How Travel Insurance Can Help Military Families
If there's one thing that is certain about military life, it's unpredictability. Leave can be canceled. Deployment schedules change. PCS orders can be revised even after your family has started the journey to your new duty station. Under these conditions, how can a military family plan a vacation that requires a deposit or nonrefundable payment?
Trip Cancellation/Cancel For Any Reason Insurance
In most situations, travel insurance can provide peace of mind for military families. Travel insurance policies are relatively inexpensive and can protect you against trip cancellation losses. However, you must read the fine print before you buy travel insurance to know whether you will be covered if your travel plans change due to PCS orders, deployment or revocation of leave.
Typically, travel insurance policies will cover trip cancellation for military members who are required to respond to a natural disaster, as well as for many other reasons, including illness, severe injury or an accident en route to the airport. Many types of travel delays are covered, too.
However, few policies will automatically cover trip cancellation for military families who must change their travel plans for other reasons, such as accelerated deployment schedules or leave cancellation. In these situations, Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) is your best bet. This coverage can, in most situations, allow you to recover at least 75% of your nonrefundable trip costs, regardless of your reason for canceling your trip.
Here's how it works. As soon as you pay a nonrefundable deposit or fare, purchase a Cancel For Any Reason travel insurance policy. You can do this through your insurance agent or through an online travel insurance company, such as AIG Travel Guard, or a travel insurance aggregator, such as Squaremouth.com or InsureMyTrip.com. Don't delay; most CFAR policies must be purchased within 14 days of your first payment for your trip. Document all nonrefundable trip costs. If you need to cancel your trip, you will need to submit that documentation to the insurance company, which will then send you a check for the covered portion of your nonrefundable trip costs.
What Does CFAR Coverage Include?
Before you buy a CFAR policy, read the policy certificate carefully so that you understand how much of your travel costs will be refunded to you if you have to cancel your trip. The typical CFAR policy will reimburse you approximately 75% of your nonrefundable travel costs, such as airline tickets and tour or cruise payments. Not all travel insurance policies include CFAR coverage, so you will definitely need to read the fine print before you buy.
Is CFAR Coverage Worth the Money?
For a short, inexpensive trip, CFAR coverage may not be worth buying, but for a longer journey, such as a cruise or escorted tour, this coverage could save you from losing thousands of dollars if your travel plans change due to command requirements.
Since many vacation options, including cruises, escorted tours and trips to visit family require nonrefundable, upfront payments that you must make well in advance of your travel dates, buying CFAR coverage often makes sense for military families.