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Jul 29th, 2003, 08:59 AM
  #1
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British Airways Travel Insurance Claim Denied

This is both a request for advice and a warning about purchasing Travel Insurance through British Airways.

In January, my wife and I purchased tickets on British Airways for a trip to London and Paris for April. Because of the crazy events in the world, and other personal reasons, we decided to buy Travel Insurance, which was a first for us. We bought it off a link from the British Airways website , which sold a policy from AIG.

In March, we learned that my wife was Pregnant! My wife?s doctor strongly advised her not to fly since she was feeling so tired and had very bad all-day morning sickness. As required by the policy, we immediately notified British Airways, and the Insurance Company. The airline said there was nothing they could do for us, since the tickets were non-refundable (which we knew, and which is why we bought the insurance). The insurance company sent us forms to complete by her Doctor.

About a month after submitting all the forms, our claim was denied on the grounds that they do no cover ?normal pregnancy unless hospitalized.? Even though this was a Doctor?s recommendation and he submitted the required paperwork, the insurance company considers this an exclusion to the policy. Using this logic, they can exclude almost anything they want under the various exclusion provisions in the policy.

I am trying to find out if there is anyway we can still get our money back for the tickets, and any advice would be appreciated.
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Jul 29th, 2003, 09:26 AM
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Congratulations to your wife and you on the new coming addition to your family. I hope she's doing ok now and in the future

As far as the refund, I will have to side with the insurance company. Your trip was not till April, yet, your wife was having morning sickness in March. She was not hospitalized. I'm not a medical expert, but judging from your post, she was basically having a 'normal' pregnancy. I'm not saying that she would have the best time if she traveled, but at the same time, you can't expect the insurance company approve claims everytime somebody is "not feeling well", that is not the reason for travel insurance. If that was the case, the fees for such would be extremely expensive for everybody else. Sorry, but that's the way I see it.

IMHO, You and your wife had other reasons to try to back-out, and you tried to use what you thought was a guaranteed way out. It didn't work, and now it looks like you will have to suffer financial loss.

Travel is very unpredictable. I travel a great deal every year. There have been wars, SARS, I had bad cases of flu on the day of my departure, where I just couldn't move, yet with all of the above, I realized that the world will not stop, and since I entered into a contract with others, I had a choice of using it or loosing it. Occasionally the companies will work with you if the situation warrants it, but most time than not you are expected to be there or loose the money. I and most people accept it, and for future you should too, if you want to see the world.
And if you absolutely need a gurantee to back-out of a flight for ANY reason, buy a full-fare ticket next time, and you could return it for any reason. Sure it costs tons of money, so if you do end up going, the flight will be on an expensive side, but if you decide to stay home, you will not loose anything.

Again, good luck to you and your wife and your child!

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Jul 29th, 2003, 09:46 AM
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Matt -

This is one reason I don't purchase travel insurance - I'm really suspicious of the whole concept. I've read the fine print on travel insurance policies and invariably they seem to exclude just about every possible reason for cancellation.

Having said that, I do have an insurance background and I suggest the following: Submit a written appeal to the insurance company appealing their denial. Include as much documentation as you can - provide the dates you submitted the claim to show you met their requirements of advising the airline and the insurance carrier, the documentation from the doctor, etc.

Some companies have review boards set up for this very purpose, to take a second look at claims that have been denied and sometimes they overturn their original decisions.

You may not win this one, and I personally don't have much faith in travel insurance carriers, but you'll never know unless you're persistant!

I'm sure it's too late now, but did you ask BA if you could change the tickets for a later date? Did they offer this to you as an option when you told them you would have to cancel? I realize a charge would apply, but you might not have lost the full amount that way.

Good luck.

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Jul 30th, 2003, 06:37 AM
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Most travel insurance is a waste of money. Only get it to cover health and then still expect problems here.

I have worked in over 10 countries and have been robbed several times. You can not claim for theft. You have to make up an unbelieveable story that fits the insurance companies criteria or lump it. The same with missed flights although making up an excuse that works in these cases is nigh on impossible.
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Jul 30th, 2003, 09:42 AM
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Gosh, UKUKUK - this has never happened in my case. We were robbed in Istanbul and insurance covered everything including new passports. We had to helicopter off an island in Fiji when all boat traffic was stopped and we would not make our plane that evening. Insurance covered that. We have had to cancel two trips to Egypt and insurance paid for that - total loss would have been about $l5,000 just for that. I would never dream of traveling without insurance.
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Jul 31st, 2003, 05:55 AM
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Who do you take your travel insurance with?

When I was working in Switzerland my company got me American Express Gold Worldwide insurance. But when my hotel room was burgled (in Switzerland!?) they refused to pay out. To get some money back I had to go to the police and pretend I had been mugged by a nasty black man outside Geneva train station. Then I filed a bogus claim and got some money back for my watch.

When I was skiing in Austria I got snowed in in a resort. I had my Amex travel insurance and called them as I could not get out of the resort. I wanted to find out if they would pay the costs to change plane tickets etc. They refused saying that they do not cover changes to itinerary that were caused by changes in weather. I had to pay to be helicoptered out at my own expense.

Before I went to Switzerland someone drove into my car and wrote it off. My car was insured to the value of about US$15K. The insurane gave me US$10K. My solicitor told me to file a bogus whip lash claim which I did and I got the US$5K back just about.

Insurance is a waste of money. The only time I have ever successfully claimed I had to make the claim up. WEvery time I have put a bona fide claim in it is rejected.
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Jul 31st, 2003, 06:44 AM
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UKUKUK,

You sound like a real winner, I wish I have a chance one day to meet you personally. I could only aspire to be like you one day. Will you PLEASE share your other insightful thoughts on life.

Thanks, can't wait to read more......
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Jul 31st, 2003, 07:07 AM
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AA

I don't quite get your post.

Perhaps you should learn to punctuate properly and then your (attempts at) sentences might make more sense.
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Jul 31st, 2003, 07:59 AM
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Boy, that wasn't very nice of AA. The insurance I like to carry is CSA.
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Jul 31st, 2003, 03:18 PM
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It was even less nice (actually it was deplorable) that UKUKUK lied about a black man mugging him and filing a bogus whiplash claim just to get some insurance money. Matts beef shouldn't be with BA but with AIG. AIG isn't the only insurance company in town; there are plenty of others with varying degrees of coverage.
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Jul 31st, 2003, 04:30 PM
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This is why I self insure. Travel insurance is such an overpriced product with a huge list of exclusions.
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Jul 31st, 2003, 05:19 PM
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Patty,
I have the same basic believe as you, but I will insure for one of my upcoming trips. If something were to go wrong while on an African safari, I want to have enough resources available to be put on a plane and brought home for treatment. I believe the medical plane ride alone is around $35000.
The travel insurance like any other requires careful study before signing on the dotted line. Not all insurance policies are made equal. I don't know what happened to the folks on this thread, but I've seen people buying the $9.95 special and expecting the world. Good travel insurance is expensive, that's why at my age I stay away from it, hoping that nothing major happens and also so far the places I've visited were mostly the so called modern, western world countries. This upcoming trip will be the first time I will take travel insurance. In this case it's just the location and the activity involved that made me consider doing it. I'm in the process of researching different policies now. I'm also very lucky that my business insurance agent is a very good friend of mine, so I'm using her expertise to find the one that will take care of me when something serious happens, not when I have a cold, scratch my hand, etc...etc...
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Jul 31st, 2003, 05:50 PM
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AA,
I agree with you that the potential cost of medical evacuation can be huge. Don't know if you've already thought of this but have you looked into an annual policy that covers emergency medical expenses while traveling? I believe they are available from American Express and Access America and probably lots of other insurers. It only works if you're not concerned about covering trip cancellation costs though. But the annual premium is close to the same and sometimes less than the cost of one per trip comprehensive travel policy and you're covered for a whole year.
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Aug 1st, 2003, 01:04 AM
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I had one of those Amex ones. Mine cost about US$400 but supposedly included cancelled flights, theft etc. in addition to medical cover. It also covered me in places like Sierra Leone (which put the price up as this was not covered in global!). Boy am I glad nothing bad happened there stuck with that Amex bull***t.

It cost over $500 for the year (not a few dollars like that illiterate hick AA mentioned).
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Aug 1st, 2003, 02:58 AM
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Yes it is deplorable to rip off insurance companies, particularly when you have to make up an unbelieveable story such as the one that I did which probably helps reinforce certain prejudices that some may hold.

But the simple reason is that insurance companies rip people off. My room was broken into by someone who had access to a master key. The police admitted that this had happened before in the building in which I was staying. But the insurance company refused to pay out on the grounds that there was no signs of forced entry. This is despite the fact that several witnesses described the burglar to the police, there was evidence of someone having ransacked my room and the polkice having admitted that this was certainly not the first time this had happened.

What is so incredible is that if I fell asleep on a train and someone stole my luggage I would have been covered. But because someone steals a master key from the cleaner and rips off a load of people we are not covered.

That is why insurance is so expensive - because they don't pay out in many cases which causes people to rip them off to get their money back.

To sum up - nearly all travel insurance is only suited to package hiolidays. It covers you to some extent where the operator does not. But for the independent traveller, medical insurance is the only thing worth paying for.
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Aug 1st, 2003, 06:41 AM
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Melnq, thanks for the advice, I will try to resubmit.

AA, thanks for the kind words, and my wife is doing just fine! But I disagree with your statement that we should have just bought a full-fare ticket. First, that would be cost prohibitive for us. But the real issue is that Airline tickets are one of the few purchases which are non-transferable. If I buy goods at a store and dont use it, you can return it. If I buy show tickets and dont want them, I can usually sell them to a friend or on ebay. But you stuck with airline tickets, even if BA was able to resell our seats to someone else!

And to the Guest Poster, the only reason I say BA insurance was that it was bought on the BA website. To me, that implies that they recommend AIG, or they own the the program with AIG managing it for them.

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