In my previous post, I shared with you what I’d learned about trip cancellation insurance and travel health insurance, as well as my husband’s dilemma.
At this point, you might be wondering what all of this travel stuff has to do with productivity and time management. Here’s what it boils down to: If you learn from these lessons, you will prevent losing time for yourself in the future because either 1) you’ll avoid the situation or 2) you’ll know what to do if you experience this instead of spending minutes (or hours!) doing research.
“And now,” as the great Paul Harvey used to say, “the rest of the story.”
Could we still get travel health insurance or trip cancellation insurance?
My husband did not qualify for travel health insurance coverage because 1) he was trying to purchase a policy after the diagnosis and 2) because he did not purchase a policy within 2 days of booking the most expensive part of our trip, which was the flight, he wouldn’t be covered even if he found a policy that included pre-existing conditions. If he had needed emergency surgery overseas or a medical evacuation, we would be stuck paying for all of that out of pocket. So, we decided to not risk him taking the trip; we were going to cancel his portion.
We called United Airlines to find out what we could do. Our first choice was to transfer my husband’s ticket to my father. We learned that you can’t change names on international tickets, no matter which airline you’re flying.
We asked about exchanging the ticket. Since we’d purchased the lowest fare, we did not have that option – without paying a $350 change fee.
But wait! The customer service agent told us that if we could obtain a note from the doctor, we could apply for a refund of the ticket. Woo hoo! Doc wrote a note, and we applied. One week later, we got the rejection notice. Tickets with the lowest fare option do not allow for refunds. So, no refunds – even with a doctor’s note. And no free exchanges, even with medical proof. We were more than welcome to exchange the ticket within one year of the purchase date – and pay the $350 change fee.
We learned this lesson: Because the change fees that the airlines charge are much more expensive than the travel health insurance coverage or trip cancellation insurance that we could have purchased, I’ll definitely be buying travel health insurance and trip cancellation insurance any time that we don’t travel on Southwest Airlines.
For those of you wondering about the travel insurance that comes with your credit card, hold tight. That inquiry is on my to-do list!
For more info about travel insurance – and other productivity tools and travel tips – from time management keynote speaker Helene Segura, click here.