When Fido is Sick as a Dog
By Christopher Elliot, Executive summary by darmansjah
Q. I just found out my dog is ill and needs surgery. I’m considering canceling my upcoming trip. Luckily I bought trip insurance. Right? I’m sorry to hear about your pet. But I have more bad news for you. “Unless you bought a ‘cancel for any reason’ policy, you’re not getting your money back,” says John cook, president of Quote Wright.com, an online travel insurance store. Why? Well, regular travel insurance policies provide what is called “named peril” coverage, which means they kick in only when something specifically named happens to you, like a trip interruption or the death of a spouse. But Cook hasn’t ever seen a policy that includes the illness or death of a pet. The only one that would cover you is called “cancel for any reason” because, as the name implies, you can cancel your trip for any reason. Such a policy costs considerably more than a garden-variety policy. By the way, if you’re thinking of buying one, it might already be too late. You typically have from 24 hours to two weeks after booking a trip to buy the policy.
Q. Can kids still travel on a parent’s lap for free? They can, but maybe a better question is, should they? Kids under two, referred to as “lap children’ in airline speak, can fly without a ticket when they’re accompanied by a guardian. But if you’re on a full flight, you won’t be able to strap Junior into a car safety seat, which is the safest place for your baby on the plane. “Think about it,” says Eileen Ogintz, author of the Kid’s guide series of books. “Even the coffee urns are secured on a plane. Why wouldn’t you buy your baby a seat?” So why doesn’t the FAA require-instead of just recommending-child safety seats? I considered doing so in 2005 but decided not to, arguing that cash-conscious parents would choose to drive instead, which is statistically a more dangerous method of travel.