There is no time like the present to discuss travel insurance in light of the weather events you and your clients have had to deal with in recent years. As travel professionals, we know the value of offering travel insurance, yet clients often can be resistant. Typically, this happens because they assume their personal insurance covers them already, they’ve never experienced travel complications before, or they believe insurance is expensive.
Here are some common client objections and suggestions on how to handle them:
CLIENT: I don’t think I need travel insurance.
YOU: If an illness, accident, or sudden change in plans forces you to cancel or interrupt your trip, you face two major financial losses: (1) money you’ve invested in nonrefundable prepayments and (2) medical expenses that aren’t covered by your health insurance. That’s why more and more travelers are turning to insurance to protect their travel investment.
CLIENT: I’ve heard travel insurance is expensive.
YOU: The cost is based on the value of your trip. The more you have invested in your trip, the more you need to protect it. Travel insurance covers you for losses caused by trip cancellation and interruption, medical expenses, baggage loss, and trip and baggage delay. Insurance is a great value, considering all the protections you get.
CLIENT: I think my credit card and my medical insurance policy cover me while I’m traveling.
YOU: Read the fine print on your credit card and medical insurance policies. Many plans offer help but don’t cover expenses. There may be deductibles you’re required to pay before your policy applies.
CLIENT: I prefer a policy that covers only medical bills.
YOU: Travel insurance protects your total travel investment. Comprehensive coverage protects that investment for many potential situations, not just medical.
CLIENT: I don’t need most of those coverages; I am interested only in trip cancellation insurance.
YOU: The travel insurance policy is designed to cover you from the moment you make a deposit until the moment you return home. It provides protection for unforeseen events that actually happen to travelers.
CLIENT: Why are these programs more expensive than the one offered by my tour operator, and what are the differences between the programs?
YOU: Tour operators typically offer a cancellation protection waiver, which is much different than travel insurance. A protection waiver really doesn’t qualify as insurance. Instead, the cruise line or tour operator agrees to waive its own cancellation penalties if the client must cancel his or her trip for a covered reason These waivers may not cover cancellations within 24 to 72 hours of departure, and most don’t offer trip interruption benefits — meaning that if you have to return home during a cruise or vacation, you may not be covered. You also have no coverage if the tour operator or cruise line goes into bankruptcy or financial default. A more comprehensive travel insurance policy offers coverage for a wide range of accidents or incidents that may force you to cancel a trip. Some insurance companies provide coverage for any “unforeseen incident” that is not specifically excluded in the policy. This also is known as “cancel for any reason” insurance. Some policies provide extra care, such as concierge services in luxury travel. And there are policies available if you want to participate in higher-risk activities.
Remember that clients count on your expertise and industry knowledge. Offering travel insurance is another valuable service you can provide to enhance their overall experience.
To learn more about travel insurance, we recommend that you look at The Travel Institute’s Certified Travel Associate (CTA) programs.