North Carolina lawmakers work to improve travel insurance

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RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Travel insurance can be confusing and complicated when you’re trying to figure out what you need before you take a vacation, but North Carolina lawmakers are working on a bill that would make travel insurance policies sold here the same as ones that are sold in many other states.

Lawmakers say this is a “pro-consumer bill” which would bring this state into line with travel insurance policies sold in at least 40 other states.

North Carolina is a huge vacation destination and when people spend significant amounts of money to vacation in the state. They’re advised to take out travel insurance to protect that investment.

“Travel insurance is not widely known and not as widely purchased and people frankly don’t understand it as well,” said Rep. Kevin Corbin (R- Franklin).

A good example occurred back in 2017 when a power outage hit North Carolina’s Ocracoke Island.

Evacuations were ordered, but they weren’t mandatory and there was confusion by vacationers over what travel insurance policies would and would not cover.

“Among different states insurance may underwrite differently, claims were paid differently, and there were different coverages,” said Corbin.

With situations like that in mind, the National Association of State Insurance Commissioners began efforts to get all states to unify travel insurance nationally. 

A bill currently in committee North Carolina would do just that.

“It will ultimately look out for the consumer to make sure when they purchase travel insurance, that they’re getting the same thing as purchased in another state,” said Corbin.

He says the bill has the support of both Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly and isn’t considered controversial.

Corbin doesn’t anticipate the bill would raise rates for travel insurance.  

“There is no financial element in this. Rates are pretty well regulated by insurance companies based on the risks they think they are taking.”

However, if the bill becomes law, the cost of that coverage would still vary from company to company so you’d still have to shop around for the best deal.

But, everything else about travel insurance would come into line with what’s sold in 40 other states.

Corbin expects the bill to be reported out of committee on Thursday and says if it’s approved it would become law in January of 2020.

You can follow the progress if the bill here as it makes its way through the General Assembly.

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