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.
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.