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I have always been a fan of Trip Cancelation insurance and now I know why I was right

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I have always been a fan of Trip Cancelation insurance and now I know why I was right

Old May 28th, 2004, 08:51 AM
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I have always been a fan of Trip Cancelation insurance and now I know why I was right

I just got off the phone with my parents and found out some disturbing news. My younger sister has a 70% chance of having breast cancer.

There is a possibility that my trip to Italy with my folks may have to be cancelled or postponed.

We have already made deposit on the villa. I believe we are far enough out that we would be able to get the deposit back from the owner. Since I have not yet purchased the trip insurance, (I was waiting to see about the air fare), this will I hope not be a problem. If the TCI is purchased within 14 or 15 days (for some companies), it will cover pre-existing conditions of family members. I think this is the way SOME companies work anyway.

I don't want anyone to think I care more about the money than I do about my sister. I don't. It is just that I do not have extra money laying around and that $435 deposit would more than pay for my airfare to see my sister up North.

If I lost my deposit it would be difficult to go see her.

I guess my point is, YOU NEVER KNOW WHAT LIES IN STORE FOR YOU. I know people who always say, "oh that will never happen to me." Well I NEVER had a clue that someone in my family would suffer a serious illness. If you don't have THOUSANDS of dollars you can afford to loose, it is worth the $29-300 for Travel Insurance. Please, anyone that can not afford to loose thousands of dollars, buy travel insurance. (IMHO)
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Old May 28th, 2004, 09:11 AM
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PLMN

I am sorry to hear that your sister is facing this distressing and dangerous situation.

Have no fear that you will be judged as wanting in concern for your sister that you are trying to minimize any financial losses. They are two separate things.

Should you be within the cancellation policy period, there is a possibility that you will have to take a loss on the deposit. You will of course need to check with the insurer, but buying TCI at this point, even if it is within 14 or 15 days of booking the villa, will likely not help: 'pre-existing conditions' that are covered by TCI usually are usually strictly limited to conditions that were already diagnosed at the time of booking **and** were under control, including no change in medication for a certain period prior to booking. Since your sister's cancer is, regrettably, not yet under control (or even conclusively diagnosed) it would likely not be considered one of those pre-existing conditions that companies cover (but check.)

TCI is often quite expensive (up to 5 per cent of the cost of the amount insured for the whole trip) and might almost be as much as the deposit.

Therefore, should you lose the deposit, try to put in perspective of the other trips, past and future, in which you lost nothing.

Best of luck to you and your family in this difficult time.
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Old May 28th, 2004, 09:12 AM
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So sorry to hear that your sister is having health problems - let's hope the 30% odds that she does NOT have breast cancer prevail. Even - or perhaps especially - if a diagnosis is made you will need some good resources. One is www.komen.org

As for your travel insurance - I am aware of the provision that waives the pre-existing clause, but wonder if you are sure that your sister's diagnosis would be covered as a reason for cancellation. Not that I wouldn't, in the same situation, cancel my trip, but I know how tricky insurance coverage is. Before you purchase (and potentially spend more for nothing) read the "fine print" to determine if your sister would be included in coverage(often it is limited to spouse and parents) and whether her diagnosis would be an acceptable reason to cover cancellation. (Some policies are written to cover only immediately life threatening situations.)
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Old May 28th, 2004, 09:23 AM
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Actually, I cannot imagine someone giving you and yours a 70% chance re: breast cancer.
If the mammogram and PE are that worrisome, it's virtually absolute unless fat necrosis from prior surgery or significant injury (blunt trauma) is/are involved.
Typically, core needle biopsy can be done in 24 - 48 hours and results available in 1 day if you have the connections.
Hopefully, it is nothing
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Old May 28th, 2004, 09:37 AM
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Thank you ya'll for the concern.

Actually, regarding the insurance, you are correct. In this particular situation, if we did have the insurance at this time, it might night apply. I sort of knew that in the back of my mind while I was writing the post. I guess what I really should say, is there is a very real possibility that something like this can strike ANYONE. Your husband, yourself, your daughter, and just a travel companion who is not related by blood. (Some of the companies I spoke to the other day DO cover travel companions). I have spoke to many different companies and it seems they all have little variations. When my husband and I went on one of my cruises a few years ago I asked about what would happen if something happened to my daughter who was not going with us. As long as we were required to be her care givvers or she was in the hospital and it was serious, we were covered.

As for my sister's cancer possibility, from what I understand they have already done some testing and it is that testing that is indicating a 70% chance of yes it is. Now they are at some sort of image center having more tests done to confirm it. SOme results had come back and now after today's new tests they won't know for 100% until Mon or Tues.

Thank you for the support.
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Old May 28th, 2004, 10:47 AM
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I have never had cancer (experienced cancer in our daughter who, at age 21 is a nine year survivor, and in my mother who died 3 1/2 yrs after ovarian cancer diagnosis, at age 64) - - but if I were your sibling, I would not want you canceling your October trip, in May over my diagnosis of a treatable malignancy. Or maybe you are not proposing that you plan to cancel now.

I can understand that it might feel very awkward to be obsessively searching for airfare deals in light of this much more important subject. But cancel the trip altogether - - even for your parents - - I would personally not be thinking about that (right now.

Best wishes,

Rex
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Old May 28th, 2004, 01:02 PM
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Trip insurance, like extended warranties on appliances and cars and such, is a bad buy for MOST people. Note the "most." Not ALL people, just MOST people. The odds of something happening that is actually covered under the trip insurance are so unlikely that you would lose money over a lifetime of travel if you consistently purchased it. Same with extended warranties. These are huge money makers for the sellers.

Does it pay off for some people? Yes, just like some people win big on the slot machines in Las Vegas. The fact is that, once you examine carefully what trip insurance actually covers, it's not a good buy for, again, most people.
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Old May 28th, 2004, 01:12 PM
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I think PLMN is somehow planning to buy trip insurance to cover an air ticket because she now knows that her sister may be ill in the future.

I am a statistician and do consulting in the health insurance field, and work with actuaries, and I don't buy it. If you want to, fine, if it makes you feel better and for some people and circumstances. In this case, you admit you don't even think it would cover the situation. I don't know, but the odd thing is you don't even have the insurance and the main cost would be that villa rental, I suppose. You don't really need trip insurance to cover possible air fare cancellations IMO. I don't. It is true that it is like gambling, that's the way insurance works. The company is making money because they take in a lot more (lots) than they pay out for these policies. I only buy insurance to protect against very expensive/catastrophic losses, because that is my view as to what its main purpose is and where it makes sense economically. If I were doing something particularly risky, like traveling in a third-world country with very mad medical care, I probably would also, or if I didn't have any health insurance coverage abroad. Of course, that is health insurance, not trip cancellation. I probably would if I paid for expensive cruises or something, depending on its cost.

I would not buy it to cover a plane ticket.

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Old May 28th, 2004, 01:23 PM
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Good points by Christina. Early on in my traveling, I looked at trip insurance. I determined that in order to make it worthwhile compared to the premium, I would need to be forced to cancel between one of six or one of seven trips. I've done dozens and never had it come up. If it DOES eventually come up, I will still be a lot of money ahead.
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Old May 28th, 2004, 01:31 PM
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Insurance companies sell insurance because they make a profit on it. Thus, common sense indicates that the buyers do not break even, and actuarily-speaking it makes no sense to buy insurance to cover any loss you could possibly afford to sustain. Since vacations are optional luxuries, obviously loss of a vacation deposit is affordable.
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Old May 28th, 2004, 02:26 PM
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"Optional luxuries"??? No way! Vacation is a necessity, a way of living! Insurance is optional, but not a trip!
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Old May 28th, 2004, 02:38 PM
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I have to agree with the general jist of the three posts above that most "special circumstances" insurance represents an unwise purchase, based on a gamble that is usually not sound.

But this view has to be weighted by the frequency with which you travel, and the cost of the trip, relative to the time it takes to save, or earn that money.

Thus, I do not think that it is universally true that "Since vacations are optional luxuries, obviously loss of a vacation deposit is affordable."

For the person who saves 10 or 20 years to afford a "big splurge" overseas trip, it is not unheard of to spend 100% (or even more) of current annual income (and several hundred percent of the annual income from which the savings came, 20 years earlier). Replacing such a loss would hardly be considered sustainable.

Speaking only for myself, I have to say I think it is sad when people save for decades, and deny themselves the benefits of travel until it is a "once-in-a-lifetime" opportunity - - but I understand that my view might be cynically called arrogant, made possible by a higher income.

When trips are 5% or even as little as 2% of one's household annual income, then sure - - the entire cost of the trip would be a sustainable loss, and certainly any non-recoverable deposits, etc. ought to be even smaller.

This may reflect why "we" (many veterans on this forum) wince at such notions as "this will be my only chance to go to Europe". It implies that that the expenditure is a much larger fraction of available annual income - - and all the more reason that it seems painful to think of overspending by 10, 20 or 40% (as less experienced travelers are so prone to do).

All the more reason (IMO) to live life with a pattern of repetitive travel (or substitute here, anything else that enriches your life comparably), spending little more than 2-4% of household income annually - - perhaps enhanced by the % of income you do NOT spend on things that other families do (newer cars, trendier fashions, whatever you give up to travel).
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Old May 28th, 2004, 07:29 PM
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I am so sorry about your sister, PLMN. I can't even imagine what you must be going through. I would never think that you were being cheap about the insurance vs. your sister's health. It's a legitimate question and probably helpful to you to get your mind off it a little while you await more news from these other scans.

About this question, I have to say I never would have taken out trip insurance in all my previous Europe travels, but this September my husband and I are bringing my parents (mid 50's) along, paying for their airfare plus all the accommodations in apartments which is all nonrefundable. And, my parents have an HMO here in the states that I don't think covers healthcare in overseas travel. I don't expect them to need the healthcare and I don't expect us to have to cancel our trip. Then again, we thought it might be a good thing to spend a few hundred dollars to cover what's turing out to be a ridiculously expensive trip for us. Kind of like when you buy that new electronic gadget at Good Guys that has a 1 year warranty. It's always on day 367 that the laser wears out.

Our plan is from TravelEx and it explicitly covers siblings, either if they are travelling with you or are back at home. And, since your parents are travelling with you, it also covers children, so even if it didn't cover the sibling connection (for you) it ought to cover the child connectin (for your parents). So it may be worth it to you to check them out. If you buy it from them within 21 days of your first nonrefundable payment on the trip, it waives all the preex stuff. That was vs. 14 days with Travelguard.

Good luck, and I hope you get some better news on Monday.

~k
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Old May 28th, 2004, 08:08 PM
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I have always been a non believer in trip insurance and still am. However, we were traveling with two other couples who wanted it so we got a group plan that covered all of us as one
entity.

This trip was planned for Ocober right after the 9/11 disaster. Although I live in California I was in NY on that terrible day and it took me 5 days to get home. Needless to say I was not excited to travel to Europe less than 3 weeks later but as this was a combination land and cruise package, that was still going, the insurance was not going to cover the cancelation.

To add to the "soap opera" I was also a plantiff in a trial at the time and the trial that was running longer than anticipated was also going to prevent my leaving when scheduled. This situation also was not covered by this policy.

After reading all of the fine print several times, and having my attorney read it, we determined that if one of the party was "subponead " to testify at my trial then and only then would the policy be effective. The fact that it was my trial, and I could not leave did not matter. So guess what. We had someone subponead, and we then qualified for the refund completely from the cruise company and we were using mileage so we just paid the fee to put it back into our accounts.

The point of this long winded comment is that none of the things that occured were predictable. Only through a "loop hole" did this insurance work. Before buying have the company send you a copy of the policy, front and back and all the fine print and ask lots of questions.
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Old May 28th, 2004, 08:24 PM
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Speigel, what was the insurance provider for that group? I ask, because I've read on many posts here at Fodors that immediately following 9/11 most providers allowed a one time cancellation for 30 days following 9/11. Sounds like you didn't get that. Luckily you were able to get the money back with a little finessing.

The other thing that for me was ideal was for a relatively small fee my parents can have health coverage in Europe. Not that they don't have coverage here, but it would be a huge hassle for them (and financial burden) if they twisted an ankle or worse on this trip and then had to deal with all the copays and out of networks and out of pockets and reasonable and customary and all that jargony stuff that is in the fine print of their HMO policy.

~k
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Old May 28th, 2004, 08:29 PM
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Hi PLMN,

Your situation reminded me of me. Last summer on the night before I was supposed to leave on a month-long European vacation with my family, my sister dropped the bomb that she had breast cancer and it was stage 2B. She told me because she figured I wou ld be really upset if she didn't. Postponing or cancelling our vacation was the last thing she would have wanted. On the contrary, the one thing she made clear to our family was that she couldn't spend her time worrying about us worrying. So, I called home several times and spent lots of teary time on the phone long distance with my mother, but little by little I began to realize that wasn't very productive. That was last June, she started chemo in September, radiation in January, and now she is doing just fine!! So relax and believe that she'll be okay and don't make any rash decisons and listen to the plan the doctors make for her. We will all be thinking of you and wishing you the best.
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Old May 30th, 2004, 03:56 AM
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THANK YOU ALL VERY MUCH FOR THE GOOD WISHES.

So far we are in a waiting stage. My sister called back the other day and said that one of the tests on one of the lumps came back negative. She said the doctors were SHOCKED this was so. They were so convinced that she DEFINEITLY (sp?) has cancer that they give her all the paperwork for radiation therapy just in case. Now they are going to remove both lumps and have the pathologist disect them to see what is going on. We won't know til Monday or Tuesday.

It seems my sister has had the lumps for over a year and just returned from Japan to find her doctors freaking out that she has not taken care of the situation. My sister's reasons for not doing so are a bit mixed-up (among the reasons, not wanting to worry anyone), but not being in her shoes I can't judge her judgement. She and her husband have been trying for years to have a baby and have been going through invitro (sp?) fertilization. My sister was afraid that if she mentioned the cancer and did the cancer treatment it would mess up her invitro treatment. Of course her friends pointed out to her the fact that if she did get preggers and had cancer, that would be awful for a baby. My sister realizes this now and is actively working on getting this cancer mess cleared up. We have to wait and see.

My feeling from her is that she doesn't want my folks and I to cancel our trip. It is hard to say with her.

As for the insurance. They way I look at it (and this is if the policy you are considering covers all the things you want), is I compare it to buying a used car. If you can afford major repairs, or even a whole new car, without a blink...DON't BUY EXTENDED WARRANTY. But if like me, a $700 repair bill, bang at one time would cause financial worry...have the warranty.

I have MANY reasons for being pro-insurance but I don't think this is the forum for it. I respect the actuarial (sp?)people's view on it, see their points, but don't agree

I have to go now and check out policies. I love that insuremytrip.com site!
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Old May 30th, 2004, 06:47 AM
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Extended warranties on cars are really really a horrible buy for anybody. If you are concerned about a huge repair bill possibly occuring within the lifetime of an extended warranty, self-insure. Put some money aside each month in a special savings account or other safe investment.

Then if something happens, you have your nestegg to pay for it. If nothing happens, you have a nice little pile of money that you can eventually use for something else.
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Old May 30th, 2004, 06:56 AM
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Trip insurance and extended warranties are a suckers bet,when you take into considersation the restrictions it is a bad bet,for all the reasons stated above.PLMN I hope things go well for your sister.
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Old May 30th, 2004, 08:10 AM
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Before starting our adventures, I looked carefully at trip insurance. I tried to estimate what my actual losses would be if we had to cancel at the last minute. We buy cheap airfare which is non-refundable, but from what I have read you can cancel your flight, and have the money, less a processing fee, applied to another flight within a year, so I concluded that our loss would be only the processing fee. We stay in hotels or apartments, but all those I have seen have reasonable deposits, so there would be no great loss there. That would be the extent of our losses, and the insurance premium was almost that high, and of course would be a loss if we actually went on the trip. Since we have adequate medical insurance, I concluded that trip insurance was not a good investment.
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