Why I Think Travel Insurance Is A Load Of *CENSORED*!!! (UPDATED)10:53:00 PM
Yeah, maybe not all of them, but the one that we had been using for quite a while sure is.
I used to never bothered with travel insurances, i thought they were unnecessary and a total ruse to take up your money. Turned out, i should always follow my instinct. I am not saying ALL travel insurances are unnecessary, i just think that EXTRA travel insurances is. The ones issued by the airlines (the ones that covers your life, etc) sure is pretty important, but other than that? Probably not. Why? Read my story to understand why i become such a cynic about it.
The very first time i was introduced to travel insurance was by my sister in law CL (i hope she reads this and reconsider taking them in the future) who promotes this travel insurance she always takes for her whole family. The line that grabbed our attention? "Your belongings will be covered! If you lose your laptop, Ipad, even hand phones they will reimburse you so you'll have nothing to worry about!". As people who are pretty clumsy and forgetful, that sounds like a heaven's call.
Then we went to Europe on May 2013 and one of the requirements for applying visa is having a travel insurance. We immediately remembered the one CL told us about, especially since it is one of the MOST well known insurance company (not only for travel insurance) in Indonesia (i'm not gonna name names, not yet. But it is a company from the USA) and gave us (seemingly) better policies than the one the travel agency's giving, we decided to take them up.
Now, some of the conditions that is supposed to be covered by this travel insurance we took included flight cancellation, flight delay, travel interruptions, personal luggage and personal liability. But after three times taking travel insurances from the same company (i know, stupid right), they ALWAYS seems to find loopholes in their own policies that can dodge them from having to pay up should anything happened to us! (Remember, i am writing this as MY personal experience and not to slander anyone of anything)
First up, our flight to Frankfurt was cancelled due to Lufthansa's employees' strike. While our Tour Leader scrambled and (barely) managed to get us on another flight (using Emirates), not only we were all separated from our travel companions, some of us ended up being stranded in Dubai airport at dawn for hours (the rest were stranded in Changi), we also ended up LOSING one tour subject because when we finally arrived in Amsterdam, it was HOURS after the original arrival time. To say we were disappointed was a total understatement of the year.
Since we were assured if there was any interruptions in our travels we can always claim a reimbursement to the insurance (after all, that IS the reason why we all take travel insurances, right? So we can travel in peace of being assured that we're looked after and protected?), we carried of calmly. We even went to get legal statements from Lufthansa that was needed to claim the insurance, but of course... The first flag was raised and i didn't even blink. The agent that booked us the travel insurance told us it's a NO GO because we were directed to another airline immediately and we didn't ended up using any money while we were delayed.
Well, she failed to inform us why our expenses in Dubai (that was NOT in schedule, we were supposed to fly to Frankfurt straight and won't have to spend money on anything since we'll get refreshments and food on flight) was not covered and how the lost subject of the tour was not eligible as a "Travel Interruption". Still i gave her a benefit of the doubt and followed suit, i thought "She should know better than us, she's the agent after all. Isn't it her duty to look after us and make sure that we receive the best service possible? If she said it's a no go then it's probably is." Stupidity on my side, but then again i didn't think too much about it since whether or not it was claim-able, we NEEDED the travel insurance for the visa, so it was not like it was a choice.
Then we very belatedly realized that hunny's passport were destroyed while we were in Europe, and we ended up having to pay a fortune for a replacement. Since we were only (harshly) told that it needed to be replaced on our next travel, we didn't even want to try to contact the insurance agent. That's how much we were sure we'd be rejected again.
I don't know what's gotten into us, but when we travel to Taiwan, we actually contacted the same agent to get another travel insurance! Not only that, we even recommended it to #Undecided and her hubby so we all can be protected on our travel. Thank God nothing happened on that trip, but that alone should already be a testament on how much faith we put on that insurance company (and the agent).
Next trip was our Hong Kong trip just a few weeks ago. Again we got ourselves travel insurances from the same company, even including our Baby Boy this time. Second red flag was raised when our flight from Surabaya to Hong Kong was CANCELLED (i think they totally axed the route by now) less than two weeks from departure date. We freaked out, but Tiger Air sort themselves out by getting us on another flight, one where we have to transit at Singapore for hours and require us an extra day in the hotel (because we originally should arrive in Hong Kong early morning on February the 13th, now we arrived in the evening on February the 12th).
Again, our flight was CANCELLED, our trip was INTERRUPTED and we had to spend extra millions for an extra day that was out of the plan, all AFTER we issued our travel insurance. But as soon as we called the insurance agent, again we were given a different (dodgy) explanation, that the insurance only start on the DAY of your travel, anything prior to that is your OWN problem. By that time i was SEETHING in anger already. I told hunny that this whole insurance thing is a scam and no matter what happened they will always have an answer, but the answer would always be NO. LOL.
There was nothing we can do, so i just swallowed my anger and start thinking that maybe we should stop throwing our money to the bin A.K.A getting travel insurances.
Then something STUPID happened. Hunny LOST his precious headset on an Airport Shuttle Express on the way to the airport before we flew back to Indonesia. We scrambled around, asking the officers (with great difficulties since their English is, well... limited) for lost and found, to no avail. Our flight to Singapore (we had to transit via Singapore again) was in less than an hour, we definitely did not have any time to make police report or any kind of report, don't we? And in case you're wondering, yes-his headset was pricey.
Since our belongings were SUPPOSED to be covered by the travel insurance, we weren't too flustered. After all, it was STATED really clearly in the policy and the agent also kept on reassuring us about it, surely they would not say NO again to us this time, yes? It's not like we're TRYING to lose our stuffs or get into trouble just to claim insurance (there might be crazy people like that, but rest assured we have no interest whatsoever to commit any insurance fraud), who in their right mind would???
As soon as we arrived back in Surabaya, hunny contacted the insurance agent, and guess what? The dodging dance started again. She kept on trying to make him call the airline to ask them to write a document stating that he lost his headset on his flight (what??? WHY??? We did NOT lost it there!), when hunny told her that the airline refused (well of course, why would they give our letters on something that never happened???), she told him to call Hong Kong airport and ask them to give us a letter. WHAT????? WHAT ON EARTH....??????
I was proud of my hunny for pushing through (he's usually very patient and mild mannered as you might already know) and in the end the agent relented and sent him a form that he had to fill to claim the insurance (after hours of debating and countless phone calls). By this stage we do not even care anymore about the headset, we were mostly just TESTING the insurance company. We just wanted to know if this travel company's all professional and responsible or just a total scam with countless reasons to avoid paying up for anything at all.
Then the e-mail arrived this late afternoon. They said that "They regret to inform you that your claim had been denied due to bla bla bla bla". The reasons that they gave out was one "It was lost in a place with no supervisor". WHAT???? We lost it in Airport Shuttle Express, there were plenty of supervisors, okay!!! Not only i found that to be ridiculous, but let's think about it. If you lost your belonging somewhere on your travel, would you always know where you lost it?
99% of the time when i lost anything, the thing that bugs me the most is NOT KNOWING where i lost it. If i knew where i lost it, will i lose that thing in the first place? In this case, we already narrowed down the location (it was still in his backpack when he last check it on the taxi), that's already 50% better than saying "No idea", not that it's wrong if we do, most of the time people only realized they lost something long after it actually happened, okay! Sometimes i unpack my luggage back home then realize that something is missing. It's not like we're being totally unreasonable and just try to get some money back no matter what, we also lost Baby Boy's milk bottle in that trip (and only realized the next four days or so because i was too lazy to unpack), we didn't try to claim that to the insurance, did we??? So yes, i think their reason was very dodgy!
The other reason was even stupider, they cannot approve our claim because "WE LOST IT DUE TO OUR OWN NEGLIGENCE". Isn't all lost things are due to negligence (unless it was stolen)??? Well, even if it's stolen, i'm pretty sure they'd still claim us for not being "Careful enough".
I am beyond mad at this point, hunny immediately called the agent and berated her, she told him to write a complaint letter to the company (i did, and when i showed it to #Undecided she told me she was proud because i wrote in perfect Indonesian-which we all know is not my strongest suit). I even asked them in that complaint letter, what is the use and essence of a travel insurance if anything that's happening to us is being rebuked and deemed un-claimable? If they would only respond to cancelled and being admitted to hospital, then why did we need to make a travel insurance in the first place?
Cancellation and delay will be taken care by airlines (especially if you take their insurances, which costs like 10% of what a travel insurance would cost you), and since the airlines always takes care of that (by referring you to another airline, or refunding you) then you'd NEVER be able to claim your travel insurance, would you? They always say "But the airline already refer you to another airline/give you refund/get you a place to stay for the night, you cannot double claim it." THEN WHAT IS THE POINT OF A TRAVEL INSURANCE?
Also if you get into *touch wood* an accident or fall sick, most good health insurance (which everybody should have) would definitely cover that. Since even the smallest part of the policy of the travel insurance would always be met with a NO answer (not even when you have the legal paper works like our cancellation on Lufthansa), what makes you so sure they would take care of you if that happens? Will, just like the whole airline incident, they simply say since your health insurance already cover the hospital bill etc then they will not be able to approve your claim? Most likely!
So yeah! I am done with travel insurances! I don't see how in any way it will ever be beneficial to us, given the experiences we went through! Also, it didn't only happen to us, as soon as i posted a status about this ridiculous situation, comments went in about how others also always get a NO from their travel insurances when anything happened (a friend even got stranded overseas for TWO days because their flight was delayed *i repeat, for TWO DAYS!!!*, and receive no retribution), like i said-no matter what you say, they will always find a loophole to cover their ass. So we would always have to pay, and they would never have to be responsible if anything happen.
In the end, i just want to caution you (especially if you're Indonesian, i have no idea how other countries' travel insurance companies does, maybe they are better than this crap we have here) if you're thinking of getting a travel insurance, especially if like us you get it to get your BELONGINGS covered, think again. It might not be that important (how important can it be if in the end after paying for the policy, you can't claim anything anyway?), so it's probably better to not bring valuables when you travel and arm yourself with more credit cards than cash (in case anything happened). And also, i'm not saying all insurance are bad, i also have some insurances (and if you ever read this entry by #Undecided on the important of insurance you'd know we have nothing against good insurance companies) and it is IMPORTANT, but maybe not all kind of insurance is.
We had formally sent the said insurance company a formal complaint, i also stated that i will be writing to a local newspaper (and post the company's name in this blog) if they ignore our complaint or continue to act like an ass. If you're curious (or cautious) about the company's name, you can always e-mail me. I do not want to be accused of slandering or framing anything or anyone, but i have enough proof about everything that i wrote here, so i have no fear.
Guess what? The travel insurance agreed to re-investigate the whole thing and PAID up in the end! YAY! So, it CAN work (travel insurance, i mean) it's just that you have to FIGHT for what's rightfully yours in the first place. So i find it to be very tiresome. I've checked with my health insurance agent and she confirmed that our health insurance works (for emergencies and you know *knock wood* death) world wide so we do not need extra health insurance for our travel-so from now own... I don't think we're gonna be getting any travel insurances (except if they are mandatory for visa applications) in the future, we're just going to leave anything that's slightly pricey at home!