How to Insure a Future Cruise or Travel Credit

by Steve Dasseos on July 28, 2022

You were referenced on a Cruise Critic thread. Someone suggested you might know insurance plans that would cover the full cost of a canceled trip with Viking Cruises, when a portion of the cruise fare was paid with a Viking voucher from a previously cancelled cruise. Once a Viking voucher is used, Viking will not restore or reissue it, even if the trip is “insured” with Viking.

I caught Covid the day before embarkation, so I had to cancel a June 2022 cruise for two people. Viking issued vouchers in the amount of $5,360 for each of us. I rebooked the same cruise for 2023. The cost of the new cruise will be about $6,000 per person. Viking applied the value of the two vouchers to this new booking.

I’d like to find trip cancellation insurance for the June, 2023 trip that will cover the full cost of the trip, including the value of the vouchers, if we have to cancel for medical reasons again. Have you found a plan that will do this?

Thanks for asking. I have plans that will cover you. Insuring Future Cruise or Travel Credits is an area that appears simple on the surface, but has an important detail that’s important to know if you want the waiver of the pre-existing medical condition exclusion and / or the Cancel For Any Reason coverage.

The simple part is: Regardless of how the credits are shown on your new booking invoice, all my plans will let you insure your prepaid and non-refundable trip costs when your trip is paid by any combination of Future Cruise or Travel Credits, Travel Vouchers or cash. The Credits or Vouchers must be equal to the amount of money you had prepaid in cash for the cancelled trip that created the credits. You cannot insure the value of any bonus credits.

Here’s a tip: If you don’t have a clear accounting of monies paid and credits that were later issued, make sure you get it. This can get complicated when you’ve had multiple trips booked and cancelled that created subsequent credits. Be sure to note any bonus credits. You will need this accounting if you ever have a trip cancellation or interruption claim. We will help you with your claim, but we won’t sort out your credits for you.

The complicated and important detail to know when you are buying a new trip cancellation policy with past travel credits is this: Your Initial Trip Deposit Date will be the date you originally made the first payment on the trip that later caused the Travel Credits.

Why is this important? It’s important if you want the waiver of the pre-existing medical condition exclusion and / or the Cancel For Any Reason coverage. I have four plans that you may get that cover pre-existing conditions if bought any time before, but not later than your Final Payment. However, I don’t any plans that offer the Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage for this scenario.

Since there are so many travel credits out there, we now ask everyone this question:
“Is any of your trip being paid with Future Travel or Cruise Credits that represented money you had paid on a trip that was cancelled or interrupted due to Covid?”

I ask this all the time and often get this answer: “My deposit is paid in cash”. So, I have to ask more followup questions like “Are you re-using airfare credits from prior cancelled trip?” or “By the time you pay the Final Payment, will you be using any Future Travel or Cruise Credits to pay for part of your trip?”.

I want to be sure there’s no surprise if they later have a claim.


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Why are Travel Insurance Claims Taking So Long to Process?

Note: I originally wrote this on July 18, 2020. I updated it today with some more information.

This is a typical phone call or email we have been getting for the last twenty nine (29) 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 found an excuse to put my claim at the bottom of their pile. Is there anything you can do to get that moving? I’m happy to provide documents but I think they should tell me why they need it. I also think they should be able to tell me everything they think is missing all at once. Nothing about this process is giving me confidence that any company will respond well should problems arise on either of the other vacations I have insured with any company. Also, when I call them, I leave my number for a callback, but no one ever calls me back.

I am very thankful that the vast majority of people who call or email us are kind and very pleasant to work with. And, I completely understand their frustrations. We make it a point to tell our customers that a claim will take at least six months.

While I cannot know what is the exact reason that claims are taking so long to process, I do know that all the Travel Insurance companies’ Claim Departments are overwhelmed with the volume of claims that started coming in the beginning of February 2020. In addition, many claims require supporting medical documentation so the backlog in medical record transfers is part of the problem.

Unlike other widespread events like hurricanes or bad winter storms, the volume of new claims has not dropped off after the initial event. In a normal event, the majority of claims come in over a two – four week period.

What’s different about this Covid mess is that the initial claim submissions were not spread out, but there was a surge in March 2022 that continued as trips kept getting postponed or cancelled. And, in normal times, if an insurance company needed documentation from a travel supplier or a doctor’s office, there was a very short turnaround time. Now, it’s longer, partly due to people working remotely or companies being understaffed, first due to layoffs, then due to labor shortages.

Another problem is that travel suppliers are taking months to furnish cancellation invoices and other documents so the traveler has to wait before they have all their paperwork to submit with their claim.

In early July 2020, one company told me they had over 9,000 unread emails in their Customer Service email queue. And, because they had a hiring freeze or laid people off, now they (and other companies) are understaffed, so the backlog aren’t clearing quickly. I wish the companies would stop over-promising faster turnarounds because they are under-performing and needlessly getting people angry.

Finally!! I got paid after waiting three months. Steve, thank you again for your help with this claim. Lisa M., Austin, TX

We are continuing to help our customers with their claims. I have worked very hard to have a good relationship with each of our companies. There are many reasons for this, but I think the main reason is that we have never lied, mis-represented the truth nor have ever tried to deceive our companies in any way. When we made a mistake, we always own up to it. We record our phone calls so we can send the call to our companies to document our mistakes.

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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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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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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 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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Don’t Cancel for Your Own Medical Reasons If You’re Not Ill or Injured

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This Little-Known Benefit is Important

November 11, 2021

Subscribe 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 […]

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TripInsuranceStore is in the Washington Post

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Subscribe TripInsuranceStore is in the Washington Post. I am thankful to Christopher Elliott for including me in his September 8, 2021 article “What’s the best travel insurance for your fall trip? It depends.” Here are some excerpts from his article: Finding the best travel insurance has never been easy, but if you’re planning a trip […]

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Will My Non-Refundable Airfare Be Covered?

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Subscribe Hi Steve, I am a retired airline employee. Does flying Standby affect any trip cancellation travel insurance coverages including trip cancellation or interruption coverages? I’m also looking at the Cancel For Any Reason upgrade. Yes, your coverages will be affected. Flying standby, or any other trip with no scheduled trip dates, would affect all […]

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Does a Licensed Nurse Meet the Definition of a Physician?

July 5, 2021

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More About What is Covered for Covid

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