Travel Insurance – To Buy or Not to Buy

In case you are on the fence about purchasing travel insurance and wonder if it will do you any good, I thought I would share my own travel insurance claim story with you all.

My husband and I took our daughter on a Carnival Cruise for her senior trip to the Eastern Caribbean.  We decided to splurge and get a suite rather than just a balcony so we had a little more square footage in our room.  You know teenagers, their stuff takes up a lot of space!

We ended up getting decent airfare from Billings to Fort Lauderdale.  It was more expensive to Miami and it just made more sense to get a shuttle from FLL to take us to the Port of MIA and save a few hundred dollars that way and help offset the cost of the suite vs. balcony.  Anytime I book a client from Montana or Wyoming, I want to make sure they have an overnight stay before going on to the Caribbean because of the airport connections.  You never know what can happen. I booked us a hotel stay near the airport since we were getting in so late.  I purchased travel insurance through Allianz, one of our preferred suppliers through that we recommend to use.

Well, our flight out of Billings was delayed, and our flight from Denver was delayed…which made us miss our connection in Houston.  Now mind you, my husband said “I don’t like flying United”. He does quite a bit of travel with his work.  I should have listened and just bought our air through Alaska Airlines.  We have always had positive experiences with them but their fares seem are a bit more and the schedules didn’t really work for us this time.  To fly Alaska Air you get routed through Seattle from Billings.  Long story short, I purchased United and now I had a hotel room that was paid for that we couldn’t use.  I bought a non-refundable fare but at that point it wouldn’t have made a difference because we weren’t within that 24 or 48 hour period to cancel.  We were just a few hours from our check in.

We weren’t the only passengers that missed our flight.  There was a very long line of very unhappy people.  I made Josh and Kelsey wait in line at customer service while I covertly went to plug my dead phone in so I could just call the 800 customer service number and try to get re-routed.  My ploy worked and I wasn’t on hold for very long before speaking with a very lovely gal that was more than happy to help me out.  The only problem was that the 7 am flight was already booked full so she was having us fly out at 11 am to Fort Lauderdale.  I should add that we had downloaded the United app and we already knew which flights were flying out in the morning.  If we went on the 11 am flight that would put us quite late getting to the port and I sure didn’t want to have something else hold us up and miss our ship!  There was a flight to Miami at 7:15 and we were able to get booked on that one instead, which really worked out great.  We got closer to our destination for a cheaper cost!  Also, the Miami airport has a cruise check in desk and since we had booked a suite we had priority check in.  We zoomed through that line, grabbed the Carnival shuttle from the airport and made it to the port.

After we returned home, I filed the claim.  It was really pretty simple and easy to do online.  I didn’t have to call and wait on hold.  I needed documentation on our flights so I called United and found out I needed to request a letter via email.  I also needed proof of the hotel purchase.  I received an email confirmation of my claim that stated I would be hearing from them within 7-10 days.  The check was in the mail when we returned from Vegas on Friday!  That was fast service if you ask me!  I’m just glad that’s all that went wrong and we didn’t need the insurance for anything else.  I highly recommend insurance, especially for those big ticket vacations!

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