As is the case for many people who traveled to Europe this summer, not everything went according to the plan for my family. I’ve mentioned all the highs and lows in this post, so won’t repeat myself. Fortunately, my financial loss mostly consisted of paying for transfer from Dubrovnik to Kotor (Montenegro), plus a ruined suitcase.
Dubrovnik is beautiful
This amounted to a total of around $200, so I filed a claim with the insurance company when I got back home. I had a few extra travel expenses which I wasn’t sure would count (they didn’t), and tried to be 100% honest. Naturally, I kept all the relevant receipts. BTW, I bought my policy from Seven Corners
If you’ve read Nancy’s post on the same topic, you know that she waited almost five months for her reimbursement check. For me, that amount of time came and went. So, I’ve decided to check on the status of the claim online, and was surprised to find out that the case was closed due to not having sufficient documentation. I went to check my emails and found one from the insurance company that went to spam. Great! The email was from the agent assigned to my case, and it was sent out three weeks ago.
I went ahead and emailed her back explaining the situation, but two days later I still haven’t received a response. So, I went ahead and called and was fortunate that she picked up (more on that later). She went ahead and asked me some questions about the claim. Mind you, I’ve already written a long explanation and attached all the necessary receipts. But it was apparent she didn’t read any of it. She also never bothered to look at my email.
Regardless, she did agree to reopen the case and told me she would get back to me in a day or two. After a week went by, I’ve decided to reach out to her again via email. Crickets. I called and left a message, but no call back. I checked the status of the claim online a week later, and saw a notification that it was approved, but only for $130 instead of $200 I was expecting. In the summary I did not see any payout for my destroyed suitcase, despite the fact that it should have been covered by the policy.
I went ahead and emailed the agent with an inquiry and got no response. So, I’ve decided to cut my losses and “graciously” accept my $130 check, which eventually showed up in my mailbox. It was an older suitcase, and I already have more luggage than I need. I just didn’t have the energy or time to fight this fight.
My thoughts on buying a separate travel insurance policy going forward
Obviously, this is not a typical travel year, and as Nancy’s experience showed, my crazy wait time wasn’t out of the ordinary. In addition, I believe that I selected email communication option, so the fact that the message went to spam wasn’t their fault. Also, it’s important to note that I originally bought this insurance policy for a trip to Japan, and Seven Corners company let me transfer it to Europe at no additional cost.
That being said, I think the customer service at Seven Corners leaves a lot to be desired. I had to hunt down the agent, who routinely ignored my emails and phone calls. She also sent me exactly one email requesting more information, and then closed the case without making a second attempt to reach me. To be fair, I can only imagine how busy the insurance agents are right now. Still, as someone who used to work in customer service, not responding to clients is simply unacceptable. I wasn’t rude or demanding in any of our interactions. I simply wanted what was promised to me. And $200 isn’t an astronomical sum of money.
While I realize that not all agents are the same, I think I’ll avoid Seven Corners company going forward. It was a nuisance to deal with it, though I wanted to see this matter resolved out of principle. I’m a very determined person who doesn’t give up easily. I imagine most people would simply let it go.
So, this begs a question on whether it’s worth it to buy a separate travel insurance policy in the first place. After all, that’s a lot of trouble to go through just to end up with $130 in the end. Of course, that’s not why most people buy insurance. It’s meant to protect you from the “big” stuff, something that could potentially cause you to file bankruptcy.
I’m a great believer in buying medical insurance, especially when going on a cruise. Fortunately, you can usually buy that type of policy for much less compared to bundled insurance that includes trip cancellation and travel delay reimbursement. This doesn’t always hold true though, because in the past medical insurance for Belarus cost more than comprehensive insurance. So definitely compare various quotes. I recommend sites like insuremytrip.com that makes shopping for insurance easier. We have no affiliation with this site, I just find it useful.
For simple trips, I often rely on travel insurance provided by my credit cards. That certainly holds true when traveling within the US. I’ve filed a claim with my Chase Hyatt card when we had a flight diversion and got reimbursed for hotel and food expenses. I’ve only used the card to pay taxes, but it worked. I will say that the process was a bit of a nuisance, but then again, it’s not like it was a cakewalk this time around.
One main reason in favor of purchasing a standalone policy is the ability to get “cancel for any reason” rider. It does cost extra, but can provide peace of mind. Life is unpredictable, especially in Covid times we live in. However, keep in mind that you usually have two to three weeks after your first trip deposit to qualify for this add-on.
We have booked a trip to Japan next year, and I’ve decided to hold off purchasing travel insurance (for now). I’ve used Chase Hyatt card to pay taxes on our award tickets, and the lodging bill is not due until the middle of May. I plan to use my Capital One Venture X card to cover it, and it does come with travel insurance protection.
If one of us gets sick, it should reimburse me, at least in theory. I won’t be able to cancel my trip for any reason, but at this point this option isn’t available to me anyway. I’m definitely not eager to sink an extra $200 on insurance policy, just so I can spend hours hunting down an agent for a $200 reimbursement. At least with credit card, there is zero extra cost. One potential issue is coverage for Covid-19 quarantine. This is something I definitely will need to research when buying a medical policy for Japan. AFAIK, no credit card covers hotel costs in case of quarantine. As always, it’s important to pay attention to fine print.
If you plan to travel internationally, what are your thoughts on buying a separate insurance policy?
How does my family travel so much? We use miles and points from credit card bonuses. See my Travel Hacking 101 post as well as current credit card offers here.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.
OH no. I think I just made a big mistake…ugh. I booked my flight to TLV already and Aeroplan let you pay the taxes and fees with points so that’s what I did (as I was going to erase the charges anyway) as I ended up with a 30% bonus that wasn’t expecting so had extra points – but now i am guessing I won’t get any cap1x travel protections for that flight :(.
I was planning on getting separate travel insurance anyway – Israel requires medical/covid – I looked into what Nancy used and it looks good even if it did take a while to get reimbursed – and I have alot of trips next year so the year plan sounds great.
@HML Well done on booking those flights to Israel! I know how long you’ve waited for this.
So, here is the thing. Unlike with Chase cards, you would have to charge the entire cost to Capital One card in order for travel insurance to apply. Check this link https://ecm.capitalone.com/WCM/card/benefits-guide/20211109-venture-x/jb34520_build-it_dm_final_eng-proof_v1.pdf
So, even if you did charge your taxes to it, you most likely would not be covered. Either way, I would probably get a separate policy in your case. Look for one that reimburses award redeposit fees, since I believe Aeroplan charges quite a bit for those. Chase cards are superior in this regard since they do cover tickets that are partially paid, which includes award tickets. But it is a murky area.
Oh that’s good to know – I don’t feel so bad now.
Just have to wait anothr 9 days to book the return!
I look at travel insurance as a catastrophic policy for a medical/ evacuation situation. Like you stated, it could bankrupt someone. I would never leave the country without it. I end up buying an annual plan for our family because it is more economical since we go to MX 2 or 3 times a year. It’s bare bones coverage for cancelations, damage and delays but covers six figure medical bills.
People don’t realize Mexico and a lot of countries require you to prepay for procedures and even ambulance. Bring several credit cards with high limits!
Your experience is frustrating but not surprising. Hopefully your policy wasn’t too expensive.
@Lindy You bring up some really good points! Yeah, I would never travel internationally without having at least a medical insurance policy. Medical evacuation alone can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Those policies are usually cheap, so no reason to skip them. In this case, I paid $250 all-in, but it included “cancel for any reason” option. Plus, I originally got it for Japan, and they let me transfer it to Europe trip. It’s a good bit of money, but with all the uncertainty (Covid+war in Ukraine), I was definitely glad to have it. Without “cancel for any reason” option, I’m not sure it’s worth it to go beyond medical coverage.
No, I’m not buying trip insurance, it’s more trouble than it’s worth. “Cancel for any reason” is truly a misnomer IMHO. I too rely on credit card coverage, in particular Chase Sapphire Preferred. When Air Berlin went bankrupt, Chase covered my loss and even offered to reimburse me for points at 0.1/point (it was an award booking). The points were refunded and the insurance paid back fees on the award ticket. Travel insurance is dicey.
@Russ That’s some truly amazing customer service from CSP! I’m impressed. You know, I’m a very risk-averse person and tend to go overboard when it comes to travel insurance. I’ve bought “cancel for any reason” option quite a few times. However, even with that you get 75% of your prepaid expenses back, so it’s unlikely I will ever take advantage of it. My last experience is definitely making me reevaluate my travel insurance decisions.
Having the same issue with AIG, where it’s been 3 months and counting with zero activity other than a monthly email stating that they need more time to review my claim. Credit card companies deal with similar claims far faster.
@khatl It’s definitely a hassle to deal with. I will certainly think twice before investing in a comprehensive policy again. It probably makes sense to over-insure some trips, but the juice is often not worth the squeeze. Hope you get a resolution soon.