Posts Tagged ‘customers’
Recently, The Weather Channel announced that as of the 2012-2013 season, it will begin naming winter storm systems. The new naming system they’ve outlined is very similar to the one most of us are already familiar with — the procedure by which tropical storms and hurricanes are named each year. Because that naming system has resulted in greater awareness and better tracking of summer storms, which translates to better preparation by concerned citizens, TWC has decided that naming winter storm systems in a similar fashion may yield public safety dividends as well.
It makes sense; after all, when a really big one hits, the public has a tendency to name things anyway (remember “Snowmageddon” and “Snowtober?”). And certainly, there’s an aspect of seriousness lent to a named storm. We’re all more likely to perk up and head out for provisions if we hear that “Blizzard Bartholomew” is headed our way, rather than “There’s a big band of snow on the radar.” Naming things, even weather events, makes them real.
Of course, naming winter storms will also make them “real” in the eyes of travel insurance companies. Far from being just an interesting new wrinkle in the forecasts for this year, the news about named winter storm systems is a significant development travelers need to understand. In the past, generally, snow has been…snow. But now, snow in any potentially concerning quantity will become a bona fide, named, and therefore “known peril.”
Those who are familiar with our many posts on the topic of hurricanes and other natural disasters know where this is going: A known peril is something which, in the eyes of your travel insurance company, could be foreseen before you bought your policy and is therefore not going to be covered. Our favorite analogy is that if there’s already water rising in your basement, it’s a bit too late to buy flood insurance. In the travel insurance industry, a named storm — whether summer OR winter, now — is like water in your basement.
Of course, the good news is that even though naming winter storms will surely put a more defined set of parameters around what’s covered under your travel insurance policy and what’s not, the truth is that the change likely won’t result in much of a noticeable difference to most travelers. As with hurricane season, we simply advise you to purchase your travel insurance as soon after you’ve booked your trip as possible, so that you’ll be eligible for coverage against the effects of any storms that are identified by The Weather Channel after you’ve bought your insurance. Also, it’s important to note that even if there is a named storm brewing before you’ve got your insurance, you can still buy a policy that will cover you for quite a number of other things; medical benefits, trip interruption and cancellation not related to the previously identified storm, baggage loss and delay, and other valuable coverages will still be available, as well as coverage for the effects of any ADDITIONAL winter storms that might be named between the time your insurance goes into effect and the time you depart for your trip.
The bottom line is that, while this change to the way we forecast and track winter storms is certainly notable for a number of reasons, it’s ultimately just a reminder to all the travelers and potential travelers out there who may be planning winter getaways that buying insurance to protect your trip is not something to put off until the last minute. A little advance preparation this winter could really save everyone a lot of hassle and headaches.
The topic of travel insurance seems to be a popular one these days. Hurricane season is entering its peak time, there have been labor disputes and some civil unrest around the world, and as always, people are wondering whether buying insurance for their travels is a good investment, or an unnecessary expense. Obviously, it’s pretty clear which side of that argument we come down on — travel insurance, after all, is what we do. So I thought today we’d share a few recent news items that talk about the subject of travel insurance and its relative value.
1. FOXBusiness tackles the subject of medical care overseas. The major takeaway here? Don’t assume anything when it comes to your health. Make sure to check with your medical insurance provider before you plan your trip, so you can find out how much — if at all — your benefits extend beyond U.S. soil. Travel insurance can supplement your regular insurance to make up any difference, or stand alone as medical coverage if your benefits are valid in the US only. Also, Medicare recipients, take note: Medicare does not provide any benefits at all if you’re traveling outside the country, so travel insurance is most certainly a good investment for you.
2. AARP talks about the importance of understanding exactly what you need and comparing plans to find the best fit for you. One of the great points they raise is that it’s generally a good idea to be sure your travel insurance policy will cover you in the case of an unexpected financial default by one of your travel suppliers — if , say, your cruise line suddenly goes belly-up, you’ll want to be able to recoup those losses. Insurance offered by the cruise line itself or as an add-on through booking sites, for example, often will not cover financial default. That’s one of the reasons it’s wise to buy your travel insurance from a third party like InsureMyTrip, as recommended by both AARP and Consumer Reports.
3. This video clip from ABC 7 highlights some of the key arguments on both sides of the travel insurance debate. I think the major takeaway here is that, regardless of what you decide to do about insuring your trip, this is definitely a time when you’ll need to be able to make an informed decision.