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Don't Cancel That Greek Vacation Just Yet


If you're having second thoughts about your Greek vacation, it may be too late to get your money back, according to a travel insurance comparison site.

Greece Travel

Planning a trip to Greece this summer? If the economic uncertainty there has you re-thinking those plans, it may be too late.

The economic crisis in Greece has created something of a mixed bag when it comes to tourism. The nation's economy is teetering on the edge of collapse. And while the government recently agreed to a new aid deal, economists expect Greece's fiscal pain to continue in the short- and mid-term.

On the other hand, tourism is a relative bright spot in the Greek economy. It generated some $31.2 billion for the country’s economy in 2014, and tourism officials are pulling out all the stops to keep tourists coming. For instance, while Greek citizens have faced strict limits on ATM withdrawals in recent days, those limits don’t apply to tourists. And of course, the relative weakness of the Euro currency is a good deal for Americans, since it means our money has more buying power overseas.

There’s also one other factor that could sway you against canceling your Greek vacation: You probably won’t get your money back if you cancel.

That’s according to Squaremouth, a website that helps users shop for and compare travel insurance plans. Megan Singh, the company’s marketing director, said the country’s perilous economy likely isn’t sufficient to trigger a payout from your travel insurance policy if you decide to cancel your trip.

“In order for cancellation to be covered, an event must occur that would reasonably impact a traveler’s ability to reach their destination,” Singh said, in a press release. “While the current situation in Greece may not be ideal, cancelling would most likely come down to fear or concern about the destination. This is never enough to trigger standard cancellation.”

So what options do you have if you’ve already booked your travel? Two options are obvious: Make the trip despite your fears or cancel and rebook your travel, though you will likely pay hefty change and cancellation fees.

There is, however, a third option. Singh said most travel insurance policies allow travelers to purchase a “Cancel for Any Reason” upgrade. If you purchase that option, you can get reimbursed for your canceled trip even if the only reason you canceled was concern about the economic and political situation in Greece.

There are, of course, some catches. Singh said most policies only allow policyholders to add the “any reason” stipulation within 30 days of purchasing the policy. Policyholders must also cancel the trip within 72 to 48 hours before their scheduled departure. Finally, the policies typically require 100% of the trip to be insured, Singh said.

“We have over 100 travelers scheduled to visit Greece later this year,” she said. “Unfortunately for those who have booked trips more than 30 days ago, it is too late to be eligible for Cancel for Any Reason.”

And there's one more thing: Those "Cancel for Any Reason" policies come with a hefty price tag. Squaremouth says the option typically adds about 40% to the price of a travel insurance policy.

If you want more information, Squaremouth has created a travel information center specifically for people planning Greek travel. Visit it here.

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