What Does Prepaid Mean?

by Steve Dasseos, The Trip Insurance Guru on February 4, 2015

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 “Prepaid Trip Costs” and I said “Prepaid means the cost is paid before you leave on your trip” in the latter post.

In addition to a trip cost being prepaid, it also has to be non-refundable on your departure date to be insurable by a trip cancellation travel insurance plan.

That should have been sufficient, don’t you think? It wasn’t, so after a few more years of Deanna, Becky, Kim and myself telling thousands of people what “prepaid” means, I thought it was time to write this.

The definition on Dictionary.com is:
verb (used with object), prepaid, prepaying.
1. to pay or arrange to pay beforehand or before due: “to prepay the loan.”

This, too, shouldn’t need to be said, which is exactly why I need to say it: If you are forced to cancel your trip due to any of the covered reasons, your prepaid trip cost must have been paid at least one day before the event happens that causes you to cancel your trip.

If you are leaving home on a Friday and you got hit by a cement truck two weeks earlier which resulted in your doctor telling you to cancel your trip, don’t pay any more money toward your travel arrangements. If you’re thinking “Who would be that dumb?”, I’ll tell you:

In March of 2009, someone called me saying they had gotten extremely ill and their doctor said they had to cancel their trip. I told them to go ahead and cancel all their travel arrangements right away. Three days later they called me and said that they were told by their tour company that since the Final Payment was due soon, they should just pay the Final Payment, which they did, because their travel insurance will cover it! I told them the tour company was wrong. They never would tell me if the tour company refunded that Final Payment.

In other words, if you prepay for the travel arrangement(s) before something happens that causes you to cancel and that prepayment is before your departure date and it’s fully non-refundable on your departure date you can insure the cost you paid put-of-pocket.

Let’s apply this definition to some common travel arrangements:

Cruise Prepaid and non-refundable often months in advance
Tour (Tour Company) Prepaid and non-refundable often months in advance
Airfare Bought With Cash Prepaid and non-refundable often months in advance
Airfare Using Airline Frequent Flyer Miles Counts as a $0 trip cost. Read this about FF Miles for more info.
Airfare Using Award Points Counts as a $0 trip cost. Read this about Award Points for more info.
Hotel Refundable, or held with a credit card, or Prepaid and non-refundable.
Rental Car Usually paid after returning the car. Sometimes is prepaid and non-refundable.

This list of common travel arrangements trip costs doesn’t include all the possible costs you could prepay, so it’s up to you to figure out what is and isn’t prepaid and non-refundable.

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 (the Most Exclusive, Informative & Friendliest Travel Insurance Comparison Site)

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Protect Yourself When You Are Online

by Steve Dasseos, The Trip Insurance Guru on December 2, 2014

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. Unfortunately, I also have a Chase credit I never used at Home Depot, so I’ll probably be getting a new one.

Earlier this year, all my credit cards were re-issued because of the Target data breach. The frustrating part of that was that I only ever use my Target Card at Target, yet all my credit cards were still re-issued. When I asked each of those companies why they were doing that they all said it was done as a precaution not because they suspected my account was compromised.

And, when a credit card number is changed, you have to change all your automatic payments which takes time. You cannot stop hackers from breaking into the merchants you buy from, but you can protect yourself.

Here are four simple steps to protect yourself:

  1. Don’t save your credit card information with online merchants. Just because the credit card appears as “**** **** **** 1234″, the “****” ‘s are no guarantee that they are stored securely. For example, TripInsuranceStore.com doesn’t save credit card information. No one ever complains when we ask for their card information.
  2. At a minimum use long and complicated passwords with your accounts. We use at least 17 digit long passwords on the TripInsuranceStore.com email accounts. To give you an example of what I mean by complicated, here’s a password I no longer use: Ds45*Po%bZ#rdJ^q
  3. Use different passwords for your different online accounts
  4. Enable “Two Step Verification” on your emails and financial accounts. That means if someone tries to access the account from a non-verified place, you get a notification. Here’s how Google describes this.

If you don’t want to have to keep track of all your complicated passwords, get a password manager. I use LastPass. With LastPass, you have one long complicated password that is your Master Password. You have to remember that one because it’s not stored anywhere. For my many smart subscribers, here’s how LastPass works: “We’ve implemented AES 256-bit encryption with routinely-increased PBKDF2 iterations.”

Try LastPass out for free here.

Another good idea is to use secure online storage to store important documents. I use DropBox for my online storage. I can access my DropBox folder from anywhere, too. DropBox is free and comes with 2 GB of storage.

I hope this helps you protect yourself.

PS – I could give you a cheesy plug for how Trip Cancellation Travel Insurance from TripInsuranceStore.com is just like having strong passwords to protect you, but I won’t.

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 (the Most Exclusive, Informative & Friendliest Travel Insurance Comparison Site)

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

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What is a Trip Itinerary?

by Steve Dasseos, The Trip Insurance Guru on October 9, 2014

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 is:

I don’t know what is a trip itinerary. Travel agents just make them up. We went to New Orleans for a week to just hang out. Stayed at a friends apartment there. So what are they looking for?

A Trip Itinerary is your travel plan — where you will go or went and when you will be or were there. It could be a confirmation letter or email from an airline, cruise line or tour company. It could also be provided from your travel agent.

Why is the Trip Itinerary important?

The reason the Trip Itinerary is important is because an insurance department needs to verify you were where you said you were if you have a claim. If you bought trip insurance for a Danube River cruise and submitted a medical claim that was for medical treatment in Argentina during the same dates you were supposed to be on the Danube River cruise, you will need to do some explaining.

What can you do when you don’t have a copy of your Trip Itinerary?

All’s not lost. It’s certain your claim will be delayed, but you can get a copy at least one of these ways:

  • Scour your emails for a copy of your itinerary or confirmation
  • Sending copies of your passport pages showing your name(s), the entry and departure stamps from both US & the other country’s Immigration. The entry and departure stamps will include your dates of travel.
  • Ask the cruise line or tour company for a copy of your itinerary
  • Go to the airline and request a copy of your travel dates
  • Ask your travel agent

Don’t forget this:

While I’m on this subject, it’s important that your trip insurance policy dates match up with your actual travel dates. If you are returning home on a certain date and a month before your trip the airline tells you your return flight was changed to the following day, you need to change your policy’s Return Date to match. If not, you’ll lose your baggage coverage for that new flight because your policy will end the day before.

On the other hand, if your return flight home is delayed for a covered reason while you are on your trip (ie – you’re still in the hospital after getting hit by a cement truck incident or an unexpected ash cloud from a volcano cancels your flight) your policy continues in force until you return home a few days later.

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 (the Most Exclusive, Informative & Friendliest Travel Insurance Comparison Site)

PS – If you liked what you read, please Subscribe to my Blog. You can also connect with TripInsuranceStore on Facebook.

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

by Steve Dasseos, The Trip Insurance Guru on 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 will simplify your claim if you enter the reason for cancellation as “I changed my mind”.

The normally covered reasons to cancel a trip include you, a close family member or a traveling companion gets unexpectedly hurt or sick before you leave (if it’s one of the travelers make sure they see their doctor in person because their doctor must say they can’t travel). If you insured your prepaid non-refundable trip costs, Travel Insurance reimburses you the money you lose. This can include pre-existing medical conditions.

Other events that could cause you to cancel your trip are: Your travel supplier unexpectedly ceases operation, you are laid off, you are required to work, terrorism at your destination, bad weather, hurricanes, natural disasters or unexpected jury duty.

The timing of when something happens determines if it’s a trip cancellation or trip interruption. If the covered reason happens as early as the day after you buy your trip cancellation insurance policy from us (that was a shameless plug), and before you leave, it’s a trip cancellation. If it happens after you leave, it’s a trip interruption.

Here’s my detailed page with a lot more information on the “Cancel For Any Reason / Change Your Mind” plans: http://tripinsurancestore.com/cancel-for-any-reason-travel-insurance-plans.


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 (the Most Exclusive, Informative & Friendliest Travel Insurance Comparison Site)

PS – If you liked what you read, please add us to your Google Plus. And tell your friends.

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When Does Your Trip Cancellation Coverage Start?

by Steve Dasseos, The Trip Insurance Guru on July 23, 2014

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, on the surface, that question sounds innocent. But, something important is “hidden in plain sight”. What isn’t being revealed is that perhaps there is something happening right at that moment that could cause a trip cancellation.

And, as part of the call after we take an order, we double check all their travel details and then always say, “your trip cancellation coverage starts tomorrow”. Now and then telling them this results in the person not buying the policy which is fine with me.

We have never had a legitimate claim turned down from any of our companies since we started in 2001. However, we have had a few people over the years who did not have legitimate claims. In case you don’t know, we go to great lengths to uncover exactly why someone wants to get travel insurance. It’s important to us that the policy will work as expected and if it won’t to our satisfaction we will refuse to sell it. For more on this read “We Don’t Sell Travel Insurance To Everyone“.

Here are three of those non-legitimate claims:

  • A lady called us about trip insurance for a trip three months in the future that she paid in full that same day. We discussed the plan coverages with her explaining exactly what she needed to know. Later that same afternoon she called back and bought a policy. The next day she called because they need to cancel their trip. It was then that she told us she bought the policy while waiting in the Emergency Room because her husband had a heart episode. She wanted assurances that even though the policy hadn’t gone into effect that she would still be fully covered.
  • On a Wednesday a lady called to make sure she could get the waiver of the pre-existing medical condition exclusion because her husband had some currently stable medical condition. She met all the requirements and bought a policy. Five days later she cancelled her trip because, apparently, at the same time she bought the insurance her husband was having some symptoms of a brain condition. Shortly after calling us he was rushed to the Emergency Room where he received brain surgery.
  • In mid-January a man called to get trip cancellation insurance for a cruise he was about to pay the Final Payment on. He said that while his wife had been treated for a medical condition months earlier, it was completely stable. It was so stable that the last contact with any medical professional was the previous September. He also stated that, yes, they both are medically able to travel that day. A few days before the trip they filed a trip cancellation claim. What he neglected to mention was that the previous September his wife’s doctor told he she was no longer able to travel.

In case these three examples and what I wrote above are not very clear, here’s what I’m saying:

The Trip Cancellation coverage begins at 12:01 a.m. on the day after the date the policy is purchased. All other coverages begin when you leave home for your trip when your departure date is in the future. Nothing that occurs that causes you to cancel your trip on the date the policy is purchased is covered.

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 (the Most Exclusive, Informative & Friendliest Travel Insurance Comparison Site)

PS – If you liked what you read, please Subscribe to my Blog. You can also connect with TripInsuranceStore on Facebook.

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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 […]

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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? […]

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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 […]

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Don’t Buy Travel Insurance When You’re Ill and Past the Deadlines

December 16, 2013

Subscribe I am very confused by the trip payment pre existing condition clause. What is included in this trip payment? I bought my airline tickets in May and final payment was in October but need pre existing conditions to be included. I’m leaving in four days Dec. 20, 2013 – Jan 9, 2014. I understand […]

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Caleb Should Not Buy Travel Insurance

November 15, 2013

Subscribe I’ve read a lot of info on your website and find it very useful. I think I have confused myself, though. I question whether or not we need trip insurance. My wife and I are looking to book a trip to Cancun for September 5-10. My chief concern is the possibility of a hurricane. […]

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Gina Didn’t Need Trip Insurance Until Now

October 15, 2013

Subscribe We are 63 and 58 and are taking a Caribbean cruise Oct. 21st. We booked it 8 months ago and it’s paid in full. Until today I didn’t need travel insurance. We never buy it because it’s a waste of money. I had an allergic reaction to an antibiotic on Friday and went into […]

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The Nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation’s Cool Calculator

September 25, 2013

Subscribe The Nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation’s has a cool calculator that illustrates health insurance premiums and subsidies for people purchasing insurance on their own in new health insurance exchanges (or “Marketplaces”) created by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). You can enter different income levels, ages, and family sizes to get an estimate of your eligibility […]

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I Want Travel Insurance That Does Not Exist

September 19, 2013

Subscribe I need travel insurance that will pay all costs if I change the return date on my trip from North Carolina to California to visit my elderly mother. Her medical condition may warrant a longer stay. I want the ability to reschedule my return flight later without having to pay any money out of […]

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Does Travel Insurance Help Me If My Fare Drops?

August 16, 2013

Subscribe I’ve been a way for a few weeks. I went with my extended family (14 of us in total) to London and we got to stay in Hampton Court Palace. It was great! Hi Steve, Thanks for your help (and helpful insurance) in the past. This is a question I can’t seem to find […]

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Do Pre-existing Conditions Include Non-Traveling Family Members?

July 18, 2013

Subscribe Thanks Steve. I appreciate your prior replies for my nit-picking questions. I’m getting quite an eye-opening education. I regret taking advice from others prior to finding TripInsuranceStore.com. I have one more question: Do the pre-existing conditions rules include my non-traveling family members? I was under the impression that pre-existing medical conditions only applied to […]

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How Does Cancel For Any Reason Differ From Other Trip Insurance?

May 31, 2013

Subscribe I love your website! What is the difference between “trip cancellation” and “trip cancellation for any reason”? Greg Hi Greg, Thank you for your kind words. Trip cancellation 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 […]

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Why Should You Have Pre Existing Medical Conditions Coverage?

May 9, 2013

Subscribe Hi Steve, I guess we’re still not clear on pre-existing conditions and just how that relates to a trip and why we need it. Please explain and sorry if you already have, we just need clarification. We have pretty darn good insurance that always reimburses us for anything that happens overseas. Linda Hi Linda, […]

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