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.