Is It Worth It to 'Protect Your Trip'?

by Erin Wallace
man enjoying sitting at the beach on vacation

Ahhh, the sunny skies and clear blue waters of Puerto Rico are calling as you browse flights and hotels on the first travel website that popped up as a Google result. You find options within your budget — even splurging for the bigger bed and ocean view —but right before you click “Book It,” you notice fine print about trip protection. “Are you sure?” it asks, insisting that trip protection is a smart idea. “Your trip is not protected,” warns the site, usually in bright red letters.

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What is trip protection, anyway? Is the travel website trying to squeeze more money out of your wallet, or is it smart to add this protection on?

What Is Trip Protection?

Trip protection, or travel protection as it’s sometimes called, is offered by travel providers or agencies and protects you, in case you decide to cancel your trip last minute. It may offer a full or partial refund if you need to cancel or rebook your vacation.

For example, suppose you book that vacation to Puerto Rico, but a few days before you’re supposed to leave, you’re in bed with the flu and can’t travel. In that case, if you purchased travel protection with your trip, your cancellation fee might be waived or you might receive a partial or complete refund for the cost of the trip. Terms of travel protection vary by travel agency or provider.

Trip protection can also offer some benefits in case of missed flight connections due to delays. This type of travel protection may reimburse you for expenses incurred during the delay, such as a hotel stay or meals.

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How Much Does Trip Protection Cost?

The cost of trip protection varies by travel provider or travel agency. It’s typically less than the cost of travel insurance, which is a different product. Be sure to read the fine print from your travel provider carefully, because many companies use the terms “travel insurance” and “trip/travel protection” interchangeably, but they aren't always the same.

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What's the Difference Between Trip Protection and Trip Insurance?

As mentioned above, depending on the airline, travel agency or travel provider you’re dealing with (like Expedia, Kayak or Travelocity), it may use the terms “travel insurance” and “trip/travel protection” as synonyms, but they aren’t the same.

Travel insurance, or trip insurance, is a regulated product, and it covers losses you might face while traveling. These might include lost luggage, flight delays, rental car damage, medical expenses and trip cancellation. According to Forbes, a typical travel insurance policy costs between 5% and 7% of the total cost of your trip.

Travel insurance also covers things like medical emergencies, injuries and unexpected illnesses. But if you already have medical insurance, a true travel insurance policy may not be necessary.

To make things even more confusing, some cruise lines bundle trip protection (remember, it basically focuses on cancellation fees) with a traditional travel insurance product. Other companies offer things like medical evacuation coverage and put it under a “travel protection” umbrella — this is obviously quite different than just cancellation fee coverage.

The key takeaway from all this is to read the fine print. Find out what the “trip protection” plan you’re considering actually covers, and make sure you find out exactly what criteria will be used to determine whether you’ll receive a refund after a cancellation. Sometimes, something simple and common like illness isn’t included in a policy that covers rarer things like the government restricting travel to a region.

Elocal Editorial Content is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Editorial Content should not be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed professional in your state reviewing your issue. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the eLocal Editorial Team and other third-party content providers do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of eLocal or its affiliate companies. Use of eLocal Editorial Content is subject to the

Website Terms and Conditions.

The eLocal Editorial Team operates independently of eLocal USA's marketing and sales decisions.

Elocal Editorial Content is for educational and entertainment purposes only. Editorial Content should not be used as a substitute for advice from a licensed professional in your state reviewing your issue. The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the eLocal Editorial Team and other third-party content providers do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of eLocal or its affiliate companies. Use of eLocal Editorial Content is subject to the

Website Terms and Conditions.

The eLocal Editorial Team operates independently of eLocal USA's marketing and sales decisions.

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