SOURCE: US Travel Insurance Association

December 04, 2006 07:30 ET

Away for the Holidays? Don't Forget Travel Insurance

US Travel Insurance Association Advises Families to Protect From the Unforeseen

NEW YORK, NY -- (MARKET WIRE) -- December 4, 2006 -- If you're flying this holiday season, travel insurance is a "must-have," says the US Travel Insurance Association.

The risk of unforeseen circumstances can set the best-laid plans off course, and worse, may cause you to lose all or part of your vacation payments. Here are five examples of how travel insurance can come to the rescue.

Family Fevers

--  Your plane tickets and hotel reservations are paid for, and you have
    to cancel because your child is sick.
    
Travel insurance policies generally cover trip cancellation or interruption due to illness of an immediate family member, in case a member of your family becomes ill while traveling, or if an immediate relative back home takes ill or has an accident and forces you to return home early.

Wreck the Walls -- Home Disasters

--  You have to cancel your trip or return early because your Christmas
    tree caught on fire and your home is uninhabitable due to smoke damage.
    
If your home is made uninhabitable due to a catastrophe such as fire or flooding, travel insurance can help salvage your nonrefundable vacation costs. According to the National Fire Protection Association, every year, more than 300 fires from Christmas trees cause property damage and injuries. Some travel insurance policies will reimburse for trip cancellation or early return home because your home is uninhabitable due to a catastrophe such as fire or flooding.

Illness on Vacation

--  You're on a family holiday in the Caribbean, and dad suffers a surfing
    accident.  He needs to be transported to a hospital in Miami with
    specialists.
    
Many health insurance plans have limited coverage if you are out of network or more than 100 miles away from home. Travel insurance can fill the gap between what your health insurance covers and the actual costs of your medical care. Also, medical evacuation -- which can run into hundreds of thousands of dollars -- is typically not covered in standard health insurance policies.

Bye, Bye, Baggage

--  You land in Atlanta but your baggage goes to Alaska. You have nothing
    to wear to the annual family Christmas dinner.
    
Most travel insurance policies will pay up to a fixed daily amount for replacement items needed due to baggage delays exceeding a certain period.

Bad Weather Blues

--  Because of a winter storm your return flight is grounded, and you must
    stay overnight. You can't get home, and you have no hotel reservation.
    
If your flight is canceled due to weather conditions, airlines are not required by law to provide you with accommodations. Travel insurance's 24-hour assistance lines and trip delay coverage will help you get a hotel room, reimburse you up to a set amount for expenses while delayed, and help reschedule or rebook your flight.

For more information visit www.ustravelinsurance.org.