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bissel

Insurance premium refunded if cruise cancelled?

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You just can’t win. Watch for TG or charge you a little bit more on your next cruise because of this and that. Roll it over if you need or want to make a switch to yet another cruise and a bit more is charged. Pretty soon it becomes very expensive coverage.

I am learning way too much about travel insurance too!

 

 

 

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On 3/30/2020 at 12:52 PM, papaflamingo said:

If you read your contract you will find, likely, that a cancellation due to a Pandemic or Named Event is not covered.  So, if the cruise were to go, but you couldn't because you got coronavirus, your insurance would not cover the cancellation.

Hi Papaflamingo,

 

I'm familiar with many travel insurance plans and very few plans exclude pandemics or epidemics.

 

The policy wording is precise and complicated at the same time. Even before the Coronavirus, there was an abundance of vague / misleading information about what a Trip Cancellation Travel Insurance plan covers. i.e. – not being excluded is different from being covered.

 

For the plans I know best, if you bought a Trip Cancellation policy before Jan 21, 2020 you are completely covered if you get ill with the Coronavirus before your trip (trip cancellation) and on your trip (trip interruption, medical treatment, etc). The Cancel For Any Reason covers you no matter when you buy it.

 

If pandemics or epidemics aren’t always excluded why are people getting surprised by their policy’s coverage?

 

For the most part, people are not cancelling their trips because there are illnesses in the world. There have always been serious illnesses in different places and most people have opted not to go to those places.

 

Instead, you’re likely being forced to change your travel plans due to any one or a combination of these common Travel Insurance Exclusions:

- A government regulation, mandate or prohibition
- 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.
- Changes in plans by the Insured, a Family Member, or Traveling Companion, for any not-covered reason; unless the optional Cancel for Any Reason coverage was purchased.
- Fear, worry, concern about something that might happen on the trip. Read this if your doctor’s suggesting you don’t take your trip: Don’t Cancel for Your Own Medical Reasons If You’re Not Ill or Injured

 

Q. Does a pre-departure government mandated quarantine meet the definition of a quarantine for a covered reason when the insured traveler(s) are not sick themselves?

 

A. The Stay at Home or Shelter in Place orders are not a quarantine. Of the government orders I’ve read, they all allow you to leave your home for groceries. A quarantine wouldn’t allow you to leave a particular room. The quarantine covered reason covers when an insured is ill and is quarantined. The insured must be quarantined due to a Sickness.

 

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

 

Steve Dasseos

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On 3/30/2020 at 11:08 AM, bissel said:

Thank you, Steve. My premium is screamingly high so I’m not sure the company would voluntarily refund it ( rolled over many times plus final payment for upcoming cruise.) Always purchased within 15 days after cruise deposit for pre existing condition waiver.

Now something’s come up so probably will go that route.

Hi Bissel,

 

I suggest you find out asap. The companies that are giving refunds past their 10-15 day Free Look Period are only doing this for a limited time. One company states "This is only available for trips where your original trip departure date is between March 1, 2020 – September 30, 2020".

 

I would not be surprised if companies pull back from this because their underwriters and re-insurers must be taking massive losses from unexpected chargebacks.

 

Steve Dasseos

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Hi Steve,

The policy was purchased at the end of January so this wouldn’t qualify for the look back period, if I am understanding you correctly.

Tomorrow I will comb the policy very carefully to find the above quoted provision and if there is nothing about a refund I think I will call them and inquire. If there is no chance of a premium refund, I will probably file a claim for a medical issue that has arisen. Ugh. I don’t enjoy tussling with insurance companies.
Thank you for your thoughts. I much appreciate it.

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9 hours ago, iamtrustworthy said:

Hi Papaflamingo,

 

I'm familiar with many travel insurance plans and very few plans exclude pandemics or epidemics.

 

The policy wording is precise and complicated at the same time. Even before the Coronavirus, there was an abundance of vague / misleading information about what a Trip Cancellation Travel Insurance plan covers. i.e. – not being excluded is different from being covered.

 

For the plans I know best, if you bought a Trip Cancellation policy before Jan 21, 2020 you are completely covered if you get ill with the Coronavirus before your trip (trip cancellation) and on your trip (trip interruption, medical treatment, etc). The Cancel For Any Reason covers you no matter when you buy it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yes. I should have said "may," not "likely."  It's absolutely imperative that if someone has a policy, that they check the wording and definition.  Our policy specifically says pandemic's are exempt.  However we purchased it last Dec. but not that it's officially a pandemic, if I get sick from Coronavirus they can deny cancellation.  Fortunately, the cruiseline will allow a Future  Cruise Credit. But as you say, the coverage is specific to each policy, and if you purchase past Jan. 21,, you're out of luck. Thanks for the expanded info.  

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papaflamingo,

 

Allianz does have an exception for coronavirus as listed on their website.

 

On 3/30/2020 at 4:43 AM, boblerm said:

This is on the Allianz web site

PLAN REFUND INFORMATION

Customers may change their plan’s effective dates to cover a new or rescheduled trip.  Alternatively, for a temporary period, we are offering refunds for the cost of your travel protection plan to customers who wish to cancel their travel protection plan if the customer’s travel supplier canceled the customer’s trip due to COVID-19, so long as no payable claim has been filed under the plan.  

Mad

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10 hours ago, bissel said:

Hi Steve,

The policy was purchased at the end of January so this wouldn’t qualify for the look back period, if I am understanding you correctly.

Tomorrow I will comb the policy very carefully to find the above quoted provision and if there is nothing about a refund I think I will call them and inquire. If there is no chance of a premium refund, I will probably file a claim for a medical issue that has arisen. Ugh. I don’t enjoy tussling with insurance companies.
Thank you for your thoughts. I much appreciate it.

Hi Bissel,

 

The Lookback Period refers to how pre-existing conditions are defined.

 

Jan 21, 2020 is the date the first person was diagnosed with the Coronavirus in the USA. Some companies use a later date so you'll have to check with yours.

 

As for cancelling fo a medical condition, this is another area that is getting complicated.

 

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.

 

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.

 

I hope this makes sense.

 

Steve Dasseos

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Steve, I reread what you said about the companies probably discontinuing the refunding. However, if it is written in the contract that they will do so,  I think that is more ironclad than a notice on the website that they are refunding the premium.

I believe as well that this generosity, if not mandated, may not last.

 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, bissel said:

Steve, I reread what you said about the companies probably discontinuing the refunding. However, if it is written in the contract that they will do so,  I think that is more ironclad than a notice on the website that they are refunding the premium.

I believe as well that this generosity, if not mandated, may not last.

 

Hi Bissel,

 

All policies have a 10 - 15 day Free Look Period which is the time you can cancel after purchase and get a refund. Some companies have generously been giving refunds past the Free Look Period but these are exceptions. If they stop doing this, they are not contradicting their policy wording.

 

Steve Dasseos

Edited by iamtrustworthy
typo

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I worked in the Claims Department of a multi-State Insurance company for 10 years. I can tell you from personal experience (a subpoena to testify in a lawsuit filed against the “company” by a disgruntled insured) that many times, case law comes into effect as the result of a ruling in a lawsuit. 


The current situation that cruise lines and travel insurance companies find themselves in, is unprecedented. Most prior Covid-19 insurance policies did not address coverage or necessarily exclude coverage for cancellation by a CRUISE LINE due to a pandemic. (I guarantee ALL policies are being re-written as I write this). Almost all prior reasons for a cancellation refund were for covered reasons on the part of the INSURED or close family members (critical illness, death, loss of job, etc). In my particular policy, the only coverage afforded the insured in regards to the travel provider (ship, tour company etc) is due to insolvency on the providers part. In other words, if the cruise line were to go belly up before the departure date, I would be eligible for a refund through the travel insurance company. There is no mention of “what would happen” if the cruise line cancelled and offered the customer a 100% refund before the scheduled departure date. 
 

Again, in reference to my particular situation (policies and circumstances are quite diverse), not only did my cruise line (with included air) cancel, but my hotel and private tour purchased outside of Regent also cancelled. All three were covered by my travel insurance policy. All three have said in writing that my money will be refunded. So, in essence, there’s nothing left for the insurance company “to cover”. I bought the travel insurance (last October when I booked the cruise) in good faith for travel that was to commence in April 2020. I have asked for a full refund of the travel insurance policy payment since, due to no fault of my own, there is nothing left that the insurance policy can afford coverage for. 
 

The current “out” for the insurers is to offer a voucher that can be rolled over for future travel within a specified time limit. What if one cannot travel during the specified time limit due to other constraints? What if an insured has underlying health issues that were once considered run-of-the-mill issues but are now considered “unfit to travel” issues by their doctor? How can the insured truthfully book a future cruise and roll over a travel insurance policy for said cruise when the insurance policy language CLEARLY STATES THAT COVERAGE WILL NOT BE AFFORDED TO THOSE WHO ARE UNFIT TO TRAVEL. The new world of cruising post-Covid 19 will surely be more restrictive, until or if a vaccine is developed. Most experts predict an 18 month wait. But there is no guarantee of this timeline. 
 

All of the above is to say: if my travel insurance company denies my (and other similar) requests for refund of policy payment due to the cancellation by all venues named on my policy, I foresee a class action lawsuit. The outcome will then become the applicable law moving forward. And if a suit is settled in favor of the insured, the insurer is usually exposed to payment of punitive damages. Most insurers settle before things ever reach this stage...because the last thing they want is the expense of paying punitive damages. (In the case I mentioned at the beginning of this post, the “company” lost the case; the insured was awarded a large sum beyond the disputed amount). It sounds to me like travel insurer Allianz is ahead of the pack, just like Viking was ahead of Regent in the cancellation-dance.
 

Those of us with worthless and expensive travel insurance policies are surely in choppy seas looking for a safe harbor.

 


 

 
 

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Very interesting, gr’aunt. If I get a claim in ( not virus related) before the cruise line cancels, the insurance company could delay the claim I suppose until the cruise is cancelled, quibble and deny paying saying I could be reimbursed from the cruise line ( in 90 days and if the line doesn’t go broke).

Thank you for your insights.

 

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P.S. I agree wholeheartedly about the FCCand rollover of insurance premium, for all the reasons you state.

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2 hours ago, bissel said:

Very interesting, gr’aunt. If I get a claim in ( not virus related) before the cruise line cancels, the insurance company could delay the claim I suppose until the cruise is cancelled, quibble and deny paying saying I could be reimbursed from the cruise line ( in 90 days and if the line doesn’t go broke).

Thank you for your insights.

 

I don’t know where you live. Where I live, if you submit your claim first, it supersedes anything that comes later. 

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Have you then been denied any portion of refund of your premium?

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Great news for us. I finally got around to giving Steve Dasseos a call regarding our insurance.  He took care of everything for us.  We had two policies for an April 29 cruise on Regent that was cancelled.  We heard back within a day or two.  Both policies are being completely refunded.  We are very pleased with these companies.  They have been excellent in the past when illness struck and we needed to cancel or change plans.

 

It is so nice when things work out in challenging times.  Now we just need the much greater sum returned by Regent.

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Great fortune to have him for your agent. Not sure others will do that.

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2 hours ago, bissel said:

Have you then been denied any portion of refund of your premium?

I just did the online request yesterday. No response and I don’t expect one just yet. If they deny my request, then I’ll keep the policy in place for my cancelled cruise. That way, if heaven forbid Regent files bankruptcy, I will turn to the insurance company for my full refund instead.   

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If one has filed for refund for total cost for medical reasons and the June cruise is cancelled  by the cruise line before a decision is made, do you think the insurance company will dismiss the claim because there is “nothing more to cover”? If the decision hasn’t come down I would need to request cash refund from the cruise line so as not to lose the total payment. Would that itself pose problems?

Unlike you, we do not have hotel reservations but do have a return flight that we paid for outside Regent.
I share your concern that with a 90 day wait the refund may never be seen, so filing the insurance claim might be safer. There is so much that is unclear that I am paralyzed by what to do, which way to go about this.

Thanks for your responses. It is helpful to talk with insurance experts as this can be quicksand!

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On 4/1/2020 at 5:01 PM, gr'aunt said:

I worked in the Claims Department of a multi-State Insurance company for 10 years. I can tell you from personal experience (a subpoena to testify in a lawsuit filed against the “company” by a disgruntled insured) that many times, case law comes into effect as the result of a ruling in a lawsuit. 


The current situation that cruise lines and travel insurance companies find themselves in, is unprecedented. Most prior Covid-19 insurance policies did not address coverage or necessarily exclude coverage for cancellation by a CRUISE LINE due to a pandemic. (I guarantee ALL policies are being re-written as I write this). Almost all prior reasons for a cancellation refund were for covered reasons on the part of the INSURED or close family members (critical illness, death, loss of job, etc). In my particular policy, the only coverage afforded the insured in regards to the travel provider (ship, tour company etc) is due to insolvency on the providers part. In other words, if the cruise line were to go belly up before the departure date, I would be eligible for a refund through the travel insurance company. There is no mention of “what would happen” if the cruise line cancelled and offered the customer a 100% refund before the scheduled departure date.

Hi gr'aunt,

 

What you wrote sums up the problem very well.

 

I have nothing to do with the operations of any insurance company, nor do I work for one. Neither am I a lawyer.

 

I was surprised when I saw some companies were offering refunds because that was putting them in direct violation of their State Insurance Dept's filed policy wording that specifically says there are no refunds past the Free Look Period. I would think that the Underwriters and Reinsurance companies would privately weigh in on those procedures.

 

I have no doubt that prices are going up in the future, new exclusions will be included and it's likely the CFAR (cancel for any reason) will be pulled or greatly scaled down.

 

Steve

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23 hours ago, bissel said:

If one has filed for refund for total cost for medical reasons and the June cruise is cancelled  by the cruise line before a decision is made, do you think the insurance company will dismiss the claim because there is “nothing more to cover”? If the decision hasn’t come down I would need to request cash refund from the cruise line so as not to lose the total payment. Would that itself pose problems?

Unlike you, we do not have hotel reservations but do have a return flight that we paid for outside Regent.
I share your concern that with a 90 day wait the refund may never be seen, so filing the insurance claim might be safer. There is so much that is unclear that I am paralyzed by what to do, which way to go about this.

Thanks for your responses. It is helpful to talk with insurance experts as this can be quicksand!

Hi bissel,

 

No, they cannot dismiss the claim. It has to run its course.

 

Steve

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Hi Steve,

 

So they can’t dismiss the claim even though the cruise itself may be cancelled. That’s good.

Generally speaking, how long does it take to get the decision? Generally?

I’m thinking  Regent will cancel end of April, mid May. I would like it done by then. If they still have questions by then I intend to pursue it.

 

Thanks so much. Always helpful!

 

 

 

 

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We had trip insurance for two upcoming cruises, one on RSS Splendor from NYC 4/16, another in the fall on another line.  The latter was/is CFAR, the former not.  As soon as RSS announced the Splendor cruise cancelled, I emailed Travel Insured International (the ins carrier), and just today got notice they will refund the whole amount of the 4/16 policy, but the fall one they will only reschedule (i.e. credit for future trip).  And, of course, the fall trip (September) has not been cancelled yet - so if that happens, we may get lucky on that one.  

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