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I’m Glad I Don’t Have an Idiot Son

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 November 5 and is in the military. The last thing he said once I got the date straight was, “oh yeah make sure you purchase travel insurance since I am in the Army and they could cancel my trip”. So we need to be able to cancel in case he does. How much would our total cost run based on the information you have and how much would we be able to recover. Thank you for any information you could give me.

Thanks to some feedback from Deanna (more proof that it’s worth only hiring smart people), I am adding to this Blog post. And, I let the people know too.

Here’s what I wrote back:

“Hello Friend,

Thanks for visiting TripInsuranceStore.com and writing.

Travel insurance won’t cover you if the Army cancels your son’s trip.

However, if his previously granted military leave is cancelled because he is being called into active military service to provide aid or relief in the event of a natural disaster, this is a covered reason to cancel your trip with many of my plans.

His leave must be approved prior to your coverage becoming effective. If his leave is cancelled for that covered reason, official written revocation notice from his commanding officer will be required documentation as part of your claim.

Steve Dasseos


This Foot Problem’s Treatment is Covered

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 I have to see the doctor on the ship if it’s covered by our insurance policy. Sometime since we left on our trip my left toe and part of my foot started to swell and it hurts. I didn’t fall, I’m not aware that I hit it and I don’t think I got bit, but in case it continues to get worse I was wondering about the insurance. Going to try ice tonight.

I mentioned you and your website to a couple of people on board and told them how terrific you are to work with. Hope they contact you in the future.

Hi to your family and hoping everyone is well.



“Hi B____,

Thanks for writing. We’re all fine. We’ll stop by and see you again when we’re in your part of Wisconsin. I’m sorry about your foot.

  • You will be covered if you see the doctor on the the ship, or even in a port. If you see someone, make sure you tell them it started while you were on your trip. It’s not your responsibility to know how it happened, but it will greatly simplify a claim if it’s some condition that first occurred on your trip, assuming this is true.
  • In addition, even if it’s a continuation of something that happened in the days or weeks prior to your trip, treatment of your foot is covered.

The reason why treatment of your foot is covered, whether the problem started on or before your trip, is because when you bought your policy months ago, any medical condition that first manifested itself or exhibited symptoms which would have caused one to seek diagnosis, care or treatment as early as 12:01 am on the day after you bought your policy is covered. It’s not a pre-existing medical condition because it would have started when your policy was in effect.”

As you can see from my email back to B____, treatment of her foot is covered, whether the problem started on or before her trip. I already knew she didn’t have a foot problem when she bought her policy. B____’s policy did include the Waiver of the Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion, but the fact that her foot condition started after the Effective Date means that it’s covered even if she din’t have the Waiver of the Pre-existing Conditions Exclusion.


Insurance Does Not Bail Out Your Mistakes

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 are concerned that we might have to change our travel dates. We want a travel insurance plan that will pay the airline’s change fee if we decide to adjust our travel dates and leave a few days later”.

Questions like this have bothered me for years. They might as well ask, “How can I get someone else to pay the fees I agreed to pay when I bought my plane tickets because I don’t want to pay them?” or “I know that my airline ticket contract says there are change fees, but I don’t think it’s fair I have to pay them.”

The reason questions like this bother me is because there are people who seem to think that insurance companies solely exist to bail them out of every possible fee they might have to pay for not fulfilling their end of their airline ticket contract.

This is true for all insurance products: Life, Health, Dental, Automobile, Homeowners, Renters, Disability, etc. There is no shortage of people who want someone else to pay for their inconveniences. Here’s a typical example: I know someone who filed three collision claims for minor damage on their car in a four month period. One was because they were driving distracted and hit a curb for $550 damage to the front wheels. Another was for a car door ding they received in a parking lot from someone else’s door ($382 damage) and the third was for backing up and damaging the rear bumper ($770 damage). I, myself, wouldn’t have ever filed those claims. Nor would most people.

What do you think happened when they received their Automobile insurance renewal? Do you think they said to themselves, “Yes, I see why my premiums jumped 32%. I deserve it.” If that’s what you thought, you are mistaken. Instead, they said “Why are we getting such a big increase? These were accidents through no fault of our own. Let’s call Steve Dasseos – he must know a way out of this. ” When they called me, they were stunned to hear that I thought the insurance company did the right thing. I told them that when the administrative costs are added in to their claim, it’s likely those three claims cost more than $5,000. The $1,702 they received wasn’t the companies’ only cost. Even with the 32% increase the insurance company will need years to re-coup your losses.

Back to the original request: “We want a travel insurance plan that will pay the airline’s change fee if we decide to adjust our travel dates and leave a few days later. The change fee is in the hundreds of dollars. I don’t want to pay that much money.”

We tell these people “Trip Cancellation insurance doesn’t cover pre-departure date changes. That’s why airlines let you pay a change fee so you can change your travel dates.”

In other words, if you voluntarily change your travel dates after you bought your airfare because you discover you have a scheduling conflict with your original travel dates your airline already has a procedure in place to handle this. You pay them a change fee and they will allow you to change your dates.

Since they tend not to like this answer, they want to know if the Cancel For Any Reason trip cancellation insurance policy will work for them.

We tell them that it won’t because trip cancellation insurance requires you to cancel your trip, not change the dates. If you completely cancel and meet all the requirements of your policy, then, yes, you will be covered.


What Does Prepaid Mean?

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.

Remember, anything you can prepay and that is non-refundable on your departure date can be insured.


Protect Yourself When You Are Online

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.>.


What is a Trip Itinerary?

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.


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

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: https://tripinsurancestore.com/cancel-for-any-reason-travel-insurance-plans.


When Does Your Trip Cancellation Coverage Start?

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.


We Don’t Sell Travel Insurance To Everyone

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 you. I try to look for recurring subjects that I think will be of interest. Sometimes they are obvious, while other times there is just too much that clutters up my mind.

For example, I have a draft called “I love Lawyers”, another about China, Russia and the Petrodollar plus a few other ones that could be interesting. This time I’ll be writing about why we sometimes refuse to sell travel insurance to people who call us. There are a few main reasons why this is:

  • When what they want to cover is something that cannot be covered. Sometimes what they want covered isn’t insurable like going to Cancun and it rains the whole time. Other times people are past the deadlines and travel insurance would be a waste of money. Can they still buy a plan? Yes. Will we sell it to them? No. Can they find someone online to sell them a plan? Yes. if they have a claim, will it get paid? No. Will they be mad at us and bad-mouth us to everyone they know? Nope! Read this for more info: Don’t Buy Travel Insurance When You’re Ill and Past the Deadlines
  • When someone is being deceptive with us. Everybody makes mistakes when recalling details or giving information. I’m not talking about someone forgetting that their thyroid medication was adjusted 172 days ago. Or that their uncle had some procedure 2 months ago. I’m talking about the people that just lie to us. It happens more often than I originally expected. Here’s the most blatant example I’ve had (some since have come close): Do Callers Think We Were Born Yesterday?. In a nutshell, he wanted coverage for Hurricane Irene and claimed he didn’t know it was just off the coast of Florida at the time. I have a copy of the National Hurricane Center’s satellite image on that blog.
  • If they are someone who isn’t eligible to buy a policy. These people are the opposite of the ones who lie to us. They are completely truthful. And, if they were eligible to buy a policy we would be happy to do business with them. I spoke with a nice lady last week from England who told me that her family was taking a cruise on July 28th. She completely understood that it wouldn’t cover her because she lived outside the USA.

If you aren’t one of the above, call us. We’ll help you.


Why Must You See a Non-Family Member Doctor?

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? The vast majority of our doctors are close relatives and we trust their advice. Nancy K.

Nancy asks a very good question. This is one of those “devil in the details” areas that I know causes problems. Over the last 13 years, I’ve spoken with people who didn’t get their insurance from us, but later when have claim problems they call me asking for my help. {To my competitors who read my blog (you know who you are): No matter what you do to make a sale, you are morally obligated to help them with their claims. It’s sleazy to say on your websites: “the links take you to your travel insurance provider’s claim information.”}

Here’s what I told Nancy:
“Hi Nancy, Thank you for your kind words. I hope you still like me after my answer. 🙂

Yes, there are restrictions on what doctor or medical professional you see in person. Here’s what a typical policy says: “Legally Qualified Physician” means a physician or a Christian Science Practitioner (a) other than You, a Traveling Companion or a Family Member: (b) practicing within the scope of Your license: and (c) recognized as a physician in the place where the services are rendered.

As much as I enjoy selling trip cancellation travel insurance, I cannot advise you to buy it for this trip because your claim will be denied should you see a doctor who is a close relative. While it’s possible this fact won’t be discovered by the insurance company, I don’t even want there to be a hint of potential insurance fraud.”

Nancy wrote me:
“Thanks Steve. The doctor provision is extremely problematic. I realize we have a very unusual situation in that the vast majority of our doctors are close relatives (siblings or offspring). The only way to get around it is to buy the Cancel For Any Reason plan, which given the economics, turns out to be the same exact cost ($377 plus 25% of prepaid costs) that it would cost us just to pay the change fee with the airlines and forfeit one night at the hotel. Moreover, we can cancel hotel up to 24 hours before reservation without losing anything. We are just going to have to stay healthy and go on this trip.

I really appreciate your time and effort and will highly recommend you to others. Nancy”

Why are there so many denied travel insurance claims? I (Steve) firmly believe that the majority of denied claims are because the insured travelers either received the wrong advice prior to purchase or that they were sold the wrong policy by an uninformed travel insurance seller. You get our help with claims. We have never had a legitimate claim turned down from any of our companies since we started in 2001. We even help you if you didn’t buy from us.

I don’t have a hollow guarantee like a “No Complaint Policy”. The truth is that not all travel insurance claims are paid to a customer’s satisfaction. Sometimes the travel insurance company makes a mistake (I have gotten these resolved), but other times it’s not a payable claim.

A big part of that is that we go to great lengths to educate you. If travel insurance isn’t a good idea for you to buy it, we will tell you not to buy it, If you insist, we will refuse to sell it to you (like I told Nancy).

Before you start to whine about having to do all that work, ask yourself “When was the last time my travel agent or a company who sold me travel insurance gave me any service after they had my money?”

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When is the Deadline to Buy Trip Insurance?

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 Israel is scheduled for March 25th and was paid in full a month ago. When is the deadline to purchase the insurance? Thanks, Steve G.

Hi Steve, Thanks for writing.

You can get this anytime until the day before you leave assuming nothing bad happened that will cause you to say “I should have gotten the Trip Insurance policy!”

I know Steve understood what I meant by such a simple answer because he had already called us at 1-888-407-3854 to find out exactly how trip insurance works.

However, for the rest of you who haven’t called, here’s what I didn’t include in my written answer:

  • You do not have any pre-existing medical conditions coverage because your trip was paid in full a month ago. I have plans that will waive the exclusion for pre-existing medical conditions up to 30 days past your initial trip deposit date
  • Paying your trip in full doesn’t prevent you from buying trip cancellation insurance (or cruise insurance or travel insurance or trip insurance). This is a common myth spread by many in the travel industry. I don’t know why they do that.
  • You don’t have to insure the full prepaid non-refundable trip costs. Because Steve isn’t getting the waiver of the pre-existing medical condition exclusion nor the Cancel For Any Reason he can insure any trip cost he wants.

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

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 that if even I cannot get pre-existing conditions covered (I have breast cancer), I want to be sure that if I get a flu or cold that such things would be covered.


Hi Heather,

Thanks for writing.

None of my plans will cover anything related to your breast cancer. That includes anything that an insurance company could say is related to that, too. Or even something you already have.

Because you are leaving in 4 days, if you bought insurance today and cancelled your trip due to a flu or cold, it’s likely the claim will be denied. That’s because the flu and colds take time to develop so a cancellation 4 days after the policy is bought will require you to prove you didn’t have any symptoms today or in the last 60 to 180 days.

Therefore, I cannot recommend you buy any of our policies.

Here’s why I told Heather not to buy any of our travel insurance policies:

  • Travel insurance goes into effect the day after you buy it. If Heather bought it today, it’d go into effect tomorrow which is three days before she leaves. That’s not much time to go from 100% healthy to suddenly sick. Insurance company claim departments know that, too.
  • Travel insurance plans have a 60 to 180 day Lookback Period so even if Heather was 100% healthy today (I know she’s not), it’s possible she’s had some medical condition in the past 60 to 180 days. You can learn a lot more about the Lookback Period here.
  • I have first hand experience with being sick. About a year ago I got sick and was like that on and off for 4 months until I suddenly got very ill and went to the doctor. You shouldn’t wait 4 months to go to the doctor.

A cynic might say, “Any insurance company will always turn down any claim”. I can’t speak for all insurance companies, but the travel insurance companies we offer all have claim departments staffed by people. You are working with real human beings who have a heart and want to help you.

Why are there so many denied claims? I (Steve) firmly believe that the majority of denied claims are because the insured travelers either received the wrong advice prior to purchase or that they were sold the wrong policy by an uninformed travel insurance seller. You get our help with claims. We have never had a legitimate claim turned down from any of our companies since we started in 2001.


Caleb Should Not Buy Travel Insurance

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. If there is a genuine threat of a tropical storm/hurricane, we would likely want to cancel our trip as a precaution. Here are some details:

Hotel: The bill will be $1,274 plus $44 in transfers to/from airport. I have the option of paying the full bill at time of reservation, paying in installments, or paying at the hotel when we arrive. The only definite”non-refundable” portion is the first night’s stay (~$255), if we cancel less than 7 days prior to arrival. If we cancel before that, we get a full refund.

Flight: I am using credit card points to pay for most of the flight, which I know isn’t insurable. I will only have to pay ~$25 after all my points are applied. What I am concerned about is the cancellation fee. If I am understanding the airline correctly, cancellation fees would be $150 per passenger ($300 total for us). My credit card also charges a $50 fee to “restock” the points.

Ages: 31 (Me) and 30 (Her)
State of residence: Kentucky

Is a travel insurance policy right for us? If so, I am assuming I would insure the one night hotel cost and the cancellation cost of the flight for the airline and the credit card company? You guys seem like you don’t sell insurance to “suckers” who don’t need it, so if I truly need coverage, I will look to get it from you. Thanks for your time.

Caleb B.

Hi Caleb,

Thank you for your kind words.

> My chief concern is the possibility of a hurricane. If there is a genuine threat of a tropical storm/hurricane, we would likely want to cancel our trip as a precaution.

Due to the complexities of how trip cancellation travel insurance works, I cannot recommend you buy a plan for the trip cancellation benefits.

The reason I told Caleb not to buy travel insurance is that there are not any plans that guarantee Caleb will get all his money back if he filed a claim. In addition, he would still have had to pay for the insurance which, in my opinion, would be a waste of money.


Gina Didn’t Need Trip Insurance Until Now

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 anaphylactic shock, and almost died. My doctor said I might want to cancel my cruise but she said if I want to go she can give me a doctors note ok’ing my travel. I don’t want to lose the $4,282 we spent for this cruise. What plan do you recommend I buy that will completely cover me? If you can get a plan to cover me I’ll recommend you to all my friends and family. Thanks, Gina

LOL – I’m not going to help you commit insurance fraud!

What more can I say?

Since that would have been completely rude, I emailed Gina back with this: “Hi Gina, Thanks for writing. I’m sorry about the reaction and I hope you recover quickly. Unfortunately, none of our plans will cover you as you are past all the waiver of the pre-existing conditions deadlines.”

I don’t think Gina liked that answer because on Saturday when I was working a got a call from a lady named Ruth telling me the exact same story. I said, “That’s an amazing story. I hope you recover quickly. Someone else emailed me about nearly the same thing last night”. Ruth must not have liked my answer because later on Saturday, Connie called me.

Connie told me the exact same story. I said, “That’s an amazing story. I hope you recover quickly. Someone else emailed me last night and another person called me today about nearly the same thing”. Connie didn’t like my answer either.

In case it’s not clear why I would not sell travel insurance to Gina, Ruth and Connie, the reason is that I knew no travel insurance plan would have paid any claims. It’s possible other would have some them a policy, but I refuse to sell someone a travel insurance plan if I think the claim will be denied.

Oh, and, don’t send me any of your family and friends!


I Want Travel Insurance That Does Not Exist

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 pocket whether it’s a change fee or a new one way ticket. I already paid $546 for my ticket. I leave tomorrow. Fred B., North Carolina

What I said:

“Hi Fred, Thanks for writing. Sorry about your mother.

Unfortunately, travel insurance will not cover you. Sorry about that. That’s why airlines have change fees. Even though you don’t want to pay any change fees, a trip like yours is exactly the kind of trip where paying the change fee is a benefit.”

What I wanted to say (hopefully others like Fred will read this):

“Hi Fred, Thanks for writing. Sorry about your mother.

I’m happy to report that travel insurance will not cover you. I’m not an actuary but I think a travel insurance policy like this would cost at least $700. Why so much? If you think about all the complexities that go into administering an insurance policy, you can see how those costs add up. Plus that airline change fee still has to be paid.

That’s why airlines have change fees. Even though you don’t want to pay any change fees, a trip like yours is exactly the kind of trip where paying the change fee is a benefit.

I’m sure this isn’t the answer you were looking for, but it is the truth. And, I hope you tell all your friends and family that TripInsuranceStore.com gave you the right travel insurance advice. And, if you’d be so kind to post it on Facebook and your Google Circles I’d be very thankful.”


Does Travel Insurance Help Me If My Fare Drops?

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 the easy answer to on any website. I am planning to fly with my 5 year old NYC to SEA in March for 1 week. I hate to book now, see a drop in fares, and eat crow. Likewise, I’d much prefer to be able to afford to pay for an empty seat so big old me and squirmy him don’t have to squish in next to a total stranger for 6 hours. If the fare is 30% lower I can justify buying that seat! Is there any kind of insurance that will allow me to pay for my tickets now, while seats are available, and cancel them for a full refund, then buy them at a lower fare should the price drop significantly? I know there is CFAR (Cancel For Any Reason), but I wonder how I could apply it if I then take the trip anyway. Thanks, Stacy

Hi Stacy,

Thanks for coming back to TripInsuranceStore.com and writing.

Other than having a Cancel For Any Reason policy, travel insurance will not cover you if your fare drops. Plus, a Cancel For Any Reason policy is too expensive relative to the risk you would be insuring. The reason it’s too expensive is that adding the Cancel For Any Reason upgrade increases the price by about 50% while the most you will get back is 75% of your financial loss.

And, on top of that, filing a Cancel For Any Reason claim will be a huge hassle in this situation. You can see what I mean by reading what I wrote here:

By the way, the article I wrote called “Should You Buy Trip Cancellation Insurance For Just Airfare?” sure gets a lot of people mad at me (especially my competitors). I have no regrets for writing it and I hope it continues to bother my competitors. In my opinion, if they can’t understand this simple logic they shouldn’t be selling travel insurance (my mind’s made up, don’t confuse me with the facts).

It’s a good idea to buy Trip Cancellation Insurance when you are covering a cruise, tour, resort or a vacation rental property whether your trip includes airline tickets or not. Or you want medical coverage while on your trip. But I think most people would be better off if they skipped buying just for their domestic airfare when they have no other prepaid trip costs.


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

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 the travelers themselves, but I think I am wrong about this, too. Thanks in advance for clarifying. Dave

Hi Dave,

Here’s how it works:

If the policy is bought to satisfy all the pre-existing medical condition requirements, then it allows the people listed on that policy to cancel or interrupt their trip for their own, their traveling companions’ & non-traveling family members’ pre-existing medical conditions.

However, who exactly a family member is depends on each company. A Family Member usually means your spouse, child, spouse’s child, daughter-in-law, son-in-law, brother, sister, mother, father, grandparents, grandchild, step-brother, step-sister, step-parents, parents-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, guardian, ward.

You need to read the policy to find out who is a Family Member. Many of the companies who are not worthy to be offered on TripInsuranceStore.com have more restrictive family member or other policy wording definitions.

I have a page that covers who are family members in greater detail at https://tripinsurancestore.com/your-family-member-or-traveling-companion/.