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Summer vacation essential: layoff insurance

         My friend had an amazing European summer vacation planned and then.....horrors, his job was eliminated. Even though his firm gave him severance, he grew extremely worried about spending money to travel when he would need it for basic survival. Unfortunately, as we've seen in recent months, job loss can happen to anyone. That's why layoff insurance is proving to be this summer's vacation essential.

      An article in Marie Claire says antsy employees worried they will have to bag their getaways  in the event of a downsizing are shelling out the bucks for layoff insurance (a feature of many travel insurance policies), which reimburses nonrefundable expenses, like airfare and hotel deposits. Sales of these policies are doubling, travel insurance companies report.

   According to CNN.com/travel, the policies usually cost a relatively small percentage of the trip price, depending on certain risk factors. For example, a package that includes layoff insurance on a $2,000 trip to China is running about $50 to $125 for a 30-year-old traveler.

  Some Web sites allow travelers to compare insurance policies from several companies at once. Two of the main aggregator sites, according to people contacted by CNN, are Squaremouth.com and InsureMyTrip.com.

    Even cruise lines like NCL offer their own layoff-insurance programs. Agents advise checking the fine print before buying a policy -- some require you be with your firm at least a few years, others require you are a full timer. Many also provide coverage if your tour operator goes under. As Marie Claire notes, "There's not a a Pina Colada on earth that offers that kinds of peace of mind."

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