Q. We currently have a vacation booked on May 1 from San Diego to Rome. Our flight is San Diego to JFK and then JFK directly to Rome. Is it possible to retroactively buy travel insurance for the upcoming trip since it could very well be affected by this volcanic eruption?

A. Because the volcano is a "known risk," it is highly unlikely that you'll be able to buy basic travel insurance to cover it, while it is still active, especially retroactively. But perhaps for a future trip? I suggested that if you find an insurer that says it will cover you, that you get it in writing. However, you still can buy "cancel at any reason" insurance, which allows you to cancel just because you've changed your mind. The insurance is considerably more expensive than basic insurance, and you typically must cancel at least 48 hours in advance of your trip. Also, the policy may only cover a percentage of whatever losses you incur, up to the maximum amount allowed by the policy.

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