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Before You Go

For Sunday, December 15, 2013

By McClatchy News Services


Travel insurance slammed as bad deal

After a nasty storm ripped up the East Coast on the busiest travel day of the year, you might think that buying travel insurance for holiday trips would be a no-brainer.

Not so much. The National Consumers League concluded recently that travel insurance is usually a bad deal because most policies are riddled with exceptions that allow insurance companies to reject claims.

Most insurance companies won't disclose their track record for paying out claims, making it nearly impossible to judge whether insurance is worth the money, the league points out.

"The unfortunate reality is that these protection policies bring in big bucks for the airlines each year but offer very little real value for customers," said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League.

The most common exceptions used by insurance companies to reject your payout are illnesses involving a pre-existing medical condition, pregnancy or childbirth, losing a job or having a business meeting canceled, according to the league. Some policies won't pay out even if your trip is canceled because of nuclear contamination or terrorist attacks.

The U.S. Travel Insurance Association disagreed with the consumer league's conclusion, saying policies that are rife with exceptions are usually less expensive than more comprehensive policies with fewer exceptions.

Car rental firms conserve water

Hertz and Enterprise, two of the world's largest car rental companies, have tried to win the hearts of environmentalists by renting out electric vehicles.

Now both companies are going even greener by launching car-washing systems that use less water to keep rentals looking new.

Hertz has begun to use a biodegradable spray solution wiped off with microfiber towels at 220 locations across the country. Hertz hopes to expand the program next year to all of its 3,700 locations in the U.S. and Europe, saving more than 130 million gallons of water annually.

Not to be outdone, Enterprise is expanding to its outlets in Hawaii and California a nontoxic washing system that is now used only in New York and Boston.


Hugo Martin, Los Angeles Times

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alohacharlie wrote:
When traveling to Europe every summer I would not go without travel insurance since Medicare does not cover me there. I always get a policy that covers almost everything and add an "umbrella rider" to double the limits on different items. Any medical emergency, especially one that necessitates evacuation back to the US, would be one that I could not afford without the travel insurance. I have and do read the fine print and mine does cover pre-existing conditions. The cost is a small part of my total trip budget.
on December 16,2013 | 11:41AM
rhs763 wrote:
Travel insurance is a rip-off. The State of Hawaii s/b investigating Global Alliance, Hawaiian Air's travel insurance firm. They should not be allowed to sell to residents when they have no intention of paying.
on December 18,2013 | 06:31PM
localguy wrote:
No reference link to your allegations against Global Alliance means your posting is pure shibai. Back up your claims.
on December 21,2013 | 10:07PM
localguy wrote:
Travel insurance for me was not a ripoff. It saved me $3,000. Taking an Alaskan cruise I booked through AAA Hawaii, I bought travel insurance from Allianz (Company link below) Insurance covered me from the day I left before the cruise started to days after it was over and I was still on vacation in Alaska. My travel companion fainted while at Queen Elizabeth Gardens in Vancouver BC. Worst part was he struck his head while falling, knocking him out. EMTs were called, transported him to Vancouver General Hospital. He spent about 24 hours in a small room in the ER, had multiple test to include two CAT scans before release. We made the cruise on time. Total hospital and EMT response bill came to $3,000. I filled out the claim forms, submitted all the required forms via email. Within 30 days I was fully reimbursed. No questions, no denials, no playing games with me. Others may have failed to follow the filing instructions, what ever. I will use Allianz travel insurance on any future trips. http://www.allianztravelinsurance.com/
on December 21,2013 | 10:06PM