A Hawaii vacation is a big investment in most cases. It’s a vacation of a lifetime for most people. A frequently asked question is whether or not to purchase travel insurance for the trip.
In general, it’s really a good idea to get some sort of protection in case something goes wrong or plans change. But before you do, you should know what kind of restrictions and cancellation penalties exist in the different elements of your package. For example, if you purchase bulk airfare (pre-purchased airfare from a supplier like us), there may be a cancellation penalty you can pay and not lose all of your money. On the other hand, if you purchase published airfare (airfare purchased from directly from an airline or online provider such as Travelocity or Orbitz) it often is completely non-refundable. Therefore, knowing the actual terms and conditions can help you to make the right decision. A good travel agent will always go over all options and the restrictions before you purchase your trip.
Travel insurance can include some or all of the following elements, cancellation, baggage or personal affects coverage, emergency medical coverage and accidental death. The price will be determined by the cost of the trip and the age of the traveler. I’m a travel agent and not an insurance agent so I always assess the needs of my clients by going over the basic options and then refer my customers to outside travel insurance professionals who specialize in travel insurance coverage.
Another popular way to protect your trip is to use a cancellation waiver. Waivers are not insurance and are only offered by wholesalers and suppliers who work with travel agents. This kind of waiver is less expensive than insurance but only applies to changes or cancellations before you travel. Waivers are less expensive than travel insurance and also allow you cancel for any reason before you travel. The only drawback with a waiver is that it doesn’t cover things like baggage loss or damage or for anything that happens during your trip, which is less likely to happen.
This may sound a little self-promoting but I really believe that using a travel agent to book your Hawaii vacation is also a form of protection. In the case of our agency we always step up and go the extra mile when unforeseen issues come up. For example, if your plane is delayed, we’re right here in Hawaii and can help reschedule your flight and find a hotel room if necessary.
I can say from experience that 98% of our bookings go off without a hitch; nevertheless it does make sense to understand what your risks are and what your plan is in case you become one of the unfortunate folks who have an unforeseen problem.
Posted by: Bruce Fisher on May 29, 2009