Gephardt Busts Inflation: Ways to save on the rising cost of insuring travel plans

Jan 19, 2023, 10:04 PM | Updated: 10:38 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — From severe weather to industry staffing shortages and from systemwide FAA glitches to the Great Southwest Airlines meltdown that stranded thousands, winter travel has been rough. And the cost to insure our trips against such calamities is rising as the cost of travel rises. Flight prices alone, are 29% higher than they were this time last year according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The airline canceled Mike Vail’s return flight out of Salt Lake International Airport, leaving him scrambling to find some way home.

“There’s simply no other flights,” he told KSL. “Every other flight was canceled or full already.”

By law, the airline doesn’t have to feed him, put him up in a hotel, or compensate him for anything besides the airfare. This is where travel insurance can shine.

“As prices go up, you stand to lose more,” Meghan Walch of InsureMyTrip.com said. While the insurance costs have gone higher, you can still save money.

“You want to insure the full prepaid non-refundable cost of your trip,” she said.

If you can get a full refund from the hotel if you had to cancel or for the rental car – no need to cover those and over-insure yourself. But for airfare or cruise tickets that are non-refundable, or say a prepaid excursion during trip – cover those.

“If you had to cancel, say the day before, or even the day of, what is the amount that you would stand to lose and that’s what you want to insure,” Walch explained.

COVID made “Cancel for any Reason” popular, but it’ll cost you 40% to 50% more than a standard policy according to a NerdWallet analysis. And you can only expect to get 50% to 75% of your costs reimbursed. But you may not need its costlier flexibility, as many travel insurance policies now cover COVID – though it’ll take some extra steps.

“There would have to be some kind of a physician or a doctor statement saying that you have tests positive that you’re sick and that you can’t travel,” Walch said.

And before buying a policy, shop around with different providers and third-party comparison websites such as InsureMyTrip and Squaremouth so you can compare costs and coverage.

“If you know you only need a small amount of coverage, you may be able to look at a less expensive plan versus something that offers a very high limit.”

You might already have a travel insurance policy in your wallet. Many credit cards offer trip coverage, so long you used them to buy the airfare, hotel, and other parts of your trip with. And some memberships, like AAA, offer trip insurance.

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Gephardt Busts Inflation: Ways to save on the rising cost of insuring travel plans