How to determine what to insure

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Jun 12, 2017
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#1
I have purchased travel insurance in the past and have insured the costs of all the non-refundable items. Fortunately, I have never needed to make a claim. With the current trip, I was debating whether or not to cover the cost of our non-refundable hotels. When speaking with Squaremouth rep., she indicated that all non-refundable items had to be included if I had purchased 1) cancel for any reason policy or 2) applied for any of the waiver ie. pre-existing medical). When I spoke with the insurance agency agent, he indicated that I was covered for up to $xx,000. amount and that whatever I claimed would be covered if it was under that amount. (that there was no restriction about waivers ,etc) So, as I have read on your forums re: trip insurance could not be /did not refund for various reasons, who should I believe? I figure we could undertake the loss of the hotel costs if the major event was covered.
 

Neil Maley

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#2
The answer is you need to cover everything that is non refundable. If you don’t, the insurance company can deny your entire claim.

These policies cover up to certain amounts for the same charge. For instance - if your nonrefundables come to say $1600, the policy might cost you $93. However, that same $93 might cover you for nonrefundables up to $2,000.

They will only pay out what you cover up to,
 
Likes: jsn55
Jul 27, 2016
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#3
The answer is you need to cover everything that is non refundable. If you don’t, the insurance company can deny your entire claim.

These policies cover up to certain amounts for the same charge. For instance - if your nonrefundables come to say $1600, the policy might cost you $93. However, that same $93 might cover you for nonrefundables up to $2,000.

They will only pay out what you cover up to,
I'm curious why there's this insurance company provision. Not at all challenging that it's there, but curious why it's in place. If someone wants to only insure a portion of their trip, to limit their loss in the event of a problem (but not reduce it to zero), why would the insurance company object?
 
Likes: jsn55

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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#4
I agree with JaGuy, this provision is a curiosity.

I also don't understand, Traveler, why you would not list all the non-ref items when you bought insurance. Is there a huge premium difference for a few hundred dollars more coverage? Just for the record, I'm delighted to hear from a traveller who knows that buying travel insurance is a good idea, quite refreshing.
 
Likes: SierraRose49

Neil Maley

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#5
I'm curious why there's this insurance company provision. Not at all challenging that it's there, but curious why it's in place. If someone wants to only insure a portion of their trip, to limit their loss in the event of a problem (but not reduce it to zero), why would the insurance company object?
I don't pretend to know why unless it is a way for them to decline a claim. But it's been written about here for a very long time:

https://www.elliott.org/advice-you-can-take/dont-commit-these-7-deadly-travel-insurance-sins/
 
Jun 19, 2017
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#6
This is a very interesting topic. I did investigate whether you must buy the full coverage in order to be covered for pre-existing conditions (if bought within 2 weeks of initial payment).
Turns out that most companies require it, but it also depends on the state you live in. For example, Travel Guard in New York state does not require a purchase of full coverage, but in every other state, they do.
As far as whom to believe - believe only the actual policy, because that is the only source that will be used in case of a claim. People's statements carry no weight.
 
Likes: Neil Maley

Neil Maley

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#7
This is a very interesting topic. I did investigate whether you must buy the full coverage in order to be covered for pre-existing conditions (if bought within 2 weeks of initial payment).
Turns out that most companies require it, but it also depends on the state you live in. For example, Travel Guard in New York state does not require a purchase of full coverage, but in every other state, they do.
As far as whom to believe - believe only the actual policy, because that is the only source that will be used in case of a claim. People's statements carry no weight.
That is exactly right - you must read the actual policy you are buying and abide by the terms.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#8
This is a very interesting topic. I did investigate whether you must buy the full coverage in order to be covered for pre-existing conditions (if bought within 2 weeks of initial payment).
Turns out that most companies require it, but it also depends on the state you live in. For example, Travel Guard in New York state does not require a purchase of full coverage, but in every other state, they do.
As far as whom to believe - believe only the actual policy, because that is the only source that will be used in case of a claim. People's statements carry no weight.
Very good observation. Insurance is regulated on a state by state basis and the policies can differ.

One has to take the time to read the policy— yes it is dense reading, but that is the only way to know. This is the same as understanding what one’s car insurance covers, home owner, rental insurance, etc.
 

jsn55

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Dec 26, 2014
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#9
Best to get the advice of a real person at a travel insurance broker. I use a great guy in Omaha and never have to worry about the fine print.
 
Jun 12, 2017
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#10
That is exactly right - you must read the actual policy you are buying and abide by the terms.
Thank you Neil for your earlier reply. I have just read the contributions from the other advocates. It was interesting as always to read them.
In response to jsn55, I was debating the $ difference between insuring or not insuring hotel stays. They could have been reserved @ flexible rate or non-refundable. Trying to save a couple hundred$. Sometimes not the best option.

I finally did re-read the entire policy. It indicated non-refundable costs. Not all or 100% specifically. However, the one caveat to that was with the medical waivers if purchased. A cautionary note for future travel as we are becoming "senior" in the physical sense but not mentally. So best not believe what are told over the phone. I have always purchased travel insurance online. We live in a small community, no travel insurance broker here to my knowledge. Would need to travel 20 miles probably to find one.

Thanks again to all
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#11
Deciding wether to insure a refundable hotel reservation is always a question. At the time you book, the reservations be refundable. But every reservation becomes non refundable at a certain point - some the day of travel, some two or three or four, some a month.

That is when you should call the insurance company you plan to use and ask them how to handle those scenarios. Some policies you can add on to, some you can’t. For instance, the policies we carry can be purchased to cover just the deposits on a trip when just the deposit is made to lock in coverage for pre-existing medical conditions. When the client makes final payment or buys air- then they increase the coverage at that time. Some companies will allow that when a hotel booking becomes nonrefundable.

Don’t hesitate to call the insurance company with those type of questions.
 
Jun 19, 2017
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#12
Deciding wether to insure a refundable hotel reservation is always a question. At the time you book, the reservations be refundable. But every reservation becomes non refundable at a certain point - some the day of travel, some two or three or four, some a month.

That is when you should call the insurance company you plan to use and ask them how to handle those scenarios.

Don’t hesitate to call the insurance company with those type of questions.
Having been in the insurance business for 40 years, I can tell you with confidence that calling the insurance company for advice is good and bad.

Good - because they may explain certain terms and point you to the policy text for answers.

Bad - because they may give you false confidence and worse, mislead you. Many on the support end don't really know too much and if you rely on them, your defense at the claim denial of "Your rep told me" is not going to work. Giving advise is the last thing I would expect them to do properly.

The ONLY way to fully know what you are covered for is by reading the policy (the four corners of your contract). If you do not understand something, ask a lawyer or a knowledgeable person you know and trust.

When in doubt, buy more rather than less. Don't forget also to check your credit card company - many offer built-in travel insurance coverage that could compliment your private policy.

After my retirement, I established a relationship with an aggregator/reseller of travel insurance - a site that compares tens of policies. I don't think I can post it here because of advertising policy of the forum.
Friends and family that use my link often call me with questions. My response is always based on the language of the policy. All my comments here are based on actual experience of my career and online travel insurance post-retirement "career".
 
Likes: krisseye

Neil Maley

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#13
You are 100% correct that even calling might not give you the right answer in every case because there are many variables that the person asking a question may not bring to light. The only way to know for sure what’s covered is when a claim is filed.

However, a general question on what is considered nonrefundable should be able to be answered because sometimes the written terms are vague and are not clear.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#14
*In response to jsn55, I was debating the $ difference between insuring or not insuring hotel stays. They could have been reserved @ flexible rate or non-refundable."

OK, I understand what you're saying. I travelled for years happily ignorant of any need for travel insurance. So I've only been buying it for a few years. I just get out a legal pad and calculator and note any dollars that I would lose if I didn't show up. Look at the list and add up items I want to insure. I'm happy not insuring refundable hotel rooms and flights. I could eat one night's hotel cost and the cancel/change airline fee. I could always get a credit from the airline for a future flight. Neither of us have any pre-existing conditions, but the cost of insurance goes up as you skip down the path of life, so I'm careful to not over-insure. Emergency medical evacuation coverage is vital, as I found out two years ago in Paris.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Jun 11, 2017
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#15
I ALWAYS buy travel insurance, including extensive medical coverage because my work health insurance does not provide coverage outside the USA. And I am well aware that all non-refundable expenses must be insured or else you risk the insurance policy being invalidated.

I’ve been using Travelguard which allows policyholders to add more insurance as you add more travel plans/expenses to your trip.

But the most difficult insurance decision for me is what to do about the hotel reservations where I’ve paid nothing in advance but just listed my credit card to hold the reservation.

These hotel reservations usually state that I have sometimes 24-hours before arrival....sometimes up to 6 pm on the day of arrival...to avoid having my credit card charged.

When I’ve spoken to the customer service reps at the insurance company about various insurance situations, I often get non-commital, wishy-washy types of replies that are about as clear as mud. Which is why I am weary of trusting any information I’m given verbally on the telephone as verbal replies don’t hold up legally.

To be very honest, I’ve never added these types of Hotel expenses to my insurance coverage where cancellations are allowed up to 24-hours before arrival.

Maybe I’m being foolish?
 
Jun 11, 2017
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#16
Just to be clear ...referring to my previous post.....Even though I could afford to lose the 1-night cost of a hotel room where I was a no-show...I wouldn’t want to risk having the entire insurance policy invalidated because I didn’t insure this 1-night cancellation penalty.

And it wouldn’t become a penalty until 24-hours before arrival.

So it’s a real quandary for me.
 
Mar 17, 2015
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#17
Even if I book refundable hotel rates, I still insure those amounts. The refundable is only refundable up to a certain time, and when travel snafus happen, I just assume I will be outside the cancellable window, so go ahead and insure it.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,789
12,762
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#18
Just to be clear ...referring to my previous post.....Even though I could afford to lose the 1-night cost of a hotel room where I was a no-show...I wouldn’t want to risk having the entire insurance policy invalidated because I didn’t insure this 1-night cancellation penalty.

And it wouldn’t become a penalty until 24-hours before arrival.

So it’s a real quandary for me.
This is the probably the one question thatbtrips many up.

Here is how I think of it- if my flight gets canceled, will I remember to call the hotel and cancel that reservation with everything else going on?

And more and more hotels are changing their cancelation policies to 48-72 hours before arriving.

As long as you understand that if you don’t insure it, you can’t our in a claim for it— then it’s a gamble you take.
 
Jun 19, 2017
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#19
I use a different solution to all those concerns, and I recommend it to anyone who travels more than occasionally.
I have a credit card (Chase Sapphire Reserve) that has travel insurance coverage as one of its benefits. There are many banks that offer some kind of travel insurance with their free Visa cards.
I use that card, which automatically activates my coverage. I then buy a minimal coverage with a travel insurance company, which add the many benefits that are not available otherwise.
Some of the free Visa cards that offer Trip Cancellation limit the benefit to $1,500. In this case, I would recommend buying private insurance that completes the coverage needed.
From what I understand, policies are not invalidated because you did not buy 100% of your trip cancellation at risk - only certain provisions are. One I can think of is Waiver of pre Existing medical conditions. In New York, where I live, there are policies that cover you for that regardless of how much coverage you purchased.

If you are a traveler that travels once in a blue moon, buy a policy for 10% more than you think you will need and have peace of mind.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,789
12,762
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#20
I use a different solution to all those concerns, and I recommend it to anyone who travels more than occasionally.
I have a credit card (Chase Sapphire Reserve) that has travel insurance coverage as one of its benefits. There are many banks that offer some kind of travel insurance with their free Visa cards.
I use that card, which automatically activates my coverage. I then buy a minimal coverage with a travel insurance company, which add the many benefits that are not available otherwise.
Some of the free Visa cards that offer Trip Cancellation limit the benefit to $1,500. In this case, I would recommend buying private insurance that completes the coverage needed.
From what I understand, policies are not invalidated because you did not buy 100% of your trip cancellation at risk - only certain provisions are. One I can think of is Waiver of pre Existing medical conditions. In New York, where I live, there are policies that cover you for that regardless of how much coverage you purchased.

If you are a traveler that travels once in a blue moon, buy a policy for 10% more than you think you will need and have peace of mind.

You can buy just medical coverage on many third party Travel insurance companies