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The truth about credit card insurance protection.

Many people including us, have those fancy credit cards that come with an annual fee but include many perks such as damage or replacement protection for goods purchased with the card, car rental and travel expense coverage.

This sounds wonderfully reassuring but how great are they? I cannot comment on all cards and all coverages however, I would like to share our own personal experience in this regard.

We carry TD Canada Trust’s First Class Travel Infinite Card and the plethora of benefits includes:

“Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption Insurance

Simply use your Card to cover the full cost of your trip and you’ll automatically be covered for up to $1,000 per person to a maximum of $5,000 if you need to cancel your travel plans before you leave, and up to $5,000 per insured person, to a maximum of $25,000, for eligible out-of-pocket expenses, if your trip is interrupted by illness, injury or death of a covered person or family member.”

This blurb is why I was not too worried about the 1000 plus dollars we had already spent on airfare and hotels while dealing with our early January episode in Emergency and the Trauma unit here in BC. After all we have purchase protection. Thankfully it was one less thing to worry about, or so we thought.

We also carry TD Canada Trust’s US Dollar Visa Card and had purchased one set of flights with this card, after all it had coverage too.

“Trip Interruption Insurance

When you charge the full cost of your trip to your TD U.S. Dollar Visa Card, you’ll automatically receive Trip Interruption Insurance for the trip. If a covered cause prevents you from completing your trip, you’ll be covered for up to $5,000 of eligible trip interruption expenses per eligible person, to a maximum of $25,000 for all eligible persons on the same trip.”

We soon found out that the small print is important; at first glance, these two cards seem to have the same features. However, we learned the hard way that ‘Trip Interruption Insurance’ only comes into effect after you have started your trip! Because we had not yet left the country, we were not covered for the flight purchased on this card. This is a very important difference and yes it is good to have, but Trip Cancellation would have covered our particular case.

At least that is what we thought in our innocence. Over two months later we have still not arrived at a satisfactory conclusion. It would appear that insurance companies are good at earning their sometimes less than sparkling reputations.

I will add here that dealing with the customer service representatives at TD was a pleasure. They were compassionate, understanding and very efficient in setting up a case claim for me before handing me over to their underwriters Allianz Global Assistance.

aka   Allianze Global Frustration

aka Allianze Global Frustration

Allianz promptly sent me their claim form, including one section to be completed by the physician in charge of the case. This was a fun challenge in itself but was achieved before sending the completed forms off to Allianz.

A few days later, I followed up to check that the paperwork was received and complete. I was assured that it had been received and they were currently waiting to hear back from TD. Apparently, your credit card has to be in “good standing” i.e. paid up to date before they will review the application.

From here, the process went downhill, after three calls to check the status of the claim I was advised that a signature was missing on the somewhat cryptic form. Which leads one to ask why not tell me that the first time I called?

I duly printed off, signed and returned the form and waited once more only to be rewarded with a somewhat cryptic note concerning the claim for flights:

“THERE IS A CREDIT FOR THIS PORTION OF YOUR TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS. YOU ARE NOT ELIGIBLE FOR A REFUND WHERE A CREDIT HAS BEEN ISSUED BY THE SUPPLIER. IF THERE ARE ANY COSTS TO USE THIS CREDIT PLEASE SUBMIT THEM TO ALLIANZ GLOBAL ASSISTANCE FOR REVIEW.”

Note: submit for REVIEW not reimbursement. Yes, we do have a credit with this airline……… with limitations including expiry, country of departure and cancellation/change charges of US$200 per person. The questions now become what happens if we can’t use the credit in time or what happens if we pay the change fee and still get declined?

Our experience thus far would indicate that the insurance underwriters like to make obtaining a refund as difficult and complicated as possible. In this particular case they have chosen the wrong folks, we will not roll over and accept the loss–which I understandably think some people do, as the time and effort involved eats into their already busy lives. I too have been very close to disowning it and giving up in frustration, however our limited budget and a somewhat stubborn streak means the battle is on.

The saga continues; watch out for part two in the Bauche versus Allianz contest of wills.

 

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About the author: Born in the UK, with what must be more than a dash of Romany blood in her veins, Yvonne loved to travel even before she met Michael. Yvonne has a varied career history, which includes several laborious years as a laboratory manager, followed by a fun few years as a scuba instructor and crew in the British Virgin Islands, and then many boring years in financial services. Her discontent along with the passing of a dear friend was the prod that led to the realisation that there was a lot more do in life. It has taken almost 40 years to come full circle to realize what Yvonne’s English teacher saw all those years ago……… Yvonne’s true passion (apart from travel) is writing and now finds herself fortunate to have the time to follow her bliss and combine the two as a blogger and travel writer. Yvonne writes most of the content and talk to lots of strangers (the best way to get the real scoop on the place). Yvonne is a “rainmaker” and makes things happen!

3 comments… add one
  • SF

    Dear Yvonne,

    Thanks for sharing your experience, not sure it would serve for any purpose but I would like to share ours as it is somehow similar, or at least the same parties are involved: TD Canada Trust’s First Class Travel Infinite Card and therefore their underwriters and our common dear friends Allianz Global Assistance (Please note my sarcasm grim)

    We DID buy the whole trip package with our First Class Travel Infinite Visa and also were delighted with the plethora of benefits regarding insurance, specially the trip interruption piece.
    But what is really trip interruption?? It seems a pretty intuitive concept until you experience an “interruption” yourself and you need to further dig into the darkness of insurance agreement: small fonts, long paragraphs. Let me explain:

    The four “and 1/2” of us (my pregnant wife, my twins and myself) departed very excited to our 8 month ahead planned so expected family vacation to the Caribbean, the very next day we arrived, when returning to our room from a incredibly fun day at the pool and the beach, my son, a 16 month old baby, broke two bones of his leg, when falling from his stroller. Simple horrifying!

    Most people will understand why I need to say no more as to why our trip was ruined, screwed, damaged, interrupted anyone?. I suppose I’m too naïve to consider insurance analyst to be “most people”; as for them an interruption requires you to come back home in order to mean so. And is funny how the fact that even the Trip Interruption Claim form having a field called “Date of incident (Cancellation/Interruption)” does not mean date of incident is date of interruption. Say what?

    Long story short, our son got a full leg cast right after the non-sedated medical procedure of bone re-positioning… (if you are a parent and reading…. please don’t ever witness that).
    As much as I wanted to leave the ER right to the airport we could not as we needed to stay to make sure our son healed properly: Doctor’s expressed instructions. We were scheduled another medical appointment a few days later to make sure of the evolution of the fracture. Only after this would the doctor sign a “fit to fly” form needed by the airline to allow him boarding.

    Very very depressed… all those days we almost did not even leave the room, sadly: could not use the pool, go to the beach or enjoy any amenities… finally we had our appointment and the doctor approved my son flying. I started looking for return flights, and booked the sooner: 2 days later.

    At this point, almost all our vacation time but one day, had passed gone. A couple of days after returning home, I had put together all the claim paperwork, well put: “fun challenge in itself” . Forms filled, X-rays, medical signature, boarding passes, etc, etc…

    More than one month later I get mail informing my claim had been rejected, according to Allianz Global Assistance because “THE EXPENSES YOU ARE CLAIMING FOR ARE NOT A BENEFIT ON YOUR POLICY”. I was claiming the $ amount paid for the vacation package minus the prorated value of 2 days we enjoyed (the day we got there and the next day when the accident happened), basically I was claiming, and I next quote from the TD First Class Travel® Visa Infinite Cardholder Agreement and Benefit Coverages Guidethe page 36:
    “The portion of the Insured Person’s unused travel arrangements which were, paid in advance and the full cost was charged to Your Account and Non-refundable on the date the Covered Cause for Cancellation…” bottom line : roughly total 3K

    They argue there is no “unused travel arrangements” as if one plans to visit hospitals and doctors appointment when touristing the Caribbean.
    You don’t need to be a rocket scientist to quickly think of many reason why someone who had an incident will not be able to return home immediately by plane. Hospitalisation, viral or bacterial infections which cannot grant airline clearance, crime related incidents and therefore investigation, availability of proper medical transportation (such as air ambulance), etc, etc.

    I wonder what would have happened had they been in charge of assessing my car claim, when someone rear ended my car in a stop sign: “REJECTED: YOU DID NOT GO HOME IMMEDIATELY, INSTEAD YOU PROCEED GROCERY SHOPPING AS PLANNED” ???

    Anyway, I wish you have more luck than I had, after many phone calls I feel I’m ready to drop it, I’m tired and frustrated and beside it doesn’t do anything but reminds me of those horrible days… there will be no saga on this story 🙁

    cheers,

    sf

    • Michael Bauche

      Thank you for sharing your experience with us SF. First of all we hope your son is fully recovered and the rest of your family is doing well. We can certainly relate to your frustration. It would seem that the game plan for Allianz is to frustrate the Hell out of people in hopes that they go away. All we can say is don’t give up.

  • Michael

    It would appear that we are not the only ones who have a beef with Allianz! Check out these reviews.

    http://www.travelinsurancereview.net/companies/allianz/

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