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Episode 4 of the Customer Testimonials relating to Insure and Go Travel Insurance
Zyra writes about travel insurance as a customer and affiliate for a fourth time. Amazing! (note that both good and bad are being said, as this is truth, not hype, and this is the way things happened)
I'm a success in business and I am exploring the world's tax havens to see where I should move. I'm not well, so it's especially important to get some good travel insurance. I was sure I was going to migrate to Belize, but I needed to make sure it was for me and there wasn't anything nasty hiding. So I arranged with STA Travel to go to Belize for three months. As I'd had good experience with Insure & Go I asked if they would insure me again. I made sure they knew I'd already insured three times before and claimed three times before. I was unsurprised to find the premium was a bit dearer, but I was surprised they'd insure me at all as I might be considered a bad risk. Actually the price of the premium was quite good considering I was going for three months and I was having the top-of-the-range business policy including everything, and no excess.
The main reason for having travel insurance is to cover for medical treatment. If you're ill when you are travelling, it can be expensive if you're not insured. So it makes sense to get some travel insurance.
Note that travel insurance also tends to include insurance of your possessions, ie luggage, cash, etc. This is handy but not essential.
In my own situation, I am especially careful with the possessions and I consider I'm much safer than most people in terms of risk. However on the health it doesn't matter how careful a person is, illness can strike, and with me it has done before. In fact, I've claimed on Insure & Go before, in the Dominican Republic, and then in Sri Lanka, and again in Costa Rica and Belize. It's not something I make a habit of, claiming on travel insurance. I have been ill because of various problems and I've had to claim. I'd feel sorry for Insure&Go as they've paid out so much, but I like to think I have made up for it to a great extent by writing these customer testimonials online and telling folks what happened. Apparently, insurance company customer testimonials online are surprisingly rare, and I know for a fact that Insure & Go get a lot of extra business because of my comments.
I am an affiliate, but I don't hype it up. The fact is that if things went badly I'd tell you, as well as when they go well. That's one of the good reasons why people trust my comments online.
Insure & Go insured me despite my shocking insurance history, and I say well done to them for that. I had hoped that the three months in Belize would go without incident and I had an idea I'd not need to make a claim on the insurance again.
There was a tricky incident in the first week or so where I was a bit delirious because of the heat, but after I got aircon fitted I was soon ok again, so a sigh of relief there.
Even a month into the adventure I was still alright, but then... I WAS THE VICTIM OF A VIOLENT CRIME. Masked robbers got into the house I was renting. They strangled me and ransacked the house, making off with the laptop, the high-res digital camera, and four thousand dollars in cash which I'd taken as a deposit on a house purchase. The money was quite well hidden, but the villains still found it. Things did not improve the next day as the police locked me up and helped themselves to what the robbers had failed to take! It's an appalling situation of violent crime and police dishonesty. Dreadful. You can read the whole story at the page of how I was robbed in Belize and then the theft by police in Belize. The police did not manage to steal quite as much stuff as the robbers, but they stole the digital movie camera and a 256Mb CF memory card and a small amount of money. This, plus locking up the innocent victim of a crime, puts the police in Belize at an even lower popularity rating than the robbers. You're supposed to be able to trust the police, but in Belize that trust has been destroyed, and with it, my plans of emigration to Belize.
What about the insurance? Could I claim? Well I didn't get the travel insurance to cover me against robbery by masked criminals or against dishonest police officers stealing stuff in no-warrant searches of a house. I'd got the insurance to cover my health.
One of the things Insure & Go do is emergency repatriation. So, when I relocated to Belize City and bought a cheap computer so I could stay in touch with my business, I sent an e-mail to Insure & Go Claims Department asking about emergency repatriation. To my surprise, there was no reply. It turned out later that there is some sort of spam filtering that deletes messages coming from some locations, and as I was in Belize, I could not contact Insure & Go for help! That's a warning to be noted. You can't necessarily get through to your insurance company if you're in an unusual destination. It seems odd that a company insuring people travelling to such places don't allow e-mail from those places.
I think it may be also the case that emergency repatriation is only performed in medical situations, not where the person has been traumatised by being victim of a violent attack and needs to escape from perceived additional problems.
After another two months I returned to the UK and I put in a claim to the Insure & Go claims address. I knew they'd not pay me the full value of the stuff that had been lost, and I accepted that was fair as there is a value limit on cash and on valuables. I read the smallprint in contracts and insurance policies, and I knew what I was agreeing to in terms of total amount payable in case of a claim for stolen items.
What I didn't expect was the amount of trouble and awkwardness which went on in connection with my claim. I was put to a lot of unnecessary argumentativeness, including at one point I was accused of having overstayed the agreed time in Belize which would have voided the insurance policy. Despite the fact the company had the travel itinerary with them, I was requested to send in a photocopy of my passport stamps. This was silly as, for one thing it was already documented precisely when I returned to the UK, and besides, customs do not stamp a passport on the return to the home country. In the end this particular issue was solved and I received an apology. Someone had mis-read a previous email I had sent.
I can't help thinking that Insure&Go at this time had a Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde characteristic, where when you buy the insurance from Dr Jekyll they're nice and friendly, but when you're putting in a claim you risk talking to Mr Hyde who's hellbent on avoiding paying out any claim. Now let's be fair to Insure&Go because this is the first time I've encountered a Mr Hyde claims agent and I'd not noticed any such problems before. Also, what made this claim different from all the others was that in all of the other cases it was my health that had let me down and I was putting in medical expense claims, whereas this was a property claim. Maybe they are just more fussy about property claims as there's much more prevalence of fraud in such cases? Maybe it's that medical cases are much more straightforward as the doctors' receipts are there to be seen whereas missing property is a bit more involved. You have to hunt out the receipts from when you first bought the stuff. A question to you: If you lost your baggage when on holiday, could you find all the receipts for all the items?
Insure & Go also wanted to know if I had home insurance with another company. It's a common tactic in insurance, that the travel insurance company puts in a claim on the homeowner's house contents insurance policy. Not good, as then you lose your no claims bonus. However, I had no home insurance! So, they couldn't claim on it!
Another problem was that I was expected to send a crime report. Sounds easy, until you realise that Belize has corruption and bureaucracy and so even though I'd paid a fee to get a report, no report was forthcoming. So I sent Insure&Go Claims a copy of my application for a crime report. In proving evidence of the police corruption, I sent forwardings of my correspondence with the Department of Internal Affairs and Discipline, who are supposed to be a Police Complaints Commission.
When in Belize I had relocated and had to get a mobile phone and a replacement computer, and in the insurance policy wording it says that the customer is covered for hire of business equipment in some eventualities. What I didn't realise is that such equipment replacement is deducted from the total possessions loss quota, so I didn't get paid for that.
Also, even though I was injured and suffered damage to my voice as a result of the strangling by the robbers, apparently I don't get paid for that on the insurance, as it's not compensation, and only medical claims are covered if they are paid in money at the time. Long term injuries are not covered.
Several months later, I actually got paid! Insure&Go sent me a cheque for £1100, which was the maximum amount covered, being £600 maximum on cash and £500 on valuables. Now don't get me wrong; although that's a lot less than what I lost, I'm not grumbling about it. Insure&Go covered me up to that amount and they paid me, so that's fair. I knew I wasn't covered for the total cost of the valuables and the cash, and I knew I had to take some of the risk myself. In fact, I'd got the travel insurance primarily to cover my health, for medical treatment, so any cover on possessions was better than none.
So, despite there having been the awkwardness which upset me a bit, and despite other things, I still say WELL DONE TO INSURE & GO. I'd still recommend the place. You can visit Insure and Go here.