Consumer Reports: Travel insurance

If you're planning a spring or summer get-away, you might want to consider travel insurance. In an uncertain world, with natural disasters, terrorist attacks or even personal injuries, cancelling a trip at the last minute could mean money out the window. Consumer Reports explains why it may make sense to take out insurance.

Paulette Mann and her family love to travel, but one ski trip was cancelled abruptly. Two weeks before departure, Paulette tore her knee and had to have surgery.

"The first thing I thought was: Oh my God, I have travel insurance!" she said.

Paulette had prepaid everything from airfare, hotel, ski lifts, rentals, excursions, plus 10-percent of the trip's cost to her insurance company.

"I think the insurance company probably paid back about 80 percent to 90 percent," she said.

Premium insurance policies like Paulette's are more expensive but allowed her to cancel for any reason and gave her the most flexibility.

"It's really important that consumers read the policy carefully so they understand exactly what is and isn't covered," said Consumer Reports Business Editor Margot Gilman.

Like when the policy offers a waiver for pre-existing medical conditions, provides healthcare coverage, or covers medical evacuations for more adventurous trips.

Do your research. Travel agents may have preferred relationships with only a couple of insurance providers.

Instead use comparison websites like and Each sells more than a hundred policies from a variety of companies. And stick to insurance that will cover potentially bigger losses. Just ask Paulette.

"It makes you feel like you're not at risk for losing a whole chunk of change. Absolutely gives you peace of mind," Paulette said.

You can also call the comparison websites like who can clearly explain coverage and determine exactly what you need. And don't forget - many credit card companies also offer travel insurance, so it's good to check with them, too.

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