Home misfortunes. Many TCI policies cover you against a wide range of unavoidable and unexpected mishaps at home that might require you to cancel or interrupt a trip. Among them: Your house is "made uninhabitable" by fire, flood, or other disaster; you're called to jury duty or a court appearance; or you miss a flight through some accident on the way to the airport.
Destination disasters. TCI can also cover you against a long list of unexpected problems at your destination (or in any area through which you plan to pass). Among those: Your plane is hijacked; your intended destination is hit by a natural disaster such as earthquake, fire, or flood; your destination is quarantined because of a contagious disease; an unannounced strike halts air travel; or there's an outbreak of terrorism at your destination.
TCI Payoffs In general, TCI payments are designed to make good to you in case of a problem.
Cancellation. If you must cancel a trip before you leave, TCI payments are limited to the nonrefundable portion of prepayments, deposits, or additional costs. If, say, sickness makes you cancel a package tour, you must ask the tour operator for any refund it may normally provide in case of illness. The insurance company pays only the difference between what you paid and what you recover.
Interruption. Again, payoffs supplement what you recover from your airline or tour operator. If something goes wrong during your trip, or if you postpone rather than cancel your departure, TCI policies pay the extra costs of alternative transportation to rejoin your trip-an airfare, say, or a penalty to switch your air ticket to a later flight. TCI pays for "unscheduled return," a ticket home if you have to leave in mid-trip.
TIP: For many trips, there's an easy, no-cost alternative to operator-failure insurance. If you buy a tour or airline ticket with a charge card, you can get the charge removed from your account if the supplier fails to provide the service.
The Cost Of Your Policy Although prices vary depending upon how comprehensive you want your policy to be, for basic coverage expect to pay between $5 and $7 for every $100 worth of protection. In other words, if you buy a trip-cancellation policy worth $5,000, the onetime premium will cost $250-$350.