Travel in the Time of Pandemics - Sound Insurance Advice

by Judy M. Zimmerman

In April, I was looking forward to a week-long stay at Rancho La Puerta in Tecate, Mexico, about a 90- minute ride from San Diego’s airport. During six previous visits I had realized why “The Ranch” has for so many years earned its reputation as “The World’s Best Health and Fitness Resort.”



But I was undecided about what sort of travel insurance to purchase. That was in January, before Covid-19 arrived. As it turned out, in March , “The Ranch” decided to temporarily close due to the Pandemic and offered either a full refund or later booking. So, now, I’m eagerly anticipating being there for Thanksgiving week.

This morning, Tauck Tours also cancelled May’s journey to the “Bluegrass and the Blue Ridge Mountains: Louisville to Nashville.” Since I had purchased their excellent $250 “Cancel for any Reason” policy, there were two options:

1)Refund the $250 Insurance plus receive a full refund for the tour and airfare

(for those who booked their airfare with Tauck) or

2) Apply the $250 cancellation insurance plus an additional $250 credit to re-book any

future Tauck tour

I chose to book the Blue Ridge Mountains in May 2021, when the springtime blossoms will once again be at their peak!

Fortunately, a good friend also chose “Cancel for any Reason” insurance for two Overseas Adventure Tours this year : a tour of Israel and a small ship cruise of the Baltic in July. When O.A.T. cancelled the Israel tour, her options were similar to Tauck’s policy. Although, at this time, O.A.T. has not cancelled the Baltic cruise, she chose to move her reservation to 2021 with no change fee. Thus, she was able to reserve the one cabin that had become available which waived the single supplement fee. Wise choice, I think!

Another friend hasn’t yet cancelled her flight to Greece in May, hoping that United Airlines will cancel it, putting her in a better bargaining position for a refund. Her annual travel insurance policy has an exception for “Epidemics,” so “unless one had ‘Cancel for Any Reason’, you are stuck!” she complains. Her two daughters are fighting with American Airlines and Aer Lingus over reimbursements for international and domestic flights they had each cancelled.

Then there’s yet another very complicated travel cancellation nightmare one couple is dealing with. Three months before the coronavirus situation became dire, they had planned an independent six-week trip through Europe with their son’s family of four, and were to depart San Francisco Airport on March 15. Because they had no trip cancellation coverage, they are still negotiating the cancellation of hotel rooms in London, flights with several airlines, seven Airbnb’s, British Rail and Eurostar tickets, and a rental car for France.

Personally, I’m not bothered very much about this year’s cancelled or postponed travel plans (with or without insurance ) in light of the long lines of persons waiting to claim their unemployment insurance!

Useful Travel Insurance Tips Now and in the Future

· www.insuremytrip.com – which represents more than 30 trip insurance companies.

Call the 800 telephone number on the home page.

· www.smartertravel.com –“18 Things Your Policy Won’t Cover”

plus all sorts of excellent travel tips