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BIGADORF

Cruise Cancelation insurance worthlessness?

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I am dealing right now with a cancellation of a 15 day Panama Canal Cruise a week prior to sailing. Aoninsurance company is the company that Princess is using right now for this. They have denied my claim for a refund even though my wife had to have brain surgery 2 weeks prior to the cruise. Because she was diagnosed within the 60 day period they are denying the claim. Yes we knew she had a brain tumor, but who can know when it will grow to the size where my neurosurgeon said he would not let her take the cruise without the surgery right now. They are saying the 60 day period does not begin till you make the final payment. I am arguing that the 60 day period should be the day you book the cruise. We will see what they say about my position.

Does this mean that if you have a diagnosed heart condition, that the policy is worthless if you have a heart attack before the cruise sails? Or what if you have a diagnosed bad back and your back goes out prior to the cruise?

Sounds like I am going to be out $10000.00.

I would love any feedback from anybody who has had a similar experience.

Thank you

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Posted (edited)

The sixty day lookback period starts the day the policy is purchased.  Such terms are pretty much uniform throughout the insurance industry. Unless you specify when you first deposit the cruise that you want to engage and pay for the insurance that day then no payment is applied to the insurance until the cruise is paid in full.

 

In the case of cruiseline-provided insurance (specifically Princess but again common to many) the cancellation clause is not indemnified by the insurance provider but an "additional benefit" provided by the line for those who purchase their travel coverage (the main clauses of which deal with trip delay, overseas medical expenses and needing to leave the cruise early). Aeon collects the paperwork but it is strictly Princess policy that determines whether you receive a refund of the cancellation penalty, a future cruise credit, or neither.

 

I'm sorry to have to say this so bluntly but as you knew of your wife's pre-existing condition--and I would think her physician would not risk his license by documenting otherwise for you--you should have researched before booking the various independent policies that have a zero-lookback period so long as they are paid in full within a certain number of days after booking. 

 

While you are not a frequent poster I see you have been a Cruise Critic member since 2001. And as this thread was originally started on the Princess boards (I don't know why the host 👮‍♀️ moved it here as the question is sufficiently line-specific in your case) the topic of the adequacy of the Princess Vacation Protection, and the need to purchase fully indemnified coverage with lookback waived entirely for pre-existing conditions for persons such as your wife, is a long discussed issue.

 

EDIT...and I certainly should have led this post by stating I know how disappointing all this must be to you: such a triple whammy of your wife's health, the cancellation of your vacation, and dealing with the bureaucratic aftermath must be terribly painful.

Edited by fishywood

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Thank you for your input. It is appreciated. Since my initial deposit was an amount that would have covered payment for the insurance, how would I know that it wouldn’t be used for the full payment of the insurance. I am going to call Princess on Monday. I was upgraded to platinum coverage, perhaps they will be able to do something. Since there is no way to predict the growth rate of the tumor, there was no way to know when it would grow to a size that would threaten her life. It could just as easily not grown to that “needs surgery now” for years. 

Sometimes the letter of the law is different than the meaning of the law.

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Posted (edited)

That's heartbreaking, Bigadorf. My heart goes out to you and your wife, and I hope Princess will show some compassion.

 

If they refuse to bend, maybe you can email the CEO and explain your situation. I've heard she is responsive to people. I don't know if she can or would do anything, but at that point if you have nothing more to lose, it's worth a shot.

Edited by Cyn874

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Posted (edited)
9 hours ago, BIGADORF said:

Thank you for your input. It is appreciated. Since my initial deposit was an amount that would have covered payment for the insurance, how would I know that it wouldn’t be used for the full payment of the insurance. I am going to call Princess on Monday. I was upgraded to platinum coverage, perhaps they will be able to do something. Since there is no way to predict the growth rate of the tumor, there was no way to know when it would grow to a size that would threaten her life. It could just as easily not grown to that “needs surgery now” for years. 

Sometimes the letter of the law is different than the meaning of the law.

If you were upgraded to Platinum, and they are denying a cancellation of a "Covered" reason,,,, why not go for the "Cancel For Any Reason" portion of the insurance rider that automatically comes with Princess Platinum Insurance. I believe the CFAR gives you 100% future cruise credit.

https://www.princess.com/downloads/pdf/faq_answer_legal/Princess_Vacation_Protection.pdf

 

Page 4

 

Special cruise vacation protection cancellation enhancement Vacation Protection “Any Reason” Cruise Credits...................Up to 75% of the non-refundable prepaid cruise vacation cost 
Platinum Vacation Protection “Any Reason” Cruise Credits...................Up to 100% of the non-refundable prepaid cruise vacation cost 
Provided by Princess Cruises and/or Princess Tours*
In the event that you choose to cancel for a reason not authorized above or for a reason that is otherwise restricted, at any time up until departure, and you have purchased Cruise Vacation Protection, Princess Cruises and/or Princess Tours will provide you a cruise credit equal to 75% (100% if Platinum Vacation Protection was purchased) of the non-refundable value of your cruise vacation prepaid to Princess Cruises and/or Princess Tours, for your use toward a future cruise. This additional enhancement is offered exclusively by Princess Cruises and/or Princess Tours as a special service to guests that purchase this passage contract Cancellation Fee Waiver Addendum. Certain restrictions on the use of these cruise credits (such as blackout periods) may apply. To be eligible for credits, notification of cancellation must be given to Princess Cruises and/or Princess Tours prior to the ship’s departure. Once you’ve cancelled with Princess Cruises and/or Princess Tours, please contact the Program Administrator at 1-877-846-8833 regarding cruise credits. 

 

Edited by klfrodo

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Although it is too late in this instance, it is worth noting that when you book a trip and make a deposit of any amount for that trip, that you then purchase travel insurance. Whether you decide to purchase travel insurance through an independent company, or through the cruise line, you want to purchase this insurance in less than 10 days from making the initial deposit. 

In the case of cruises, having a cruise line add insurance as a line item to your reservation does not constitute purchasing insurance. You must say that you would like to pay the deposit for the trip, as well as pay for the insurance. 

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31 minutes ago, terry&mike said:

Although it is too late in this instance, it is worth noting that when you book a trip and make a deposit of any amount for that trip, that you then purchase travel insurance. Whether you decide to purchase travel insurance through an independent company, or through the cruise line, you want to purchase this insurance in less than 10 days from making the initial deposit. 

In the case of cruises, having a cruise line add insurance as a line item to your reservation does not constitute purchasing insurance. You must say that you would like to pay the deposit for the trip, as well as pay for the insurance. 

 

The "less than ten days" does not apply to all third-party insurance.

 

As with ALL of the terms of insurance, it is critical that one reads all about whatever policy one eventually purchases. 

Reading in detail about other policies is also helpful, in deciding which to purchase.

 

The policies we buy require starting the insurance coverage within 20 days of the initial payment/deposit so that pre-existing conditions aren't excluded. 

Note that one must be "fit to travel" on that day.  IF there is some specific "condition" that might get worse, such as in OP's case, we'd recommend getting a physician's letter in a very timely fashion documenting that the person IS "fit to travel" as of the date of the letter/etc., so that IF something gets worse, it is clear that it would be covered.

 

There is also at least one company that sells travel insurance policies that do not exclude pre-existing conditions if the policy is started within 24 hours of the final payment (defined narrowly).  That coverage isn't quite as good as what we get, and CFAR is much more expensive at that point (no surprise!), but at least one can still get the coverage (if fit to travel, etc.).

 

BIDADORF, this won't help with the recent problem, but in the future, we'd *strongly* suggest that you contact a travel insurance broker who can discuss a variety of types of policies/terms, and also ask you questions to help you get the best policy for your particular needs.

 

We use www.TripInsuranceStore.com

But CALL them to discuss; do NOT simply rely upon the online summaries, which may not include everything in the "terms" that matter for you.

 

Another useful thing about an insurance broker is that IF you need assistance, they can go to bat for you, which may help in some cases.


DO check if you have the CFAR coverage!  Perhaps that is a saving grace for you.  It may not be a somewhat lesser benefit, but it would be a lot better than nothing!

 

I hope your wife is doing well!

 

GC

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10 minutes ago, GeezerCouple said:

 

The "less than ten days" does not apply to all third-party insurance.

 

As with ALL of the terms of insurance, it is critical that one reads all about whatever policy one eventually purchases. 

Reading in detail about other policies is also helpful, in deciding which to purchase.

 

The policies we buy require starting the insurance coverage within 20 days of the initial payment/deposit so that pre-existing conditions aren't excluded. 

 

I understand that "less than ten days" does not apply to all insurance, most are within 14 days, and some are farther out as you noted. I use less than 10 days as a guideline when discussing the purchase of insurance as many people forget, or tend to put it off the further out it is. If you are going to buy it, best to buy it as soon as possible, once you've done your research. As a travel professional, I encourage my clients who are going to buy insurance to buy it at the same time as initial deposit or within 24 hours, this way they don't move it to the back burner and forget it. 

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3 minutes ago, terry&mike said:

I understand that "less than ten days" does not apply to all insurance, most are within 14 days, and some are farther out as you noted. I use less than 10 days as a guideline when discussing the purchase of insurance as many people forget, or tend to put it off the further out it is. If you are going to buy it, best to buy it as soon as possible, once you've done your research. As a travel professional, I encourage my clients who are going to buy insurance to buy it at the same time as initial deposit or within 24 hours, this way they don't move it to the back burner and forget it. 

 

I understand.

 

However, by stating something like "ten days" without mentioning "some policies"/etc., those who are less familiar with travel insurance may indeed think "that's the rule" for "all travel insurance".
Worse, IF someone is reading here as a real "travel insurance newbie", they might think, 'Oh, drat, we've missed it...' and not look for coverage that might meet their needs (and that's especially true for the "within 24 hours of final payment", which would be a great choice for many people who missed the earlier deadlines... unless one happens *not* to be "fit to travel" right then.

 

And that is the reason we typically start the insurance the same day as we make an initial payment/deposit, not just so we "won't forget".

It's because IF one of us should happen to get a bad case of the flu or landed in the hospital with a broken arm (or "whatever") the day before the "deadline" (be it 10 or 20 or 21 days/etc.), then... we would have no way to get the coverage.

 

Likewise, the one time that we needed to get the "within 24 hours of final payment" coverage, we did not wait until that last day to make the final payment.  Again, what if one of us were very sick, but with something that wouldn't affect our ability to cruise in a few months, or such.  So as "final payment" deadline grew close, we then paid the final payment and quickly got the insurance, too.

 

Also to note for those less familiar with travel insurance: For many policies, IF you are starting the coverage when you've only made a deposit, you can usually pay for the insurance ONLY for the "deposit amount", and not the full cruise fare.  Then as additional payments are made, one just "ups the coverage" and pays whatever additional amount is now due (and usually/always (?) within the *same* number of days deadline as the original deadline, be it 10 or 20 or 21 days, etc.)  But one often does *not* need to pay for insurance for the full fare, if one only made a much smaller deposit far in advance.

 

GC

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Actually I am in the process of disagreeing with the insurance company right now. I paid $1800 deposit when I booked the cruise.  That was on June 5 2018. The cost of the Platinum plan was total of $630.00. I did not specifically designate a portion of the deposit for the Protection. However, I did receive an email from Princess that same day with a copy of the Protection Plan. Since I received the Protection description on the same day I made the deposit and did not receive any other documentation regarding the protection plan, I believed in good faith that the email attachment attachment of the protection plan meant that I had paid in full for the protection plan. The date that they are using for the 60 day period is October 2018. I have sent the documentation to the insurance company and have been told that they will get back to me shortly.

It seems the name of the game is pay for the protection plan when you dont have any doctors appointments, change in medications, etc and hope that 60 days goes by before you need to see a doctor or change your prescriptions. It seems like the policy from Princess is more for when you are on the cruise rather than having to cancel it for a medical emergency.

We will see what happens.

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2 hours ago, BIGADORF said:

Actually I am in the process of disagreeing with the insurance company right now. I paid $1800 deposit when I booked the cruise.  That was on June 5 2018. The cost of the Platinum plan was total of $630.00. I did not specifically designate a portion of the deposit for the Protection. However, I did receive an email from Princess that same day with a copy of the Protection Plan. Since I received the Protection description on the same day I made the deposit and did not receive any other documentation regarding the protection plan, I believed in good faith that the email attachment attachment of the protection plan meant that I had paid in full for the protection plan. The date that they are using for the 60 day period is October 2018. I have sent the documentation to the insurance company and have been told that they will get back to me shortly.

It seems the name of the game is pay for the protection plan when you dont have any doctors appointments, change in medications, etc and hope that 60 days goes by before you need to see a doctor or change your prescriptions. It seems like the policy from Princess is more for when you are on the cruise rather than having to cancel it for a medical emergency.

We will see what happens.

You'll lose that battle but hey, whatever you decide.

 

Curious why you aren't looking into the Cancel For Any Reason portion of the policy?

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I may lose the battle, but right now it is a matter of getting a full disclosure of when the policy 60 day period actually begins.

I believe that if the policy about the full payment date is brought to the readers of this board, someone will not have to be put in the position that I am in. I know that in the future I will designate in writing that the Protection policy is being paid for upfront and I expect a written verification from either Princess or the insurance company. I believed that since I paid almost 18% deposit at the time of booking and received an email with a description of the policy in lieu of an actual policy, that it would have been applied to the Protection policy. When you buy something that comes with a warranty/protection, on a payment plan, your warranty begins the day you make your first payment, not when the item is fully paid for, since the total amount includes the Warranty/Protection policy cost.

I am going to look into the Cancel for any Reason portion, but since my wife and I are both 72 years old and we are not sure what the long term effects are going to be from her surgery, we take it one day at a time and not necessarily being able to take another cruise.

I may not get my money back, but if even one other person can benefit from my situation, I consider that a moral victory. 

 

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2 hours ago, BIGADORF said:

I may lose the battle, but right now it is a matter of getting a full disclosure of when the policy 60 day period actually begins.

I believe that if the policy about the full payment date is brought to the readers of this board, someone will not have to be put in the position that I am in. I know that in the future I will designate in writing that the Protection policy is being paid for upfront and I expect a written verification from either Princess or the insurance company. I believed that since I paid almost 18% deposit at the time of booking and received an email with a description of the policy in lieu of an actual policy, that it would have been applied to the Protection policy. When you buy something that comes with a warranty/protection, on a payment plan, your warranty begins the day you make your first payment, not when the item is fully paid for, since the total amount includes the Warranty/Protection policy cost.

I am going to look into the Cancel for any Reason portion, but since my wife and I are both 72 years old and we are not sure what the long term effects are going to be from her surgery, we take it one day at a time and not necessarily being able to take another cruise.

I may not get my money back, but if even one other person can benefit from my situation, I consider that a moral victory. 

 

That's fair.

You have now explained why you are willing to fall on the sword. Not all of us understood that.

You are to be commended.

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5 hours ago, BIGADORF said:

I may lose the battle, but right now it is a matter of getting a full disclosure of when the policy 60 day period actually begins.

I believe that if the policy about the full payment date is brought to the readers of this board, someone will not have to be put in the position that I am in. I know that in the future I will designate in writing that the Protection policy is being paid for upfront and I expect a written verification from either Princess or the insurance company. I believed that since I paid almost 18% deposit at the time of booking and received an email with a description of the policy in lieu of an actual policy, that it would have been applied to the Protection policy. When you buy something that comes with a warranty/protection, on a payment plan, your warranty begins the day you make your first payment, not when the item is fully paid for, since the total amount includes the Warranty/Protection policy cost.

I am going to look into the Cancel for any Reason portion, but since my wife and I are both 72 years old and we are not sure what the long term effects are going to be from her surgery, we take it one day at a time and not necessarily being able to take another cruise.

I may not get my money back, but if even one other person can benefit from my situation, I consider that a moral victory. 

 

For what it’s worth, you do have a powerful advocate who can help you.

 

Send an email to your States Insurance Commissioner. They are the ones who you turn to if there is a discrepancy or an issue.

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