Insurance regulators in Florida and California have issued guidance against using opt-out sales practices to sell travel insurance, citing the behavior is contradictory to state law and is bad for consumers.
This prohibited practice involves automatically charging consumers for ancillary travel insurance, without giving consumers the opportunity to decline purchasing it. Both the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation and the California Department of Insurance can enforce pre-sale travel insurance requirements through the suspension or revocation of travel insurance agent licenses.
While purchasing travel insurance is often advisable, especially for long distance journeys, it’s not mandatory. This point can easily be misrepresented online. Buying insurance over the Internet is convenient and has the potential to fit your needs. However, it’s often advisable to work with an insurance specialist to tailor a plan to meet your requirements. When opt-out sales tactics are used, you’re robbed of your choice to get the specific insurance you need.
It’s important to remember that booking sites located outside of the U.S. may not have to comply with U.S. regulations, creating potential pitfalls for consumers booking travel online. Many people have made the mistake of paying for insurance they don’t want or need, because they’ve purchased insurance bundled together with lodging and air flight charges.
As a general rule, it’s prudent to review all purchase invoices and supporting documentation when you book a trip through an agent, or over the Internet. Reporting opt-out sales tactics is also important not only to protect yourself, but also to make it easier and more cost-effective for fellow travelers to book trips and get where they need to go.
Purchasing travel insurance is a process that requires careful scrutiny, whether you purchase it online or through traditional means. While state agencies are trying to protect the public and punish those breaking the law, opt-out sales tactics are still a very real threat to the public.