Too many airlines and online booking companies are forcing air travelers to take out travel insurance, which often does not offer the promised coverage, according to a new report from a member of Congress.
According to Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Airlines such as American, Delta and JetBlue as well as online booking sites such as Travelocity and Orbitz published aggressive and misleading pitches to persuade travelers to buy policies frequently. There are so many fine print Exceptions are that they are of little value to anyone but airlines and insurers.
These rules add as much as 7.5 percent to the cost of a domestic ticket and more for some international tickets, according to "Flyer Caution: Is the Travel Insurance Worth It?"
With the boom in air travel, the travel insurance business has also grown a lot. However, the report criticizes how online ticketing agencies and airlines market the insurance. While many of their websites allow consumers to bypass other additional options, such as early boarding, it is said that these websites generally require consumers to purchase or refuse travel insurance prior to checkout – and in some cases not without an ominous warning to see the dangers of leaving. And the parking lots work: About 82 percent of the passengers sign up for the guidelines.
The report says CheapTickets.com's "Total Protection Plan" is anything but. It also states that United Airlines is selling a guideline for electronic devices like laptops that only pay $ 500 for the first lost bag, $ 250 for extra bags, up to a total of $ 500 for everything. The United Police will also require the original receipt before reimbursing travelers for an item that costs more than $ 150. Other policies make it difficult for travelers to make successful calls if their flights are canceled or interrupted due to illness or injury, the report said. An anonymous traveler quoted in the report filed a lawsuit with the Better Business Bureau, complaining that they had bought $ 65 travel insurance for a trip to Puerto Rico that paid zero after the hurricane canceled the trip
Some of the airlines and booking websites received a cut of every policy sold, the report says. The Senator Seeks Additional Financial Information from AIG Travel Guard and Allianz Global Assistance Writing Guidelines for Travelers on More Than a Dozen Airlines or Booking Sites
Airlines for America, the lobby of the industry, failed to address the specifics of various travel insurance options a spokeswoman. But she added that many airlines offer fully refundable ticket options to passengers worried about having to make last-minute changes.
The report – compiled with publicly available information – can be found here.
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