Travelguard silver insurance purchased too late by our travel agent to cover preexisting conditions

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Oct 7, 2015
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#1
My husband and I booked a cruise and paid our initial deposit on 2/2/2015. We had our travel agent look into travel insurance as I wanted to make sure we were covered for pre existing conditions, as I have a number of medical problems. The insurance had to be bought within 15 days of the initial deposit, which would have been 2/17/2015. Our agent gave us a quote for a basic policy, with the quote including an initial deposit date of 2/3/2015. I didn't notice the wrong date at that time, as I called Travelguard and they told me I needed the silver coverage so that pre existing conditions would be included. I asked our travel agent to look into the silver. She said she would and headed out of town for a trip. She emailed me back on the 18th, said she looked into it, and quoted us a price. I told her to purchase it for us and she did. When I got the email from the insurance company with our policy attached, it said the initial deposit date was 2/2/2015, which was correct based on our invoice from the cruise company. With the purchase date of 2/18/2015, we were not covered for pre existing conditions. I received an email from our agent on 2/18/2015 saying the policy included pre existing clause. I think our agent used the wrong date of 2/3/2015 and so concluded we were covered. I had to cancel our cruise due to medical problems, filed a claim with Travelguard, and was denied due to a pre existing condition. Don't know what to do.
 

JVillegirl541

Verified Member
Nov 21, 2014
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#2
Welcome to our forum and can I say Oh My God! Is your Travel Agent a small agency, a work out of the home type or a big Agency.
Do you have any of this in writing (e-mails). Travel Agents normally have Errors & Ommissions Insurance.
Our Forum has some Lawyers and some highly experienced Travel Agents and I know someone with the perfect expertise will be here any minute!
I hear a lawsuit load & clear!!

PS : have you done business with this Travel Agent before? I'm speechless, but I'm sure we will be able to give you some expert advice. Be patient while we get someone who really knows what action you need to take.
 
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Carol Phillips

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Dec 28, 2014
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#3
@TobyR - First, I hope you're feeling 100% better.

Travel insurance is tricky at best. And this snafu is 100% the agent's fault.

I'd be interested in the answer to @JVillegirl541's question above ... what type of agent/agency are you working with? (Don't need/want the name, just if it's a homebased agent, a small local agency, a big online agency ... and if this is the first time you were their customer).

Nonetheless, I'd gather my documentation, including emails to/from the agent and the denial letter from TravelGuard, and approach the agent/agency IN WRITING requesting a refund of the monies you lost AND the Travel Guard premium you paid (since it was useless).

There will be those who say you share responsibility here and should have watched the dates carefully. But the agent (who bought the policy FOR you) knew of your concern about pre-existing conditions and had a fiduciary responsibility to buy the correct policy in a timely manner.

Please let us know what transpires.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#4
The agent cut it way too close. Do you have a statement from the insurance company that had your insurance been purchased one day earlier, it would have covered the pre-existing? Have you been unsuccessful in getting them to make an exception? Also, is it possible that your deposit didn't clear the bank until 2/3, making that the real deposit date?
 
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jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#5
This is why Travel Agents carry E&O Insurance. An awful error, resulting from lack of attention to detail. You deserve every penny back from the TA so that you can put this trip together again when you're able. Please keep up updated and good luck!
ADVOCATE ADVICE
ALWAYS follow up on any travel plans, no matter who makes them. Check every detail and check it twice ... do this yourself. Errors do happen, and the traveller can mitigate the negative results by being right on top of everything, all the time.
 
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mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
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#6
My husband and I booked a cruise and paid our initial deposit on 2/2/2015. We had our travel agent look into travel insurance as I wanted to make sure we were covered for pre existing conditions, as I have a number of medical problems. The insurance had to be bought within 15 days of the initial deposit, which would have been 2/17/2015. Our agent gave us a quote for a basic policy, with the quote including an initial deposit date of 2/3/2015. I didn't notice the wrong date at that time, as I called Travelguard and they told me I needed the silver coverage so that pre existing conditions would be included. I asked our travel agent to look into the silver. She said she would and headed out of town for a trip. She emailed me back on the 18th, said she looked into it, and quoted us a price. I told her to purchase it for us and she did. When I got the email from the insurance company with our policy attached, it said the initial deposit date was 2/2/2015, which was correct based on our invoice from the cruise company. With the purchase date of 2/18/2015, we were not covered for pre existing conditions. I received an email from our agent on 2/18/2015 saying the policy included pre existing clause. I think our agent used the wrong date of 2/3/2015 and so concluded we were covered. I had to cancel our cruise due to medical problems, filed a claim with Travelguard, and was denied due to a pre existing condition. Don't know what to do.
I'm thinking that a big part of this is because the agent headed out if town On an trip before she bought the policy, thinking she would do it upon her return.
This is not the standard of service one would expect from a TA. OOT trip turned out to be a big mistake and we can all understand why. Getting back from a trip and all that backlog of work waiting ffor you is not always easily handled. Unfortunately, for whatever reason she was not on top of your insurance purchase requirement and it got buried.
NONE of this mitigates her responsibility in any way.
 
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Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#7
You should contact your agent and request she reimburse you for all your cancellation fees due to her neglect in purchasing the right policy in a timely manner causing this. Was your credit card actually charged on 2/2? Sometimes a cabin can be held for a few days before actually having the card charged. So it may have bern booked on 2/2 but the charge nit put through for another day or two.

If she doesn't, you can take her to Small Claims Court and sue because she didn't offer you the correct policy and waited too long to purchase it.

She didn't even know that the Basic Policy had no pre-ex coverage. When we go out of town we make sure every client is taken care of before we leave.

Is she fully on her own or does she work under a large company? Every agent should have E and O insurance but some don't.

One other thing about pre-ex conditions-if your medical condition had been stable for at least 6 months on the day you purchased, with no changes to your condition and no changes to any meds you take within that time period, your condition may not truly have a pre-ex condition and you might be able to appeal to the insurance co.

If you need any more help with this, feel free to post again and let us know how you make out.
 

johnbaker

Verified Member
Oct 2, 2014
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#8
@TobyR Assuming that you have all your communication in writing, another potential avenue is your state's insurance licensing office / board. In most states, you have to be licensed in order to sell travel insurance. There might be a fund to help offset your losses due to her error. If nothing else, it will probably cost her her license.
 
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Mar 17, 2015
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#9
Agree with the others. I would say that you maybe, only maybe should shoulder some responsibility here, but that is why you went to a TA. For the TA to keep track of things and to make timely purchases of insurance. Write to the TA's business and request the refund in full. That is why the TA should carry insurance. Then, if the TA fails to respond, take them to small claims court (assuming your trip falls into your states monetary parameters for small claims). If your trip was significantly more than small claims, get to an attorney to sue. Just be aware that lawyer fees can be pretty costly, so if the difference in what you can sue for in small claims and regular court is not too great, then cut your losses and go with small claims.
 
Oct 7, 2015
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#10
This is TobyR. We have worked with this travel agent before (she booked two prior cruises for us) with no problem. This is the first time we had gotten Travelguard insurance. She works out of her home but works for Travelstore. I have emailed her manager along with emails proving the purchase of the insurance, when the initial deposit was made, when the travel insurance was purchased, our charge card being charged for the initial deposit on 2/2/2015 and the insurance purchase on 2/18/2015. I have lots of other emails as well. I will see if I hear from her manager. I asked for a full refund as well as a refund of the insurance we paid for. Lots of good suggestions above. By the time I realized we weren't covered for pre-existing, it was too late, as it should have been purchased a day prior. I have the claim denial letter as well from Travelguard. I save everything. I'll keep you all posted. Thanks for all the ideas. I forgot about E & O insurance that the agent or Travelstore has.

In the insurance company policy (a link to the policy was provided when we got the acknowledgement from Travel guard that the policy had been purchased), it states that to be covered for pre-existing conditions, the policy has to be purchased within 15 days of the i9nitial deposit date. I don't think the agent read this, or just put in the wrong date when the initial quote was made for the basic coverage. I will keep you all posted.

I received a request as well to send a bunch of my emails to Christopher Elliott, so I am going to do that today. Thanks!
 
Sep 1, 2015
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#11
There are associations in the travel and cruise industries that "certify" travel agencies and individual agents. (ASTA and CLIA come to mind). Does the agency or agent show membership in these, maybe logos or a tagline on a website or printed materials? The organizations may have a complaint process that you can pursue or use for "ammunition". The professional travel agents on this site can comment if this approach is worthwhile.
 

Carol Phillips

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Dec 28, 2014
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#12
@TobyR - thanks for the update. You're doing the right thing in contacting the agent's manager, and I hope/suspect you will have no issue receiving the refund to which you are entitled.

Since you keep everything (which is a good plan ... I do, too:) ) make a note of this:
http://www.travelstore.com/legal

This is from the TravelStore home page, under "Legal". It notes this:

"TravelStore is a participant in the California Travel Consumer Restitution Corporation (TCRC):
You, the passenger, may request reimbursement from TCRC if you are owed a refund of more than $50 for transportation or travel services which was not refunded in a timely manner by a seller of travel who was registered and participating in the TCRC at the time of sale." (And more fine print follows).

This would be a Plan B in the event of an issue with Plan A.

Please keep us apprised. And thanks again for the update.
 
Oct 7, 2015
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#13
I looked at the travel store website and read about the TCRC thing. You have to live in California to use this, and I live in Utah. Bummer for me!
 

Carol Phillips

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Dec 28, 2014
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#15
@TobyR - Well, darn. You can tell I live on the east coast! I'm sorry to have given you information that does not apply in your case.

Having said that, I'd use the TCRC thing as a sort of bargaining chip with TravelStore, if needed. IF you lived in California, their laws would cover your reimbursement. I would hope that TravelStore would take the high road and reimburse you regardless of the state in which you live. TravelStore agreed to participate in TCRC ... they should agree to fix the mistake they made in your case.
 
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Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#16
There are associations in the travel and cruise industries that "certify" travel agencies and individual agents. (ASTA and CLIA come to mind). Does the agency or agent show membership in these, maybe logos or a tagline on a website or printed materials? The organizations may have a complaint process that you can pursue or use for "ammunition". The professional travel agents on this site can comment if this approach is worthwhile.
These organizations really have no control of something like this. Neither "certifies" agents. Clia provides training on how to sell cruises and that's pretty much it.
ASTA agents merely pay an annual fee to be members. It isn't inexpensive and most agents that are ASTA or its sister company Nacta members have been in business for awhile. There are certain criteria you must have to belong to either group though - you must have E&O insurance, a checking account in your business name. So these are agents that are legit, not fly by night agents who say they sell travel but really try to get people to sell travel under them.
However, our writer has a better shot of being made whole because of the agents affiliation with the Travelstore.
You've taken the right steps. Let us know what they say.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#17
The insurance company is taking a hard line on that one day! I am not surprised, I guess, and it is its right but still....so frustrating. The TA needs to look into its policy ASAP bc they really screwed up.
 

Neil Maley

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#18
AAGK, the insurance companies are in business to make money. The want you to prove you have a legit claim. They look at every single thing to ensure you have a legit claim. When everything is in perfect order, a claim is resolved rather quickly. But this is usually one of the first things they will notice.
I think the agent may have intentionally said the deposit was made a day later to try to get the claim paid. But the insurance company wants to see the exact day the dep. was made and trying to mislead them is not doing the letter writer any help.
 
Aug 28, 2015
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#20
AAGK, the insurance companies are in business to make money. The want you to prove you have a legit claim. They look at every single thing to ensure you have a legit claim. When everything is in perfect order, a claim is resolved rather quickly. But this is usually one of the first things they will notice.
I think the agent may have intentionally said the deposit was made a day later to try to get the claim paid. But the insurance company wants to see the exact day the dep. was made and trying to mislead them is not doing the letter writer any help.
I know you are right. I didn't even notice that part of the story. Yes, misleading is a terrible idea with an insurance company as it is a major crime and like @Promal said- it's not like they won't require you back up your facts. It is very important to put the date as it appears on your backup docs, and sink or swim on that, rather than try to fudge any info. Question, do TA usually take responsibility for arranging the customer's travel insurance or do they give recommendations and encourage the travelled to arrange that on their own?
 
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