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How travel insurance can be valuable

THE FIVE

Plans typically cover such things as nonrefundable cruise deposits and airfares when weather, illness, natural disaster or terrorism cancel or delay trips.

October 28, 2012|By Scott J. Wilson, Los Angeles Times
  • You can buy travel insurance through a travel agent, the tour company that is running your trip, or by shopping online. Above, a visitor explores Poipu Beach on the Hawaiian island of Kauai.
You can buy travel insurance through a travel agent, the tour company that… (Hutch Axilrod )

If you're spending a lot of money on a trip, consider buying travel insurance to protect yourself against the unexpected. Key things to know:

• Typically, travel insurance reimburses you for such things as nonrefundable cruise deposits or airfares — and for the cost of rescheduling flights — when weather, illness, natural disaster or terrorism cause your trip to be canceled or delayed. Plans differ slightly from one another, so be sure to read the fine print.

• Some policies cover medical expenses incurred outside the United States, and may pay for emergency evacuation in case of a serious injury or health problem. Some providers will not cover pre-existing medical conditions.

• You can buy travel insurance through a travel agent, your tour company or sites such as InsureMyTrip.com, Squaremouth.com and QuoteWright.com. The cost typically is 4% to 8% of the trip's price. You may get a better rate if you buy a policy within 14 days of making the first deposit for your trip.

• If you want the option to back out of your trip and get your money back at any time, some carriers offer "cancel for any reason" coverage at an extra cost. The price is around 10% of the trip's cost.

• If you have a dispute with a travel insurance provider, contact the California Department of Insurance at (800) 927-4357 or at http://www.insurance.ca.gov. Consider also contacting your credit card company, or the hotel or tour operator, and asking for a refund.

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