Travel Insurance You Can Actually Use

By Eric Reed

NEW YORK (MainStreet) -- There are two things people generally mean when they talk about travel insurance.

The first, otherwise known as trip insurance, covers airfare in case you have to cancel your flight; most airlines offer it with most tickets. In my experience, it's usually a rip off, as the policies come with so many exceptions and escape clauses as to be generally worthless. They're great if you break your leg, but not so much if your boss decides you have to work this weekend.

Ask yourself which happens more often.

The second is medical insurance, which is especially important since many American policies stop at the water's edge. Some kind of medical coverage is a must, but unfortunately finding medical coverage for an overseas trip involves a few more moving pieces than usual. Figuring out health insurance is hard enough when it's in your own back yard. Trying to predict what you'll need in India makes life a whole lot harder.

This is what interests me about the self-styled "lifestyle insurance company" Protect Your Bubble. Unlike most insurance companies that focus on large, single issues such as health, homes or automobiles, Protect Your Bubble covers the investments people make in everything else including, of particular interest here, travel.

"We have this philosophy," company president Stephen Ebbett told MainStreet, "that everything sort of sits in this fragile bubble, and bubbles by their nature can be burst. We can get ill, we can lose things, damage can happen to our possessions, and when that happens, our bubbles are burst and the emotional pain and the financial distress can be severe. Our philosophy is that we're here to protect your bubble."

A lofty goal, but how well does it work?

The first, and probably best, aspect I noticed about Protect Your Bubble is how it simplifies the process of travel planning. One package covers you for airfare, medical and property losses, where ordinarily you'd have to find coverage for each independently, if at all. According to Ebbett, prices start as low as $14, although when I researched a theoretical $2,000 trip to Asia, my quote started at $68 per month for the most basic package, $103 for all the bells and whistles.