This Spring — such as it is — appears to be starting off as one big “whoops” moment.
Groundhog: Whoops. Expected sunny skies: Whoops. Warm Spring Break hopes: Whoops.
And then there’s all that pesky cruising news: Whoops. Whoops. And Whoops again.
Not to mention, of course, sequester-related shortfalls and furloughs affecting the TSA, FAA, and air travelers at large: Whoops. We could go on, but you probably get the point by now. Travel, at least right now (and probably not really ever), is not a simple and predictable experience.
Many people who come to us are asking some version of the question, “Do I really need travel insurance?” We have lots of answers to that question — most of them involving multiple ways of saying “Probably” — but it seems as if there are moments in time that serve as their own answer. Travel moments such as this one are examples we can hold up to remind everyone of why this industry exists, and why travel insurance has become increasingly popular as people become more and more aware of the very real meaning of the term “unforeseen event.”
We don’t expect that very many travelers each year are going to fall victim to a splashy, media-worthy travel snafu, or that large numbers of the people who buy their insurance through us will end up needing big-ticket services like emergency medical evacuation. We don’t think very many of you will get caught up in volcanoes, tsunamis, earthquakes, cruise ship sinkings, terrorist attacks, or any of the other incredibly scary, but also incredibly rare, events that tend to come to mind when we contemplate all the things that could go wrong when we step away from home and the comfort of routine. But while travel insurance does provide some assistance that might prove useful in those horrific events, that’s not entirely what travel insurance was created for, nor what it does for the majority of travelers each and every day.
This stuff — this “whoops” stuff, this mostly inconvenient, non-disastrous, highly annoying, but not life-threatening stuff — is the real reason we sell travel insurance. When rodents wrongly predict the weather, and serious snow tangles travel well after the first day of Spring, that’s what travel insurance is for. When cruises get cancelled and people have to change their plans unexpectedly, that’s what travel insurance is for. When security slows down and flights get delayed, that’s what travel insurance is for. This everyday, travel-headache, wish-I-could-fix-it, just-want-to-get-there-already kind of stuff.
Yes, there are important benefits for the scary things like medical evacuation, and comforting benefits for the hard things like working around a pre-existing medical condition. There are even Accidental Death and Dismemberment benefits to help you care for your loved ones if, by some awful twist of fate, you don’t make it home. But in travel insurance, as in life, it’s often the little things that make a difference, and this moment in travel is about the little things.
Travel insurance, at this moment in travel, is about getting you there and getting you home. It’s about helping you to rebook a cancelled flight, getting you reimbursed for non-refundable expenses you paid for a trip that fell apart, and making you more comfortable while you’re waiting at the airport for the next way out. It’s about making sure that lost or delayed luggage doesn’t ruin that special event you’d packed for, and that a missed connection doesn’t have to mean an entire missed opportunity. Travel insurance, at times like this one, is really for your comfort and your peace of mind as much as it may be for your safety and security. It’s there to turn the “whoops” moment around and respond with, “That’s okay.”
It may be too late, right now, to buy insurance for the current snowstorm or the latest cruise snafu, but it’s not too late to start thinking about insuring your next trip. You never know when the “whoops” moments will come, and being prepared is the best way to relieve that worry altogether.