CANCEL ANYTIME

The latest travel luxury: not going

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Obsession
Getting There

Travelers are shelling out more for insurance this year that allows them to cancel their vacations.

Allianz Global Assistance has experienced a 20% increase in US sales of “cancel anytime” travel insurance policies from January to early June compared with last year, a spokesman told Quartz. (He declined to give the exact sales figures.) “We believe that increased traveler concerns over Zika and terrorism” are helping to drive up sales of the policies, he said.

Zika and terrorism (paywall) may be among the serious concerns for travelers, but they don’t always relieve them from fees for changes and cancellations, nor are they necessarily covered under many basic insurance policies.

For example, the US State Department last week issued a travel alert that expires at the end of August about the risk of attacks in Europe, citing public events such as the Euro 2016 soccer tournament, which “will present greater targets for terrorists planning attacks in public locations.” The language is certainly unsettling but the State Department says it is not a recommendation that travelers don’t travel to Europe.

That means they would still be on the hook for fees and possible fare differences required for a voluntary change to their flight date or destination, an American Airlines spokesman explained to Quartz.

Allianz’s “cancel anytime” protection sold in the US costs about 40% more than basic insurance, which pays trip cancellation and interruption claims for common “covered reasons” such as jury duty, illness, and injury. Which is still not that much. For example, basic insurance on a $2,500 trip runs at $130 for travelers age 31-59, while the “cancel anytime” version runs $182.

The upgraded insurance allows travelers to back out for pretty much any reason you can think of. “We had people whose dog got sick and they didn’t want to go,” the Allianz spokesman said. “You can cancel because you had a bad dream about where you were going.”

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