Can you file travel insurance claim based on pending death of loved one?
February 22, 2015 4:22 PM   Subscribe

Overseas travel set to start March 24. Travel insurance cautiously purchased at time of booking non-refundable air and hotel in November. And now ...

Loved one's time is measured in weeks. Coverage specifically lists family member's death as triggering a cancellation claim.

If not death, coverage requires that "the illness or medical condition must be considered life threatening, require hospitalization, or he or she must require your care." How does one go about filing a cancellation claim because "under the circumstances, we didn't want to be that far away"? Am assuming that insurance carrier will require letter from physician. How blunt does the doc need to be about "life threatening"?
posted by John Borrowman to Travel & Transportation (3 answers total)
I would call the insurance company and ask what documentation is required.
posted by jaguar at 4:34 PM on February 22, 2015 [5 favorites]

Best answer: I would not use the words "cautiously booked." Typically the insurance requires that the situation not be anticipated. When it's your own health they want your condition to be stable 90 days before travel to cover you. I'm guessing the same may be true in the case of family members' condition: If this relative was in decline when you bought the insurance, they may try to beg off paying. Don't give them ammunition.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:28 PM on February 22, 2015 [3 favorites]

We were in exactly this position last year, with my father, but we *didn't* go the travel insurance route - we cancelled the tickets (which incurred a $500 pp cancellation fee - the fares in question were international "non-refundable", in that if they were cancelled we'd be refunded less the $500 pp fee). We then applied for a waiver of the cancellation fee directly with the airline, accompanied by a letter from the patient's doctor saying "XXX is suffering from terminal YYY and has experienced a sudden deterioration of his condition, such that his daughter [me] and her partner have had to cancel their trip to ZZZ dated dd/mm/yyyy".

This was in line with the airline's own guidelines on what happens when there's a family emergency (Qantas - they have a form you have to fill out and attach the doctor's letter to).

Unfortunately, my father passed away during the time we would have been away on the trip, so we then forwarded the death certificate to the airline as well as the doctor's letter. About 10 weeks later, everything was refunded in full.

Just giving you some anecdata in case your travel insurance falls through - pursuing it through the airline is definitely an option.
posted by snap, crackle and pop at 5:29 PM on February 24, 2015

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