Travel Insurance: Avoid the Loopholes

10 May 16

Author: Alexa Crow

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“Never ever book a trip of any kind without travel insurance.”

This is the number-one lesson that Beth and her husband, Kevin*, two loyal Global Escapes clients, have learned in their past travel experiences. They sat down and talked to us not only about the importance of travel insurance, but also of knowing what you’re getting into when you sign up for it.

Beth said that she and Kevin have been planning trips through Global Escapes for years now–wonderful vacations exploring Canada, New England, the California coastline, and more. However, three years ago, Beth received something in the mail about a cruise to Hawaii and thought to herself, “This is easy…I can do this myself!” and she booked the trip. She even bought premium travel insurance through the cruise line because she knew it was a travel essential.

Their ship set sail from San Francisco one weekend in October, 2013. Suddenly, the vacation took a devastating turn when Beth fell on a step in the ship’s dining room, causing her to suffer a broken hip. She ended up spending five days in the ship’s infirmary until the vessel arrived in Honolulu on the first of November. As she and her husband were leaving the ship–literally walking off board to get Beth to the nearest medical center–Kevin was handed a hefty bill for approximately $7,000, with no time to object or even speak with the cruise line about the charge he had just acquired. He immediately had to call their credit card company and increase their limit.

Beth was then transferred to the local medical center, where she had to have a partial hip replacement. Now you’re probably wondering, “When is that travel insurance going to kick in for this couple?” The sad truth was that it did kick in, but only for Beth. Countless dollars were spent on Kevin’s hotel and flight, while Beth was completely covered. She spent two weeks in the hospital post-surgery, and Kevin was left to find his way around and feed himself every day, all on his own dime.

Kevin shared, “I just started walking everywhere each day to avoid transportation fees, and I ended up eating most of my meals in the hospital, since all of the island’s restaurants I tried going to were closed at night–even McDonald’s!”

When the pair returned to the United States, Beth said she flew home first-class with a hot meal while Kevin sat in the very back of the plane. Thankfully, this is the finale of their insurance-gone-wrong fiasco. However, Beth still has a long road to recovery after having her hip replaced again in June 2014.

Beth’s experience of booking the trip herself and signing up for the premium insurance revealed the loopholes that come with purchasing travel insurance through the cruise line rather than through a reputable third party. The process of booking everything in the beginning seems painless, but that is because the cruise line offers everything bundled up upfront. The terms and conditions can easily become lost.

Beth shared with us that she wishes she had enlisted the help of her Global Escapes travel consultant beforehand to have researched the best travel insurance to use.

“Travel consultants charge fees, but they certainly know what they are doing. They think through every little thing,” Beth said.

If this story wasn’t already bad enough, Beth shared two other experiences she ran into regarding travel insurance, but thankfully she avoided the loopholes in these cases with the help of her travel consultant. One instance occurred the week before they had to leave for a planned trip, when Beth’s retina suddenly detached. Thus, they had to cancel the vacation.

“We got every penny back, though, because of travel insurance,” Beth said.

The other instance was a Panama Canal cruise trip that Global Escapes consultant Ella put together for Beth, her husband and their friends. Unfortunately, one of their friend’s family members fell extremely ill, and they had to back out of the trip. Ella was able to get a complete refund for them because of the appropriate travel insurance she had incorporated into the trip.

When ending our conversation with Beth and Kevin, we asked, “If you could go back and change what you did, what would you do differently?” Kevin said that he would have talked more with the cruise line and objected to the bills they handed him at the last minute before they disembarked.

Beth giggled, “First off, I wouldn’t plan it again myself, and second, I would be more careful on those dining room stairs!”

We are happy to share that Beth has come a long way on her road to recovery, and she and Kevin are soon to be headed on their next adventure planned by Global Escapes.

If you have questions about travel insurance or what it entails, please feel free to contact one of our travel consultants to make sure you and everyone you are traveling with will be taken care of in the best capacity. Or, learn some travel insurance 101 here.

(*Names have been changed to protect our clients’ privacy.)

 

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