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 !

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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