I’ve written about trip insurance in the past, but in light of our recent vacation, I decided to write an update. If you are like me, you have probably rarely bought trip insurance. My motto has always been, if something happens and we can’t go, I’ll just eat the cost. However, when we’ve gone on expensive trips, like cruises, I definitely buy insurance.
Prior to Covid we would have maybe one guest cancel a booking a year (between all four condos). Since Covid that number has increased substantially. For some the world has become a lot more uncertain, worries about Covid and other illnesses are definitely on people’s minds. Others are choosing to be more flexible with their travel arrangements, willing to change plans for different reasons.
If you’ve read the cancellation policy in your rental agreement, you will notice that our bookings are non-refundable. You will also see the following phrase: ‘We strongly recommend purchasing trip insurance’. What does this mean?
When you travel, some portions of your trip are prepaid, such as the vacation rental, flights, some activities, the car rental. Typically those are the biggest expenses of the trip. Some will allow you to cancel and/or reschedule with limited penalties. Unfortunately, we are not able to do that. Many of our guests plan and book their trips well in advance. When dates in a condo’s schedule are blocked, others book their trips around those blocked dates. When we then have a cancellation, we are often left with awkward schedule gaps that can be difficult to fill.
We say non-refundable, however, if we are able to rebook your canceled nights, we let you know and issue you a prorated refund, based on how many nights we book and at what rate.
Ok, so how does trip insurance work?
There are different types of trip insurance that reimburse you for prepaid expenses, give additional medical coverage, cover your rental car etc. From what I have found, the most comprehensive coverage you can get is a Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) policy. Read through the fine print before purchasing any policy to know exactly what is covered. It definitely varies.
The world of insurance can be a complicated one. There are however aggregators that compare insurance policies and then direct you to the ones best suited for your needs. In the US two such aggregators are InsureMyTrip and Squaremouth.
My personal experience
I know you’re wondering…. where do you go on vacation when you live on Maui? Besides the obligatory trips to visit family? This year we went on a Mediterranean cruise. Sig has been plotting this for years and we were able to go with our graduating senior and youngest. It was a really special family time. We had paid our deposit on the cruise in fall 2022. The balance was due in February and that is typically the latest you want to purchase your policy. If you buy the policy too close to your travel dates, there can be limitations to your coverage.
We could have bought the policy through the cruise operator, but since we were spending additional time before and after the cruise, we wanted to make sure we were covered for that also. Personally, I researched various options through Insuremytrip. You tell them the ages of the people traveling, where you’re going and how much you’re spending. It then gives you multiple options and you can compare the coverage of the various policies side-by-side. Finally, it sends you to book directly with whichever company you choose.
What does this trip insurance need to cover?
Back to your Maui trip. You want your insurance to cover problems on your end, such as
- sickness or injury
- death in family
- unwelcome changes to Covid restrictions
- weather problems
- airline delays etc
If our condos become unavailable for/during your stay, we will issue a pro-rated refund for your stay. These would typically be disastrous things, such as fire, flooding, or delays in a contractor’s renovation schedule (no current plans). When one of our condos had a flood, we helped our guests find alternative accommodation and issued a refund. On a side note, we do not give refunds for appliance failure, wifi/cable outage etc. If it is something we can control, we will do our best to correct the problem. For example, we have brought in a bar fridge and coolers when a fridge decided to fail short notice.
What if you need to use the trip insurance?
No problem, just send me a note in writing that you need to cancel your trip. I will send you a confirmation canceling the booking. Please let me know if you need a written letter for the insurance confirming that your payment was non-refundable.
We always hope that our vacations will go according to plan, but it is good to have insurance in case they do not.