If you're stressed about your tenuous employment situation, Priceline.com (NASDAQ:PCLN) wants you to take a load off as you take off.

The "Name Your Own Price" site is now offering job-loss coverage to its optional trip-protection insurance.

In a nutshell, Priceline travelers who purchase the insurance and are then laid off by an employer of at least three continuous years will be entitled to a full cancellation refund.

If this practice sounds familiar, it should. Earlier this year, when the economy was at its bleakest, showroom giant AutoNation (NYSE:AN) offered to cover six months of car payments if buyers subsequently lost their jobs. Individual carmakers, including Ford (NYSE:F) and GM, offered similar incentives.

Priceline's trip protection runs as little as $16 for an airline ticket or $5 for a hotel stay.

It sounds like a good deal for the online travel industry, where players are trying to set themselves apart through unique perks. Orbitz Worldwide (NYSE:OWW) television ads pitch its "Price Assurance" plan that pays travelers the difference if the same trip is booked later on the site at a lower price. Expedia (NASDAQ:EXPE) bookers earn "Thank You" reward points.

In short, the industry has evolved from the time in which they were all competing against one another to offer essentially the same airfares and car rental rates. All of these differentiated programs create user loyalty and give site visitors a reason to book through the portal, instead of simply taking the rate and going directly to the travel provider.

The only questionable part of Priceline's new insurance is the timing. Even though many economists believe the recession's worst is behind us, unemployment remains high. Is this really going to be a major motivator for folks who can even afford to consider traveling?

Let me also offer some blunt advice: If you're worried about keeping your job in a tenuous economic environment, maybe trekking out to the Mexican Riviera or booking a Caribbean cruise isn't the best idea. Escapism is important, but those who think they're about to get axed at work would be better off scouring the want ads or buttering up their current bosses in their free time.

This is a neat, headline-grabbing wrinkle to Priceline's trip-insurance offering, but it appears to be as late as an evening arrival at Newark International.  

How do you book your travel? Are you using portals, going through deal publishers, or booking directly on your own? Share your experiences in the comment box below.

Priceline.com is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor pick. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz has been booking travel online since the 1990s, but he owns no shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.