbitz, Travelocity, or another similar website?
Grossman says to make sure what you're actually getting.
"When you buy through one of those sites, that site is only aware of the actual purchase you made on that specific site. So this would affect both your trip and cancellations and some post departure benefits like trip interruption, where if you would've made other hotel arrangements or other expenses on your trip that website does not do that. So you would only be covered for what you bought on that website. Reach out to your insurance provider and make sure your coverage allows for all other refundable trip costs you may have."
Then there's something called Trip Delay.
"The Trip Delay benefit comes into play when say you're denied boarding on their return home because they've tested positive for COVID," Grossman said. "They now have to stay at their location for 10 days, or whatever it can be. So that Trip Delay benefit would provide relief for some of your costs for that."
So ask questions.
What are the policies for trip cancellation due to COVID-19? Protect yourself from the unknown.