The Minnesota Department of Commerce has announced that over 80,000 travelers will receive refunds for travel insurance policies they were automatically enrolled in when purchasing airfare on Travelocity.com.
‘Opt-out’ travel insurance is a bad practice
As we have written before, buying travel insurance through your booking site is not the best idea.
However, the practice of automatically adding travel insurance to your booking and forcing you to ‘opt-out’ by un-clicking a box is deceitful and misleading.
True, if you read every single word on the page you will fully understand what is included and what you are paying for. But expecting travelers to scour the page looking for check boxes so they aren’t unknowingly opting into something is absurd.
Booking sites these days have so many up-sells, add-ons, options, and newsletters that the checkout process has become a field of landmines.
Starting Jan. 24, 2012 the law has changed
Last year, the Department of Transportation released a final version of their Passenger Protections and the rules went into effect last month.
As a part to the concept of full fare disclosure, the new rules prohibit “opt out” provisions in any advertising. This includes the sales of travel insurance.
Starting 1/24/2012, booking sites should not be automatically including travel insurance with any purchases.
Buy your travel insurance separately
I recommend buying travel insurance separately from your airfare or cruise tickets.
When you are booking your flight or cruise, you are not in the insurance mindset.
You are thinking about departure days, arrival times, connections, getting the best fare, (and avoiding check boxes that sign you up for things you don’t want).
You are less likely to make in informed purchase when your simply click a checkbox. You won’t fully understand what you are buying and this can lead to misunderstandings.
This will give you time to make an informed decision and be confident in your travel insurance purchase.