Travel is exciting, exhilarating, and often glamorous, travel insurance on the other hand, definitely feels less thrilling to discuss. Travel insurance is a component of travel that doesn’t quite get the same top billing as exploring historic monuments for the first time or the joy you feel when tasting local delicacies, but it’s just as important when planning successful travel. You hope you never have to use it, but you’ll be so relieved you have it if a problem arises.
At UNIGLOBE Travel Designers, we highly recommend that all of our clients have travel insurance when traveling both domestically and internationally to assist in the event of any interruptions, from something small like lost luggage to bigger worries like severe medical issues. We’ve been servicing our clients for more than 35 years and in that time we’ve collected some wild stories that definitely demonstrate the power of travel insurance; here are some of our consultant’s favorites:
1.“We had a corporate client who was in Spain on business and fell ill and ended up hospitalized. His company didn’t carry international medical insurance for their employees so they ended up having to pay for the entire cost of his nearly 3-week hospitalization directly. Needless to say, all employees of the company are now issued zero trip cost/medical only coverage for all international trips to avoid this happening again!”
2. “I had a client who didn’t think he needed travel insurance, but purchased it after I told him you never know what is going to happen! His wife "missed a step" the last day of their trip to Mexico and she wound up with a fractured hip. Their insurer's air flew her to Miami as they didn't want her stuck in a foreign hospital. Five days later she and her husband left Florida and were accompanied by someone from the insurance company back to Columbus. The insurance company even made arrangements for all of their belongings to get to Columbus from Mexico (as they left Mexico with only necessities). All bills were picked up by the insurance company - not one penny out of pocket!”
3.“While on a cruise the client had what seemed like an “elephant on her chest". She went to the ship doctor who thought it was angina, but when she returned home her own doctor diagnosed her with 85% of her main artery blocked. Because she had insurance, and her problem "initiated while she was on the cruise", the insurance company picked up the hospital bill and all medication for the rest of the year. She was on an HSA and saved almost $10,000.
4. “I booked a couple to Belize for their honeymoon and about an hour after they checked in to the hotel she received a call that her father had passed. With the insurance they purchased, they were both able to take a later flight home that day, and the hotel and change in airfare were covered. So it’s not just the travelers that are covered, but also immediate family too (depending on the insurance of course)!”
5.“In 2015, I had clients traveling to Spain and then onto Paris. Two days before they were scheduled to travel to Paris, what would later be termed the “Charlie Hebdo” shootings took place. Needless to say, the clients did not want to travel to Paris. We issued them new airline tickets from Madrid to Nice and got them a hotel and transfers. The travel insurance company reimbursed them for the hotel, transfers, and tours in Paris as well as all of the airline change fees. It’s unfortunate that we live in a time where we have to even contemplate those circumstances, but insurance meets the need.”
6.“I had a client travel to Australia and her luggage did not make it with her. Luckily, she purchased travel insurance and was able to purchase everything she needed for the trip. She saved the receipts and was later reimbursed by the travel insurance company.”
7.“Had a gentleman that came in to plan his honeymoon. When preparing to book I discussed purchasing insurance. He declined. I received a phone call during his honeymoon period from his wife who said that they had not been able to take their honeymoon. The night of their wedding he had a severe bout of kidney stones, had been hospitalized and was still there (3 days later) with complications. She was irate that the airlines and tour operator would not refund their money. I explained to her that I had highly recommended the purchase of trip insurance to her husband, but that he had declined. The resort was gracious enough to refund a portion of their money, of which they had no obligation to do so since they were a no-show. They were a young couple; the insurance premium was minimal compared to what they lost.”
8.“I had booked a couple going to Italy that didn’t want any travel insurance. Two days before they were supposed to leave she called asking if they could get insurance. We told her that it wouldn’t waive any pre-existing conditions, but they could purchase it. She admitted that her husband fainted at a retail store buying clothes for their trip and cracked his skull in 2 places. He wasn’t allowed to travel. They should have lost the 100%, but we worked with the vendor to get them a partial refund for future travel.”
9.“We had a wedding party going to Punta Cana. No one purchased travel insurance. The bride and groom called off the wedding and a few people decided to go rather than suffer the penalties. The ones who didn’t lost $200. This actually happens more than you think and they were lucky that it was called off early!”
So while it may not be glamorous, travel insurance can easily save your trip, your bank account, or even your life. Isn’t it time to add it into your travel routine?