Monday, June 29, 2009

Travel Protection Insurance - What a Scam...

It's summer and many of us are planning trips and vacations. As we are making our plans, and trying to find the best possible deals on those vacations, some of us may be tempted to purchase travel protection insurance. Such insurance is supposed to refund the cost of travel if you are unable to go on your vacation for a reason which is covered by the plan. Before you are tempted to purchase such insurance, check out this article in the NY Times describing one couple's experience in trying to claim the supposed benefit offered by their travel protection plan. Here is a brief excerpt:
"All told, my parents paid Vantage $9,688 for the trip and an additional $978 for the travel protection. One month before the planned departure, my father suffered a heart attack. My mother canceled the trip and requested a refund.

However, Vantage Travel responded by sending my parents vouchers for credit for future travel with Vantage. Apparently, in one of the many mailings there was fine print indicating that the “refund” would be in the form of credit."
I think that there are two issues here. First, the specific case being discussed in the article is borderline fraud - in fact, as described in the article the company was making an effort to mislead its customers without actually going on the record with anything that customers could use to sue them. The second issue is the value of travel protection. Even if it worked exactly as expected, why buy insurance for something which is not critical? In addition, the couple in the article paid an extra 10% of the total cost of the trip to cover the travel protection... that's simply preposterous in my opinion.

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