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BUYER BEWARE TRIP INSURANCE


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I hope this post can help other people that are trying to make decisions regarding annual travel policies. For a long time I have had a Allianz Annual Policy. I cruise alot and it’s always giving me a sense of security. Apparently it’s a been a false sense of security! During Easter week we were scheduled to fly to Barbados to take a few back to back cruises.   We were to arrive three days prior to leaving on the first cruise. Unfortunately everything went haywire with JetBlue airlines! First they had a mechanical issue and delayed our flight by 14 hours to JFK. We finally arrived at JFK after having missed her first connection to Barbados and were rescheduled and a flight to Barbados the following day. The next morning we woke up to the bad news that the new flight was canceled due to scheduling changes and they now could not get us to Barbados for four days… long after our

ship would have already left. There were no other alternative flights out of any airport in New York City or New Jersey to get us to our ship in time. Unfortunately we were forced to cancel our cruise. I contacted Royal and was told they will refund my taxes and port fees but it was now within 48 hours of sailing,  so there was nothing else they could do for me. They would not refund the cruise cost, which I completely understood. They also would not allow us to catch up with the ship at a later port due to Covid restrictions. Basically we were stuck at JFK… We couldn’t even get home for four days! A few days later we found a flight to Fort Lauderdale and we booked a last-minute cruise.  
All during this time, I was in touch with the insurance company and they said submit a claim.  I waited over two months for a response to my claim.  Today, I find out the insurance company determined that they will not pay us anything at all for the cost of the missed cruise because the policy doesn’t cover “schedule changes” or mechanical problems with flights.   They also inform me that under the travel delay portion of the policy they will not pay for prepaid expenses… I just think that’s ridiculous! Many expenses like hotel, tours, cruises have to be prepaid. What is the point of having a travel insurance policy if you have no protection whatsoever against these unforeseen circumstances? Needless to say I will not be renewing my annual policy and I’m now shopping for a new insurance company. I’m posting this because I’m hoping that my bad experience may help others. 

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Just now, BND said:

Had you read the policy?  Aren't there different levels of coverage you can buy?

Unfortunately, @BNDhit it on the head i believe.  My annual policy has 3 different levels, the most basic does not cover many things that the "premium level" plan does.

 

Sorry you had to deal with this.

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Posted (edited)

Travel insurance is just like commercial (US style) health insurance, they market it really well but when it comes to using it, they will do everything they can to squirm out of paying a cent.....and if they do have to pay a cent, they will make you jump through as many hoops as possible so that they can keep the money longer.  These are all businesses that exist to make profit, and only profit by not paying.

 

Vast majority of affordable flight insurance only covers weather delays/ strikes/ injury/ jury duty.  And you will have to get a letter from the airline proving these things too.

 

Very sorry to hear about your trip problems, sure it is incredibly disappointing and frustrating.

Edited by pghflyer
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What does your policy say about cover for "schedule changes or mechanical problems with flights"?

 

I'd guess you have purchased an inadequate policy for your needs sadly.

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I know it’s unpopular on these boards but this is part of the reason I don’t bother with third party travel insurance. I don’t book anything prepaid that I don’t have to (99% don’t make you, they just charge a slightly higher rate) and I have several premium travel credit cards that offer some forms of travel protections (trip delay reimbursement, baggage insurance, primary rental car insurance, etc)

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Posted (edited)
14 minutes ago, pghflyer said:

Travel insurance is just like commercial (US style) health insurance, they market it really well but when it comes to using it, they will do everything they can to squirm out of paying a cent.....and if they do have to pay a cent, they will make you jump through as many hoops as possible so that they can keep the money longer.  These are all businesses that exist to make profit, and only profit by not paying.

 

Vast majority of affordable flight insurance only covers weather delays/ strikes/ injury/ jury duty.  And you will have to get a letter from the airline proving these things too.

 

Very sorry to hear about your trip problems, sure it is incredibly disappointing and frustrating.

Pretty sure this has more to do with the op not knowing/reading what the policy actually covers.  If it's spelled out in the policy, then the co is not trying to "squirm out of paying".  They're honoring the actual policy.  It's as the headline says, "buyer beware" but as in be aware of what you're buying.

 

We had a claim against the policy we buy through Royal almost 3 years ago.  I had an accident and was injured and had surgery.  My OS said that I could not travel. Cruise insurance reimbursed us everything that Royal did not.  Our travel expenses (Amtrak) weren't on the policy, but we canceled and had used points which we got back.  Our hotel was also canceled by us at no cost.  You have to know what you are buying and why.  

Edited by BND
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Posted (edited)

Why is this on the Royal forum?

 

Of course, Buyer Beware.  There isn't any chicken in Royal Caribbean's Chicken Fried Steak!

Edited by neverbeenhere
Had to make it Royal related.
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2 hours ago, BND said:

Had you read the policy?  Aren't there different levels of coverage you can buy?

I bought the highest level

most expensive policy.  Yes I read it and it clearly states coverage for airline delays.  They are now saying only delays for very limited reasons. 

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1 hour ago, klfrodo said:

have you sought help from the New York State Department of Financial Services?

Allianz has to be approved by them for their insurance to be sold to NY residents. If you are sure you have a valid claim and Allianz is just messing with you, file a complaint.

 

File a Complaint | Department of Financial Services (ny.gov)

Thanks for your reply… I filed a complaint today🤞

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2 hours ago, pghflyer said:

Because I had to have a policy with my name on it for a European cruise, I bought Travel Insured multi-trip annual policy - it was very cheap and does cover common carrier delay. Never had to use it so would expect they would be as difficult to get money out of as they all are but FWIW:

 

https://www.travelinsured.com/multitrip/

Thanks!

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2 hours ago, pghflyer said:

Travel insurance is just like commercial (US style) health insurance, they market it really well but when it comes to using it, they will do everything they can to squirm out of paying a cent.....and if they do have to pay a cent, they will make you jump through as many hoops as possible so that they can keep the money longer.  These are all businesses that exist to make profit, and only profit by not paying.

 

Vast majority of affordable flight insurance only covers weather delays/ strikes/ injury/ jury duty.  And you will have to get a letter from the airline proving these things too.

 

Very sorry to hear about your trip problems, sure it is incredibly disappointing and frustrating.

Thank you so much.  I bought the top of the line policy which was marketed to me in an ad stated “Don’t let travel delays ruin your trip…we have you covered!”😂. I actually just read my policy from 3 years ago and now realize A LOT  has changed with this years policy. Since it was a renewal I didn’t read the

entire policy this time. 

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2 hours ago, karena1 said:

We use the annual policy on Allianz all the time, but we also do not have the basic.  So far, only have had to use it once, but no issues at all.

I have the premium policy 

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3 hours ago, not-enough-cruising said:

Unfortunately, @BNDhit it on the head i believe.  My annual policy has 3 different levels, the most basic does not cover many things that the "premium level" plan does.

 

Sorry you had to deal with this.

Yep I purchased the premium. 

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1 hour ago, sandycruzr said:

Thank you so much.  I bought the top of the line policy which was marketed to me in an ad stated “Don’t let travel delays ruin your trip…we have you covered!”😂. I actually just read my policy from 3 years ago and now realize A LOT  has changed with this years policy. Since it was a renewal I didn’t read the

entire policy this time. 

That stinks, I am sorry 

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17 hours ago, sandycruzr said:

Today, I find out the insurance company determined that they will not pay us anything at all for the cost of the missed cruise because the policy doesn’t cover “schedule changes” or mechanical problems with flights.   They also inform me that under the travel delay portion of the policy they will not pay for prepaid expenses… 

I’m sorry for your bad experience.  Unfortunately all policies have “covered reasons”, and if you can’t demonstrate your losses were due to a covered reason, insurance companies will deny the claim. But I think there may be some hope under Trip Interruption. 

 

Trip Cancelation – Mechanical breakdown is not a covered reason for trip cancellation in your policy. Many other policies do cover mechanical breakdown.  In addition, assuming you flew from Buffalo to JFK, you had already begun your trip before you had the airline problem.  So trip cancelation coverage would not apply.

 

Schedule Changes – Was this denial because you elected to take another cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale? If not, did they explain why?

 

Travel Delay – I see no exclusion of mechanical breakdown under travel delay. This coverage is for expenses while you are delayed such as hotels and meals up to $300/day. It also should cover pre-paid expenses during the delay period.  If you were delayed for several days and Allianz considered this a “schedule change”, then they should at least cover your expenses during those days.

 

Trip Interruption – This could be your best bet for an appeal or a complaint to the state insurance commissioner as I see no exclusion for mechanical breakdown under trip interruption. How long was your original scheduled trip including the multiple back-to-back Barbados cruises?  How long was your new trip with the last minute Ft. Lauderdale cruise?  If you had not taken the Ft. Lauderdale trip, you would (should) have been covered.  But, if you missed at least 50% of the length of your original trip due a travel carrier delay you should also be covered. If the new trip did not meet the 50% threshold, I would still fight.  Your original trip was ended early due to a covered reason, and any choices you made to take a different cruise, at your own expense, should not impact your coverage for the original trip. 

 

Perhaps one of the frequent posters to this forum with much more knowledge than me can offer additional insights. Good luck and please let us know when you have a final resolution as it may help others.

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1 hour ago, Jersey42 said:

I’m sorry for your bad experience.  Unfortunately all policies have “covered reasons”, and if you can’t demonstrate your losses were due to a covered reason, insurance companies will deny the claim. But I think there may be some hope under Trip Interruption. 

 

Trip Cancelation – Mechanical breakdown is not a covered reason for trip cancellation in your policy. Many other policies do cover mechanical breakdown.  In addition, assuming you flew from Buffalo to JFK, you had already begun your trip before you had the airline problem.  So trip cancelation coverage would not apply.

 

Schedule Changes – Was this denial because you elected to take another cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale? If not, did they explain why?

 

Travel Delay – I see no exclusion of mechanical breakdown under travel delay. This coverage is for expenses while you are delayed such as hotels and meals up to $300/day. It also should cover pre-paid expenses during the delay period.  If you were delayed for several days and Allianz considered this a “schedule change”, then they should at least cover your expenses during those days.

 

Trip Interruption – This could be your best bet for an appeal or a complaint to the state insurance commissioner as I see no exclusion for mechanical breakdown under trip interruption. How long was your original scheduled trip including the multiple back-to-back Barbados cruises?  How long was your new trip with the last minute Ft. Lauderdale cruise?  If you had not taken the Ft. Lauderdale trip, you would (should) have been covered.  But, if you missed at least 50% of the length of your original trip due a travel carrier delay you should also be covered. If the new trip did not meet the 50% threshold, I would still fight.  Your original trip was ended early due to a covered reason, and any choices you made to take a different cruise, at your own expense, should not impact your coverage for the original trip. 

 

Perhaps one of the frequent posters to this forum with much more knowledge than me can offer additional insights. Good luck and please let us know when you have a final resolution as it may help others.

 

1 hour ago, Jersey42 said:

I’m sorry for your bad experience.  Unfortunately all policies have “covered reasons”, and if you can’t demonstrate your losses were due to a covered reason, insurance companies will deny the claim. But I think there may be some hope under Trip Interruption. 

 

Trip Cancelation – Mechanical breakdown is not a covered reason for trip cancellation in your policy. Many other policies do cover mechanical breakdown.  In addition, assuming you flew from Buffalo to JFK, you had already begun your trip before you had the airline problem.  So trip cancelation coverage would not apply. Yes, after a 14 hour delay we did finally fly from BUF to JFK , Because of that 14 hour delay we missed our original flight from JFK to Barbados. The rescheduled flight to Barbados was then canceled due to schedule changes.

 

Schedule Changes – Was this denial because you elected to take another cruise out of Ft. Lauderdale? If not, did they explain why? No actually I didn’t even tell them I booked a last minute cruise because it wasn’t relevant. 

 

Travel Delay – I see no exclusion of mechanical breakdown under travel delay. This coverage is for expenses while you are delayed such as hotels and meals up to $300/day. It also should cover pre-paid expenses during the delay period.  If you were delayed for several days and Allianz considered this a “schedule change”, then they should at least cover your expenses during those days.

 

Trip Interruption – This could be your best bet for an appeal or a complaint to the state insurance commissioner as I see no exclusion for mechanical breakdown under trip interruption. How long was your original scheduled trip including the multiple back-to-back Barbados cruises?  How long was your new trip with the last minute Ft. Lauderdale cruise?  If you had not taken the Ft. Lauderdale trip, you would (should) have been covered.  But, if you missed at least 50% of the length of your original trip due a travel carrier delay you should also be covered. If the new trip did not meet the 50% threshold, I would still fight.  Your original trip was ended early due to a covered reason, and any choices you made to take a different cruise, at your own expense, should not impact your coverage for the original trip. 

Thank you! That is exactly what I said to them… Our trip was supposed to be 19 days and we missed 18 days so we did miss at least 50% of our trip. That is why I assumed I would be covered but they reiterated to me that prepaid expenses are not covered under trip interruption. I really appreciate hearing from you, I’ve never made an insurance claim in my life so this is all pretty surprising to me. Thank you so much

Perhaps one of the frequent posters to this forum with much more knowledge than me can offer additional insights. Good luck and please let us know when you have a final resolution as it may help others.

 

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, sandycruzr said:

Thank you! That is exactly what I said to them… Our trip was supposed to be 19 days and we missed 18 days so we did miss at least 50% of our trip. That is why I assumed I would be covered but they reiterated to me that prepaid expenses are not covered under trip interruption. I really appreciate hearing from you, I’ve never made an insurance claim in my life so this is all pretty surprising to me. Thank you so much.

I feel bad for your situation.  Unfortunately most of the advice I was giving you was based on the policy I was looking at for a Florida resident.  Based on your response, I found the New York policy which is totally different from Florida.  Unlike in Florida, Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption coverage in NY, have the same covered reasons.  The covered reasons do not cover mechanical breakdowns.  Trip delay should cover a mechanical breakdown in both the FL and NY policies. But in NY, prepaid expenses are not covered under trip delay. Trip Interruption should cover prepaid expenses in NY, but a mechanical breakdown is not a covered reason so it may not matter.

 

I know policies can vary by state and I know New York has many regulations that differ from most states.  But I never realized how different the policies could be. 

 

I am posting links and excerpts from the two policies below.  It probably won't help you, but someone else reading this post might benefit:

 

Florida Policy: https://www.allianztravelinsurance.com/api/certificates/download/all?ProductID=27433&State=FL

 

New York Policy: https://www.allianztravelinsurance.com/api/certificates/download/all?ProductID=17065&State=NY

 

Trip Cancelation due to travel carrier delay

FL: Your travel carrier cannot get you to your original itinerary’s destination for at least 24 consecutive hours from the originally scheduled arrival time due to one of the following reasons: A. A natural disaster; B. Severe weather; C. An FAA or foreign equivalent mandate; or D. A strike, except when: a. The striking workers are employed by the travel carrier, or an affiliate of the travel carrier, from which you purchased your policy; b. The strike was threatened or announced prior to the Coverage Effective Date, unless you have continuous coverage; or c. The strike was threatened or announced prior to the purchase of the trip.  - Only specific reasons for the delay are covered

 

NY: Strikes, natural disasters, severe weather or FAA mandated shutdown resulting in the complete cessation of services by the airline, the tour operator or the cruise line for at least 24 consecutive hours  - Only specific reasons for the delay are covered, but the wording is a little different

-----------------------------------------------

Trip Delay

FL: If your or a traveling companion’s trip is delayed for one of the covered reasons listed below, we will reimburse you for the following expenses, up to the maximum benefit shown on your Declarations for Travel Delay: i. Your lost prepaid trip expenses and additional expenses you incur while and where you are delayed for meals, accommodation, communication, and transportation, subject to a daily (24 hours) limit listed on your Declarations. The most we will pay per 24 hours of delay is the daily limit stated on your Declarations. ii. If the delay causes you to miss the departure of your cruise or tour, reasonable transportation expenses to either help you rejoin your cruise/tour or reach your destination. The delay must be for at least the Minimum Required Delay listed on your Declarations and due to one of the following covered reasons: 1. A travel carrier delay; - No mention of reason for the delay

 

NY: Coverage under the plan will pay on a one-time basis up to the maximum amount listed on Your Letter of Confirmation for reasonable, additional accommodation and traveling expenses due to a departure delay of six or more hours. Prepaid expenses are not covered. Expenses must be incurred by You. Payments for additional expenses will not exceed $300 per day per person for all persons insured under Your Policy as named on Your Letter of Confirmation. Covered reasons for Travel Delay are: 1. Carrier caused delay (including bad weather); - No mention of reason for the delay other than bad weather is included

-------------------------------------------------------------

Trip Interruption due to travel carrier delay

FL: You miss at least 50% of the length of your trip due to one of the following: A. A travel carrier delay (except for the financial condition of the travel carrier, with or without filing for bankruptcy); - No mention of reason for the delay except financial condition

 

NY: Strikes, natural disasters, severe weather or FAA mandated shutdown resulting in the complete cessation of services by the airline, the tour operator or the cruise line for at least 24 consecutive hours  - Only specific reasons for the delay are covered (same as trip cancellation)

Edited by Jersey42
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There is a reason why I only accept insurance recommendations from people who know what color the insurance company writes their checks on.

 

After a denial of insurance on a flight (where the company forced me to cancel the flight before I submitted a claim, just so I no longer had the option of waiting for a change in the flight schedule and reject the change, thus getting a refund that way), I carefully read the policy and realized there is no way I could collect on it.  My  heirs might be able to if I died, but they wouldn't know to file a claim.

 

I also requested copies of cruise insurance I had paid for, but the company ignored my first ten requests for a copy of the policy, and I decided if they didn't to after ten requests, they were unlikely to provide a copy on my 11th request.

 

The insurance agents / advocates here don't like me bringing that up, but they have yet to explain why I should only listen to people who know the color of the checks.  

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On 6/21/2022 at 7:10 PM, sandycruzr said:

I bought the highest level

most expensive policy.  Yes I read it and it clearly states coverage for airline delays.  They are now saying only delays for very limited reasons. 

Sandy,  I am going to think "out loud" but perhaps give you an idea.  Unfortunately you have run into a too common buzz saw where insurance companies will often go to great pains to find loop holes (even ones that exist in their imagination) to avoid paying a claim.   What happened to you simply does not make much sense in terms of trip insurance.  So what to do?

 

I think you have three options worth a shot.  #1.  Certainly, file a written appeal with Allianz with the goal of getting your claim bumped to a higher level than the normal "claims examiner" level.  Also find out the name/address of the Allianz CEO and copy that office (using trackable snail mail) with the details of your appeal.  Try to keep the appeal letter relatively short (preferably no more than a single page).

 

#2.  From your "nick info" it appears you live in New York State which actually has a decent (and proactive) Insurance Commissioner's Office.  Definitely file a complaint with your Insurance Commission.  I found this link File a Complaint | Department of Financial Services (ny.gov) but you might find a better link that leads directly to the Insurance Commissioner.

 

#3.  Make sure you document everything.  Contact Elliott Advocacy (a link to their form is at

The help form - Elliott Advocacy).  Christopher Elliott (and his able staff) have a long history of resolving travel-related issues.  If they think you have been screwed they can be a tremendous ally with a long history of getting things resolved.

 

Hank

 

 

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