I have been a travel agent for 20 years, and I have seen it all. As a result, I have become a huge fan of Travel Insurance. Now, here's the thing: it is the one purchase most of my clients resist. They think it is just a way for me to earn more money; they think their regular health insurance is enough. My favorite line is "Oh, no, I don't need insurance. I'm not going to cancel, and I'm definitely going to go."
Sure. You're not counting on your 91 year old mother falling, breaking her hip the day before you leave, and you can't go. Jury Duty? Not you. You never get sick, right? That was my client who, at 71, three days before leaving on a trip wound up having emergency abdominal surgery and dying on the table. No insurance, she didn't need it. I also had a guy cancel a trip day before travel because he had a problem with his genitalia. Yes, he told me. He's 82, and thought he was being cute - and without insurance, perhaps I'd feel sorry for him and get him a larger refund.
Folks, I'm serious. It is the one purchase you should make and hope you never have to use. It is the only way to protect your investment of travel - because travel is an investment: your time, your money - all this needs protection. You can purchase through me when you book your trip. You can purchase on your own, I really don't care. But please, please, make that investment.
The other part of this rant is part of why you need to use a Travel Agent. Today, I initiated a claim for a gentleman who had to cancel his trip because his cousin and traveling companion was just diagnosed with cancer. He was clearly upset about his cousin, and confused about the process (fear and sadness will do that to a person.) Because I had sold him that policy, I was able to begin this process and take away some of his burden. It may not help his cousin and the diagnosis, but it certainly helped my client with those details.