Timing Matters: When to Offer Your Customers Travel Insurance

Though some Americans may still be clearing remnants of New Year confetti out of furniture and carpets, many are already starting to make their summer vacation plans. In doing so, they are faced with a decision that CSA partners can help them with—when to buy travel insurance.

When your customers are planning a trip it’s a good idea to inform them about the ideal time to protect their trip with travel insurance. When they buy a plan could affect the value of that plan. Some travel protection coverages and features might or might not be included, depending on whether the plan is purchased when a trip is first booked, at final payment or later.

We recommend that travelers don’t wait to buy travel insurance. Help them travel smarter and offer them travel protection to show you care about their overall trip experience. If they decide to wait, they may find that something could force them to cancel their trip and, since they didn’t protect their trip before the event that caused the cancellation, they could lose their prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs.

Here’s some language you can use when discussing this with your customers:

  • “The financially prudent thing to do is to buy insurance when you have money at risk.”
  • “If you buy nonrefundable airfare, your money is at risk right away.”
  • “For cruises and tours, it may not be an issue until cancellation penalties start to kick in. That could be at six months prior to departure.”

Here are some details about specific time-sensitive coverages and features related to CSA’s travel insurance plans:

Trip Cancellation

When travelers can’t go on their trip due to a covered reason, Trip Cancellation pays for forfeited, pre-paid, non-refundable travel arrangements. It is too late to be covered for Trip Cancellation if they purchase the policy the day before departure because the coverage doesn’t go into effect until 12:01am the next day. We suggest travelers buy a plan when they make the first trip payment, like airfare or a cruise. That way the insured has a long coverage period in case they need to cancel the trip. Then, they can add coverage to the same plan for additional trip arrangements, such as hotel stays, tours, cruises, and other forms of transportation.

Free Look Back Period

For travelers who have bought a plan but wish to cancel and receive a full refund, they may do so within a designated number of days from the date of purchase as long as they haven’t left for their trip or filed a claim. This is referred to as a “free look back” period and is available with all CSA Travel Protection plans. While the timeframe for the free look back varies from state to state, it is generally 10 days from purchase. Travelers should always refer to their Description of Coverage/Insurance Policy documents to determine the number of free look back days available in their state of residence.

Pre-existing Conditions

Some travelers may need to look for plans that offer coverage for pre-existing medical conditions when they buy travel insurance. It’s important to know the purchase window for covering pre-existing conditions in case that’s an important travel insurance feature for a client. Coverage must be bought prior to or within 24 hours of the final trip payment, travelers must be medically able to travel at the time the plan is purchased and all prepaid trip costs that are subject to cancellation penalties or restrictions must be insured. Also, remember that only some of our plans offer coverage for pre-existing medical condition.

If your customers have further questions about the timing of their travel protection purchase and how that might affect what’s included with the plan, please call our Customer Service representatives at 1-800-348-9505.

Travel insurance plans are administered by Customized Services Administrators, Inc., CA Lic. No. 821931, located in San Diego, CA and doing business as CSA Travel Protection and Insurance Services.  Plans are available to residents of the U.S. but may not be available in all jurisdictions. Benefits and services are described on a general basis; certain conditions and exclusions apply. Travel Retailers may not be licensed to sell insurance, in all states, and are not authorized to answer technical questions about the benefits, exclusions, and conditions of this insurance and cannot evaluate the adequacy of your existing insurance.  This plan provides insurance coverage for your trip that applies only during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home and automobile policies. The purchase of this plan is not required in order to purchase any other travel product or service offered to you by your travel retailers. If you have any questions about your current coverage, call your insurer, insurance agent or broker.  This notice provides general information on CSA’s products and services only. The information contained herein is not part of an insurance policy and may not be used to modify any insurance policy that might be issued. In the event the actual policy forms are inconsistent with any information provided herein, the language of the policy forms shall govern. 

Travel insurance plans are underwritten by: Generali U.S. Branch, New York, NY; NAIC # 11231. Generali US Branch operates under the following names: Generali Assicurazioni Generali S.P.A. (U.S. Branch) in California, Assicurazioni Generali – U.S. Branch in Colorado, Generali U.S. Branch DBA The General Insurance Company of Trieste & Venice in Oregon, and The General Insurance Company of Trieste and Venice – U.S. Branch in Virginia. Generali US Branch is admitted or licensed to do business in all states and the District of Columbia.

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Houston Travel Tips for Super Bowl 51

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More than 140,000 football fans are expected to visit Houston to take in 10 days of festivities surrounding Super Bowl 51, experience what the nation’s fourth largest city has to offer and, of course, watch the spectacle of the big game in person.

Texas likes to do things big, and Houston is a huge city! With more than 600 square miles within the city limits, there are a ton of things to do and see on any regular week in the city. These tips should be useful for anyone traveling to visit Houston, but with a huge number of events happening around Super Bowl 51 there are some specific things to know if you’re going there for the game.

Super Bowl Events

This time of year is normally rodeo season around Houston, but that’s being overshadowed by the largest sports event of the year and the slew of concerts, tailgates, watch parties, sports events and other entertainment related to the Super Bowl. To see what’s going on around Houston anytime of the year, check out Visit Houston’s calendar of events. Here are some of the more prominent events happening around Super Bowl 51:

Transportation and parking

Before you travel to a big event it’s a good idea to learn a bit about the transportation situation, especially when more than one million people are expected to take part in Super Bowl 51 events in Houston.

If you plan to drive, more than 62,000 parking spots are available around Downtown Houston during Super Bowl 51 events. You can guarantee your spot in and around downtown Houston by pre-paying for parking. Visit www.superbowl.parkmobile.com for information about parking at NRG Stadium on game day.

Ride sharing services and taxis will be in full force during Super Bowl 51 events and a designated drop off area will be set up at the game.

23 miles of light rail connect all of Houston to NRG Stadium—the recommended method of getting into Downtown Houston during Super Bowl 51 events. METRO schedules will be extended and frequency boosted. The Greelink is a free circulator, a bus on a short loop, which operates downtown and will connect parking lots, restaurants and other events to Super Bowl LIVE.

You might not be able to visit all 600 square miles of the city on a bicycle, but it’s a great way to see the sights and beat the traffic, or at least not sit in it. A bikeshare program is in place with free rides during the Super Bowl festivities and a bicycle valet will be available during Super Bowl LIVE between Clay and Dallas Streets.

Food and Drink

Houston is experiencing a culinary renaissance with a number of top chefs choosing the city to showcase all the deliciousness that Texas and the Gulf of Mexico have to offer. Food & Wine recently named the city the “newest capital of great food.” There are more than 10,000 restaurants in Houston, but you can find more than the usual Tex-Mex at these hot spots ordered by region:

Check out the Visit Houston’s lists of award-winning Houston restaurants and 20 awesome BBQ spots to find more great places to eat.

Where to Stay

There are some great rates for vacation rentals around Houston and more than 1,000 listings currently show up on HomeAway. There even seem to be some open rentals still available for Super Bowl 51 weekend. Here’s our favorite popular vacation rental in the heart of Houston, walking distance from many museums, restaurants and other hot spots and close to downtown.

If you prefer a hotel for your accommodations when you visit Houston, there are a number of four-star stays: St. Regis HoustonFour Seasons Hotel HoustonHotel Granduca, and the newest hotel that’s getting a lot of interest around the Super Bowl—Marriott Marquis Houston. But, don’t expect to find many open rooms for Super Bowl weekend at this point, you may have to stay farther outside the city center.

If you’re traveling to Houston for Super Bowl 51, or any large event, it’s a good idea to get travel insurance that has trip cancellation coverage so you can be reimbursed for your trip costs, including your expensive event tickets, if you end up needing to cancel your trip for a covered reason.

Whether you’re rooting for the Patriots or Falcons, these tips should help you get the most out of your trip to Houston.

Travel insurance plans are administered by Customized Services Administrators, Inc., CA Lic. No. 0821931, located in San Diego, CA and doing business as CSA Travel Protection and Insurance Services.  Plans are available to residents of the U.S. but may not be available in all jurisdictions.  Benefits and services are described on a general basis; certain conditions and exclusions apply.

Travel insurance plans are underwritten by: Generali U.S. Branch, New York, NY; NAIC # 11231. Generali US Branch operates under the following names: Generali Assicurazioni Generali S.P.A. (U.S. Branch) in California, Assicurazioni Generali – U.S. Branch in Colorado, Generali U.S. Branch DBA The General Insurance Company of Trieste & Venice in Oregon, and The General Insurance Company of Trieste and Venice – U.S. Branch in Virginia. Generali US Branch is admitted or licensed to do business in all states and the District of Columbia.

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The Benefits of Travel Insurance for Your Cruise During Wave Season

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CSA Travel Protection recommends when to buy and what to protect.

With the holidays right around the corner, ‘tis the season to be looking for good deals. Wave Season is the timeframe between January and March when cruise lines offer discounts, which means significant consumer deals and increased sales opportunities for travel professionals.

CSA Travel Protection, dedicated for 25 years to providing full-service travel insurance solutions, today shares why cruisers should consider travel insurance, when they should buy and what they should be trying to protect.

The type of travel insurance policy cruisers should purchase depends largely on the cruise type. According to Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), river cruises have become increasingly popular over the last few years.

The price point for river cruises can be higher than most deep water cruises, so cruisers should look for a policy that covers them should they need to cancel or postpone. Deep-water cruisers are not as interested in protecting the overall trip cost but rather travel (hotel or airfare) leading up to the cruise and needing medical attention or emergency medical evacuation, especially when traveling internationally.

Cruisers are booking their trips as far as 18 months to a year in advance, CLIA reports. Oftentimes they are paying a deposit to secure their space. CSA advises cruisers that they should buy travel insurance as soon as they have booked their trip. If something unforeseen happens such as a terrorist or weather event during the waiting period before they leave, then they are more likely to be covered. CSA offers competitive travel insurance plans with a variety of coverages to help protect you during your cruise, including trip cancellation, medical and dental, emergency assistance and transportation and missed connection.

“If travelers are concerned about unexpected events and interested in protecting their trip investment, then that’s when travel insurance can play an important role,” said Bob Chambers, vice president of operations at CSA Travel Protection. “They need to be sure that they understand what policies are right for them.”

Knowing the benefits of travel insurance specific to the type of cruise and when to buy a policy is important. Additionally, researching and preparing ahead of a cruise proves useful. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides tips for cruisers including recommended vaccines, illness prevention and tips on travel and evacuation insurance.

Whether travelers book cruises through travel agents or online, they should remember to consider travel insurance from a reputable provider such as CSA Travel Protection during the booking process. Armed with this knowledge and a travel insurance policy, cruisers can sail off into the sunset feeling confident that they’ve protected their investment.

About CSA Travel Protection

CSA Travel Protection is dedicated to providing valuable travel insurance and emergency assistance services to protect travelers’ vacation investments and provide the peace of mind one deserves while traveling. For 25 years CSA has developed a reputation for standing behind its customers and by offering products and services to meet their needs. Through award-winning customer service, extensive experience and industry-leading innovation, CSA is with its clients every step of the way, whenever and wherever they are needed.

Travel insurance plans are administered by Customized Services Administrators, Inc., CA Lic. No. 821931, located in San Diego, CA and doing business as CSA Travel Protection and Insurance Services.  Plans are available to residents of the U.S. but may not be available in all jurisdictions. Benefits and services are described on a general basis; certain conditions and exclusions apply. Travel Retailers may not be licensed to sell insurance, in all states, and are not authorized to answer technical questions about the benefits, exclusions, and conditions of this insurance and cannot evaluate the adequacy of your existing insurance.  This plan provides insurance coverage for your trip that applies only during the covered trip. You may have coverage from other sources that provides you with similar benefits but may be subject to different restrictions depending upon your other coverages. You may wish to compare the terms of this policy with your existing life, health, home and automobile policies. The purchase of this plan is not required in order to purchase any other travel product or service offered to you by your travel retailers. If you have any questions about your current coverage, call your insurer, insurance agent or broker.  This notice provides general information on CSA’s products and services only. The information contained herein is not part of an insurance policy and may not be used to modify any insurance policy that might be issued. In the event the actual policy forms are inconsistent with any information provided herein, the language of the policy forms shall govern. 

Travel insurance plans are underwritten by: Generali U.S. Branch, New York, NY; NAIC # 11231. Generali US Branch operates under the following names: Generali Assicurazioni Generali S.P.A. (U.S. Branch) in California, Assicurazioni Generali – U.S. Branch in Colorado, Generali U.S. Branch DBA The General Insurance Company of Trieste & Venice in Oregon, and The General Insurance Company of Trieste and Venice – U.S. Branch in Virginia. Generali US Branch is admitted or licensed to do business in all states and the District of Columbia.

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Travel Trends: What’s Expected for 2017

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With 2016 nearly behind us, we take a look at how travel trends have shifted in the last year and what to expect from your customers and the industry next year.

Travelers in the U.S. are expected to continue to spend and take more trips than ever before. A 2.8 percent rise in U.S. travel expenditures is forecast for 2017, along with 29 million more domestic person-trips, according to the U.S. Travel Association. If travelers are spending more, they’ll likely be more interested in protecting their trip costs by purchasing travel insurance.

The U.S. Commerce Department predicts that 2016 will end with about 700,000 fewer international visitors than the year before, but 2017 is looking up, with an expected 2.4% increase year over year. For a longer look at expectations for where international visitors will be originating from, five countries—Mexico, China, Canada, India and South Korea—are projected to account for 64% of visitor growth between now and 2021.

An AARP survey shows that 99% of Baby Boomers plan to travel for leisure in 2017 and about half plan to travel internationally, with an average of five or more trips expected throughout the year. The same report indicates that Millennials plan to take more trips than Generation X or the Baby Boomers.

Travel Insurance

Over the last year, current events have shaped the travel insurance landscape. Here is a brief summary.

  • Illness: The U.S. Travel Insurance Association (UStiA) issued a press release explaining the relationship between the Zika outbreak and travel insurance. As the press release indicates, travelers must do their homework to determine if their travel insurance would provide coverage for a trip cancelled due to the Zika outbreak. We suggest that travelers call CSA with coverage questions of this type.
  • Extreme Weather: Although weather events can range from a winter storm to flooding, Hurricane Matthew was an extreme weather phenomenon that affected travelers in 2016. Weather.com recapped Hurricane Matthew’s destruction toll. Travelers who bought travel insurance well in advance of Hurricane Matthew could have been covered, but those who purchased policies after the storm had been named probably were not.
  • Current Events and Acts of Terrorism: From Brexit to the New York City bombing, there were numerous world events, bombings, shootings, attacks, and acts of terrorism both domestic and abroad in 2016. Frommers.com reported that Brexit meant temporary lower costs for American travelers, which may have encouraged travel to Britain. Travel insurance policies vary in coverages for these types of events. If deemed an “Act of Terrorism,” then an event could be covered. Fear of traveling to an area affected by an event may not ensure travel insurance coverage.

“The outcome is that travelers want to know more about travel insurance and what it covers in situations like these. Travel professionals and travel insurance companies are doing more to educate consumers to help them not only feel better protected while they travel, but better understand the protection they have in place,” said Bob Chambers, vice president of operations at CSA Travel Protection. “This growing awareness may be one reason why travel insurance companies are seeing an uptick in policies sold.”

Air

Flight fares are projected to increase 3.7% in North America next year, but only 2.5% worldwide, according to the Global Business Travel Association.

The Advito 2017 Industry Forecast highlights the fact that the number of flights from Canada to the U.S. jumped 10% in the last year and the number of available seats rose 20%. This follows a global trend of “more routes, more frequencies and bigger aircraft.”

“Airlines are expected to test the market with fare hikes to see what customers will accept, and they’ll become less generous with ‘waivers and favors,’” according to the Advito report.

Consumer complaints to the U.S. Department of Transportation about airlines rose 38% percent year over year, according to the Airline Quality Rating 2016 report. Of the 15,260 complaints, 73% were for flight problems, baggage problems, reservation, ticketing and boarding issues, or customer service problems.

“These results clearly show that the air traveling public is not happy,” report co-researcher Brent Bowen said. “Passengers are reaching out and letting us know exactly that, based on the number of complaints filed with the Department of Transportation. The human element of air travel is obviously deteriorating, and passengers are fed up.”

Other key airline statistics in the report indicate a better traveler experience. The rate of mishandled baggage saw a 17% drop and on-time performance for flights was about 80 percent, compared to 76 percent the year before.

Cruise

The Cruise Lines International Association’s (CLIA) Travel Agent Cruise Industry Outlook report highlights trends that agents have noticed and expect to see in the near future.

A continuing trend—river cruising is expected to show the most growth among cruise types, with 64% of travel agents saying they expect to sell more river cruise packages.

“In an uncertain world, cruisers seem to be looking for destinations that are closer to home,” the report stated, backed up by statistics that show Alaska as the top growth destination, with 62% of agents anticipating growth there, and California and the Pacific Coast making the top five destinations.

“The trend is also for them to come already informed with what they want, and securing the space more than nine months out,” as an agent that responded to the CLIA survey was quoted.

Tours

The popularity of “in-destination” travel experiences is growing and travelers want more than ever to get a taste of local life at their destination. With the majority of tour and activity operators being small and local businesses, they are perfectly positioned to gain from this trend.

The National Park Service Centennial celebration this year led to more park visits, and TravelAgeWest suggests that factor combined with concern over international terrorism will lead to more domestic tour bookings and road trips in 2017.

Stephen Joyce, a travel and tourism technology consultant, points out that the tourism industry is poised to jump from the manual inefficiencies of paper and pencils that predominate the market to better integrate technology in their reservation, marketing and management systems and flourish as a result.

“Fortunately, times are changing. With new tools and technologies, these predominantly small businesses are increasingly able to take advantage of global distribution through larger firms…” Joyce wrote.

One thing is certain: as long as people travel by air, land or sea and seek the ultimate vacation destinations, they are making a trip investment. Travelers are becoming increasingly aware of unexpected circumstances that can arise during their trip and turning to travel insurance as a result.

Travel insurance plans are administered by Customized Services Administrators, Inc., CA Lic. No. 0821931, located in San Diego, CA and doing business as CSA Travel Protection and Insurance Services.  Plans are available to residents of the U.S. but may not be available in all jurisdictions.  Benefits and services are described on a general basis; certain conditions and exclusions apply.

Travel insurance plans are underwritten by: Generali U.S. Branch, New York, NY; NAIC # 11231. Generali US Branch operates under the following names: Generali Assicurazioni Generali S.P.A. (U.S. Branch) in California, Assicurazioni Generali – U.S. Branch in Colorado, Generali U.S. Branch DBA The General Insurance Company of Trieste & Venice in Oregon, and The General Insurance Company of Trieste and Venice – U.S. Branch in Virginia. Generali US Branch is admitted or licensed to do business in all states and the District of Columbia.

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