Just When You Don't Need It, You Might Need It.

Let's face it, no one really wants to spend additional money on a travel protection policy, after they've just ponied up a significant amount of their savings to book their big summer vacation. After all, it seems so unlikely that they'll need to make a claim; their plans are fairly simple, and they're not planning to be hanging off a cliff somewhere thousands of miles away.

If that's your take on adding trip insurance to your booking, one recent client story may change your mind.

Last winter, a client on the east coast booked a luxury cruise sailing mid-summer from Vancouver, British Columbia to California. The components of the trip were few and simple: flights from BWI to Vancouver, a hotel stay prior to boarding the ship, and flights from San Francisco back to Maryland. At our suggestion, they even added an extra day in Vancouver to account for any issues that might arise and to take in a little sightseeing.

Easy enough.

Except, their initial flight out of BWI was canceled, due to a storms in the area. The airline put them on a later flight to ORD, and put them up at a hotel for the night. Okay so far... they'd built in that extra day into their trip.

However, an equipment issue the following morning caused their new connecting flight to Vancouver to be canceled. With few other ORD-TVR flights to choose from, they did their best O.J. Simpson, raced through O'Hare to another terminal, purchased the fare, and boarded the flight. But delays with that flight prevented them from meeting the ship in time.

Flight delays and cancellations happen all the time, and the process for recouping your money or getting satisfaction is fairly commonplace. But for this couple, the cruise line was under no obligation to credit their purchase; it had no liability associated with their inability to make it to the ship on time. And the cost of the cruise alone was over $20,000.

Fortunately for this couple, they had purchased trip insurance; their claim was handled quickly, their money was credited to them promptly, and they made plans for another vacation soon thereafter.

Trip protection policies are based on the cost of all components of the vacation (air, hotel, rental car, transfers, etc.), and cover you if events beyond your control - medical issues, a job loss, trip interruptions, etc. - prevent you from completing your trip.

Travelers seldom need to make claims related to issues arising before or during vacation travel, but these policies typically add very little to the total cost of the trip, and can mean the difference between being made whole and losing most, if not all, of your investment.

Easy enough.