Since mid-April the volcanic eruption in Iceland has dominated the travel news as passengers became stranded across the globe. For those with travel plans within or to Europe, all they could do was wait and see if they would be able to fly to their destination. Many travelers were stranded for days.
Unlike some other natural disasters, there was no advance warning that an ash cloud would develop and blow over the UK. Because of that, travelers were caught off guard and unable to make alternate plans. This is the perfect example of "the unexpected".
Along with unexpected events, come unexpected expenses. In the case of the flight groundings due to the ash cloud, passengers were forced to stay at their current location and in many cases incur expenses for lodging, meals, local transportation, phone calls, and other unanticipated expenses. We heard stories of passengers running out of money because they had already exhausted their vacation budgets.
For those that were just beginning their vacation, it would be cut short at the very least. In other cases, they were able to join the vacation in progress if alternate transportation could be obtained at a premium price. In still other cases, the vacation wouldn't occur at all. All of these situations have a financial impact. For the uninsured traveler, they had to bear the burden of costs completely alone.
The flight groundings had a ripple affect. Cruise passengers were unable to get to the embarkation ports and those returning from cruises were unable to return home. The cruise lines and airlines worked hard to try to assist travelers. Their hands were tied by regulations that prevented flights from departing.
A logistical nightmare had unfolded on a scale not seen since the grounding of flights after the 911 attacks. The unsung heroes were customer service agents who were working with affected travelers providing assistance. These included the agents manning the phones of the various travel insurance providers.
If you were to ask one of the stranded passengers that had travel insurance if they felt the premium was worth paying, I'd bet they would say that just the ability to get assistance during this crisis was worth the cost alone. Of course, the real benefit is reimbursement for the unexpected expenses up to and including the trip cost.
For the uninsured traveler, they not only have a lost vacation, but they very well might not be able to reschedule the trip since they no longer have the funds that they had saved for the trip (due to the extra unplanned expenses).
Those that read my blog on a regular basis know that I always encourage the purchase of travel insurance. I have had personal experience with needing to interrupt a cruise and fortunately had travel insurance. We've also been on many cruises where passengers were evacuated to obtain additional medical attention. The cost of medical transportation can be thousands of dollars.
Read more about Travel Insurance and the coverages provided.
I'll leave you with these parting thoughts .... Always purchase Travel Insurance and Purchase the Insurance Policy at the Same Time as Booking Your Trip.
The reason for the last statement is that effective dates of the policy determine if an event is covered. Once an event has been declared, policies purchased after that date are not covered until a new event were to occur. Again, the ash cloud is the perfect example of how this clause could impact your coverage.
For peace of mind and so that you can truly relax and enjoy your vacation, budget for travel insurance when saving for your vacation.