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By now, the news is out that some major players in the airline industry have collapsed: Wow Air, Thomas Cook and most recently Flybe. News like this often leaves travelers worried about losing their travel investments. However, if the majority of travelers bought travel insurance, there wouldn’t be much to panic about.

One of the questions that emerged when Wow and Thomas Cook collapsed was who is responsible for reimbursing passengers as the companies went out of business? A valid but difficult query. The short answer is that in most cases the airline is responsible to make necessary refunds. The more significant question is, however, how quickly will passengers be compensated in the event of an airline collapse; are they even able to contact the airline representatives as the company is in crisis and goes defunct.

In such situations, the most reliable way to protect yourself is through travel insurance. Usually, you are prompted to add travel insurance to your trip after purchasing from websites such as CheapOair. We all see those messages—often pesky pop-ups right about when we are about to complete the trip purchase—nudging us to add travel insurance to our trip for a “small” additional fee, sometimes as low as $25. But I do not recommend this option. Rather, I would recommend purchasing all travel-related expenses—plane tickets, cruise tickets, excursions, hotels, Airbnb, etc.—on a travel credit card.

I use the Capital One Venture card, and travel insurance is one of the benefits associated with the card. This means that interruptions, losses or damages that may occur during the course of the trip, which I purchased using the card, would most likely be covered by Capital One. For this reason, I recommend using the travelcard from the purchase of your plane or cruise ticket and all activities that you will participate in once on your trip, this will ensure that you are fully covered. And it could save you a headache. For instance, if my flight is interrupted beyond my control, Capital One Venture will ensure that I am covered. In some cases, they will work with me to ensure that I get on the next best flight. I recall their efforts to rebook my family and me on a new flight out of Antigua when Hurricane Irma was barreling its way toward the Island. JetBlue had canceled their original flight. Luckily, we later learned that JetBlue had only canceled their later flight time and moved the flight up so the plane could depart before the hurricane struck. Thankfully, we didn’t need the insurance in this case, since JetBlue accommodated us. However, in a case like this, Venture could have rebooked us on a completely different airline to ensure that we were safe. 

Additionally, what do you do if your luggage gets lost or stolen while on your trip? On return to New York from Cuba, my class ring and watch were stolen. I filed a claim with both the airline and the travel insurance associated with my card. Thankfully, the airline refunded me for the item for which I could provide a receipt. Had the airline decided not to, the insurance would have kicked in.

At the end of the day, travel can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be too risky. Before embarking on your next trip, consider using a travel credit card such as Capital One Venture or Chase Sapphire in order to safeguard against financial turbulence—no pun intended. Maintain records for items you take with you on trips—It’s a good idea to keep receipts for pricier items and email a copy to yourself—as these will facilitate your claims process in the event of incidents such as theft, etc.

The choice is yours, so protect yourself either by purchasing travel insurance after booking your trip from a third party company at a cost. Or for free or an annual fee by using a travel card, so you can automatically reap the benefits they offer.

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