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Old September 4th, 2012, 11:56 AM
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Default Very Important Travel Insurance Info

OKGIRL, just posted this link in another post,and I thank her for sharing this very important info....If you have purchased, or, are going to purchase travel insurance, you MUST read this article......please share your thoughts.



The Navigator: Travel insurance claims can hinge on the tiniest details - The Washington Post
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Old September 4th, 2012, 11:58 AM
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Excellent article ,Linda and very important .
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Old September 4th, 2012, 02:07 PM
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I posted this response on the other post, but figured it's important to post it here as well.

First, let me say I'm not a big fan of Christopher Elliott. While alot of his information is helpful, he is more interested in pointing out the few problems than in writing about the overwhelming positives.

With that said, insurance companies are not the easiest ones to do business with. I've been involved with travel for over 25 years before starting my own business more than 10 years ago, so I've dealt with alot of these situations. As I've said before, this is definitely one of those things where it can be invaluable to have an agent when booking your travel and your travel insurance. Otherwise, if you do have any problems, you're on your own.

As for insuring every penny of your cruise and the story given in the article, that's not always the case. While you should try to cover all of your expenses, sometimes things change. For example, what happens if the taxes go up on your cruise.

We had a client two years ago who purchased an expensive 2 week Alaskan cruisetour. He purchased the travel insurance to cover all of the costs involved. Unbeknownst to us, he had gone on the cruise line's website two weeks before they were leaving and booked some shore excursions. His wife is a high school teacher and two days before they were scheduled to leave on their trip she got hurt. The bell dismissed the last class on the last day of school before Summer vacation. A rather large kid ran out the door and accidently stomped on her foot breaking it. The doctor her told her she could not walk on it for 6 weeks. Needless to say, they had to cancel their trip the day before they were to leave. This particular cruise line has a policy that if you book shore excursions through them and want to cancel them, you must do so more than 48 hours prior to sailing. (I should point out they have since changed this policy.) Therefore, his claim was for more than the amount of coverage he purchased. However, while it was understandable the insurance company would only pay up to the total amount of coverage, there was absolutely no problem whatsoever of denying the claim because he did not purchase enough coverage to protect all of his trip.

While unfortunate situations do occur, most of those can be taken care of with a phone call and submitting additional information. As I said, I've been doing this for a very long time and we sell travel insurance to approximately 40% of the trips. In that time, we've never once had any claim denied.

With that said, should you find that the cost of your trip has changed and the insurance you purchased may need to be changed, talk to your agent and find out what needs to be done. If you didn't use an agent, then call the insurance company and talk to them directly about it. Make sure you document the date and time you called, who your talked to, and their phone number.

But the two things to learn from something like this is first, make sure you book with an agent, and two, don't let this dissuade you from purchasing travel insurance as it can save you in the long run.

Pete
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Old September 4th, 2012, 07:14 PM
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I still find it hard to believe the claim was not paid, because of a $2.50 cost difference???
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Old September 4th, 2012, 07:39 PM
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I still find it hard to believe the claim was not paid, because of a $2.50 cost difference???
If you read to the end, you'll see where the claim was paid and they made a big deal about going out of their way to pay it. Give me a break! They should have paid this without any hesitation. Glad they finally did, but not until the press got ahold of it.

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Old September 4th, 2012, 08:18 PM
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The important part of this article is "NOW", everybody who reads it, knows to be exact, when entering, this info


"Travel Guard representative. “As part of our commitment to providing astonishing customer service, we could have asked her a second and third time to double-check her exact trip cost, though we are not required or obligated to do so.” Not required???? Shame on them!

As far as I am concerned, stating this fact, to the customer who is buying this protection, should be obligatory, Omitting this fact, just adds to the their coffers with the possibility not everyone is being exact, perhaps just rounding it up, as Yun did.


"But maybe some travel insurance companies need to spend a little more time talking with their customers outside the claims process, if for no other reason than to understand why travelers are so disappointed when their policy doesn’t work as expected." My point exactly
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Old September 4th, 2012, 10:21 PM
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Pete,
I never made a claim thru travel insurance, so I am not familiar as to how it works. Did your client claim the excursions with the insurance company instead of being silent or did the insurance co. dig into the claim thru the cruiseline looking for a loophole?

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Old September 5th, 2012, 01:49 AM
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They claimed all of their out-of-pocket expenses and the insurance company paid up to the maximum amount they had insured. So obviously, they did not receive payment for the excursions. I then contacted the cruise line and we worked out a deal so they didn't have to pay for the entire amount. Again, just another reason why it's always better to book with an agent instead of trying to do everything yourself. It's good to have someone working for you so you don't have to feel alone when battling the big bad corporations.

Pete
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Old September 5th, 2012, 02:19 AM
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As I said, I've been doing this for a very long time and we sell travel insurance to approximately 40% of the trips.
That is an amazingly low number. Perhaps it needs to be a harder sell to make people understand it is imperative to insure their trips.

They should be told, in no uncertain terms, that if an insurable event occurs, without it they are certainly on the hook for the lost expenses, and have no right to expect the cruise lines (or travel supplier) to then "act in good faith" and give them their money back because of their "unique circumstances" that cause them to cancel the trip, or get ill, etc.
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Old September 5th, 2012, 02:24 AM
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Originally Posted by cruise planner View Post
They claimed all of their out-of-pocket expenses and the insurance company paid up to the maximum amount they had insured. So obviously, they did not receive payment for the excursions. I then contacted the cruise line and we worked out a deal so they didn't have to pay for the entire amount. Again, just another reason why it's always better to book with an agent instead of trying to do everything yourself. It's good to have someone working for you so you don't have to feel alone when battling the big bad corporations.

Pete
I think it's OUTRAGEOUS that a cruise line would not automatically refund excursions booked in advance if a cruise is cancelled.

They promote the advanced booking, as a means to reduce the numbers of people purchasing tours locally, or not doing organized tours. Thus to charge for them in advance of sailing is descpicable.

I've yet to encounter private tour operators anywhere who require pre-payment. Perhaps a deposit, but it's always totally refundable if the ship can't make the port, or the people have to cancel the trip entirely.
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Old September 5th, 2012, 10:11 AM
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I can see the insurance company paying up to the insured amount, but not refusing the total claim because there were some add-ons after purchasing insurance. For instance: transfers, excursions, specialty restaurants, massage package, short inexpensive airfares, prepaid gratuities, etc.

I often fly to Fl from NC for non cruising and never buy insurance for the flight. Why should I have to for a flight to catch a ship in Fl.? Recently I bought airfare thru RCL choiceair. My TA told me my insurance will go up a few $$. I told her I don't need the extra insurance & was told it was required.

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Old September 5th, 2012, 10:33 AM
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Exclamation Following the contract

Well, nobody is referring to this very important part of the article:

Quote:
...But because of the way travel insurance policies are written, they often see the world in a binary way: yes or no, covered or not covered....Insurance providers are strictly regulated by the states where they do business. “We’re subject to scheduled and unscheduled audits or reviews of our products and claims,” he says. “When we adjudicate a customer’s claim, we must follow the policy, or the contract with the customer, because if we deviate from the contract or treat one customer differently from another, then we become subject to fines and other punitive actions — like not being able to sell in that state any longer.”
Judge Judy frequently says, "The law is bounded by the four corners of the contract." I know that everybody who purchases insurance wants the contract honored when they make a claim. They expect every penny they are entitled to. If the insurance company reduces their contractual amount by $2.50 they will scream bloody murder. But it works the other way, too. If the company pays $2.50 over the covered amount, or pays a non covered expense, or otherwise fails to follow the contract exactly, it is not behaving in accordance with the law.

A contract is a contract. As in every other walk of life you need to read the contract and understand it, or not accept it. The insurance executive is exactly right that making an exception, however small, for any one customer exposes the company to regulatory and legal problems.

The point of the article is NOT how venal and anal the insurance companies are. The point of the article is to KNOW what you are purchasing.

Incidentally, have you ever read your full passenger contract on your cruise documents? The basic contract for a cruise is that the company will "attempt to provide passage." Time and date are not of the essence, ports are not of the essence, itinerary and route are not of the essence, even the ship used is not of the essence. Legally the cruise line can (and in some cases has) change any or all of those under the contract you accept.
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Old September 5th, 2012, 11:12 AM
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Mike, Over the years here, we have mentioned reading your cruise contract, over and over, and, yet we get posters who rage, when a port is missed, asking for bazillions in refunds. Remember when there was almost a mutiny on an RCI ship, with passengers signing petitions in the atrium, because they were unhappy? I also remember when a wedding in Key West was missed,as the ship sailed on by due to weather conditions...Cruisers need to read, and understand the contract.

I don't now, or will ever, understand a cruiser buying directly from the cruise lines. You NEED a travel agent to be pro active in cases just like this, and, more.

My situation, in March, worked out in every way, for us, with insurance. We were very fortunate. Age means nothing, which I hear often is a reason people don't get insurance. I think, once booked, the next words from any TA, should be, Let me show you how to insure yourself and the trip, in case of any emergency.
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Old September 5th, 2012, 04:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Kuki View Post
That is an amazingly low number. Perhaps it needs to be a harder sell to make people understand it is imperative to insure their trips.

They should be told, in no uncertain terms, that if an insurable event occurs, without it they are certainly on the hook for the lost expenses, and have no right to expect the cruise lines (or travel supplier) to then "act in good faith" and give them their money back because of their "unique circumstances" that cause them to cancel the trip, or get ill, etc.
I agree, it should be higher. Alot of agents are very high sell on travel insurance and while I encourage everyone to get it, I'm not a high sell type agent. However, I do ask them to sign a release so they can't come back later and say I didn't advise them about it. Unfortunately, alot of people just take the chance and don't want to spend the extra money. Always amazes me how some people will spend months researching a cruise to save $25, but then gamble by not purchasing the insurance to protect a $3000 expenditure.

Pete
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Old September 5th, 2012, 04:27 PM
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Originally Posted by MercedMike View Post
Incidentally, have you ever read your full passenger contract on your cruise documents? The basic contract for a cruise is that the company will "attempt to provide passage." Time and date are not of the essence, ports are not of the essence, itinerary and route are not of the essence, even the ship used is not of the essence. Legally the cruise line can (and in some cases has) change any or all of those under the contract you accept.
If you ever read those passenger contracts in their entirety it basically says the cruise line is not responsible for anything. And, you waive all rights for everything that can go wrong. It was written by lawyers for lawyers and not even lawyers can understand it. If you ever have a problem it's all about how much money you've got to hire the right lawyer willing to fight the verbage in the contract and assess blame.

The bottom line is, as I always tell people, when taking a cruise you need to be flexible. Things happen; mechanical systems can break, weather can impact the itinerary, and people get sick. You can get upset or just go with the flow. If you go to a resort for a week and it rains the whole time you're there, do you think you have a lawsuit against the resort?

But hey, there are always those people who are never happy. As my credo says, "You'll always find what you're looking for, so look for the best in everything." In other words, if you want to be unhappy, you'll always find things that will make you unhappy. But if you can let the small things role off your back, then you'll go through life alot happier. Just depends on what you're looking for.

Pete
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