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Consumer Reports finds that travel insurance is rarely needed

Posted Saturday, April 14, 2007

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CR May issue reveals most policies duplicate protection consumers already have

Yonkers, NY — In most cases, travelers would do better saving their money for souvenirs, rather than wasting it on travel insurance, says the May issue of Consumer Reports. Travel insurance often merely duplicates coverage that people already have.

CR recommends that travelers should think twice before purchasing products including trip cancellation/interruption insurance, personal effects or baggage coverage, emergency medical assistance, accidental death policies, and others.

“Many people don't realize it, but travel insurance often duplicates coverage they already have through their credit cards, homeowners insurance, life insurance and other policies,” said Greg Daugherty, Editor at Large at Consumer Reports. Daugherty said that one possible exception would be emergency medical coverage for travelers in poor health heading overseas, if their health insurance doesn’t cover them outside the U.S.

Credit cards sometimes provide coverage for accidental death, lost baggage and rental cars; and homeowners insurance often covers policyholders’ possessions outside the home and damage to luggage and cameras.

The article points out that consumers are likely to receive refunds even on canceled trips and events considered beyond an airline or other provider’s control, such as war or a natural disaster. In addition, airlines are required to reimburse travelers for lost bags.

If you do decide to purchase travel insurance, Consumer Reports recommends the following:

• Before you buy, check your homeowners and other policies to avoid any overlapping coverage. These policies may already provide adequate protection.
• Avoid purchasing policies through tour operators or cruise lines. If they go bankrupt, you could be out of luck. Instead, purchase through a third party insurer such as InsureMyTrip.com.
• Bear in mind that not all credit cards offer protection and that some are better than others. The American Express platinum card, for example, provides a hefty $500,000 in accidental death and dismemberment insurance.

The full report about travel insurance, in the May 2007 issue of Consumer Reports is available wherever magazines are sold. The report will also be available to subscribers of www.ConsumerReports.org.

 
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