I'm putting this in the Amtrak Rail Discussion forum because anyone who has booked Amtrak online knows about the travel insurance option, which many times looks like a stupid idea from the get go. (Would you like to add travel insurance for something like $9.00 for that $20.00 ticket? )
The 114-year-old National Consumers League concluded recently that travel insurance is usually a bad deal because most policies are riddled with exceptions that allow insurance companies to reject claims for payoffs.
Most insurance companies won't disclose their track record for paying out claims, making it nearly impossible to judge whether insurance is worth the money, the league points out.
"The unfortunate reality is that these protection policies bring in big bucks for the airlines each year but offer very little real value for customers," said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League.
The most common exceptions used by insurance companies to reject your payout are illnesses involving a preexisting medical condition, pregnancy or childbirth, losing a job or having a business meeting canceled, according to the league. Some policies won't pay out even if your trip is canceled because of nuclear contamination or terrorist attacks.
The U.S. Travel Insurance Assn. disagreed with the consumer league's conclusion, saying policies that are rife with exceptions are usually less expensive than more comprehensive policies with fewer exceptions.
Still, association spokeswoman Linda Kundell added: "There is no insurance that covers everything under the sun."
At least for Amtrak, I hope that this most annoying irritant when buying a ticket online adds some real bucks to the bottom line.