Posted December 7th, 2017, 12:08 PM
I had the unfortunate problem of having to cancel our family reunion Panama Canal cruise due to my dad's cancer treatment at Mayo Clinic. We bought the insurance thru Princess, which I think was a huge mistake (we should have bought elsewhere probably). We bought the lower tier insurance which gave us 75% back, plus the other 25% back with a valid medical reason. I think the higher tier gives back 100% for any reason (not totally sure on this). Apparently cancer isn't a valid enough medical reason, even though complete documentation was provided by Mayo Clinic doctors. They wouldn't even consider giving the 25% as a cruise credit - so we could reschedule the cruise for 2018. It's sad when older people get stiffed out of their money.
So, I was wondering how other people have made out when using their insurance policy?
Without knowing all the details of your situation and reading your policy AND knowing whether you purchased the travel/medical insurance within any required PEQ waiver period (e.g. Deposit date, final payment - depending on insurer), it's impossible to know if you were "stiffed."
That said, a cancer "treatment" is different than a cancer "diagnosis." Without a PEQ waiver, any "look back" period of X months prior to your cruise deposit (or other PEQ waiver deadline) becomes a key consideration. If the cancer was first diagnosed during that look back period, it is now a PEQ (preexisting condition). Then, any "change" in that condition including modification of medications/treatments/etc. from the effective date of your insurance up through the end of your trip will NOT be acceptable as a reason for trip delay, interruption or cancellation. Of course, if the cancellation was due to a different reason occurring after the look back period (e.g., car accident requiring hospitalization on the way to embarkation port), that would not be a PEQ.
Further, you mention "family" trip. Read your policy and it should describe which, if any family members qualify as a companion/cabin mate, etc and if their costs are/are not insured. Not to sound insensitive but, YOU don't have cancer. So, you could have gone on the trip.
Other considerations: The MD letter is important and always should say that traveling at that specific time requires that you do not travel and then specifies why.
In 2016, we had a surprising diagnosis (after having made our final cruise payment) that required a surgery ASAP. Flying could cause an extreme (and deadly) complication and post surgical recovery would continue to well after the cruise dates. Although we had a PEQ waiver, it was not a factor since the diagnosis came after the "look back" period.
With complete documentation (we even bolstered the MD letter with a copy of the surgical report), we received a check for 100% of all of our non-refundable expenses (including airfare, cruise cost, etc). Other refundable expenses including prepaid excursions (both ship and private) and even "non-refundable" show tix in London (a very nice gesture) were quickly refunded in full after submitting copies of the same support docs. Oceania also gave us cruise credits for the missed trip (no cost to them but a smart customer loyalty item nonetheless).
BTW, both the airlines and the cruise ship company will/should refund any taxes, even if you were in the 100% penalty period.
And, if you have a travel oriented credit card, like United Airlines Explorer Visa, know that travel charges on that card are insured up to a stated limit though there may be no PEQ waiver.
Fortunately, we fared well with our medical emergency: Surgery a complete success with issue resolved and excellent prognosis/recovery. Total reimbursement topped $20k and the consolation was that it paid for our next booked cruise Sydney to L.A. in May/June 2018.
I wish your dad a complete recovery.
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