The Skinny on the Iceland Volcano and Travel Insurance

by Steve Dasseos on May 16, 2010

If you didn’t get trip cancellation insurance before April 14, 2010 you are being confronted with a basic insurance principle: Risk.

To understand what insurance is and how it works, you must first understand something about risk. Risk means the same thing in insurance that it does in everyday language. Risk is the chance or uncertainty of loss. For instance, the possibility that your house might be burglarized or that you might be hit by a cement truck while going out to get the mail represent uncertainty of loss. Both are risks.

Only unforeseen risks can be insured If the results are expected of foreseen, it does not qualify as a risk. Unforeseen means: Situations or losses that result from sudden and unforeseen conditions or events. Travel insurance does not cover conditions or events that, on the date of purchase, are known to You. If something happens that was expected which results in a claim, your claim will not be paid.

Why am I telling you this? All travel insurance plans only cover Unforeseen Events. Click here for a more detailed explanation.

What does this have to do with the Iceland Volcano?

  • If you didn’t get trip cancellation insurance before April 14, 2010;
  • And an eruption happened or an ash cloud existed before you bought your travel insurance, you will not be covered for anything related to that eruption or ash cloud;
  • Even if you didn’t know anything about it.

All of us here at have a heart. We (Steve, Deanna, Becky & Kim) completely sympathize with the predicament many people are in because they didn’t get trip cancellation insurance before their long-planned upcoming trip to Europe.

By the way, if you didn’t get trip cancellation insurance before April 14, 2010 are booking a trip since April 14th, you may be eligible for a “Cancel For Any Reason plan” to cover you. Keep in mind that it’s “Cancel For Any Reason” and not “Interrupt For Any Reason”.

There are two distinct groups of people who are calling us about the volcano under the Eyjafjallajokull glacier in Iceland:

  1. People who were ill-advised weeks or months ago that “you can just wait until your final payment to buy insurance”. Thankfully, they are completely understanding.
  2. People who seem to have been too cheap and who would’ve never have bought travel insurance, but now they want it because they don’t want to lose any money.

Steve Vents His Spleen

I like the first group. I am truly sorry about their dilemma. But, I’d rather have people like that call us every day because they are willing to understand how travel insurance works or doesn’t work. Here’s an example from Paula in Boston on 4/21/10:

Hi. I booked an Exploritas program in Nice, France for 5/4 – 5/17/10 a while ago. I didn’t insure it at that time. I have arranged the airfare (Boston-Heathrow-Nice and back) with frequent flyer miles. The trip is worth about $5000.

Please don’t laugh too hard, but is there any way to insure this trip at all? I have the option of buying an air ticket (Boston-CDG-Nice and return…a route slightly further from the volcano) but am not sure that would make any difference for insurance purposes. Paula

Just yesterday (4/21/10), three people bought trip insurance from me because I told them the truth that they were not covered for anything related to the Iceland volcano. They all appreciated my honesty and willingness to not sell them a policy with the likeliness that there claim will be denied. They did have other reasons to buy that were covered, too.

I don’t like the second group. That second group are the ones that are the hardest to deal with because they can’t take “No” for an answer. They are in the same group that calls us in the winter because there’s a blizzard headed their way and now they want coverage.

Their attitude seems to be “I want someone else to pay for my mistake”. I personally have to be careful not to sound happy when I tell them they won’t be covered – it’s like buying fire insurance when your house is already on fire.

As much as I want to say, “I’m sorry you were too cheap to buy insurance before this happened”, I don’t say it because I’m a nice guy.

And, if you are reading this and I’m talking about you, don’t beg me to sell you a plan that will cover you because you are promising me that “you & everyone you know will always buy all your travel insurance plans from us”. If I had a dollar for every time … .

I almost forgot, but if you are a lazy travel agent who wants me to fix the wrong insurance advice you gave to your client, don’t call me either. I don’t believe you when you tell me “you & all your clients will buy all your travel insurance plans from us”.

It’s no secret that I feel travel agents should not be selling travel insurance. Specialize in selling travel and let the Trained Professional Travel Insurance Experts sell Travel Insurance. I promise I will never sell travel.

I hope this makes sense. If not, call us at 1-888-407-3854 and we’ll help you figure it all out. By the way, if you don’t appreciate my (Steve) directness, that’s too bad. My mission isn’t to please everyone. I’d rather tell you the truth.

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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