How Does Re-booking My Trip Affect My Initial Deposit Date?
Prior to Covid, the most common reasons we saw that a traveler would potentially cancel and re-book their trip and not file a trip cancellation claim on their policy were these:

  • Your travel supplier cancelled and they offered you a great deal on a new trip if you switched to the new trip.
  • Or, there was some scheduling conflict so you decided not to pay your Final Payment and instead you cancelled your trip before you were in penalty.
  • Or, you simply chose not to take the trip before you were in penalty.

With all our plans, if you were not incurring a financial loss, you could change the dates on your policy to cover the new trip.

After Covid arrived in the USA on Jan 20, 2020, countless travelers had their trips cancelled or interrupted, rescheduled and sometimes cancelled and rescheduled a few more times.

I proactively sent out over 39,000 emails to our customers four times in 2020 (March, June, September and November) telling them exactly what they could do to preserve the value of their Trip Cancellation policies so they didn’t lose the money they had paid. I linked to this page and other Blog posts I wrote. Sadly, none of my competitors did this, so now there are many people who unwittingly lost the money they paid for their now-worthless policies. They are understandably angry and skeptical.

If you have a trip that was cancelled due to Covid, one of these applies to you:

  1. You are re-using a policy that insured the original Covid-cancelled trip to cover a new trip: Your Initial Trip Deposit Date is the date you used the Travel Credits as any part of the first payment towards the new trip.
  2. You do not have a policy to re-use and you are booking a new trip that you will pay for with the Travel Credits or a combination of cash and Travel Credits: IMG, TravelSafe and Travel Insured and a lot of the many companies I don’t offer, define your Initial Trip Deposit Date as the date you originally bought the trip that later caused the Travel Credits as the first payment. Since these plans offer the 75% Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR), I don’t have any plans with the 75% CFAR coverage for this scenario.

Your Initial Trip Deposit Date is important because if you want Pre-existing conditions coverage, Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) and Supplier Financial Default you generally have to buy your Trip Cancellation plan within so many days of your Your Initial Trip Deposit Date, aka “Time Sensitive Period”.

By the way, if you have a plan with the Cancel For Any Reason coverage, read this Blog post I wrote two months ago called “Does Cancel For Any Reason Cover Me if the Travel Supplier Cancels My Trip?”.

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My cruise line cancelled my cruise. The cruise was supposed to be leaving 11 days from today. I have a policy with the Cancel for Any Reason Benefit. If I file a claim using my Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) coverage, will I receive the 75% cash refund from the insurance company as long as I met all the requirements to have the CFAR coverage?

No, your Cancel for Any Reason (CFAR) coverage will not cover you. The Cancel for Any Reason does not apply to travel supplier cancellation.

The reason you are not covered is because is that in order to use the CFAR, all the policies state “You cancel Your Trip…”. Some policies state “no later than 48 hours prior to the Scheduled Departure Date of Your Trip” while others state “no later than 2 days prior to the Scheduled Departure Date of Your Trip”. However, no matter what the deadline is, when a Travel Supplier cancels your trip, it’s not you that is cancelling.

You’re probably saying to yourself, “What happens to my Trip Cancellation Travel Insurance policy? Will I just lose its value?”

I can’t say how all plans work, but for all the plans we sell here at TripInsuranceStore.com, if you will not be filing a claim, and you are past the Free Look Period, you are able to save the value of your Travel Insurance policy and re-use it for a future trip even if you don’t have the new dates now. Some companies will issue you a credit for the premium you paid. Others let you re-use your same policy. I explain how this works in detail on this page: Coronavirus Policy Date Changes and Claims.

 

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Are Quarantine Costs Covered if I Test Positive for Covid?

by Steve Dasseos on December 31, 2021

Will a Trip Cancellation Travel Insurance policy pay anything towards the quarantine costs if I have to be medically quarantined due to a positive Covid test? I don’t have Covid now and I am fully vaccinated and boostered. I have cruises, tours and land trips booked for 2022 and 2023, so if Covid is still with us I want to be sure I am covered.

All the Trip Cancellation Insurance plans we sell at TripInsuranceStore.com include a benefit called Trip Delay. It’s also known as Travel Delay.

Let’s say you test positive for Covid two days before the end of a trip and a doctor puts you into a medically-imposed quarantine. If you’re on a cruise, you likely will be quarantined in your cabin and you’ll serve the rest of your quarantine at the disembarkation port. If you’re not on a cruise ship, you’ll serve your quarantine at a hotel wherever you are. And, in case you haven’t read my other blog posts, TripInsuranceStore.com or the policy wording, you must see a doctor if you test Covid positive because it’s a medical condition.

Depending on what happens to you, you can be covered for any of these benefits: Extension of Coverage, Trip Delay, Medical, Emergency Medical Transportation and / or Trip Interruption. Here’s how you are covered:

Extension of Coverage

I explained the Extension of Coverage in detail on this November 11, 2021 blog post: The Extension of Coverage is an Important Benefit.

Trip Delay

Trip Delay is reimbursement for meals and accommodations that you might incur if your trip’s departure or your return home is delayed for a covered reason: You test positive for Covid two days before the end of a trip and a doctor puts you into a medically-imposed quarantine or an unexpected ash cloud from the Eyjafjallajokull volcano cancels your flight and you have to suffer through extra days in Venice.

You’ll be reimbursed up to the daily limit for meals and accommodations (to the policy maximum) if your departure is delayed for more than the number of hours required for a covered reason during your trip.

In some plans Trip Delays can turn into a trip cancellation if you are delayed at least 50% of the length of your trip’s duration. This is a bigger benefit on shorter trip lengths.

Per Person Trip Delay benefits are shown as a dollar amount
(Benefits are paid as a daily maximum)
Plan Name & link to their detailed description page Trip Delay Benefit Daily Benefit Delayed for these many hours
CSA Freestyle $1,000 $150 per day 6 hours
CSA Freestyle Luxe $1,000 $200 per day 6 hours
Generali Standard $1,000 $150 per day 10 hours
Generali Preferred $1,000 $200 per day 8 hours
Generali Premium $1,000 $300 per day 6 hours
IMG SE (bought after 7/14/21) $2,000 $125 per day 12 hours
IMG SE for MO, MT, NY, OR, PA, WA (and for all other States bought before 7/15/21) $500 $125 per day 12 hours
IMG LX (bought after 7/14/21) $2,500 $250 per day 6 hours
IMG LX for MO, MT, NY, OR, PA, WA (and for all other States bought before 7/15/21) $1,000 $250 per day 6 hours
Travel Insured Worldwide Trip Protector $1,500 $200 per day 3 hours
Travel Insured Worldwide Trip Protector for MO, MT, NY, OR, PA, WA $1,000 $200 per day 6 hours
TravelSafe Classic $750 $150 per day 6 hours

Medical and Emergency Medical Transportation

If you get Covid bad enough and have to be treated by a doctor, you are covered for the treatment costs. If it’s so bad you have an Emergency Medical Transportation, you are also covered.

Trip Interruption

Because you are delayed returning home, you might have to buy a new return plane ticket or just pay change fees. Trip Interruption coverage reimburses you the unused prepaid non-refundable value of your trip plus pay the cost of one-way airfare home if you cannot return home on your scheduled date for a covered reason including your trip being delayed due to a quarantine. However, many airlines are waiving change fees so you might not incur this expense.

After having said all this, I can’t tell you if all plans will cover you because most Trip Insurance plans don’t meet my standards so I don’t offer them. In addition, if you are relying on your credit card’s travel insurance, you probably have no coverage after your scheduled return date.

All our Trip Cancellation plans cover covid the same as any illness. This has never changed because epidemics and pandemics were never excluded. Here are my recent Blog posts about Covid and how you are covered:

 

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I originally wrote this on March 6, 2020, but with the confusing guidance from the CDC in respect to the Omicron variant, I am updated this and am moving this post to the top of my archives.

The Coronavirus threat is real. Unfortunately, thanks to fear, seemingly “political” science decisions and the lack of accurate information, lots of travelers are contemplating cancelling upcoming trips that they have insured.

A common reason to cancel your trip is you, a close family member or a traveling companion unexpectedly gets ill or injured before you leave. If a traveler is currently ill or injured, their doctor must be consulting with a licensed doctor who tells them they cannot travel because their current illness or injury is so disabling that they cannot travel. Your illness or injury will have to be substantiated with medical records. Prior to the Coronavirus overwhelming medical facilities you had to see the doctor in person. The companies have become more flexible and now you may also do video appointments.

This is a common Trip Cancellation benefit description:
Sickness or Injury, which: a) occurs before departure on Your Trip, b) Medical Treatment at the time of cancellation resulting in medically imposed restrictions, as certified by a Legally Qualified Physician, and c) and prevents Your participation in the Trip.

However, what is now happening 22 months later, just like in early March 2020, is that many people want to cancel, for the Coronavirus, that are not currently ill or injured. They might discover that they are in a high-risk group. Or a medical professional may suggest they reconsider their trip.

Here are some conversations I had in late Februrary and early March 2020. Deanna, Kim and I have a lot more stories, but I think you will get the gist of this. We are happy to answer all questions you have. And, if you think you have to cancel your trip, call us so we can make sure you do what needs to be done to have a successful claim. Or to save you from making a mistake with a claim. We will even tell you not to buy a policy if it won’t cover you.

In addition, if your trip is cancelled your trip and you are not filing a claim, it’s very important you tell us before your departure date so you don’t lose the value of your policy. Click here to find out what you can do with your policy if your trip’s not taking place.

I got this email:

My doctor has advised me not to travel on my upcoming trip to Italy followed by a Mediterranean cruise, which is covered by policy _____. This is what he wrote in the letter: “Please excuse my patient ____ from flying and traveling via ship because of her lumbar spine stenosis. She suffers from intermittent back pain radiating to the leg.” Do you think this will be sufficient to make a claim on the insurance?

I asked “Are you ill? Did you have some kind of medical emergency that will force you to have to cancel your trip?”. “No, this is a chronic problem that is acting up.”.

Here’s another email:

I am going to a destination where someone has already been diagnosed with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. My doctor is telling me that I should not go there because the risk to my health is too great. Wlll I be covered if I cancel my trip?” My doctor wrote this:
“Mr. ____ has a history of immune deficiency, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, coronary stent, diabetes and aortic valve replacement. He is currently experiencing chest pain and is undergoing a workup for his symptoms. The ____’s were supposed to travel on a cruise and I have advised them to cancel their intended cruise, as it would be unsafe for him to be far away from his doctors and a hospital. Kindly refund them any payments paid for this trip as I have advised them to cancel for medical reasons.”

I wrote back saying “If you file a claim, will your medical records back this up that your medical condition has taken a turn for the worse? I can’t say precisely if a trip cancellation claim would be paid with this letter, but in my opinion, it would not because the doctor doesn’t say exactly what the medical reasons are. If there were results from the workup showing your condition has taken a turn for the worse and requires you to cancel, then that’s a different situation from where you are today.” I emailed him the specific policy wording.

Someone told me this in a phone call:

My Dad is in hospice and his condition is worsening. I need to cancel my European river cruise that is 5 weeks from now.

I asked this: “If the Coronavirus wasn’t happening, would you cancel your trip today because of your Dad’s health?” She said “No”. I told her “It’s unlikely your claim will be paid.” I suggested she find out from her Dad’s doctors if he is close to passing. If so, that could be a covered reason to cause her to cancel.

I was told this in a phone call:

“I am in one of the high-risk groups that the CDC is saying should not travel to Japan. Will my policy cover me? My tour operator hasn’t cancelled the trip.”

I asked “Are you ill? Did you have some kind of medical emergency that will force you have to cancel your trip?”. He said “No. I’m fine, but my wife and I are in the high-risk groups and we don’t think it’s safe to go to Japan.”

As you might imagine, the conversation went downhill when I pointed out that the CDC was not telling people to cancel their trips. They were only recommending that all travelers “reconsider” or “consider postponing nonessential travel”.

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself this question: “If the Coronavirus wasn’t happening, would I cancel my trip today?”

If the answer is “No”, then don’t cancel your trip today because it’s unlikely you will be able to prove it it is a covered claim.

Here’s another comment:

Steve, Thanks for the advice the other day about CFAR and my April flight. Each time I talk to you, you give me a nugget of information that I wouldn’t have known or considered otherwise. I appreciate how you handle your customer’s business like it was your own by making sure they are informed and they are considering the appropriate insurance for their trip. You are always watching out for the customer and not the sale. With that mindset and the variety of insights you share, I will always come to you rather than directly to one of the suppliers. I tell my friends so that they can get the same great service. Thanks again for being so upfront with a topic that can be confusing to those that aren’t in the business. Best Regards, Kirsten, Bend, OR

 

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This Little-Known Benefit is Important

by Steve Dasseos on November 11, 2021

The Extension of Coverage is an Important Benefit

What is the Extension of Coverage?

If you insured the entire length of your Trip with your Trip Cancellation Travel Insurance Policy and your return is delayed by specific unavoidable circumstances beyond your control, all coverages will be extended to the earlier of the date you reach your originally scheduled Return Destination or x number of days after the originally Scheduled Return Date. Our policies extend either 7 or 10 days, depending on the policy, after the originally Scheduled Return Date.

Prior to Covid, the most common delay circumstances were carrier-caused, bad weather, strikes, natural disasters and medical treatment. What’s different now is that people are also being delayed because a doctor puts them into a medically-imposed quarantine due to a positive Covid test.

On August 5, 2021 a customer called me from his Viking cruise around Iceland. Even though he was fully vaccinated, he tested positive for Covid. His trip was ending on August 10th. He was put into a 10 day quarantine which means he and his wife were coming home on August 15th (five days after his original return date). He was happy to hear that their coverage wasn’t ending on August 10th, but that it would automatically extend until they got home on August 15th.

The purpose of the Extension of Coverage is cover you if something else happens to you when you are delayed. For this customer, the Trip Delay benefits covered part of the costs of their meals and accommodations. He never got ill from Covid so there weren’t any medical treatment costs.

There are a lot of trip cancellation plans from many companies that I don’t sell for various reasons. The main reason is their important coverages and policy term definitions aren’t very good. I’ve seen policies with no extension of coverage while others have just 2 days.

The Extension of Coverage days in the Companies I Trust:

Company Number of Days
CSA 7 days
Generali 7 days
IMG 10 days
(If quarantined due to Covid coverage is extended through the duration of quarantine plus 5 days)
Travelex 7 days
Travel Guard Plus 7 days
Travel Guard Preferred 7 days
Travel Insured 7 days
(If quarantined due to Covid coverage is extended through the duration of quarantine plus 5 days)
TravelSafe 10 days
(If quarantined due to Covid coverage is extended through the duration of quarantine plus 5 days)
TripAssure 7 days

 

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Subscribe Why are Travel Insurance Claims Taking So Long to Process? This is a typical phone call or email I have been getting for the last ten months: It’s now been 4 (or 5, 6, 7…) months since I submitted my claim for my trip. I understand they are busy, but this seems like they […]

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