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PHOTO: A public square in Suchitoto, El Salvador. Travelers are purchasing insurance for vacations to exotic destinations. (Photo by Brian Major)
It's rough out there. About one quarter of American travelers experienced an event that impacted their travel while on vacation in 2014, from mechanical or carrier-caused problems to medical situations and natural disasters, including severe weather, according to a recent U.S. Travel Insurance Association (USTIA) survey.
In fact USTIA's survey found the number of American travelers whose journeys were impacted has nearly doubled since 2012-2013, when 17 percent (or one in six) travelers reported impact events compared with 35 percent (one in four) in 2013-2014.
More travelers are also seeking to prepare for travel-interrupting events, the survey found. USTIA's survey reports 30 percent of Americans whose travel plans were impacted purchased travel insurance in 2013-2014, a 63 percent increase from the 2012-2013 survey, when 22 percent of respondents reported purchasing travel insurance. USTIA also reports 98 percent of impacted travelers report satisfaction with their insurance policies in 2013-2014, a 13 percent increase over 2012-2013, when 85 percent reported being satisfied.
The USTIA survey results are based on an Ipsos poll of 1,005 U.S. adults ages 18 and older from Dec.2-4, 2014. Results are considered accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points of the entire U.S. population.
Households with children and adults ages 18 to 34 comprise the largest demographic groups among impacted travelers who purchased insurance, the survey found. Among people whose travel was impacted, 56 percent of 18 to 34 year olds purchased insurance in 2013-2014, compared with 30 percent in 2012-2013. Fifty percent of households with children purchased insurance in 2013-2014, versus 33 percent in 2012-2013.
Americans are most likely to purchase travel insurance for trips to "exotic" destinations and for cruises (24 percent and 21 percent respectively), the USTIA survey found. Road trips and weekend getaways (five percent each) and ski trips (three present) were least likely to result in a travel insurance purchase.
USTIA offers information on travel insurance and a listing of its member companies on its website, and also sponsors USTIA also sponsors TRIP, a consumer website created as an insider's guide to "travel health, safety, and security."
Brian Major is Managing Editor for Digital Publications & Guides/Caribbean.
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