This week's "Travel Tip" is buy travel insurance!
If this week taught us anything, it taught us just how important it is to protect yourself.
I considered making this tip about Thomas Cook specifically, but then I reflected on it and concluded it could happen with any business, not just Thomas Cook. In fact, Laura and I flew with Thomas Cook a few years ago. We have also flown with other low-cost carriers. Low-cost does not equal financially risky. However, the stronger the company, the more they tend to charge. So, Delta, American Airlines, etc, will likely be a safer bet, but not always. Again, it could happen to any of them.
Were there warning signs? Yes.
Are there signs from other companies that they're likely strong? Yes.
Can you know with 100% certainty either way? No, you can't.
So, what do you do? Never travel again? That's absurd. Clearly, you're not going to stop traveling because of irrational paranoia, especially when there are many solid suppliers out there.
However, a little "rational paranoia" is a healthy thing. Again, you need to protect yourself and the best way to do that is not to abstain, but to use protection! Protection comes in many forms, including educating yourself, hiring the right help (me!), and buying travel insurance.
Travel insurance is just like any other insurance. Of course, it seems like a waste of money until you need it. It's a risk/benefit thing. But, you don't drive around without car insurance and you don't try to pay those insane hospital bills without medical insurance, do you?
The risk of not being covered in those cases is clear. But, I'm sure you've traveled before and nothing went wrong. So, you're thinking, why do I need it? Well, I'm also sure that you've driven before and nothing went wrong. And, if you're young, you've probably never needed to use your health insurance. And yet, you still have those coverages because you know that the past does not equal the future.
Likewise, just because a situation like Thomas Cook happened, doesn't mean it will happen again. On the other hand, it absolutely could. Do you want to get caught without coverage if it does? I don't. So, add a line-item into each and every travel budget and just accept that it is what it is. It's the world we live in and burying your head in the sand won't help you if you're caught off guard.
One caveat: Insurance providers offer similar, but not the same coverage. I suggest Travel Insured International to my clients, but there are many strong insurers out there, including Allianz, Chubb, AIG, and others. These companies' offerings are all 80-90% the same, but it's that 10-20% difference that could make a 100% difference to you personally.
Note: In every case, your travel agent is not an insurance agent and we are not qualified to offer insurance advice - nor is it legal for us to in many states. Speak with your insurance agent. Know your benefits. Understand what you're covered for and what you're not. Also, ask if any of the suppliers you're using are not covered, especially in cases of bankruptcy.