Weigh your risks before you leave
by Dave Young, News2
DENVER (KWGN) - That dream vacation you're spending hundreds, if not thousands of dollars on can become a nightmare if something goes wrong.
David Rojahn, owner of DTR Travel Inc. said, "There are just so many things out of your control that can prevent you from traveling or cause you to come home early, or interrupt your trip."
Most big ticket travel items require up front payments and are non-refundable, or they have huge cancellation penalties.
And while some refunds are available in the event of hurricanes or earthquakes, the vast majority of trips are cancelled because of illness or accidents, and you won't get a refund for those.
"I started getting travel insurance," said Linda Bjelland a world traveler who recently had to cancel an elaborate trip.
It was planned months in advance, and she was forced to cancel because of an illness in her family.
"I thought, there is no way I can possibly take this trip," she said.
Because she'd spent a couple hundred bucks for insurance on a several thousand dollar trip, she was refunded most of what she was out.
But her advice is, "Keep every receipt, every credit card receipt, every email confirmation."
"For a family of five spending you know six, seven thousand bucks on vacation," it's worth it Rojahn said, referring to the relatively low price of insurance.
He disagrees with a recent Consumer Reports article which claims travel insurance is "unnecessary" because it says your regular insurance or credit cards will cover you.
"Will your health care provider cover you if you're outside the country? Most people don't even ask that question before they travel," said Rojahn.
He says if someone in your party has health issues, or you're traveling with elderly or children; insurance is a must especially for cancellations.
"It's definitely a good investment," said Linda.
Experts say anytime you face a penalty or loss bigger than you're willing to walk away from you should consider travel insurance because a good excuse simply won't get your money back.
"I tell my clients it's a waste of money if you don't need it, it's a godsend if you do," said Rojahn.
Like Linda, your best bet is to buy insurance from a third party supplier rather than the vendor for your trip.
Although it tends to be more expensive, you're better protected.
Copyright © 2007, KWGN
Staff member Dave Young can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org