I have put down deposit on a concierge class cabin on the Celebrity Constellation for an Eastern European cruise that sails next May. I am now looking at trip insurance. In the past I felt the insurance I took covered me in case there was a family emergency and I had to cancel but as I read the brochures now, I'm not so sure.
I find it difficult to determine as we don't know what amount to insure as we intend to take out a pre-cruise package in London but they won't know what those are or their costs for a while. However, I have to take out the insurance within 10 days of making my deposit to take advantage of their precondition waiver. What I don't know is if those pre-cruise lodgings can be cancelled without penalty and thus not need to be insured? I've got a message into my TA but she's left for a week's vacation.
My main concern though about trip insurance is that I want to be able to cancel in case a family member that is not part of the trip get ill or dies and we need to cancel. AAA's TripAssist brochure states that cancellation is only in case of "illness, injury or death of you, a covered family member or traveling companion". What happens if there is a death in the family that would cause the cancellation of the trip? Is that not covered?
The other plan that I normally take covers the following: "Sickness, Injury or death involving You or Your Traveling Companion or Your Business Partner or Family Member of either You or Your Traveling Companion which results in medically imposed restrictions as certified by a Legally Qualified Physician at the time of loss preventing Your continued participation in the Trip."
Even though it mentions a family member, it sounds open to interpretation as to whether one would be prevented from continuing the trip if it is a non-traveling family member that is ill. In the past, this outfit has told me that this means I'm covered for a death or serious illness of a family member not on this trip but where circumstances would require the traveler to stay home but I'm not to sure of that wording. Has anyone had experience in this area?
You may want to check out Access America's web site. www.accessamerica.com. They go into very specific details on their policies which cover everything from your flight, cruise, and hotel stay. Great prices too !!! Their phone number is 1-866-807-3982.
Frank, I don't know if this is an option for you or not, but I'll toss out as a suggestion. It sounds like the pre-ex waiver is pretty important to you. If that's the case, could you cancel your current booking to give yourself some time to research insurance, then rebook?
Though many people feel you should not purchase insurance from the cruiseline, we did just that and were very happy. We had used TravelGard in the past, but the cruiseline's coverage actually fit our needs better.
The cruiseline also underquoted the insurance price, but the error wasn't discovered until after we had made final payment. So we got the coverage for the (under)quoted price.
I worked in the insurance industry for several years, and that helped us considerably. I understood the lingo and asked very specific questions, which I then had the carrier confirm in writing.
Frank, I am fairly certain that the family member does not need to be traveling with you. It is the relationship that family member has to you that determines whether or not you are covered. I recall calling several insurance companies and asking that question (within the last six months) and was told that we would be covered should, for example, my husband's mother (who lives in a foreign country and would not be traveling with us) die or be hospitalized. I can't speak specifically to any particular insurance policy, and I am not in the insurance industry, but I wasn't concerned about OUR becoming ill, but rather with a family member not traveling with us.
I also asked about another immediate family member who does live in our state, and was assured that in both cases, we would be covered. Of course, it depends upon the individual policy. I am not certain which insurance company I called, but it was likely either the company which administers Princess or the one that administer's AAA'sTrip Assist, if that helps. (There were some things I didn't like at all about the Trip Assist plans, and decided I would not use either of those, in any case. )
We ended up not taking out any insurance, since our travel plans changed from a 12-day Med cruise on Princess to a 7-day Alaska cruise on HAL, and we felt the lesser expense and the sailing being primarily in the U.S. did not warrant the cost of the insurance.
If you are a AAA Plus member, you already have $ 25,000 medical evacuation insurance, but of course it has nothing to do with cancellation or interruption insurance.
Wow. That website www.insuremytrip.com has an overwhelming amount of plans available from many companies. They also state in their Q&A that:
Q. Is there trip insurance available to cover the need to cancel a trip due to the death of a close family member - not one who is traveling on the particular trip?
A. Yes, most of our package policies provide coverage for trip cancellation due to a non-traveling family member's death or illness requiring you to stay home.
However, I already know that some, like AccessAmerica don't sound like they do and others are questionable in how I read their brochures. I've sent them an email asking them to tell me which companies provide this as I don't want to wade through all the deteals for the 14 options shown. It doesn't list in the comparison page.
With regard to insurance, keep in mind that regardless of what you may be told by a customer service rep over the phone, or how you might interpret something in a brochure, in most cases it is the policy itself that actually dictates what is and is not covered. If specific coverages are important to you, ask for a copy of the policy wording before you sign on the dotted line.
Frank - It might be a wise to check the policy wording for their definition of "close family member." Just because you consider a relative to be a close family member does not necessarily mean the insurance carrier will, too.
When I worked in the industry, I ran into many people who learned too late that their policy did not cover what they thought it did.
All of the package policies do especially if you qualify for the waiver of
pre-existing medical conditions. Here is what the Access America Travel
with Ease policy says:
1. Any serious Injury or any unforeseen serious medical condition:
Occurring to You or a Traveling Companion, which is so disabling as to cause
a reasonable person to delay, cancel, or interrupt their Trip;
Occurring to a Family Member that is considered life threatening or
requiring hospitalization; or
Occurring to a Family Member requiring Your care.
They define Family Member in much the same way that most of the other
Family Member means Your spouse; parent; child(ren), including children who
are, or are in the process of becoming adopted; sibling; grandparent or
grandchild(ren); step-parent; step-child; or step-sibling; in-laws (parent,
son, daughter, brother or sister); aunt; uncle; niece; nephew; legal
guardian; ward; or business partner; whether or not they travel with You.
The above benefit for trip cancellation and the definition for family varies
--------------------------- end of quote ------------------------------------------
What I find interesting is that the AccessAmerica TripAssist policy that they write for AAA does not seem to have the same coverage. As you mentioned, one needs to read the entire policy before signing on the dotted line. I'll be asking an agent for the policy.
Frank - Glad to see you're making progress on this. My heart used to just break for people who were sometimes out thousands of dollars because they didn't find out what their policy did and did not cover until after they had experienced a loss. And as you've found with Access America and AAA, policies written by the same carrier are not necessarily the same. I really commend you for doing your homework on this. Hopefully you'll never need to file a claim, but if you do, the homework you're doing now may well mean fewer (if any) unexpected surprises later.
I am going to find out just how good Access America is. I booked my insurance with them for my 1/18/04 cruise based on the cruise price and added my estimated air and pre/post hotel costs to cover the entire trip. However, my husband recently passed and I am in the process of contacting and making claims on all our life, work, trip policies. I probably will not know in time for your decision,.
I am so sorry to hear about your tragedy. I have found out that AccessAmerica does cover close family members, even if they aren't traveling with you. I had the TA look up the actual policy vs. the brochure and it spelled it out. Even so, the version from AAA would cost me about $60 more than the web site version and the only difference is that the AAA policy covers $500 for luggage delays while the on-line version covers $200. Everything else is identical. On a non-stop flight, the odds are against a luggage delay or loss. Anything can happen but.....