Don’t Be This Person

by Steve Dasseos, The Trip Insurance Guru on September 14, 2016

I hope you all had a nice summer. I did, but it was busier than expected. I also have a few posts in draft form that I can’t quite figure out how to finish. This was one, but I think I finally got all my cynicism regarding this one worked out.

Before you read what happened, you need to know that neither this lady nor her husband ever called or emailed us before she bought her policy. In addition, she never responded to our followup emails after purchase so the by the time she did email us it was way too late to give her any meaningful advice or help. This all happened on July 14-15, 2016.

Hi, I have a few questions about my trip insurance for a vacation planned in August. I originally bought the travel insurance in December and found out I was pregnant in March. Unfortunately, we lost the pregnancy. My husband and I decided we weren’t going on the trip to Punta Cana, as it is a high risk of exposure to the Zika virus. At the strong recommendation of our OB and our concern, as we are actively trying to conceive, a trip to the Dominican Republic is not a good idea. Therefore, we would like to cancel our trip, but are not quite sure how to go about it. Who do I need to talk to? Do I cancel the reservations through the insurance or with the resort and airline? I know I will have to fill out some paperwork. I have been to the OB, and I have a letter that has been written on our behalf, spelling out the reasons above, in the hopes that we can get our money back.

Here’s what we wrote back:
“We are sorry to hear about your pregnancy. The policy that you got does not cover for pregnancy and will only cover for cancellation for a medical reason that impairs your ability to travel. Or, if you do not incur a penalty to change your trip, we can transfer your insurance to another trip.”

She answered with:
“I am surprised and disappointed by this. I guess I didn’t read the “fine” print well enough. I’m not sure where I missed the “this plan does not cover pregnancy,” as this is the only reason why I purchased it. Apparently the safety of an unborn child is not a good enough “reason” to cancel a trip. It may not impede my ability to travel, just the ability of having a healthy child. Your feigned attempt at an apology for the loss of my pregnancy was just barely a step up from the insensitivity of the remainder of your email. As for transferring the insurance, you can keep the $100. It does me no good. Love those loopholes and lawyer-speak. I will not be using your company in the future.”

This is when I decided to get involved. I sent her the following email July 15th at 1:39 AM (in hindsight I should have just gone to bed). And, this was before I discovered neither she nor her husband ever called or emailed us before she bought her policy:

“Hi ___,

Thanks for writing. As it is late, and I have not talked with my employees about you, I do not know anything about your conversation history with us.

I know you will never do business with us or that company again, so I want you to know I am not writing you to “get your business back”. I agree with your decision.

I am writing to straighten out what appears to be some misunderstandings about how travel insurance works.

First, I’m sorry to hear of the the loss of your pregnancy. All my employees are Moms and my Wife and I could not have kids (we adopted our kids) so we can sympathize with your loss.

> I guess I didn’t read the “fine” print well enough. I’m not sure where I missed the “this plan does not cover pregnancy,” as this is the only reason why I purchased it

Here is what your policy says (I attached it to this email too)

“Complications of Pregnancy” means conditions (when the pregnancy is not terminated) whose diagnoses are distinct from pregnancy but are adversely affected by pregnancy or are caused by pregnancy. These conditions include acute nephritis, nephrosis, cardiac decompensation, missed abortion and similar medical and surgical conditions of comparable severity. Complications of Pregnancy also include non-elective cesarean section, ectopic pregnancy which is terminated and spontaneous termination of pregnancy, which occurs during a period of gestation in which a viable birth is not possible. Complications of Pregnancy does not include false labor, occasional spotting, Physician-prescribed rest during the period of pregnancy, morning sickness, hyperemesis gravidarum, preeclampsia and similar conditions associated with the management of a difficult pregnancy not constituting a nosologically distinct complication of pregnancy.

Under Exclusions, #11 says:
normal childbirth or pregnancy (except Complications of Pregnancy)

> Apparently the safety of an unborn child is not a good enough “reason” to cancel a trip. It may not impede my ability to travel, just the ability of having a healthy child.
> My husband and I decided we weren’t going to on the trip to Punta Cana, as it is a high risk of exposure to the Zika virus.

The policy you bought is the TravelSafe Classic plan. There are 25 covered reasons to cancel your trip. None of them are for anything related to not feeling safe or changing your mind. This is the same with all other companies.

Had you wanted the ability to change your mind and cancel your trip, the TravelSafe Classic Plus includes 75% Cancel For Any Reason Coverage when purchased within 21 days of your Initial Trip Deposit Date.

You ordered your policy directly online on 12/27/2015. I can see limited info on your policy and no date was entered for your Initial Trip Deposit Date, do I don’t know if you were even eligible for the Cancel For Any Reason Coverage on 12/27/2015.

I do not know if you ever called us prior to you buying your policy, but if you had told us you wanted to cancel because you might not feel safe we would have made it clear you needed the Cancel For Any Reason Coverage.

> As for transferring the insurance, you can keep the $100

I don’t get the $100 – the company gets the $100. If you are incurring no penalties to change your trip to some other trip, it allows you a one-time change of travel dates. However, if I had received the $100, I’d give it back to you.

> Love those loopholes and lawyer-speak. I will not be using your company in the future.

I’m not looking for or expecting any response from you. I only sent this email to explain how your policy works.”

She wrote this back to me:
“So, that’s a lie. I wouldn’t be receiving this email if you “didn’t know anything about my conversation history with you”…

That’s fine. Your conscience is clear. You are like all the other companies, I guess. Untrustworthy, sly. Honestly, I’m not too worried about what the other companies do or don’t do. I am concerned about what yours doesn’t do, at this point in time. And you sharing your story with me about your children being adopted is supposed to make me feel like you understand somehow? And the implication is…? Yes, it is obvious you don’t understand what I was trying to say. Thanks for explaining all the medical jargon because I don’t know what any of those things are!

I’m not looking for or expecting any response from you. I only want to explain how little your email worked.

Clever, I can quote you, too!”

Here’s what I sent her the next morning:
” > Yes, it is obvious you don’t understand what I was trying to say

You’re right that I don’t understand what you were trying to say. I have Asperger Syndrome and this is how I process information. I am 100% literal all the time. I cannot generalize. I cannot “read between the lines”.

I was gone until I checked my email on my laptop before going to bed. I wrote you to explain how all travel insurance works. I wasn’t obligated to do that because when you bought it online you checked the box that said you read the policy.

> Thanks for explaining all the medical jargon because I don’t know what any of those things are!

I did not explain any medical jargon. I quoted you from your policy. The policy contains all the explanations.

I am in my office now and there is no record of any phone call from what we have listed as your phone number to us ever. Nor are there any emails from your email prior to you writing us yesterday. Any time we would have been happy to explain how travel insurance works.”

Her response to me was:
“I’m not sure what the point is of sharing your personal information. It is irrelevant and certainly doesn’t excuse anyone from the manner in which my inquiries were being made. My argument is mostly with the way in which customer service was handled. The responses have been somewhat odd and quite insensitive. As far as the policy is concerned, I do not recall reading the part about pregnancy, especially in the original set of information made available to me. The 20 page policy required more of a microscope than I thought would be needed. Buyer beware.

Please stop emailing me. I am fearful of what other inconsequential or insensitive responses will result.”

Of course I didn’t email her again. She won’t ever hear from us again as I have marked her with my “666” designation.

I just wish she would have started her email with “I bought insurance and I didn’t bother to read the policy nor contact you with any questions. I don’t care what it says because I want the insurance to pay me even if I’m not covered.”

I guess I didn’t read the “fine” print well enough. As far as the policy is concerned, I do not recall reading the part about pregnancy, especially in the original set of information made available to me. The 20 page policy required more of a microscope than I thought would be needed. Buyer beware.

If you read this all the way to the end, my advice to you is Don’t Be This Person. But, if you are, Don’t Buy Insurance From TripInsuranceStore.com !

{ 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)

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

The Best Travel Insurance to Have With Your HSA Plan

by Steve Dasseos, The Trip Insurance Guru on June 1, 2016

The best Travel Insurance to have with your HSA (Health Savings Account) Plan is one with Secondary medical instead of Primary (Primary is also known as First Payer).

HSA plans have a large annual deductibles which means that before the 100% coverage kicks in, the large annual deductible needs to be paid by someone:

  • You yourself, or
  • An other party

“You yourself” is self-explanatory. But, who is the ideal “other party”?

Travel Insurance with Secondary medical, not Primary, is the ideal “other party”.

This is because Secondary medical pays anything your other insurance won’t pay. Even if you have no other medical insurance that will cover you while you are on your trip, Secondary still covers you.

If you already have a Travel Insurance plan that contains primary medical, you can easily cause the Primary medical to be treated as Secondary medical. You do this by stating on the claim form that you are covered by other insurance. If you want to be sure there is no mixup, write a cover letter stating “I am covered by other medical insurance and I want my claim to be processed as a secondary claim”.

Here’s how the paperwork would be processed:

  1. You submit your medical bills to your HSA medical insurance first
  2. They send you an Explanation of Benefits form
  3. You send the Explanation of Benefits form in along with all the other documentation of your claim to the travel insurance company
  4. Whatever amount the Explanation of Benefits form states as “Your Share” gets paid, up to your policy limit, by the travel insurance.
  5. You use that amount to pay your share of your medical claim

How Exactly Does The Secondary Medical Benefit You?

Let’s say you have an HSA plan with a $10,000 deductible. In March you take a trip and on the trip you get it ill for a total of $6,500 in medical expenses.

When time your claim is settled you pay the $6,500 received from the travel insurance toward you bills. This means you now have only $3,500 left to meet your $10,000 deductible. The cost of any illnesses or injuries that are completely unrelated to what happened on your trip go toward yor remaining deductible.

Did you notice that you don’t have your full deductible remaining, but just the balance of your annual deductible?

This is the beauty of having Travel Insurance with Secondary medical when you haven’t already satisfied your annual deductible – another party pays part or all your deductible.

{ 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)

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

It’s Good Dolores Took My Advice

by Steve Dasseos, The Trip Insurance Guru on April 14, 2016

As you may recall when we spoke on Friday. I indicated that our children’s travel agent in South Africa was going to book our tickets. You told me that we would need to have proof of purchase that we ourselves bought the tickets for our May 3 – June 1, 2016 trip. My question is: If we buy the tickets through the South Africa travel agent with our credit card would that be adequate for the insurance purposes? Dolores

What Dolores emailed me above was the last in a series of calls and emails we had in February 2016 for her and her husband’s May 2016 trip. In case you want to skip to the answer without reading this, the answer is “Yes”.

Here’s the backstory: Delores and her husband wanted trip insurance to cover them for their trip to South Africa to visit their children. In order to make it simple, their children were going to buy the tickets in Delores and her husband’s name through their travel agent in South Africa. Delores and her husband were going to reimburse their children for the tickets after arriving in South Africa. Delores wanted to buy trip insurance for all the regular reasons to have it.

That sounds reasonable, right? It does, at first glance, until we reasoned out how a trip cancellation or trip interruption claim would work. Had Delores not called us, it’s possible she would have received the wrong advice. Situations like this look straightforward on the surface, but they are not.

The potential problem was how to prove that they had Prepaid, Non-refundable Trip Costs.

If something unexpectedly bad medically happened to either of them and their doctor saw them in person and said they can’t travel, then how would Delores and her husband prove that, they themselves, had prepaid and non-refundable trip costs? They would not have been able to prove this.

Perhaps I would have been able to convince one of my companies that they should not look at the “prepaid” requirement too literally, but why would I want a company that trusts me to bend / break its own rules? That will never happen. All my companies know that we will never sell a policy under false pretenses.

My solution for Delores was to buy the airline tickets through the South Africa travel agent with their own credit card. This establishes a clear paper trail for the money and the trip costs would have been prepaid.

Technorati Tags: , , ,

{ 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)

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

Renee Should Not Get Trip Cancellation Insurance

by Steve Dasseos, The Trip Insurance Guru on March 16, 2016

Hi Steve, My husband and I are leaving on a nearly $29,000 tour in 9 days. I’ve heard good things about you and I want some brutally honest advice.

My sister-in-law is currently in the hospital with pnemonia on life support in the intensive care unit. I am trying to find cancellation and interruption insurance that would cover my husband and I, in case we needed to cancel our trip or had to return home early to be with her. Can we get a plan from you that will cover her pre-existing medical conditions?

Also, in case it makes a difference, three of your competitors have told me “Yes, you can get a trip cancellation and interruption plan”. Thank you, Renee

Hello Renee,

Thanks for writing. First, I’m sorry to hear about your sister-in-law. I hope she recovers quickly.

Next, while it’s true that you “can buy a policy”, I think it’s deceptive to say it this way because it implies that your claim will be paid.

> Can we get a plan from you that will cover her pre-existing medical conditions?

Ok, here’s my brutally honest advice: No, I do not have a plan that I know will, without question, cover her pre-existing medical conditions. Therefore, I cannot recommend that you get a trip cancellation and interruption plan.

The reason for this is that all insurance is based on covering unforeseen losses. In your case, your sister-in-law has a condition that is not unforeseen, so if you did have to cancel or interrupt your trip, it’s unlikely that your claim will get paid. I cannot say for certain that it will be denied, but the odds of your claim being paid are too low for me to ethically sell you a policy.

If you go here (https://tripinsurancestore.com/about-tripinsurancestore-com/), you’ll see that my advice is part of my business philosophy:

I say “You will get the truth from us. We will tell you if travel insurance won’t work for you and your situation. We won’t sell you a policy just to let your claim get ‘sorted out later’.”

Even though we cannot do business today, keep us in mind when you’re planning your next trip.

{ 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)

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

Travel Insurance and Terrorism

by Steve Dasseos, The Trip Insurance Guru on November 19, 2015

How Does Trip Cancellation Travel Insurance Cover Terrorist Incidents?

Like much of the world, I am angry at the recent terrorist attacks in Beirut, the downing of the Russian airplane over Sinai and the Paris attacks.

And, as you can imagine, we are getting calls from our clients who want to know how their Trip Cancellation Travel Insurance plan will cover them. And, also from people we’ve never worked with who want to know how a Trip Cancellation Travel Insurance plan will cover them for a future trip.

Like everything insurance, it comes down to the event being either unforeseen or already known.

Trip Cancellation Travel Insurance only covers losses resulting from sudden and unforeseen perils. Trip Cancellation Travel Insurance does not cover events that, on the date you buy the insurance, are known to You.

Here’s typical policy wording: “A Terrorist Act which occurs in your Scheduled Trip Departure City or in a city to which you are scheduled to travel while on your Trip, and which occurs within 30 days of your Scheduled Departure Date, provided the city has not experienced a Terrorist Act in the past 30 days prior to the effective date of your coverage. The Terrorist Incident must occur after the Effective Date of Your Trip Cancellation Coverage.”

Some policies don’t include this wording: “provided the city has not experienced a Terrorist Act in the past 30 days prior to the effective date of your coverage”.

For example, if you are going to Beirut or Paris soon and you did not already buy a Trip Cancellation Travel Insurance policy before Nov 12th, there will be no coverage for trip cancellation, trip interruption or medical treatment due to a Terrorist Act at your destination.

On the other hand, if you are going to Beirut or Paris soon and you bought a Trip Cancellation Travel Insurance policy that includes Terrorist Incident coverage before Nov 12th, you are covered according to the terms of your policy.

Go to this page if you want to see more about Terrorist Incident coverage: https://tripinsurancestore.com/travel-insurance-terrorist-incident-coverages/ from the few companies I have pre-screened and I trust.

What If I Don’t Feel Safe Going Somewhere?

Not feeling safe at your destination is one good reason to have a policy with Cancel For Any Reason coverage. Cancel For Any Reason adds about 50% to the price, it has to be purchased by the same deadline as the Pre-existing Conditions coverage (14 – 30 days after your initial trip deposit date) and you have to insure 100% of your Prepaid, Non-refundable Trip Costs.

{ 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)

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

Don’t Round Your Insured Trip Cost Down

November 12, 2015

Subscribe I took a call a few weeks ago on one of the Saturday mornings I was working (yes, I work on weekends, too) from someone who wanted to be sure they had Pre-existing Conditions coverage. I asked, “What is your per person prepaid, non-refundable trip cost?” She said “It’s $4,000 each”. I asked “Really, […]

Read the full article →

I’m Glad I Don’t Have an Idiot Son

October 8, 2015

Subscribe My husband and I are 62. We have not purchased tickets yet. We wanted more information on travel insurance. The tickets will probably run around $400 each. We live in Kentucky. The travel dates will be November 4 – 6. Our destination is Seattle, WA. Our idiot son is planning to be married on […]

Read the full article →

This Foot Problem’s Treatment is Covered

August 6, 2015

Subscribe Hi Steve: Ken and I have been enjoying our Turkey and Greece cruise and unfortunately there’s only a few more days before we have to head home to reality. We’ve seen some interesting places and met very nice people. I’m not sure I’m going to see the ship’s doctor, but wanted to know if […]

Read the full article →

Insurance Does Not Bail Out Your Mistakes

May 13, 2015

Subscribe Here’s a typical request we get more times than we prefer: “How much would it cost to insure our airplane tickets with the Cancel For Any Reason coverage? We paid $1,137 each and our ages are 42 and 45 (or you can insert any price and age because the answer is the same). We […]

Read the full article →

What Does Prepaid Mean?

February 4, 2015

Subscribe What Does Prepaid Mean? On April 18, 2012 I wrote a blog called “Don’t Waste $429 on Un-Needed Trip Cancellation Insurance“. I got so many questions about that one, on September 26, 2012 I wrote a blog called “You Cannot Get a Refund on Non Prepaid Trip Costs“. In both blogs I referred to […]

Read the full article →

Protect Yourself When You Are Online

December 2, 2014

Subscribe I’m sure you are well aware of all the data breaches that have taken place over the past few years. It seems like there’s a new one every few days. In fact, just today, a client told me that his Chase credit card was being re-issued because of the recent Home Depot data breach. […]

Read the full article →

What is a Trip Itinerary?

October 9, 2014

Subscribe I’m helping someone with their claim. In order for the travel insurance company to know someone took the trip they insured, they need a copy of the trip itinerary. Makes sense, right? Thanks to this person’s email to me, it just dawned on me that many people probably don’t know what a trip itinerary […]

Read the full article →

What is the Difference Between Trip Cancellation and Trip Cancellation for Any Reason?

August 16, 2014

The Trip cancellation coverage means some covered reason causes you to cancel your trip. The “Cancel For Any Reason / Change Your Mind” is an optional upgrade that allows you to cancel your trip for any reason including ones that are not normally covered reasons. If you have a “Cancel For Any Reason” claim, it […]

Read the full article →

When Does Your Trip Cancellation Coverage Start?

July 23, 2014

Subscribe Here’s a common question: “If I buy trip cancellation travel insurance policy today, does my coverage go into effect immediately?” First, the answer to the question is “No, your trip cancellation coverage starts tomorrow. Nothing that occurs that causes you to cancel your trip on the date the policy is purchased is covered.”. Next, […]

Read the full article →

We Don’t Sell Travel Insurance To Everyone

June 30, 2014

Subscribe I can’t believe it’s been three months since I’ve wriiten here. I am very thankful for the way things are going at TripInsuranceStore.com. I have one large project that is getting close to the end. Plus, there are always things to write about, but I suffer from information overload along with the rest of […]

Read the full article →

Why Must You See a Non-Family Member Doctor?

March 14, 2014

Subscribe Steve, I think you have the greatest website and service. I am ready to discuss and purchase a policy from you. I just have one more question: Are there any restrictions on who we can use if something unexpected happens medically prior to leaving on a trip and we need to see a doctor? […]

Read the full article →

When is the Deadline to Buy Trip Insurance?

February 6, 2014

Subscribe Sorry about the delay writing here. Thankfully, I didn’t get sick for 4 months like last year. Look at this music video my son and his friends made a few weeks ago: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eUeM9gzU3TY. I hope you find it inspiring. Back to the exciting world of trip cancellation travel insurance. Hi Steve, Our trip to […]

Read the full article →