7 On Your Side's tips to protect your trips with travel insurance

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Friday, July 15, 2022
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7 On Your Side's Nina Pineda has tips on how to protect your summer vacations with travel insurance.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- We are in the middle of heavy summer travel right now, and with so much uncertainty in the skies, more people than ever are turning to travel insurance.

"Big picture is you need it," travel consultant Janet Molenaro said.

Molenaro insured two trips recently, one group running with the bulls in Spain last week and the other a mom and daughter on a Sweet 16 trip to Disney World next month.

Why do they both need travel insurance?

"It does weather delay, travel delay, medical emergencies," Molenaro said. "If you are sick before you go on your trip, you cancel and get all your funds back."

How much it costs to cover your vacation depends on two factors: the cost of the trip and the age of the clients.

Generally, it's about 7% of your entire trip's price tag.

For example, to insure Jen Laner and her daughter Hannah's $3,500 birthday getaway to Orlando that included flights from Newark, hotel, and park tickets for Disney and Universal, they paid $240.

"God forbid they can't go," Molenaro said.

Travel insurance can protect the non-refundable portions of your vacation like tours, lodging, and cruises.

"You may sleep at JFK for a couple of days and you'll miss the boat, and you're out," Cook Travel owner Blake Fleetwood said. "Typically, the cruise line won't give you anything. If you're out, you're out."

7 On Your Side first interviewed Fleetwood on the Upper West Side in February of 2020, just weeks before the pandemic's worldwide spread. At that time, he did not recommend that expense of cancel-for-any-reason travel insurance.

"It is not a practical solution for most people," he said at the time.

Fast forward two years, and he's changed his tune given the current circumstances.

"You'll spend $600-$700, but it's worth it," he said. "I think it's worth it."

Now, very wary travelers would rather bite the bullet and spend 10% the cost of their trip instead of getting burned.

"Particularly if you're coming back from Europe or so, and you find that you have COVID and you have to stay another five to 10 days, that can be pricey," Fleetwood said. "Make sure your plan covers that."

The big takeaway is to go with a large well-known company, and always read the fine print and reviews to see how they stack up when reimbursing claims.

"If you are one of those people who is more nervous, then I recommend that cancel-at-any-time insurance," Molenaro said.

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