Beware of Aggressive Insurance Pitches for Worthless Coverage

Consumer advocates are warning travelers to beware of “travel ‘protection’ insurance policies, which are often worthless to consumers.”

The National Consumers League did a study last year on trip-cancellation insurance. The group found that form of insurance is “aggressively marketed during the airline ticket-buying process.”

How aggressively? Quite frequently, there is one of those check boxes that is pre-clicked “for your convenience.” Consumers must actively decline the option (un-click the box) or they could unwittingly add the insurance to their tabs.

The study found that the exclusions — loopholes that relieve the insurance company from its obligation to pay — are also the most common reasons a consumer cancels a trip. Some examples: illness involving an existing medical condition, pregnancy or childbirth, termination of employment, date changes on a student’s test or a rescheduled business meeting.

Good advice: Never buy an insurance policy without checking and double-checking exclusions.

Another observation: Any company that tries to sneak into your shopping cart a worthless insurance policy probably has other tricks in store as well. It might be a good sign that it’s time to shop elsewhere.