Are Pre-Departure Date Changes a Covered Cost?

by Steve Dasseos, The Trip Insurance Guru on February 17, 2017

We get a lot of requests for pre-departure date changes. Here are three recent emails:

I’m planning a trip to Australia and back from the USA. There’s a possibility that I will need to change the date of my return plane ticket to later than planned if my visa gets extended so I want a Travel Insurance plan that will pay the costs associated with changing my ticket.

I need a Trip Insurance plan that covers fees or costs my airline will charge me if I have to change my travel dates before I leave on my trip.

I don’t want a Trip Cancellation Insurance plan, but instead I want policy that will pay any trip the costs I will incur if I decide to delay leaving on my trip for a few days.

On the surface these sound like reasonable requests. Sometimes circumstances of your trip could change causing you to have a financial loss if you have to change the travel dates prior to leaving. I’m not talking about having to cancel your trip. These requests are specifically for changing the travel dates but still taking the trip.

However, Trip Insurance doesn’t cover costs associated with changes in dates prior to leaving on your trip. Technically, this is known as a “pre-departure date change”.

If you have a pre-departure date change that causes you to pay a penalty or fee, this is not a covered claim. You are responsible to pay the penalty or fee. This includes mistakes you make by selecting the wrong travel dates.

There are two main reasons these are not covered:

  • There’s no way for an insurance company to assign a probabilty of this happening, so it’s not possible to offer insurance for this potential risk.
  • Airlines already allow a customer to make changes for a fee. Check your plane ticket’s Contract of Carriage for the rules in order to find the fees and rules.

In order to avoid expensive changes, always double-check the travel dates, names of the travelers and other details when booking airline tickets or other travel arrangements online.

I cover something similar to this on my FAQs page:

Q. May I change my travel dates if my trip changes?

A. Yes, you can change your travel dates if your trip changes. If you are past the Free Look period, you cannot get a refund on the travel insurance policy because you choose not to take your original trip.

In addition, some companies will not allow you to change your dates if you incur a financial loss. This can be tricky because some travel agents charge fees, airlines will and also some cruise lines do, too.

Here are your options:

  • If you want to lower your insured trip cost, because your trip cost was lower than you expected, you have to contact the insurance company directly yourself. Your travel insurance plan is a legal contract and, as such, the insurance company needs to receive the changes from you. In addition, your credit card will be credited the refunded amount and we don’t save your credit card information.
  • If you want to change your travel insurance policy’s travel dates you also have to contact the insurance company directly yourself. The reason is the same: your travel insurance plan is a legal contract and, as such, the insurance company needs to receive the changes from you.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

When I said “you have to contact the insurance company directly yourself”, that is not completely true. If you bought your Travel Insurance from us, we will help you do the date or other changes you need.

The reason I said what I did is because we’ve had people who bought insurance from someone else come to us and want us to help them make changes to their policy. In every case, the person / place who sold them their policy dropped the ball on post-sales service.

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More on Why Kara’s Claim Wasn’t Paid

by Steve Dasseos, The Trip Insurance Guru on December 2, 2016

I have two new rules before I publish a Blog post:

  1. Don’t stay up all night the night before
  2. Have someone without Austism review it first (I have Asperger’s)

My good friend Amrit reviewed this one. If you need a good writer, don’t hire me. Hire Amrit. His website is Credible-Content.com.

In my previous Nov 30, 2016 post Why Kara’s Claim Wasn’t Paid I failed to say exactly why Kara’s claim was not paid.

About:
Kara bought a trip cancellation policy with “Cancel For Any Reason” coverage from our website. Due to some unavoidable reasons (a military coup in Turkey!) she was forced to make some changes to her trip, which is fairly understandable. The problem is, she made those changes without consulting us. The changes she made weren’t covered in the policy and had she contacted us before making the changes, we would have told her, and would have even advised her how to make the changes so that she would be properly covered.

Consequently, she didn’t get her claim and now she thinks we are responsible for the unfortunate predicament. She has shared her experience, although a bit misplaced when it comes to mentioning my business, on Yelp. Here is my response.

The reason her claim wasn’t payable is that she had a “Cancel For Any Reason” policy.

“Cancel For Any Reason” is just that – cancelling your entire trip for a reason that is normally not covered (e.g., changing your mind). It’s not “Delay For Any Reason”, nor is it “Change Your Travel Arrangements For Any Reason”.

As I said, Never start a sentence about how travel insurance works with “One would think …”. You will be wrong and potentially unhappy. In this case specifically, the error that led to the claim denial was making the words “Cancel” and “Change” synonyms even though they are not. Cancel and Change mean different things.

It is precisely the difference between Cancel and Change that is why the insurance company said “you can file for 75% reimbursement for the cost of the original tickets that you cancelled under the any reason option but the costs associated with changing or booking new tickets wouldn’t be covered because the insurance doesn’t cover the costs associated with the traveler deciding to change their trip around.”

This is exactly why I say “Contact us before you start changing your travel arrangements. If you do something that is not covered and then tell us after the fact, I doubt there’s much we can do to help you get your claim paid.”

Had she contacted us, we clearly would have said “You have to cancel all your travel arrangements at least 48 hours before you are scheduled to leave. Your policy will not cover changes”.

I hope this made sense. If not, let me know. And, be sure call us when you think you might have a claim.

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I hope this makes sense. If you want the right travel insurance advice, call us at 1-888-407-3854 and we'll help you figure it all out.

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Why Kara’s Claim Wasn’t Paid

by Steve Dasseos, The Trip Insurance Guru on November 30, 2016

About:
Kara bought a trip cancellation policy with “Cancel For Any Reason” coverage from our website. Due to some unavoidable reasons (a military coup in Turkey!) she was forced to make some changes to her trip, which is fairly understandable. The problem is, she made those changes without consulting us. The changes she made weren’t covered in the policy and had she contacted us before making the changes, we would have told her, and would have even advised her how to make the changes so that she would be properly covered.

Consequently, she didn’t get her claim and now she thinks we are responsible for the unfortunate predicament. She has shared her experience, although a bit misplaced when it comes to mentioning my business, on Yelp. Here is my response.

A business benefits when happy customers refer their friends. When the business is online, reviews from real people go a long way, too. I am very thankful for all the nice things people say about us on Cruise Critic, Trip Advisor, Frommer’s, Fodor’s, Dis Boards, Flyer Talk, newspaper travel sections and all the other places online.

Not everything said about TripInsuranceStore.com is good. Some are neutral like: “Is there even some named ‘Steve’? I’ve called and have never talked to him…”.

Now and then I find negative reviews from people who should have never bought a trip cancellation travel insurance policy in the first place. At the very least they should have called or emailed us for advice because it would have given us the opportunity to tell them: “Don’t buy a travel insurance policy because it will not cover you.”

Here’s one of those negative reviews that I think is worth reading as it’s a perfect example of why it’s important to be aware of these things (and why someone should call us when they think they might have a claim):

  1. TripInsuranceStore is not the insurance company (I am a broker) so if you decide to contact the insurance company directly without ever contacting us for advice before you start your claim, don’t drag my name through the mud complaining about your experience.
  2. Read your policy. Don’t assume anything about how you are covered. Even though the terms may be the same, every policy is different from the other ones out there. Please call us at 1-888-407-3854 with questions. We will patiently help you.
  3. Contact us before you start changing your travel arrangements. If you do something that is not covered and then tell us after the fact, I doubt there’s much we can do to help you get your claim paid.
  4. Never start a sentence about how travel insurance works with “One would think …”. You will be wrong and potentially unhappy.
  5. If you have a claim, we will help you with your claim even before you start it because it’s important to us that your claim gets paid. Just like we are not the insurance company, we are also not the claim department.
  6. Insurance policy language is precise because it is a unilateral legal contract. Don’t equate “cancelling” with “making a change”.

Here’s the Yelp review:

I purchased “Cancel for any reason” insurance through TripInsuranceStore.com – they are incredibly helpful, until you actually need to file a claim. We were going on safari in Kenya and had purchased our tickets on Turkish Airlines from SFO to IST and then connecting to NBO on July 19th. As I’m sure everyone is aware, there was an attempted coup in Istanbul on July 15th and the FAA banned all Turkish Airline flights from the US for an unspecified period of time. One would think a military coup would be a covered item, but one would be wrong. Well, if the coup isn’t covered, at least I should be covered since the FAA has banned all flights? Again, wrong. I was able to re-route us on United via FRA and ADD, but had to pay around $1,000 in change fees for 7 people. I’m looking for 75% of $1,000 in reimbursement which I believe I more than qualify for. Given the civil unrest in Turkey, plus the uncertainty of whether the FAA would lift it’s ban in time and there would even be a Turkish Airline plane available to take us to Istanbul on July 19th, I’m curious what the average traveler is expected to do in our situation. Here is verbatim their reasoning for denying our claim, “you can file for 75% reimbursement for the cost of the original tickets that you cancelled under the any reason option but the costs associated with changing or booking new tickets wouldn’t be covered because the insurance doesn’t cover the costs associated with the traveler deciding to change their trip around.” Ha! They think we wanted to spend 48+ hours traveling through 3 countries in order to get to our ultimate destination. As if on a whim two days before our trip of a lifetime I said, “You know what, I hear Frankfurt is lovely this time of year…”

If you want to see Kara’s Yelp review, you can find it here on my Yelp page: https://www.yelp.com/biz/tripinsurancestore-lees-summit-2

If you want to say anything about us online, you will find more information on how to do this on my Feedback page: https://tripinsurancestore.com/how-did-tripinsurancestore-com-do/

PS – After writing this I realized I didn’t explain it well so I wrote this on Dec. 2, 2016: More on Why Kara’s Claim Wasn’t Paid

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I hope this makes sense. If you want the right travel insurance advice, call us at 1-888-407-3854 and we'll help you figure it all out.

Now, a word from our sponsor: TripInsuranceStore.com (Travel Forums' Most Recommended Travel Insurance Website)

PS - If you liked what you read, please Subscribe to my Blog.

Honor The Price I Got From My Mistake

by Steve Dasseos, The Trip Insurance Guru on November 18, 2016

I took a call that started with:

I did a quote on TripInsuranceStore.com and got a price. When I clicked the purchase link to order it the price was nearly double! I want you to honor the first price I got.

At first I thought I was lucky enough to take this call. After all, if my quotes are wrong I’d want to know so I could fix it. I asked the lady if she still has the quotes open and she did. I then asked her to email them to me so I could figure out what was wrong and she did.

While I was waiting for the email I asked for her basic trip details again (ages, travel dates, per person trip cost). As soon as I get the quotes she emailed me I saw the problem: The quotes had their ages as 69 and 17, while their real ages were 69 and 67.

When I pointed out the age error, she said “I entered the ages correctly, so your system must have changed the age 67 to age 17 in order to fool me. This is bait and switch. I demand you honor the price I received.”

I talked with her some more. I had her re-do a quote with ages 69 & 67 and she got the same price as the order form gave her, but she insisted that I took control of her computer remotely and was manipulating the results she was seeing (she refused to believe me when I said I wasn’t doing this).

Then, her husband got on the phone: “My name is _______ . I’m a well-known attorney here in Boston. You can look me up online. I demand you honor the price on the first quotes we received. It’s not our fault your system must have changed the age 67 to age 17. If you don’t honor that price we will go to every online forum we can find and expose you.”

I patiently explained that they might reconsider that idea since he told me his name, I have their email address and phone number plus we have the phone call. However, if they chose to do that, I said make sure you spell my last name correctly. It’s d-a-s-s-e-o-s. That’s when they hung up on me.

{ Comments on this entry are closed }

I hope this makes sense. If you want the right travel insurance advice, call us at 1-888-407-3854 and we'll help you figure it all out.

Now, a word from our sponsor: TripInsuranceStore.com (Travel Forums' Most Recommended Travel Insurance Website)

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Tip For Selling Expensive Items Online

by Steve Dasseos, The Trip Insurance Guru on October 27, 2016

I have various blog posts that are still drafts due to them covering complicated subjects. As I was writing the past few days, I decided to publish this one in the meantime. Also, I have a disclaimer at the end for anyone who needs one.

This one is not on the ever-interesting, fascinating and riveting subject of Travel Insurance. Instead, it’s a Tip For Selling Expensive Items online.

I am selling an Ethan Allen American Impressions Cherry Computer Desk for $500 on Craig’s List.

Within 30 minutes of listing it I received three text messages from area codes in California, Florida and New York. I live in Missouri. Each of the messages was worded nearly the same as the others, with the feeling of it being a scam, so I decided to have some “fun” with them. By the way, if you like my sense of humor, let me know if you ever come to Kansas City and we can hang out.

I copied one of the text exchanges. The other two were similar, but they wouldn’t play along and were shorter.

Their text to me: “Ethan Allen American Impressions Cherry Computer Desk 24-9011 – $500 Ok! I will pay you via Paypal and i will have a mover come pick it up but i can’t get cash across to the mover directly because i’m out of the city for work and they don’t use paypal. So, i will add extra money to the payment for the mover so that you can pay on my behalf. Send me your paypal info for payment if you have one so we can proceed.”

Me: “Oh I’m so sorry but we only take cash. When will you return to the city?”

Text: “Next month”

Me: “Send me your contact info and I will arrange for the sale. What date will you return?

Text: sorry paypal is the only way i can make the payment to you because it is linked to my bank account and i find it very easy to transfer funds there. so let me know if you are still gonna sell to me. paypal only take a minute to set up. log on to Paypal.com to setup

Me: “If you want to use Paypal, there is a 21 day wait for me to release the item so I can receive the money.”

Text: “PayPal is instant….The funds will get into your account Immediately you send them the details you get from western union.? thats the only way i do my transaction when am not in the state”

Me: “What state do you need to be in?”

Text: “Okay appreciate the furniture and just to let you know I’m okay with the condition, the price and I’m ready for the purchase plus I’m willing to add an extra $50 so as to have it reserved in my favor, I would have really loved to come for the inspection but due to my work frame it just won’t fit in my schedule but i already have a mover that will handle the moving”

Me: “Here’s the problem for me: It’s a friend’s account. I’m in the Witness Protection Program and it’s illegal for me to use PayPal due to my money laundering past. I have friends all over the USA so send me your contact information and they will get the money in person from you and your associate can pick it up after that. Don’t worry, you can trust my friends.”

I never heard anything after that last text. I guess they didn’t want to meet my “friends”.

*** Disclaimer for anyone who needs one: I am not now, nor ever have been in the Witness Protection Program. And, I do not have a money laundering past.

It turns out that Paypal is aware of this scam, too:
https://www.paypal.com/us/selfhelp/article/Scams-on-Craigslist-and-Other-Classifieds-Websites-FAQ3022

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I hope this makes sense. If you want the right travel insurance advice, call us at 1-888-407-3854 and we'll help you figure it all out.

Now, a word from our sponsor: TripInsuranceStore.com (Travel Forums' Most Recommended Travel Insurance Website)

PS - If you liked what you read, please Subscribe to my Blog.

Don’t Be This Person

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