You may have seen insurance companies offering policies that let you cancel at any time for any reason. It can be a great backup in these uncertain times, but as always, read the fine print.
These types of policies have gotten more popular due to the economic downturn.
If you’re not sure you’ll be employed in two months, it can be worth a few extra dollars if you have to cancel at the last minute.
Travel Safe has a plan that allows travelers to cancel up to two days prior to departure, for any reason. But the amount refunded depends on the penalty assessed by your trip or tour provider.
The same plan also promises that travelers are covered if they cancel out of fear of contracting swine flu.
Access America has a plan that offers 100 percent cash back if a trip is canceled due to illness, job loss, or if your travel provider declares bankruptcy.
But there are exclusions on when it can be used, and restrictions on when it can be purchased.
For example, the policy has to be purchased before a hurricane becomes a “foreseeable event” — which in the case of a hurricane is normally considered to be whenever it becomes a named tropical storm (this is usually a few days before it becomes an actual hurricane).
Other exclusions include war, epidemics, pollution (think oil spills), unlawful acts, and prohibition on travel by the government.
It’s not that you need to avoid these plans—in fact, comprehensive coverage can really save the day.
But don’t get fooled by the language. Always ask questions and read the fine print.
For more information, visit our Travel Insurance section.