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Why Kara’s Claim Wasn’t Paid

Kara bought a trip cancellation policy with “Cancel For Any Reason” coverage from our website. Due to some unavoidable reasons (a military coup in Turkey!) she was forced to make some changes to her trip, which is fairly understandable. The problem is, she made those changes without consulting us. The changes she made weren’t covered in the policy and had she contacted us before making the changes, we would have told her, and would have even advised her how to make the changes so that she would be properly covered.

Consequently, she didn’t get her claim and now she thinks we are responsible for the unfortunate predicament. She has shared her experience, although a bit misplaced when it comes to mentioning my business, on Yelp. Here is my response.

A business benefits when happy customers refer their friends. When the business is online, reviews from real people go a long way, too. I am very thankful for all the nice things people say about us on Cruise Critic, Trip Advisor, Frommer’s, Fodor’s, Dis Boards, Flyer Talk, newspaper travel sections and all the other places online.

Not everything said about TripInsuranceStore.com is good. Some are neutral like: “Is there even some named ‘Steve’? I’ve called and have never talked to him…”.

Now and then I find negative reviews from people who should have never bought a trip cancellation travel insurance policy in the first place. At the very least they should have called or emailed us for advice because it would have given us the opportunity to tell them: “Don’t buy a travel insurance policy because it will not cover you.”

Here’s one of those negative reviews that I think is worth reading as it’s a perfect example of why it’s important to be aware of these things (and why someone should call us when they think they might have a claim):

  1. TripInsuranceStore is not the insurance company (I am a broker) so if you decide to contact the insurance company directly without ever contacting us for advice before you start your claim, don’t drag my name through the mud complaining about your experience.
  2. Read your policy. Don’t assume anything about how you are covered. Even though the terms may be the same, every policy is different from the other ones out there. Please call us at 1-888-407-3854 with questions. We will patiently help you.
  3. Contact us before you start changing your travel arrangements. If you do something that is not covered and then tell us after the fact, I doubt there’s much we can do to help you get your claim paid.
  4. Never start a sentence about how travel insurance works with “One would think …”. You will be wrong and potentially unhappy.
  5. If you have a claim, we will help you with your claim even before you start it because it’s important to us that your claim gets paid. Just like we are not the insurance company, we are also not the claim department.
  6. Insurance policy language is precise because it is a unilateral legal contract. Don’t equate “cancelling” with “making a change”.

Here’s the Yelp review:

I purchased “Cancel for any reason” insurance through TripInsuranceStore.com – they are incredibly helpful, until you actually need to file a claim. We were going on safari in Kenya and had purchased our tickets on Turkish Airlines from SFO to IST and then connecting to NBO on July 19th. As I’m sure everyone is aware, there was an attempted coup in Istanbul on July 15th and the FAA banned all Turkish Airline flights from the US for an unspecified period of time. One would think a military coup would be a covered item, but one would be wrong. Well, if the coup isn’t covered, at least I should be covered since the FAA has banned all flights? Again, wrong. I was able to re-route us on United via FRA and ADD, but had to pay around $1,000 in change fees for 7 people. I’m looking for 75% of $1,000 in reimbursement which I believe I more than qualify for. Given the civil unrest in Turkey, plus the uncertainty of whether the FAA would lift it’s ban in time and there would even be a Turkish Airline plane available to take us to Istanbul on July 19th, I’m curious what the average traveler is expected to do in our situation. Here is verbatim their reasoning for denying our claim, “you can file for 75% reimbursement for the cost of the original tickets that you cancelled under the any reason option but the costs associated with changing or booking new tickets wouldn’t be covered because the insurance doesn’t cover the costs associated with the traveler deciding to change their trip around.” Ha! They think we wanted to spend 48+ hours traveling through 3 countries in order to get to our ultimate destination. As if on a whim two days before our trip of a lifetime I said, “You know what, I hear Frankfurt is lovely this time of year…”

If you want to see Kara’s Yelp review, you can find it here on my Yelp page: https://www.yelp.com/biz/tripinsurancestore-lees-summit-2

If you want to say anything about us online, you will find more information on how to do this on my Feedback page: https://tripinsurancestore.com/how-did-tripinsurancestore-com-do/

PS – After writing this I realized I didn’t explain it well so I wrote this on Dec. 2, 2016: More on Why Kara’s Claim Wasn’t Paid

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