If you're about to head out on your holiday vacation and didn't buy travel insurance while booking, you may not get exactly what you're looking for at this point. Travel expert Katy Nastro with Going.com says you still have some protections under federal law -- especially when it comes to airfare.
"I think what a lot of people need to understand is all the ways that they are covered before they even entertain travel insurance."
"Under federal law, if your flight gets canceled or significantly delayed, under federal law, you are covered to get rebooked on a new flight, free of charge, no fare difference, or take a refund back to the method of payment that you used."
"Now, you are also covered by the airlines to get to your destination that you booked a ticket with. So basically, when you book a ticket, you agree to the terms of service, the contract of carriage, that's your ticket, your agreement between you and the airline. So the airline, regardless of what happens, they have to make sure that they honor that ticket. And that means getting you to your destination or giving you some sort of, again, refund if you should so choose."
Nastro also suggests checking out the U.S. Department of Transportation's dashboard where you can see if your airline covers meal vouchers, hotel accommodations, or ground transportation in case of a cancellation or significant delay.
Nastro also recommends checking with your credit card company to see if it has travel protection plans.
"Meaning that in case you get stuck somewhere or you need to travel back and forth from the airport, things like that you can actually get reimbursed for through your credit card and it takes not even a minute just to either call the back of the card or type into Google what type of card you have. Travel credit cards linked to an airline or some sort of travel portal, in general, will typically have those, but other types of credit cards could in fact have travel insurances already baked in."
If you are planning a big trip in the new year that goes beyond flight purchases, Nastro recommends researching travel insurance options now.
"Like a really fancy resort or a cruise, where if your flight gets canceled, for example, and you're not able to then get on that cruise, that's a scenario where you might want to consider travel insurance to cover at least part of that bigger ticket item when it comes to your trip overall. Yeah, because the cruise is not going to wait for you to get rebooked on a new flight."