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Do You Have an Upcoming Trip?

Like TripInsuranceStore.com has always been, I (Steve) am being direct about your choices. This could change in the future if the companies themselves make changes to their procedures.

Are you still taking your upcoming trip? If not, there are likely three reasons why:

1) You have a covered claim. For example, you, a close family member or a traveling companion gets hurt or sick before you leave. Your doctor must see you in person before you cancel your trip and must advise that your current injury or illness is so disabling that they recommend that you do not travel. There’s an Attending Physicians Report which that doctor will later need to fill out as a part of your claim. There are many other covered reasons, which can be found in your policy.

If you are thinking of cancelling for the risk of getting the Coronavirus, but are not ill right now, read this: Don’t Cancel for Your Medical Reasons If You’re Not Ill or Injured
https://tripinsurancestore.com/blog/dont-cancel-for-medical-reasons-if-youre-not-ill-or-injured/

The only exception for cancelling for a not-covered reason is if you have the Cancel For Any Reason coverage. If so, you must cancel your trip not less than 3 calendar days before your departure date.

2) Your Travel Supplier(s) cancels your trip due to the Coronavirus. If this happens, your Travel Supplier will have to make it up to you in some way. Many airlines are waiving the change fees when you re-book. Some airlines and travel suppliers are giving full refunds in cash. Others are giving future travel credits and / or a very good deal if you switch your dates to a future trip.

Does your travel insurance cover you when your Travel Supplier cancels because of the Coronavirus? The answer is “No”. The following wording is a part of the exclusions on all policies, it is not a new addition to the policy language.

  • Failure of any tour operator, common carrier, person or agency to provide the bargained-for travel arrangements. If a travel supplier changes the itinerary, but still gives you a similar trip or a future travel credit or waives the change fees, there’s no payable claim.
  • Government Actions, Advisories or Recommendations

Now is a good time for you to get out your travel documents you received from your travel supplier(s) and read them again.

For an airline ticket, look at the Contract of Carriage. For your other travel suppliers, look at the Terms and Conditions you agreed to when you booked your trip. These documents will tell you what will happen if your supplier cancels or makes changes. With the Coronavirus crisis being widespread, and because they care for their guests, many travel suppliers are waiving penalties and making it easier to change your dates to a future trip. Some other suppliers are also allowing full refunds.

It’s possible the Terms and Conditions you agreed to were vaguely written. If so, contact your trip’s organizer and / or the travel agent that sold you the trip. Do this even if you may not cancel so you understand your options.

Click here to find out what you can do with your policy if your trip’s affected by the Coronavirus

  1. If you do not have any penalties, but you have Future Travel Credit(s) due to the Coronavirus:
    You may change your dates on your policy providing you didn’t take the trip and have no penalties. The insurance company will require documentation (including, but not limited to) documentation from your cancelled trip as well as your new travel itinerary.
  2. If you got a 100% refund on all your travel arrangements in cash:
    Some companies will refund the premium you paid for the policy. You will have to furnish all your documentation of what and when you paid the money along with proof of the refunds and other items.This is important: Getting a future travel credit or any ability to re-use a travel arrangement (i.e. – the airline change fee waivers) is not the same as a cash refund.

Each insurance company has different limits for how far in the future you may have new travel dates. Some have relaxed their rules recently because of the Coronavirus, so check with us if you will be rescheduling your trip. Go here to see what the companies are doing.

It’s likely you will not have a new trip booked by your original departure date. Be sure to tell us that you are not taking your trip so we can notify the insurance company. I have been adding links to company-specific forms on my detailed desciption pages at TripInsuranceStore.com if a company has a specific online form.

If you already booked a replacement trip, make sure you contact us. You are free to contact the insurance company directly, or simply call on us to help you with you travel date change.

3) You voluntarily cancel your trip because of the Coronavirus. You may be doing this as a precaution. It’s possible your travel supplier offered you a future travel credit and / or a very good deal if you switched your dates to a future trip. Some airlines are waiving the change fees when you re-book.

You have Future Travel Credit(s) and no penalties:

  • You may change your dates providing you didn’t take the trip and have no penalties. The insurance company will require documentation of your cancelled trip as well as your new travel itinerary.

If you do not have any penalty, but you got back some cash back along with Future Travel Credit(s):

  • You may change your dates providing you didn’t take the trip and have no penalties. The insurance company will require documentation of your cancelled trip as well as your new travel itinerary.

If you incur any penalties:

  • Let us know. Some plans will still let you change the dates, while others won’t.
  • If you incur any penalty, you need to know that changing the dates means that you are not able to make a claim on the trip you are cancelling. You will want to first find out if the reason you are cancelling is a covered reason or not.

I (Steve) keep adding to my Coronavirus page here:
https://tripinsurancestore.com/travel-insurance-epidemic-coverage/

Read these: I have more on the way. If you don’t subscribe to my Blog, you may Subscribe Here

What You Should Do If You Have a Trip Booked Now:
https://tripinsurancestore.com/blog/what-you-should-do-if-you-have-a-trip-booked-now/

Don’t Cancel for Your Medical Reasons If You’re Not Ill or Injured:
https://tripinsurancestore.com/blog/dont-cancel-for-medical-reasons-if-youre-not-ill-or-injured/

I hope all this made sense. If not, let me know.

If you have any questions about travel insurance, call us Toll-Free at 1-888-407-3854 or email Steve (me), The Travel Insurance Guru, here or using steve [at] tripinsurancestore dot com. If we don’t answer the phones live, we have caller ID and will get back to you as soon as possible including responding to emails.

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What You Should Do If You Have a Trip Booked Now

If you have not yet read these three pages, I suggest you do so because they contain important information that could save you from making a costly mistake:

The Coronavirus is disrupting travel partly due to the fear, worry and concern swirling around about the Coronavirus.

Go here to see what our travel insurance companies are doing if your trip is affected by the Coronavirus.

What You Should Do If You Have a Trip Booked Now and Are Worried About the Coronavirus? and What Are Your Options If You Do Not Want to Take Your Trip?

  • If you have travel insurance which includes the Cancel For Any Reason coverage, you may cancel your trip and claim under the Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage. A CFAR will reimburse you, in cash, a maximum of 75% of your prepaid and non-refundable trip costs including airfare.
  • If you have travel insurance which does not include the Cancel For Any Reason coverage, you cannot cancel your trip because of fear / worry / governmental restrictions including CDC warnings. If you voluntarily cancel your trip, you may get a future travel credit. In addition, your airline may waive its change fee, but you may not be able to use your airline ticket before it expires.
    –>Being proactive and cancelling before your supplier(s) cancel on you may seem like the wise choice, but you are potentially giving up your chance to change the dates on your policy to a new trip. I will explain this in more detail below.*
  • If you do not have travel insurance, and your Initial Trip Deposit Date was more than 21 days in the past, you cannot get a plan that includes the Cancel For Any Reason coverage. If this is the case, there are many other good reasons to get a Trip Cancellation Insurance plan.
  • If you have travel insurance, you may be thinking “I will cancel my trip because of a medical condition.” This can be your own medical condition, that of a traveling companion or of a close family member. There are some pitfalls:
    • If the reason is due to a Pre-Existing Medical Condition, does your travel insurance cover Pre-Existing Medical Conditions? If you haven’t read your policy, read it now.
    • If you are in the CDC’s high risk list, you may want to cancel.
    • Just having a medical condition or being in the CDC’s high risk list is not a covered reason to cancel your trip. This is why I wrote Don’t Cancel for Medical Reasons If You’re Not Ill or Injured on March 6, 2020.
    • To cancel for a medical condition you must be currently ill or injured and your doctor must see you in person and tell you that you cannot travel because your current illness or injury is so disabling that you cannot travel. Your claim will have to be substantiated with medical records. Insurance companies are targets of fraudulent claims.
    • TripInsuranceStore.com is seeing a rise in the number of people who are looking to cancel for a medical reason. And, their doctors are unknowingly participating in this potential fraud because they are unaware of how a Trip Cancellation Insurance plan works.

* Why being proactive and cancelling before your supplier(s) cancel on you may not be in your best interest:
Because of the Coronavirus, some travel suppliers are allowing the traveler(s) to voluntarily cancel their trip up to just a few days before their scheduled departure date. The travel supplier issues a future travel credit that is good for a period of time. The credit likely isn’t transferable. And, depending on the wording from the travel supplier the credit may not be insurable.

What happens if I wait for the travel supplier to cancel? What if they don’t cancel? Insurance isn’t going to cover me so wouldn’t a future credit be better than nothing?

If your travel insurance is not going to cover you, then you need to decide if you will take the offer now or hold out for a potentially better offer later if your travel supplier(s) does cancel your trip. I agree that a future credit is better than nothing. You might not be able to transfer the cost you paid for your travel insurance policy, though this could change in the future.

Here two problems you may encounter if you are voluntarily cancelling your trip:

  • You may be giving up your chance to change the dates on your travel insurance policy. If you want to change your travel dates, your policy’s dates must be changed prior to the first trip’s original departure date. This means you to have the new trip booked prior to the original departure. It can be in the future past your trip’s original departure date.
  • If your travel supplier cancels your trip, you will likely have more options. You may get a full refund in cash for your trip. You may also get a bonus if you book another trip with the same supplier. You may also get a very good deal on another itinerary. It makes a difference who cancels the trip. Some travel suppliers are paying the cost of have the airfare fees, though there’s a possibility of you not being able to use the ticket before it expires.

Before You Do Anything with Your Trip:

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself this question: “If the Coronavirus wasn’t happening, would I cancel my trip today?” If the answer is “No”, then don’t cancel your trip today because it’s unlikely you will be able to prove it is a covered claim.

These Tips Don’t Require You to Have Travel Insurance:

  • If you booked your cruise, tour or independent travel you need to find out if you are in a penalty period should you decide to cancel it. If you are outside of any penalties, you might consider cancelling your trip and waiting to book a new trip until everything settles down.
  • If you have already are in some or all of the penalty periods, you need to find out if any of your travel suppliers are making any itinerary changes. If you booked with a travel agent, you should contact your agent, too.

I hope all this made sense. If not, let me know.

If you have any questions about travel insurance, call us Toll-Free at 1-888-407-3854 or email Steve (me), The Travel Insurance Guru, here or using steve [at] tripinsurancestore dot com. If we don’t answer the phones live, we have caller ID and will get back to you as soon as possible including responding to emails.

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Don’t Cancel for Your Own Medical Reasons If You’re Not Ill or Injured

Just so no one misunderstands what I write about the Coronavirus, I need to say this upfront: The Coronavirus threat is real. Unfortunately, thanks to the fear and the lack of accurate information, lots of travelers are contemplating cancelling upcoming trips that they have insured.

Check out my regularly updated page about Travel Insurance and the Coronavirus including Questions & Answers

A common reason to cancel your trip is you, a close family member or a traveling companion unexpectedly gets ill or injured before you leave. If a traveler is currently ill or injured, their doctor must see them in person and say they cannot travel because the current illness or injury is so disabling that you cannot travel. Your illness or injury will have to be substantiated with medical records.

This is a common Trip Cancellation benefit description:
Sickness or Injury, which: a) occurs before departure on Your Trip, b) Medical Treatment at the time of cancellation resulting in medically imposed restrictions, as certified by a Legally Qualified Physician, and c) and prevents Your participation in the Trip.

However, what is now happening is that many people want to cancel, for the Coronavirus, that are not currently ill or injured. They might discover that they are in a high-risk group. Or a medical professional may suggest they reconsider their trip. If you want to scare yourself, take a look at these from the CDC:

Here are some recent conversations I have had. Deanna, Becky, Kim and I have a lot more stories, but I think you will get the gist of this. We are happy to answer all questions you have. And, if you think you have to cancel your trip, call us so we can make sure you do what needs to be done to have a successful claim. Or to save you from making a mistake with a claim. We will even tell you not to buy a policy if it won’t cover you.

I got this email:

My doctor has advised me not to travel on my upcoming trip to Italy followed by a Mediterranean cruise, which is covered by policy _____. This is what he wrote in the letter: “Please excuse my patient ____ from flying and traveling via ship because of her lumbar spine stenosis. She suffers from intermittent back pain radiating to the leg.” Do you think this will be sufficient to make a claim on the insurance?

I asked “Are you ill? Did you have some kind of medical emergency that will force you to have to cancel your trip?”. “No, this is a chronic problem that is acting up.”.

Here’s another email:

I am going to a destination where someone has already been diagnosed with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. My doctor is telling me that I should not go there because the risk to my health is too great. Wlll I be covered if I cancel my trip?” My doctor wrote this:
“Mr. ____ has a history of immune deficiency, coronary artery bypass graft surgery, coronary stent, diabetes and aortic valve replacement. He is currently experiencing chest pain and is undergoing a workup for his symptoms. The ____’s were supposed to travel on a cruise and I have advised them to cancel their intended cruise, as it would be unsafe for him to be far away from his doctors and a hospital. Kindly refund them any payments paid for this trip as I have advised them to cancel for medical reasons.”

I wrote back saying “If you file a claim, will your medical records back this up that your medical condition has taken a turn for the worse? I can’t say precisely if a trip cancellation claim would be paid with this letter, but in my opinion, it would not because the doctor doesn’t say exactly what the medical reasons are. If there were results from the workup showing your condition has taken a turn for the worse and requires you to cancel, then that’s a different situation from where you are today.” I emailed him the specific policy wording.

Someone told me this in a phone call:

My Dad is in hospice and his condition is worsening. I need to cancel my European river cruise that is 5 weeks from now.

I asked this: “If the Coronavirus wasn’t happening, would you cancel your trip today because of your Dad’s health?” She said “No”. I told her “It’s unlikely your claim will be paid.” I suggested she find out from her Dad’s doctors if he is close to passing. If so, that could be a covered reason to cause her to cancel.

I was told this in a phone call:

“I am in one of the high-risk groups that the CDC is saying should not travel to Japan. Will my policy cover me? My tour operator hasn’t cancelled the trip.”

I asked “Are you ill? Did you have some kind of medical emergency that will force you have to cancel your trip?”. He said “No. I’m fine, but my wife and I are in the high-risk groups and we don’t think it’s safe to go to Japan.”

As you might imagine, the conversation went downhill when I pointed out that the CDC was not telling people to cancel their trips. They were only recommending that all travelers “reconsider” or “consider postponing nonessential travel”.

A good rule of thumb is to ask yourself this question: “If the Coronavirus wasn’t happening, would I cancel my trip today?”

If the answer is “No”, then don’t cancel your trip today because it’s unlikely you will be able to prove it it is a covered claim.

I hope this made sense.

Steve, Thanks for the advice the other day about CFAR and my April flight. Each time I talk to you, you give me a nugget of information that I wouldn’t have known or considered otherwise. I appreciate how you handle your customer’s business like it was your own by making sure they are informed and they are considering the appropriate insurance for their trip. You are always watching out for the customer and not the sale. With that mindset and the variety of insights you share, I will always come to you rather than directly to one of the suppliers. I tell my friends so that they can get the same great service. Thanks again for being so upfront with a topic that can be confusing to those that aren’t in the business. Best Regards, Kirsten, Bend, OR

If you have any questions about travel insurance, call us at 1-888-407-3854 or email Steve (me), The Travel Insurance Guru, here or using steve [at] tripinsurancestore dot com. If we don’t answer the phones live, we’ll get back to you as soon as possible including responding to emails.

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Travel Insurance and the Coronavirus

I am copying TripInsuranceStore.com‘s Coronavirus page here because you may not see it on TripInsuranceStore.com

Is the Coronavirus near you? See Coronavirus’s spread in real time, click here to see CovidNearYou.org.

Disclaimer: “No products are exactly alike. Refer to each plan’s details for the specifics.” If you have not read your travel insurance contract, read it now.
You’ll only find information here about the plans we sell. Steve regularly updates this page. If you don’t see your plan, contact whoever sold it to you. Click here to find out what you can do with your policy if your trip’s affected by the Coronavirus.
If you only want a plan with medical coverage on your trip, the GeoBlue per trip and annual plans are available if you meet their eligibility requirements and you get a plan before you leave.
If you want to cancel your trip because you won’t travel for a not-covered reason (fear, gov’t restrictions), you must have a plan that includes the Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage.
Read my Blog post Don’t Cancel Your Trip for Medical Reasons If You’re Not Ill or Injured Right Now.

This page includes specific information with Q & A’s

You need to know that Trip Cancellation policies have two categories of benefits:

  1. Pre-Departure – This covers the period of time starting at 12:01 am of the day after you buy the policy to when you leave on your trip. The Trip Cancellation benefit is the only coverage you could use prior to your Departure Date. Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) is a Pre-Departure benefit.
  2. Post-Departure – This covers the the period of time starting when you leave on your trip until your policy’s return date. Trip interruption, medical, medical transportation / evacuation, trip delay and every other other non-trip cancellation benefits are the only coverages you could use as early as your Departure Date.
    This is important: A travel insurance plan does not continue in force for for an unlimited period of time if you are delayed (including being quarantined) past the date that is listed as your return date on your policy. They generally extend for 7 – 10 days. Each policy is different so read your policy.
The 2019-nCoV Coronavirus outbreak is now a known event and the coverages vary from company to company:

  • For all our Trip Cancellation plans bought after Jan 20, 2020, the only way you to get the Trip Cancellation benefit because you don’t want to go somewhere the Coronavirus is (i.e. – afraid to go), is if you buy the Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR).
  • TravelSafe plans bought after Jan 20, 2020, have no Post-Departure benefits for the Coronavirus.
  • CSA, Generali and TripAssure plans bought after Jan 20, 2020, may have Post-Departure benefits for the Coronavirus, but they are looked at on a case-by-case basis.
  • Travel Insured previously advised that there would be no coverage due to the coronavirus, except for CFAR and IFAR. However, it has come to their attention that the coronavirus may be causing individuals to be quarantined and flights to be delayed. With this in mind there may be coverage: Click here for Travel Insured’s statement.
  • On Feb 5, 2020 MedjetAssist and MedjetHorizon services are suspended in the following countries: China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau.
  • The GeoBlue per trip and annual medical plans will cover you if you meet their eligibility requirements.

Q. I bought my Trip Cancellation policy before Jan 20, 2020. I’m going somewhere that the Coronavirus is. What are my options if I don’t want to go there, but my travel supplier isn’t cancelling the trip?
A. Does your policy include the Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) benefit? If so, make sure you cancel all your travel arrangements at least 48 hours before your departure date. And, check your policy for any other requirements.

A. If you don’t have the CFAR benefit, will you get back all the money you paid for your trip with no penalties or fees? If you can prove that you did not take a financial loss on your cancelled trip, you can change your travel dates to a new trip. Each company has its own procedures, so be sure to call us for advice at 1-888-407-3854.


Q. Why is Jan 21, 2020 the Cutoff Date for most policies to cover the Coronavirus?
A. Jan 21, 2020 is the date the first person was diagnosed with the Coronavirus in the USA. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC, it was Jan 21, 2020. You may see its Jan 30, 2020 News Release here.


Q. What is your Post-Departure coverage if you bought your Trip Cancellation policy before Jan 21, 2020?

A. All our travel insurance plans bought before Jan 21, 2020 provide Post-Departure coverage for anything related to the Coronavirus. You are still subject to the policy’s wording, so don’t make any assumptions about what exactly you are covered for.


Q. What is your Post-Departure coverage if you bought your Trip Cancellation policy after Jan 20, 2020?

A. Some of our travel insurance plans bought after Jan 20, 2020 provide Post-Departure coverage for anything related to the Coronavirus. Not all do.

  • CSA, Generali, TravelSafe and TripAssure plans bought after Jan 20, 2020, have no Post-Departure benefits for the Coronavirus.
  • For Travel Insured policies bought after Jan 20, 2020, there may be coverage: Click here for Travel insured’s statement.
  • On Feb 5, 2020 MedjetAssist and MedjetHorizon services are suspended in the following countries: China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, Macau.

Q. How can the Cancel For Any Reason cover me when others have said nothing will cover me?

A. I have not heard your conversations, but if you hear that CFAR doesn’t cover you changing your mind and deciding not to travel at least 48 hours before your departure date, then they are misinformed about how CFAR works.

Here’s how our Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) plans work:

  • If you cancel your trip for a not-covered reason at least 48 hours before you leave you get 75% of your money back that you lose at the time you cancel.
  • The Cancel For Any Reason coverage lets you cancel for a not-covered reason like being afraid to go somewhere.
  • If you cancel your trip for a covered reason you get 100% of your money back that you lose at the time you cancel.

Q. Will my Trip Cancellation plan cover me due to the US State Dept Travel Advisories or the CDC’s warning(s)?

A. If you are going anywhere where you are fearful of the Coronavirus, concerned about getting the 2019-nCoV or simply want to cancel because of the US State Dept China Travel Advisories or the CDC’s warning, here’s how it works:

  • If you have a Trip Cancellation policy that includes the Cancel For Any Reason coverage, you may cancel your trip. Make sure you cancel all your travel arrangements at least 48 hours before your departure date.
  • If you do not have the Cancel For Any Reason coverage, you will not be covered. This is because fear, worry, government regulations or prohibitions are excluded. Learn more about Travel Insurance Exclusions here.

Q. Why does the Pre-Departure Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) benefit cover me?

A. The CFAR Pre-Departure benefit works for Trip Cancellation because it only covers what are not covered reasons to cancel a trip. For example, cancelling because of worry or fear of the Coronavirus is not a listed covered reason.

I know it sounds like a contradiction to say you are covered for Trip Cancellation if you have the CFAR. It’s not a contradiction because if you cancel because of worry or fear of the Coronavirus with the CFAR, you must cancel your entire trip at least 48 hours before your departure date for a reason that is normally not covered.

Remember: The CFAR only covers the Pre-Departure trip cancellation coverage if you are cancelling your trip at least 48 hours before your departure date. You are not covered for any Post-Departure benefits. Be sure your policy has the correct dates.


Q. What do I have to do to qualify for the Pre-Departure Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) benefit?

A. All of these:

  • You buy the policy by its deadline (typically within 14 – 21 days after your initial trip payment.
  • You insure 100% of your expected prepaid non-refundable trip costs that are subject to penalties (i.e. – The money paid that you would lose if you got hit by a cement truck on the day you were leaving for your trip and had to cancel at the last minute). There will be no coverage available under the Cancel For Any Reason Benefit if you insure an amount less than your total prepaid trip costs that are non-refundable on your Departure Date.
  • You are not disabled from travel at the time you pay your premium.
  • You insure the entire length of your trip.
  • You cancel your Trip at least forty-eight hours prior to Your Scheduled Departure Date shown on your policy.

Q. Will my Trip Cancellation plan cover me if my travel supplier cancels the trip or changes the itinerary?

A. If you have airfare you bought on your own, many, but not all, plans will reimburse you the

  • If your travel supplier cancels the trip, they are obligated to give you a refund. In addition, many airlines are waiving the ticket change fees, so you potentially will not lose any money.
  • It’s common that if your travel supplier cancels the trip, they will offer you a different future trip, often for no extra cost. I have seen that the trips tend to be more expensive ones, without costing you more money.
  • If you can prove that you did not take a financial loss on your cancelled trip, you can change your travel dates to a new trip. Each company has its own procedures, so be sure to call us for advice at 1-888-407-3854.

Q. Will my Trip Cancellation plan cover me if I myself, or a traveling companion is denied boarding due to a suspicion of being ill, whether or not I / they have the coronavirus?

A. No. If you or a traveling companion is ill before a trip, make sure you go to the doctor prior to your trip to find out if you are able to travel. Cancel your trip if your doctor tells you that you cannot travel. Being denied boarding due to a suspicion of being ill is not the same as having a doctor prior to your trip to find out if you are able to travel.

In addition, having the CFAR won’t help you in this situation, either. CFAR requires you to cancel your trip at least 48 hours before your departure date.


Q. What happens if someone can’t see a doctor in person due to a State lockdown, but only by a phone consultation?

A. The backup documentation will likely indicate what an insurance companies would need in order to consider the claim. Insurance companies collect this documentation as completed by a Physician. I can’t say for sure but I can only presume this would be acceptable. More than a few procedures are changing and will continue to change to reflect the reality of this severe situation.

Click here to find out what you can do with your policy if your trip’s affected by the Coronavirus.


Q. What are the Cruise Lines saying?

A. Here’s Cruise Critic’s current article about the Cruise Lines and China Sailings


Q. What happens to my airfare I bought on my own if my travel supplier cancels the trip or changes the itinerary?

A. If you have airfare you bought on your own, many, but not all, plans will reimburse you the a benefit will be paid for the reissue fee charged by the airline for the tickets. You must have covered the entire cost of Your Trip including the airfare cost.

A. If you have airfare you bought with Frequent Flyer Miles, Credit Card Rewards and Other Travel Awards, this is a complicated answer, so, click here to see all the details.


Q. What is your Post-Departure coverage if you bought your Trip Cancellation policy before Jan 21, 2020?

A. All our travel insurance plans bought before Jan 21, 2020 provide Post-Departure coverage for anything related to the Coronavirus once you leave on your trip.


Q. What if I have the Coronavirus today, but want to take a trip anyway?
A.

  1. You have the Coronavirus today, don’t book it. Travel insurance won’t cover you because you are not fit to travel today.
  2. You are planning a trip and want to buy travel insurance. You will be not be covered for Trip Cancellation for the Coronavirus unless you get a Trip Cancellation plan with Cancel For Any Reason coverage.

Q. I have an autoimmune disorder. I am going to a destination where someone has already been diagnosed with the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. My doctor is telling me that I should not go there because the risk to my health is too great. Wlll I be covered if I cancel my trip?

A. The answer depends on if your policy includes the CFAR benefit:

  • If your policy includes the CFAR benefit, you may cancel your trip at least 48 hours before your departure date and be reimbursed according to the policy’s coverage.
  • If your policy does not include the CFAR benefit, cancelling because your doctor doesn’t want you go to the destination is not covered.
  • This might come into play: If you are ill or injured right now and you saw your doctor in person and he/she told you you had to cancel, you would be covered.
  • Don’t Cancel for Your Medical Reasons If You’re Not Ill or Injured:
    https://tripinsurancestore.com/blog/dont-cancel-for-medical-reasons-if-youre-not-ill-or-injured/
  • This is important: Don’t take this advice to mean that I am telling you to deliberately get ill or injured. I am not saying that.

Q. I have medical conditions that could worsen on my trip if I was exposed to the Coronavirus. The medical conditions are all stable now, and I am fine to travel, but my doctor is willing to write a note saying I should not travel. Will I be covered if I cancel my trip? I don’t have the Cancel for Any Reason.

A. “No, you will not be covered if you cancel your trip because you are able to travel. Cancelling a trip for something that has not yet happened, but potentially could happen is not a covered reason.

Read this: Don’t Cancel for Your Medical Reasons If You’re Not Ill or Injured:
https://tripinsurancestore.com/blog/dont-cancel-for-medical-reasons-if-youre-not-ill-or-injured/


Q. An insurance company told me “We have no pandemic / epidemic exclusion in our policy”. Does this mean that cancelling or cutting my trip short because there is a pandemic / epidemic happening where I am going is covered?
A. No, that does not mean you are covered for that risk. You might be, but the only way to know is to look in the policy for the Trip Cancellation covered reasons. If cancelling for a pandemic / epidemic is not listed you are not covered.

Depending on when you bought your policy (before or after Jan 21, 2020), the benefits you may be excluded from are: medical, medical transportation / evacuation, trip delay and possibly a few others. But, it’s very important to find out what the cutoff date that company is using.


Q. I feel like the insurance companies are abandoning us and rewriting the rules after the fact.

A. There is no change in the coverages. Cancelling for fear / worry has never been covered by any trip cancellation policy. Cancelling because of government rules or regulations has also has never been covered by any policy.

I wrote this on March 19, 2020 and I suggest you read it because it contains a lot of detailed information you need to know:
https://tripinsurancestore.com/blog/do-you-have-an-upcoming-trip/


Q. Will a trip cancellation policy, that is past the Free Look Period, be refunded in cash if their supplier cancels their trip due to the Coronavirus?

A. Each company is different. In all cases, the travelers will have to receive a 100% refund of all their prepaid trip costs. The travelers will have to provide proof they received a 100% refund and not any credit. Here’s what our companies have said:

CSA, Generali, IMG iTI, Travelex, Travel Insured, TravelSafe and TripAssure all require the following:

  • The cancellation documentation proving that all payments made for the travel arrangements were refunded in full in cash.
  • There cannot be any credits or vouchers given instead of refunds in cash.
  • If the travel supplier issues a cancellation letter, include that as well.

Travel Guard
The insured traveler(s) would be eligible for a voucher for the amount of the insurance premium they paid to use on another trip as long as no penalties were involved.

The voucher is valid for two years and can be used for the purchase of any Travel Guard policy. It is also transferable.

If you want our help, we will assist you in getting your refund. Call us at 1-888-407-3854. Or email us here.


Q. If my employer enacts a global international business travel restriction, can I cancel under the terms of Cancel for Business / Work Reasons in the policy?

A. No. If a business imposes a restriction of business travel due to the coronavirus, an insured traveler is not eligible for Trip Cancellation or Interruption coverage under the terms of the Cancel for Business / Work Reason provision in a policy. The only way you will be covered is if your employer cancels your previously approved time off because you are required to work. A written statement by an unrelated company official and/or the human resources department demonstrating revocation of previously approved time off will be required.


I was around for the SARS epidemic and I was interviewed by the International Herald Tribune:

From The April 4, 2003 International Herald Tribune: Click here to read the entire article

Travelers worried about contracting SARS on the road may want to check their insurance. Steve Dasseos, who owns the online travel insurance company TripInsuranceStore.com, advises people to find out whether the illness would be covered under the medical portion of their policy, and also to familiarize themselves with exclusions, which can be numerous.

“To avoid any unpleasant surprises, people should definitely find out exactly what coverage the company they are considering will have for SARS,” Dasseos said.

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My November 2019 Q & A on Cruise Critic

I did a month long Question and Answer about Trip Insurance on CruiseCritic.com in November 2019. I am thankful for everyone who participated and asked questions.

You may find my entire Question and Answer here:
https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/2441-qa-cruise-insurance-w-steve-dasseos-of-the-tripinsurancestorecom/

The forum is still open, so if you have any questions you think would be helpful to others, please ask them.

If you cruise, or even if you are potentially interested in cruising in the future, I suggest you become a member of CruiseCritic.com if you are not already. It’s free to join and you can read, learn and lurk if participating in social forums is not your passion.

There are many good reasons to be a part of CruiseCritic.com. The three benefits I regularly hear about are:

  • The Roll Calls. CC Help Jenn said this: “Roll Calls are discussions where you can “meet up and chat with” other Cruise Critic members on the same cruise on-line before you sail! Your Roll Call topic is the place where members can get to know one another before they sail, and exchange tips and information about their particular line, ship, Ports of Call, shore excursions/tours, transportation, etc.” Learn more about Roll Calls here.
  • Finding out about excursions from other travelers. Even if you never write a post, you will get valuable information about your cruise’s itinerary on its Roll Call.
  • Meeting fellow cruisers. I have lots of customers who’ve met friends on CruiseCritic that they now often travel with. In particular, a couple who lives in Maryland met another couple on a Roll Call who happen to live within a mile of them. They got to know each other on the cruise and have become very good friends.

In case anyone is wondering, I do not receive any financial benefit from CruiseCritic nor do I give CruiseCritic any financial benefit. I enjoy helping people understand how travel insurance works.

There were lots of good questions including questions about how the pre-existing medical conditions coverage works. I write will be writing more here on pre-existing medical conditions. In the meantime, you can learn more here:
https://tripinsurancestore.com/how-travel-insurance-pre-existing-medical-conditions-coverage-works/

If you have any questions about travel insurance, call us Toll-Free at 1-888-407-3854 or email Steve (me), The Travel Insurance Guru, here or using steve [at] tripinsurancestore dot com.

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How Do I Protect Against Brexit?

I’m booking a trip to the United Kingdom for August 2020. I’m a bit worried about Brexit. I’m not sure what might happen, e.g. getting stuck in Europe while on my connection, or my flights becoming unavailable or something. I’m interested in having insurance in case of travel delays or any other coverage that would result from any disputes between the European Union and the United Kingdom

All Travel Insurance plans, in some way or another, exclude governmental actions or requirements as a normally Covered Reason for a Travel Insurance claim. This means that you are not covered under any policy provision if your trip is affected by Brexit or any other governmental action.

Having said this, you do have one way to potentially cover the value of your prepaid and non-refundable trip costs if you decide to completely cancel your trip at least 2 days before you leave. You would need to have a policy that includes the “Cancel For Any Reason” coverage.

There are some details you need to know up front about the “Cancel For Any Reason” coverage that will help you decide if it’s worth the extra cost:

  • You will be reimbursed not more than 75% of your
    per person prepaid, non-refundable trip costs at the time you cancel
  • This adds about 50% to your policy’s price
  • It’s not “Delay For Any Reason”
  • It’s not “Change Your Travel Arrangements For Any Reason”
  • You must cancel your trip at least 2 calendar days before your scheduled Departure Date

It’s up to you if it’s worth getting a policy for a potential disruption related to Brexit. I personally don’t think it’s a risk insuring against because I can’t imagine why any government will intentionally want to disrupt the flow of commerce and cause a financial problem.

I hope this made sense. If you have any questions about travel insurance, call us Toll-Free at 1-888-407-3854 or email Steve (me), The Travel Insurance Guru, here or using steve [at] tripinsurancestore dot com.

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We Average the Cruise Suite’s Cost Between Us

We are four friends taking a cruise together. We don’t think it’s fair that the first two passengers listed on the invoice have to pay more for their cruise insurance just because they randomly have a higher per person trip cost than the 3rd and 4th passengers. To get around that, we split the costs of the suite 4 ways and add our individual airfare costs. And, we always quote insurance at the equal per person trip costs. We do need the pre-existing conditions coverage.

I know this is an acceptable way to price the cruise insurance because other websites allow us to average our costs. However, I read some things on TripInsuranceStore.com that suggest otherwise. Will you clarify this?

Thanks for your detailed explanation and question. Insuring the correct per person trip cost is important for three reasons:

  1. The pre-existing medical conditions coverage requires this. Go here for a more detailed explanation.
  2. The Cancel For Any Reason coverage requires this. Go here for a more detailed explanation.
  3. You want to be sure each person gets back the actual amount they paid as shown on the invoice.

I cannot tell you why other places tell you to average the trip cost between everyone, but that’s the wrong way to assign the per person trip costs. I also explain it here:
http://tripinsurancestore.com/blog/how-to-correctly-quote-a-travel-insurance-plan

As I noted above, both the Pre-existing Medical Conditions and the Cancel For Any Reason coverage require you to insure 100% of your trip’s full prepaid non-refundable trip costs. This is the amount of money you will forfeit if you were forced to cancel your trip at the last minute before you left home.

In case you are wondering if you can self-insure part of your trip cost and insure the balance with the travel insurance, you cannot do this and also have the Pre-existing Medical Conditions coverage and / or the Cancel For Any Reason coverage. The simple reason is that the insurance company may write its policy’s provisions any way it wants to. No one is forcing you to buy their policy, so if you do not like the requirement requiring you to insure 100% of your trip’s full prepaid non-refundable trip costs, you are free to refuse to buy it.

The 3rd reason “You want to be sure each person gets back the actual amount they paid as shown on the invoice” means if you have four people with the following prepaid trip costs: Traveler #1 $2,200, Traveler #2 $2,200, Traveler #3 $800 and Traveler #4 $800, you have $6,000 total. $6,000 divided by 4 equals $1500 each. If you insured each person at $1500 each and then had to cancel your trip for a covered reason, you will not be paid $1500 each. Traveler #1 and Traveler #2 will each receive $1,500 because that is what they were insured for. Traveler #3 and Traveler #4 will each receive $800 because that is what the invoice states is their per person trip cost. This adds up to $4,600 and you all will lose $1,400 total.

I hope this made sense. If you have any questions about travel insurance, call us Toll-Free at 1-888-407-3854 or email Steve (me), The Travel Insurance Guru, here or using steve [at] tripinsurancestore dot com.

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Why Doesn’t CFAR Cover Pre-existing Conditions?

To clarify, since I am not up to speed in these things, I have have been told by other companies that the Cancel for any Reason (CFAR) doesn’t apply to pre-existing medical conditions, so is it not truly Cancel for ANY Reason?

Thanks for writing. What you were told is technically correct, but you didn’t get the whole story. In my opinion, you were not given a complete answer because they failed to explain the difference between what is a “covered” and a “non-covered” reason to have a successful travel insurance claim.

For example, if someone fulfills their policy’s pre-existing medical conditions coverage requirements, they have a covered reason to cancel or interrupt their trip. And / or, to be treated for that medical condition if worsens on while on their trip.

If they do not fulfill their policy’s pre-existing medical conditions coverage requirements, they will not have a covered reason to receive any benefits for anything related to that pre-existing medical condition.

By the way, the people that could potentially have a pre-existing medical condition that would affect your trip are you, any traveling companions or your non-traveling family members.

This advice you received is a good example of an uninformed travel insurance seller. I don’t mean to imply that they misled you. They just didn’t tell you everything.

There are lots of good reasons to get the Cancel for any Reason (CFAR) coverage, even if it’s not for a pre-existing medical condition.

If you look in a policy’s wording (“Description of Coverage”, “Terms and Conditions”) you will see a Section called “Trip Cancellation”. It will read something like Benefits will be paid, up to the Maximum Benefit Amount shown in the Confirmation of Benefits, to reimburse You for the amount of the Published Penalties and unused non-refundable Prepaid Payments You paid for Travel Arrangements when You are prevented from taking Your Trip due to: a specific list of reasons.

All the reasons listed are that plan’s “covered” reasons to have a successful travel insurance claim.

You will also see another section likely called “General Exclusions and Limitations”. Everything listed in this section are “non-covered” reasons.

In addition, there are an unlimited number of risks that are not listed in the wording at all that are also “non-covered” reasons. For example: “Just before your trip you do not feel safe going to your destination”.

I hope this made sense. If you have any questions about travel insurance, call us Toll-Free at 1-888-407-3854 or email Steve (me), The Travel Insurance Guru, here or using steve [at] tripinsurancestore.com.

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New Job Will Not Allow Me to Take My Trip

I recently got a new job and just found out I may not be able to take off for my planned trip. I booked this trip 3 months ago when I had my previous job and had the time off approved with that job. I don’t have any approved time off for this, but I might be able to get the time off approved. Are there any policies that allow me to get refunded if I have to cancel if I cannot get the time off approved? I’m leaving on my trip in 5 months, but won’t get the answer until 2 weeks before the trip because my company wants to see what the workload is by then.

Unfortunately, none of our plans will cover you right now because you don’t have any approved time off for your trip. And, you are over 2 months late to get a Cancel for Any Reason plan.

In addition, if you did get the time off approved 2 weeks before the trip, I don’t think there’s any benefit to get a policy to cover Cancel for Work Reasons because it’s unlikely your company would cancel your time off after approving it.

There are other good reasons to get you should get a Trip insurance policy:

  • Trip Cancellation Insurance coverage:
    You, a close family member or a traveling companion gets hurt or sick before you leave (your doctor must see you in person and say you can’t travel). Travel Insurance may reimburse you the money you lose. This may include pre-existing medical conditions. Other common events that could cause you to cancel your trip are: Terrorism at your destination, bad weather, hurricanes, natural disasters or unexpected jury duty.
  • Trip Interruption Insurance coverage:
    You, a close family member or a traveling companion gets hurt or sick during your trip and you have to return home early. Before the trip it’s trip cancellation. During the trip it’s trip interruption. Our plans may provide coverage for the unused value of your trip and the cost of one-way airfare up to the plan’s limit.
  • Emergency Medical & Evacuation Insurance coverage:
    You get hurt (ie – hit by a cement truck) or sick on your trip. Travel Insurance may reimburse you your medical expenses including emergency medical transportation. Did you know that Medicare doesn’t cover you outside the USA?
  • A Trip Delay forces you to have extra accommodation expenses
  • Your luggage is delayed, lost, stolen or damaged. If your checked luggage doesn’t arrive within 12 or 24 hours, you may be reimbursed for items you need to buy. Or if it’s damaged or never arrives, most policies can provide coverage.

I hope this made sense. If you have any questions about travel insurance, email Steve (me), The Travel Insurance Guru, here.

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Cruise Critic’s Jan 7, 2019 Q & A with Steve Dasseos

CruiseCritic invited me to be their Question and Answer featured guest: “Everything you’ve always wanted to know about cruise insurance will be answered by Steve Dasseos of TripInsuranceStore.com”.

Here’s the Cruise Critic Q & A I did on Jan. 7th:
https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/2441-qa-cruise-insurance-w-steve-dasseos-of-the-tripinsurancestorecom/

I have always been very thankful by the kind things people say about TripInsuranceStore.com on CruiseCritic and other online travel related forums.

The topics covered by this Q & A include pre-existing medical conditions, annual trip cancellation and annual travel medical plans, credit card travel insurance coverage, how to calculate the correct trip cost and other important items.

I had a great time answering questions and explaining the complicated details of Travel Insurance. Travel Insurance is far more complicated than it appears. When I was a life insurance agent, I told people that a Life Insurance claim was as simple as putting a mirror to your mouth and if there was no breath, the policy would pay.

Cruise Critic’s Q&A is archived on CC and available for anyone to read. You may find it here: https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/2441-qa-cruise-insurance-w-steve-dasseos-of-the-tripinsurancestorecom/

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Why Must I Insure The Full Trip Cost?

Hello Steve, I don’t think it’s right that in order to have the Pre-Existing Medical Conditions exclusion waiver and / or the Cancel For Any Reason coverage, the Travel Insurance company makes me insure all my non-refundable prepaid trip costs. If I want to self-insure any of my prepaid trip costs I should not be penalized for doing this. After all, it’s less risk to the Travel Insurance company. Doesn’t this make sense to you?

and

Can you kindly provide some more color behind why I have to insure the full cost of my trip to get the Waiver of the Pre-Existing Conditions Exclusion? It seems strange to insure the full cost of something I’d be getting a credit on if I cancelled my trip. For example, I bought a plane ticket a few years ago and had to cancel the trip. I paid the $100 fee and the airline gave me a non-transferable credit I had to use within a year. I booked something new and took the trip. I do not agree with how the travel insurance company is defining a trip cost.

We often get Trip Cost questions like these. I sympathize with the spirit and logic of the questions, but the reason companies require you to insure all your non-refundable prepaid trip costs to have the Pre-Existing Medical Conditions exclusion waiver and / or the Cancel For Any Reason coverage (and possibly other coverages) is that is their rule.

An insurance company has the right to determine how its policy works. As a consumer, you are not obligated to buy any specific insurance policy. However, if you want to insure against a specific risk with an insurance policy, you are obligated to accept all the policy wording.

Put another way, the insurance company, like any business, has a right to create a product it expects to make a profit on. No one is being forced to buy the policy being offered. It’s a free market and if the potential purchasers do not like the product terms being offered, they have the right too refuse to buy it.

If you want to learn more, read this to find out what the “Trip Cost” means: https://tripinsurancestore.com/what-is-your-trip-cost/

Here’s another tip: Don’t round your trip cost down to save money: https://tripinsurancestore.com/blog/dont-round-your-insured-trip-cost-down/

I hope this made sense. If you have any questions about travel insurance, email Steve (me), The Travel Insurance Guru, here.

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Will a Travel Date Change Void My Policy?

We changed our travel dates. Due to the delay in processing the change, the payment was not received within 14 days of booking and paying for the award flights. My concern is that the date change put us one day over the 30 day trip duration, so an additional $18 was required. My concern is that the delay in paying the $18 due to the date change may invalidate the pre-existing condition waiver, etc. Is my concern justified?

No, your concern is not justified. Date changes, including ones that result in a higher policy cost do not affect the pre-existing conditions coverage. In addition, award travel has a $0 insurable trip cost, so you didn’t add any additional non-refundable prepaid trip costs.

The only items that will affect the waiver of the pre-existing medical condition exclusion are:

  • Buying the policy within the deadline (within the first 14, 15 or 21 days after you pay your earliest trip payment for most plans or no later than 24 Hours after you make your final Trip payment for a few plans) and
  • You you must be “medically able to travel” when you buy your policy and
  • You insure at least your trip’s full prepaid non-refundable trip cost (there are a few plans that don’t require this)

Another way to look at why a date change doesn’t void the waiver of the pre-existing medical condition exclusion is that it’s somewhat common that an airline changes departure and / or arrival dates. When you have a pre-departure date change, you need to adjust the dates on your trip insurance policy so that you are fully covered. These last-minute date changes do not affect the waiver of the pre-existing medical condition exclusion.

You may learn more about Pre-existing Medical Condition exclusions here: https://tripinsurancestore.com/how-travel-insurance-pre-existing-medical-conditions-coverage-works/

I hope this made sense. If you have any questions about travel insurance, email Steve (me), The Travel Insurance Guru, here.

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May I Increase My Trip Cost Later?

When I booked my trip, and bought Travel Insurance from you, my departure date was too far away to buy airfare. It’s possible that I will use frequent flyer miles for my airfare. If I end up paying for my airfare, may I add the price of it to my policy? What about other prepaid trip costs?

My standard answer is “Yes, you may do that. Insurance companies, like the government, are always happy to take your money!” This always gets a big laugh.

Booking a trip way in advance and getting your airfare later, whether it’s with frequent flyer miles or paying for the tickets, is very common. You likely have a good idea of what your final prepaid non-refundable trip costs will be. You would insure all your known prepaid trip costs when you buy the travel insurance. However, you don’t know what the airline tickets will cost or if you are getting them for free.

When this is the case, it’s best to wait until you arrange the airfare and adjust your policy’s insured trip cost at that time, or not more than 14 days after buying the airfare. If you use frequent flyer miles to buy the tickets, you will want to increase your policy’s insured trip cost by the amount of the re-deposit fee.

You just pay the incremental price increase when you go into another price bracket. The prices are locked in at the rates and your age(s) that were in effect when you bought your policy.

Here’s more information on using frequent flyer miles: https://tripinsurancestore.com/frequent-flyer-and-free-travel-award-coverage/

What happens if I insure all my prepaid and non-refundable trip costs by the deadline to have the pre-existing conditions coverage, but later, yet still before my trip, I arrange an activity on my trip which requires a non-refundable prepayment? It wouldn’t have been part of my original travel plans, yet is prepaid and non-refundable and it pushes my prepaid trip cost above my insured limit.

This works the same as if you were buying airfare. You may easily add the cost of this new travel arrangement that wasn’t a part of your original travel plans. In this case, call us at 1-888-407-3854 not more than 14 days after you prepay it and we will increase your insured trip cost.

I hope this made sense.

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Why Can’t I Get This Letter?

When I bought your Rental Car Insurance policy I specifically asked regarding the Rental Car Damage Coverage if Ireland was covered. I was told that “yes it is”, and also in the plan documentation, I see there is NOT any exclusion for Ireland. I have my Plan Document and Confirmation of Benefits.

But for the rental car company I would like a LETTER that states the dates of my policy and that Rental Car Damage Coverage is included for Ireland. In other words that Ireland is not excluded.

I just called the insurance company and they said they would not send me such a letter, even though they confirmed that yes Ireland is not excluded, (no countries are excluded anywhere in the plan documentation).

Could you PLEASE help to secure such a letter for me?

The short answer is “No, I can’t get the letter”.

The reason is that a letter is not necessary. Your Rental Car Insurance policy specifically does not exclude Ireland. In addition, the rental car company does not require a letter.

I know that there are people who distrust insurance companies, sometimes because of their past experience and other times because of vague policy wording. However, this is not one of those times because there is nothing vague or misleading. It’s clear Ireland is not excluded.

If you have any questions about travel, rental car, international medical or flight accident insurance, send them to us. No matter how odd, complicated or trivial your requests may be, write us and we will help you. Even if you didn’t buy your insurance from us, but you feel that whoever you bought it from isn’t being clear about how your policy works.

Something else, as you may have read on my websites, in our emails and / or letters to you, we will help you if you have a claim. You need to let us know you have a claim because due to privacy laws, companies cannot voluntarily tell us who is filing a claim.

You may reach us at https://tripinsurancestore.com/travel-insurance-email-contact-form/ .

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Am I Covered if the Travel Supplier Changes the Itinerary?

I’m back after a few major high stress life changes. My son graduated from High School and moved away to college. We also sold our house, downsized (which was harder than I thought it would be) and moved to a small town 10 miles away.

We are taking a cruise in the Baltics which includes Russia. Does any policy allow us to cancel our trip before we leave if the cruise line changes the itinerary to not include St Petersburg?

No, travel insurance doesn’t cover pre-departure itinerary changes as a normally covered reason. Travel arrangements cancelled by a tour operator, airline or cruise line, are also known as “Failure of the tour operator, common carrier, person or agency to provide the bargained-for travel arrangements”. This means that if the travel supplier changes the itinerary, but still gives you a similar trip, there’s not a valid claim with a Travel Insurance plan (all plans have this exclusion).

There are a lot of other things that travel insurance doesn’t cover: see the common exclusions).

There’s one exception to the exclusions: You can get policies that let you cancel your trip for any reason. Not surprisingly, they are called Trip Cancellation for Any Reason Plans. Click on this link to get more information.

I don’t want you to think nothing is covered. Visit this page to see what trip cancellation travel insurance covers.

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Do This Right Now To Protect Yourself

If you haven’t heard, credit monitoring company Equifax was hacked a few months ago. Equifax discovered the hack July 29, but waited until Sept 7, 2017 to warn consumers. I don’t think that was ethical to wait so long, but I’m sure they had their reasons.

The hackers gained access to company data that potentially compromised sensitive information for 143 million American consumers, including Social Security numbers and driver’s license numbers.

This data is enough for crooks to hijack the identities of people whose credentials were stolen through no fault of their own, potentially wreaking havoc on their lives.

“This is about as bad as it gets,” said Pamela Dixon, executive director of the World Privacy Forum, a nonprofit research group. “If you have a credit report, chances are you may be in this breach. The chances are much better than 50 percent.”

What can you do? You can freeze your credit records which allows nobody to see them without your explicit permission. Google “Experian Security Freeze”, “Innovis Security Freeze”, “TransUnion Security Freeze” and “Equifax Security Freeze” and follow the directions.

Here are the links for your convenience:
Experian: https://www.experian.com/freeze/center.html
Equifax: https://www.freeze.equifax.com/
TransUnion: https://www.transunion.com/credit-freeze/place-credit-freeze2
Innovis: https://www.innovis.com/securityFreeze/index

Depending on the State you live in, you may have to pay a fee. I paid a total of $20 to freeze both my wife’s and my credit records.

Next, if you don’t have a current copy of your credit report, I suggest you get a copy of your credit report. It’s free to you. Go here for more information: https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0155-free-credit-reports

Once you get that, find all the credit card, line of credit or other credit instruments you have but no longer use. Close all of the ones you stopped using.

I hope everyone reading this takes my advice.

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Does Booking a Cruise with a Non-Refundable Deposit Make a Difference?

We are getting ready to book another cruise. Royal Caribbean now offers lower rates when booking a cruise with non-refundable deposit. Does trip insurance reimburse non-refundable deposits in the event we have to cancel? Non-refundable deposits also incur a fee if date of cruise is changed. Is that covered? Janet

Hi Janet,

Those fees and penalties are only covered and reimbursable to you when filing a claim if you cancel your trip for a covered reason. They are not reimbursable to you if you voluntarily chose to cancel which is a not-covered reason. And, in case you are wondering, getting a plan with Cancel For Any Reason coverage would not be worth doing.

This new rule regarding non-refundable deposits and other change fees that some cruise lines now have is causing one big and unexpected problem for anyone who books a cruise but is not 100% certain that they will take that sailing. A common practice is that a cruise is booked where someone wants the flexibility to switch to another sailing before their final payment is due.

The problem in relation to having a travel insurance plan comes when someone buys a travel insurance plan with the potential idea of changing the policy dates to apply to a new trip should they decide not to take the original trip.

The unexpected problem is that when the companies will not allow you to change your dates if you incur a financial loss.

The solution is not as simple as cancelling the plan you bought, because if you are past the free look period (which is 10 – 14 days, depending on the plan, after you buy a policy and can cancel the policy for a full refund), you cannot get a refund on the travel insurance policy because you choose not to take your trip.

I cover this in more detail on my FAQs page at https://tripinsurancestore.com/travel-insurance-frequently-asked-questions/#z

If there’s any chance that you will voluntarily choose not take the cruise, I see no benefit in the booking at the lower rate because you will forfeit the cost of the travel insurance policy due to being unable to switch its dates to a new trip.

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I Enjoy Answering Email Requests Like These

Here are three requests I recently received. I appreciate it when someone calls or emails us with any request no matter how strange it might sound. These three people wanted the correct answers and I’m happy to tell them.

I recently got a new job function and just found out I may not be able to get my time off approved for my planned trip. I booked my flight 5 weeks ago. Are there any policies that allow me to get refund on my plane tickets if I have to cancel?

I told this person: “No, none of our plans will cover you.”

The reason I can say with 100% certainty that it’s not covered is due to this specific requirement in policies that include Cancellation due to Work Reasons coverage: “Revocation of previously approved time off”.

Looking carefully at the request, you’ll see “I may not be able to get my time off approved for my planned trip.” This means that the person does not already have time off approved.

Should they find someone who says “Yes” and buys the policy in good faith, their claim will be denied and you can imagine their feelings when that happens. Hopefully, they will say “Next time I need travel insurance I will go to TripInsuranceStore.com because they gave me the right advice.

I booked a trip in May with my ex-wife, but didn’t need any trip insurance at the time. To be completely honest, I don’t want to travel with her right now, but I don’t want to tell her either. Now I need trip insurance, so what’s the best Cancel For Any Reason plan I can get today? Then I can tell her something came up and we have to cancel.

I told this guy: “I’m sorry, but there are not any plans you may get at this late date that will cover you. I suggest you read your ticket’s Contract of Carriage to find out what the change fee will be to reuse your tickets. And, man up to tell your ex-wife the truth about not wanting to travel with her.”

Two days ago we bought trip insurance thru your website and need to let you know for this trip we are going to Israel, Jordan and Egypt. I want to know how my policy covers us if the US says it’s not safe to travel to one of these countries.

It is not a covered reason to cancel or interrupt a trip with any travel insurance plan if the US Government says it’s not safe to travel to a country. In fact, the USA has had a travel warnings on Israel, Egypt and other countries for years.

Because travel warnings are not a covered reason, the only way you may protect youself, if you are still within the 14 – 21 day deadline, is to cancel your current policy under its 10 – 14 day Free Look Period. Then you would buy a new plan that includes the 75% Cancel For Any Reason coverage should you want to cancel at least 48 hours before your trip if you don’t feel safe. You still have time to do this if you don’t dawdle. Call us at 1-888-407-3854 to make sure it you understand the process.

I enjoy answering email requests like these. Whenever I receive and respond to emails like these, I feel that I am doing my part to cut down on bad insurance advice. I do secret shopper research on my competitors and I’m shocked by the mis-information and bad advice I regularly receive. My pet peeve is the answers that include “that ‘should be’ / ‘might be’ / ‘ought to be’ covered.” Maybe it’s my need due to having Asperger’s Syndrome to have a definite “yes” or “no”. But whatever it is, I hate getting those kinds of answers.

Unfortunately, bad insurance advice happens far more times than anyone seems to admit. I have no problem saying this out loud. You can even find this same sentiment on my Claims page where I say: “I (Steve) firmly believe that the majority of denied claims are because the insured travelers either received the wrong advice prior to purchase or that they were sold the wrong policy by an uninformed travel insurance seller.”

I know my competitors read and even subscribe to my Blog (did you enjoy the Cajun Cookbook I sent you?). Before you scour your phone records looking for me, I don’t call you from my own phone.

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Does Flying Standby Cover Travel Delay?

Since I am flying standby because of employment with a major airline, I need to know if you have an insurance that would cover my cruise in case we keep getting bumped from our flights? I am not worried about insuring the air portion of the trip since it is little cost, but if I’m delayed I don’t want to lose the money I paid for the cruise. I am leaving so I can arrive at port 3 days early to try to cover this problem.

I’ve called some of the other online travel insurance websites and they said I’m covered. But I stumbled across TripInsuranceStore.com and you seem down-to-earth which is why I’m emailing you.

Thanks for writing. And for your kind words.

I’m sorry you were misled because the truth is “No, travel insurance doesn’t cover delays on space available or standby tickets”.

The reason that you won’t be covered is that technically you do not have fixed travel dates. Having fixed travel dates is one of the important components of a covered trip. Other important components are: traveling at least 100 – 150 miles from home (the plans’ rules vary), physically residing in the country you claim to reside for at least 6 months prior to buying a policy and being medically able to travel when you buy the policy.

Another type of travel that is not covered for trip delays is “Space A travel”.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space-A_travel:
Space-A travel is a means by which members of United States Uniformed Services (United States Military, reservists and retirees, United States Department of Defense civilian personnel (under certain circumstances), and these groups’ family members, are permitted to travel on aircraft under the jurisdiction of the United States Department of Defense when excess capability allows.

I’m glad this man asked me. I know he had checked around, so hopefully whoever gave him the wrong advice put it in writing should he need it.

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May I Buy Travel Insurance After Final Payment?

I am booked on a Princess Cruise and am departing home on May 8, 2017. I booked on March 15, 2017 and paid in full. May I still buy insurance even though my trip is paid in full and I am past the Final Payment?

Yes, you may get any of our Trip Cancellation & Trip Interruption Travel Insurance plans before or after you pay in full. The latest date you may buy a policy is the day before you leave. No matter which day you buy it, the Trip Cancellation benefit starts at 12:01 am on the day after you buy it. All the other coverages start after you depart on your trip.

If you are waiting until the days or weeks before your trip to get your policy, then the fact that the Trip Cancellation benefit starts at 12:01 am on the day after you buy it might be important to you.

Here’s why: The official Final Payment Date and / or the date the penalties begin don’t prevent you from being able to get one of our plans.

If you do want the Trip Cancellation and Interruption coverage then you should buy it as soon as you can because you are already in penalty. You are not obligated to insure your full prepaid and non-refundable trip costs so you might want to consider rounding your trip cost down to the top of the next lowest range to save some money.

For example, yesterday, I suggested someone round their trip cost down from $4,115 to $4,000 per person. This saved them $92. Had they not rounded it down, they would have been paying $92 to insure $230 – not a good tradeoff.

On the other hand, if you do not want the Trip Cancellation and Interruption coverage then you may buy it any time until the day befor you leave. You are not obligated to insure your full prepaid and non-refundable trip costs. You are still covered for all the other benefits.

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