Don’t cancel that trip: cruise safety and insurance tips

Got a cruise planned? With all the coverage of the recent Costa Concordia disaster, you could be forgiven for feeling a little bit uneasy. The survivor reports, the footage, and the photos are unsettling to say the least. It certainly doesn’t help to hear the stories of an irresponsible captain and crew!
For a bird’s eye view of just how rough things can get, see our past post, A not-so-gentle reminder that travel insurance might be a good idea, which includes some terrifying footage from a cruise ship’s on-board security camera during a severe
storm off new Zealand in 2008.
But take heart. About 14 million people take cruises each year, and calamities are rare. There’s a reason they are such a popular vacation choice. Remember, nothing in life is without risk, even walking to the corner store. The media tends to overplay these large, rare events precisely because they are rare, they have a lot of drama, and they involve large numbers of people. In reality, your relative risk is greater on your drive to the cruise ship than it is while you are on the cruise itself.
That being said, it’s always a smart idea to prepare ahead for your travels. Here are some good articles about how you can prepare and plan to optimize your safety during a cruise:
Christian Science Monitor: After Costa Concordia disaster: 8 safety tips for cruise ship passengers
ABC News Radio: Cruise Ship Safety: 20 Tips for Safety On and Off the Seas
HowStuffWorks: How to survive a sinking ship
Cruises can be costly, so a savvy consumer will take the time to research reviews and safety records. This article in Business Insider offers a variety of links and resources for checking a cruise line’s safety in advance. You can also read reviews on sites like Cruise Critic and Trip Advisor.
Don’t forget about insurance
If you are planning a major trip, talk to your insurance agent about insurance. Some of your existing policies may cover you for some things, but you may need supplemental insurance, particularly for the trip arrangements. Here are some travel insurance resources:
Travel Insurance from the Insurance Information Institute
Travel Insurance Quiz
6 tips to avoid travel insurance scams

The $10 million dollar smile: celebrity body part insurance

Your Mom may think of you as a million dollar baby and your friends and family may find you priceless … but what price would an insurer put on your body parts? Could you command $10 million for a smile? $1.6 million for a finger? $1 million for your flowing tresses? Probably not, but some celebrities have insured body parts for millions.
We also point you to a related past post about an amusing spoof video featuring Kobe Bryant touting ankle insurance.
You can learn more about how body part insurance works. This article explains that, “You don’t have to be a celebrity to insure your body parts–anyone can order up some specialty insurance if he thinks he needs it. As long as you’re willing to pay the premium, you can get insurance for the body part of your choice. In the United Kingdom, the members of the Derbyshire Whiskers Club insured their beards against “fire and theft,” and a soccer fan insured himself against psychic trauma if England loses this year’s World’s Cup.”
10 of the weirdest insurance policies
Insurance issues for the rich & famous

Sharing the road with snow plows & more winter driving tips

Here in the Northeast, it’s been a mild winter so far — if you exclude the freak Halloween storm that caught us all by surprise. But the roads are slick today so you may need a refresher in winter driving and car care.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation offers a great page of safe winter driving tips – including everything from preparing your vehicle, supplies you should have in the car, safe driving pointers, and advice for what to do if you are stranded while driving. One of the things that always seems difficult is sharing the road with plows and snow clearing equipment – to pass or not to pass? So the common sense tips for driving near plows offers some good guidance. The graphic that accompanies the tips is excellent so we are reprinting it below.
driving near plows