LA Times, June 9th 2014 – When travel insurance that’s beyond the standard policy makes sense

Published by June 9, 2014

To get reimbursed, the reason for your cancellation must be a “covered reason,” said Megan Singh of Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison site. Worrying about a disease isn’t usually one of those.

If you decide you don’t want to go, you’re stuck for the cost of the trip, Singh said. “Not wanting to go is never going to be a covered reason,” she said about most insurance. “Make sure that concern is listed.”

Also make sure to read the list of policy exclusions. Like the insurance you buy to protect an airline ticket, these broader policies — which may cover accommodations, for instance — may hold some surprises about what is excluded. Pregnancy, for instance, is often listed as a “we’re-not-paying” reason. Getting arrested as a reason to cancel a trip also may not be covered, although if you are arrested, presumably you have bigger troubles than just trip insurance.

The one bright spot in the insurance issue is this: There is cancel-for-any-reason insurance, which covers cold feet, fight with spouse, death of pet — really, just about anything. It is what it says it is: You can cancel for any reason, and it’s a good thing to have if the reason is one that’s not covered by standard insurance.

There are two downsides to this insurance: It’s more expensive than a standard policy, and you don’t get back the full amount.

I looked at a couple of policies for a family vacation we’re taking this year. My search through Squaremouth — it’s an insurance aggregator that offers a variety of policies that you can compare — turned up 41 policies that ranged from $497 to $1,215. Some of those policies covered job loss and rental car damage, for instance; others did not.

Of the initial batch of policies, 15 included cancel-for-any-reason coverage. These cost $517 to $1,215. One of the differences in the price is the time frame of the purchase. For the least expensive, I needed to buy within seven days of the initial payment; with the most expensive, I had 30 days. There are other differences too, and you’ll need to study each one to see how those fit (or don’t) into your needs. SquareMouth offers filters on its website so you can include what’s important to you.

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