Whenever I write on travel insurance, I receive anecdotes, especially on the Internet.
describing how wonderful the insurance was when there was a need. I like to hear this
sort of information but I also hear or read complains about insurers not being responsive.
We have always purchased the insurance despite our misgivings and my writings. My concern has been over the lax Insurance Department supervision and enforcement leaving the passenger at the mercy of the insurer when a claim has to be paid. The typical claim usually is such that it may not be worth suing the insurer. The insurers can charge any rate they want to; the rates are inflated by commissions to the MGA's, travel agents and even the cruise lines when they collect the premium. Some travel agents do little to earn the commission. Another undesirable feature is that the insurer will not refund any part of the premium if the policy is canceled by the passenger. Some insurers give the passengers a ten period after receipt of the Certificate to cancel but after that they are out of luck.
TRAVEL INSURANCE CLAIM: During 200 we were on a cruise on the Sky Princess. While the ship was in international waters, i.e. at sea, a male passenger at our dining room table was injured aboard ship. He ran up a doctor bill of $230 that was charged to his credit card. The couple had purchased insurance from Princess Cruises (not Cancellation Waiver) that was underwritten by the National Union Fire Insurance Company through Berkelycare. Returning home the doctor's bill was submitted to the insurer who informed the passenger the claim should be submitted to Medicare. This created some problems. Medicare does not pay for services obtained while aboard a foreign flagged cruise ship at sea. If Medicare was to pay anything it would have been 50% of a much smaller amount than $230. This insured got a run around from the insurer.
Travel Agent was sued by a passenger who had to cancel a cruise costing $25,000. The elderly man had heart problems and a couple of days before the ship was to sail , he was hospitalized. By a heart attack. The travel insurer deny his claim since the policy excluded pre-existing conditions. At that time there were no travel insurers waiving the pre-existing condition exclusion, so he lost the case.
INSURANCE : " For when they insure it is sweet to take your money, but when disaster strikes it is otherwise and each man draws his rump back and strives not to pay" A 15th Century Venetian Merchant or
"You will never know what your insurance policy will pay until you have a claim."