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Letters to the Travel editor

San Fernando Valley restaurants, travel insurance criticized, Hawaii remembered.

May 01, 2011

As a 71-year resident of the Valley, I thought I would mention two of my favorite eating places that Chris Reynolds' article, "Valley Visions" [April 24], did not include: Art's Deli in Studio City and Brent's Deli in Northridge.

Hilda Fogelson

Studio City

A critique of travel insurance

The Travel section published a letter on April 10 from Richard Snyder praising the value of travel insurance, and a similar letter from Harriet Ottaviano appeared in the April 24 paper. Both writers had cancel-for-any-reason coverage, the most expensive kind of travel insurance.

I'd like to offer an opposing view.

First, out of the total group of people who buy any form of insurance, there will always be a few who, in a perverse way, "get lucky": the person who buys a million-dollar life insurance policy and gets struck by lightning or has a heart attack two days later. For these people, like Snyder and Ottaviano, buying the insurance was a smart move, but that ignores all the others who paid the premium and never had to collect.

Second, the concept behind insurance is to protect people from large, unexpected losses such as having one's home burn down or the family' s breadwinner die prematurely. This is not the type of expense that travel insurance — specifically the trip cancellation coverage most people associate with the term travel insurance — covers. Anyone who has booked a trip obviously can afford it. If in the end the person can't take the trip, that's a bummer, but from a financial standpoint they are out no more than they were before they had to cancel. The money is already spent. For this reason, medical expense and medical evacuation coverage does make sense; not only is the premium low (usually less than $100), but medical expenses and evacuation can easily cost thousands, if not tens of thousands, of dollars.

Furthermore, Consumer Reports agrees that travel insurance is generally not a wise purchase (www.consumerreports.org/cro/money/insurance/travel-insurance-5-07/overview/0507_travel_ov.htm).

Ed Schoch

Westchester

Vivid portraits of Hawaii's glory

I so enjoyed reading the pair of articles by Ken Van Vechten ["A Tropical Grand Canyon and More," "Snuba, the Best of Both Water Worlds," April 17]. What a vivid verbal portrait he drew for the reader — such delightful descriptions: "as we gape and guess at all the chlorophyllery," "cool bubbles floating upward — the vast numbers of which indicate I need to slow my gaspiration rate," "What with the neoprene and being zaftig, I was a touch too buoyant."

What a fun way to begin a Sunday morning — and remember the vibrant beauty of the Hawaiian Islands. Thanks to Ken (and faithful Terri) for the wonderful trip down memory lane.

Patti Young

Poway

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