“Layoff insurance” is a hot new buzzword in this economy. But as Chris Harvey, CEO of Squaremouth, America’s fastest growing comparison web site for travel insurance, pointed out in a recent open letter to customers, in the past sorting out exactly what travelers are entitled to claim has been confusing to say the least.
“If travelers didn’t know the ins and outs of ‘layoff insurance’,” he warned, “they could wind up paying extra for coverage that was already included in standard policies.”
Some trip cancellation insurance covers against job loss, but requires policy holders to work for several years, usually as a full-time employee, to qualify for a refund. And as illogical as it seems, ‘Cancel For Work Reasons’ coverage sold as an optional extra never used to cover layoffs (just items like sudden company merger announcements or natural disasters that had them rushing home to deal with work issues).
Since Squaremouth’s article on layoff insurance was published this February, some of the leading travel insurers have made key improvements to their layoff insurance benefit to ensure there is a greater chance that the cost of a canceled trip can be recovered if travelers lose their job.
“Better layoff insurance is something Americans navigating the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression have been asking us for,” said the CEO. “So we’re very encouraged by how quickly insurers are responding with improvements to their products.”
These insurance carriers have improved the benefits of this important aspect of travel insurance:
Travel Insured International:
As of March, Travel Insured International says it’s become the first to add “one year job loss” as a feature in its optional “Cancel for Work Reasons” benefit. The standard trip cancellation benefit continues to cover job loss after three continuous years with the same employer.
As of March 27, Travelex announced “enhanced protection” against employment termination or layoff. The company now offers coverage for job loss after only one year of continuous employment, a benefit that applies to all policies with a departure date between March 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009. Prior to this announcement, Travelex covered job loss only after three continuous years of employment.
As of March 23, Travel Guard added a benefit for “involuntary termination or layoff” to its four core products (Basic, Silver, Gold and Platinum). These products now include trip cancellation coverage due to involuntary termination or layoff. The enhanced coverage requires only one year of continuous employment with the same employer, and doesn’t impose any limitations on departure date. Previously, Travel Guard’s Essential Basic, Essential Expanded Silver and Protect Assist Gold didn’t offer a job loss benefit, while its Cruise Tour & Travel Platinum used to require five continuous years with the same employer.
MH Ross recently updated their employer termination or layoff provisions to cover you after one consecutive year of employment, instead of three, if you lose your job through no fault of your own.
To compare “layoff insurance” policies and get updated information for all the major insurers, head to squaremouth.com. And remember to check the fine print of your policy for any conditions or exclusions that apply. Layoff insurance protects you from financial loss for a cancelled vacation as a result of an unforeseen layoff or termination; if you resign, are fired with cause, or accept a buy out with benefits, you probably aren’t covered.
To protect travelers for any eventuality, they may consider paying extra for a “cancel for any reason” benefit — though they will typically pay about 40 percent more for this and get less than 100 percent of your trip cost back.
Squaremouth is America’s fastest growing travel insurance comparison site, helping customers instantly quote, compare and buy policies from every major carrier. Squaremouth has web sites in the US and UK, and an extensive network of partner sites worldwide. The company is headquartered in St Pete Beach, FL., with offices in Fort Wayne, IN. Visit Squaremouth.com or Squaremouth.co.uk.
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