Information About “Opt Out” Travel Insurance

Information About “Opt Out” Travel Insurance

Purchasing travel or trip insurance is often recommended, especially for expensive trips. Good travel insurance should cover everything from trip cancellation to medical evacuation to lost luggage.

Many booking sites also offer travel insurance. Purchasing this insurance might seem to be a convenient option, but it’s rarely the best insurance available. Most experts recommend that you purchase travel insurance separately from a specialist agency (if you are using a full service travel agency, rare these days, then you may find they are the best option for your trip insurance).

However, booking sites still include the option to purchase insurance. Until recently, many of these sites, including the major players, would offer “opt out” travel insurance. That meant that insurance (from their choice of provider) was included with your package unless you specifically checked or unchecked a box on the booking form. A lot of people would miss this and end up buying travel insurance they did not want or, in some cases, did not need.

When the Department of Transportation redid their rules to focus on full fare disclosure, they banned “opt out” provisions in any travel-related advertising. Since January 2012 it has been illegal for booking sites or other companies such as airlines to offer “opt out” insurance.

However, travelers should still be careful. Just because a practice is illegal does not mean people don’t do it. Also, if you are booking through an overseas provider, the rules may be different. It’s good practice to carefully go through all booking forms and make sure you aren’t being signed up for anything you don’t want, be it an email newsletter, extra baggage charges or trip insurance.

Insurance offered through booking sites might suit your needs – or it might not. In many cases, opt out insurance tricked travelers into spending more than they wanted for less coverage than they needed, or for the wrong coverage. Travel insurance should be carefully selected, taking into account destination, age, health, and what kind of activities you intend to take part in while on vacation. Checking a box for some kind of standardized coverage will not get you what you need.

If you find a US-based booking site is still opting you in to travel insurance, then remember – they are breaking the law. You might even want to consider taking your custom somewhere else.

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