SOURCE: US Travel Insurance Association

December 17, 2007 09:01 ET

Holiday Travel: 93% of Americans Believe Travel Problems Increase

NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwire - December 17, 2007) - With Christmas around the corner, a recent survey reveals that 93% of Americans believe travel-related problems and the risk of lost luggage increase during the peak holiday season. The survey, conducted for the US Travel Insurance Association, also revealed that one in four persons believes that the airlines will fully reimburse for travel-related problems.

Wrong, says Brad Finkle, UStiA president. "Many people mistakenly think that the airlines will reimburse for most travel-related problems. However, policies vary among carriers, and airlines are not required to reimburse for hotel and other expenses due to delays caused by bad weather or natural events," says Brad Finkle.

For example, the Christmas blizzard of 2006 closed Denver Airport for more than two days, affecting flights nationwide, points out Finkle. Stranded passengers slept in airport lounges, while others faced luggage delays of several days.

In these and other weather delays travel insurance will:

--  Reimburse for hotel stays
--  Locate hotel accommodations
--  Notify friends, family
--  Provide money for essential items
--  Help trace lost luggage

"If you have to stay overnight because severe weather closes the airport, travel insurance reimburses for hotel costs up to a set limit so you don't have to sleep in the airport. A 24-hour hotline offered with most travel insurance policies can help you locate a room and assist in notifying friends and family of your delay. Most comprehensive policies additionally provide a daily allowance up to a set limit to purchase essential items in case of delayed baggage. The assistance hotline also helps track lost baggage so travelers don't have the stress of phoning the airline daily."

Peace of mind

"Peace of mind is important, particularly over the holidays," observes Finkle. In fact, fully 60% of those surveyed -- or six out of every 10 -- believed that having travel insurance would give them peace of mind. According to Finkle, this figure correlates with a UStiA-commissioned survey in 2006 in which peace of mind ranked among the top reasons for purchasing travel insurance, along with protecting one's financial investment

The online survey of 1,000 adults was conducted by Synovate Research. For more information on UStiA and travel insurance visit

Editor Note: MSNBC's "Gut Check America" ( enumerates traveler airline problems.

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