Beware the complicated conditions of card travel insurance

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sabre1

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There are many differences between the conditions of cover for international travel insurance offered by various credit cards. For example some have age restrictions and others do not (no age limit with Zurich) and one way travel versus return travel (compare QBE and Zurich).

An important issue is the points in time when insurance cover commences and terminates - cover is not continuous for the period that the card is in use. For example, at what point in time are you covered for cancellation costs? And between what points in time does cover apply when you are travelling - can you defer or extend your travel?

I was denied a cancellation cost of $5,500 by QBE (with ANZ card) because I was not holding a return ticket to Australia. I discovered that the return ticket could have been from any overseas port to any Australian city and not be associated with my intended itinerary. For example I would have been covered if I held the cheapest available ticket from (say) Bali to Darwin (I don't live in Darwin). A low cost carrier can do this for $150. In addition to the return ticket condition, another section of the 79 page document places a six month limit on the period of insurance starting from date of departure.

I found myself in this situation because I had to book an expensive cruise six months ahead of departure as the cruise was fully booked and I was offered a cancellation. Had I purchased the cheap return ticket DPS - DRW for $150 I would have been covered for cancellation costs. Absurd? I think so.

Had I purchased travel insurance with QBE directly there would be no requirement to hold a return ticket - or indeed any tickets at all. The period of cover is clear; for cancellation this would be from date of issue of the policy and for other matters would apply during the nominated period of travel.

The lesson is that if you are relying on credit card insurance you MUST read the 79 page document carefully. If you are using the ANZ/ QBE product and have to pay major costs up front but have not yet finalised your full itinerary, then, as I was advised by QBE, you can get cancellation coverage for $150 by purchasing a ticket from DPS to DRW with a LCC for around $150.

With so many tricks and traps is the card insurance of value? Considering my $5,000 loss I do not think so and will be cancelling my expensive ANZ black cards and opt for the certainty of directly purchased insurance.
 

MEL_Traveller

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The ANZ platinum insurance eligibility criteria are (maybe depending on the card you have) stated close to the front on page 16 (which is about as soon as they can get to it after they have to list all the other stuff about dispute resolution, privacy, product disclosure etc etc): http://www.anz.com.au/resources/1/e...d448/premium-cards-insurances.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

Coverage for ANZ CC insurance is perhaps one of the most generous out there, and eligibility is fairly straightforward: return ticket (yes it states simply 'to Australia'), under 6 months, under 80 years of age, no pre-existing conditions, and spend just $250.

The answers to your questions are then fairly straightforward... coverage for cancellation begins as soon as you have met the above criteria. And you are covered for a maximum of 6 months from the date of departure.

It's not quite clear why you needed to cancel your itinerary with the value of $5500? Unless you cancelled for a reason covered by the policy, you wouldn't get the money refunded even if you had a return ticket. Are you saying the cruise was fully booked, therefore you had to cancel, and the airfare was $5500? If the cruise company overbooked, and you got a refund, there is nothing for insurance to cover you for. Alternatively, if the cruise company cancelled, why are they not refunding any associated costs? (ie, I think you might have good grounds to recover your losses without needing the insurance anyway)

However, on the broader issue, for my annual ANZ CC fee of $79, the insurance policy represents outstanding value for money!
 
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dalereardon

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Another warning is that you are required to pay the medical expenses yourself until the claim is approved.

A family member is in BKK at the moment and is seriously ill requiring heart surgery and also an orthopedic surgeon and was going to have to pay the costs upfront himself - he didn't have enough credit limit on his card so was in serious trouble - luckily his bank manager (Westpac) hassled Zurich and got the claim approved within 3 days and the hospital agreed to bill Zurich direct.

A normal travel insurance policy would not have had these problems at all as you are definitely covered once you take out the insurance rather than them having to verify your expenses and all the terms and conditions.

We personally had a claim once that cost over 10K and luckily we had organized a larger than usual limit and were fine.

After another experience with Zurich whereby we ended up at the Financial Ombudsman service (we won after 14 months and got all the money paid) I just won't bother with credit card insurance - it is too vague and uncertain and just won't help you when you are in a foreign country.

Dale.
 

dajop

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There are complicated conditions with all travel insurance policies, whether provided by credit card or not. It is incumbent on you to understand when and how you are covered by the particular travel insurance product (be it paid or complimentary with credit card) before relying on it. If you don't understand you should ask for clarification.
 

MEL_Traveller

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Another warning is that you are required to pay the medical expenses yourself until the claim is approved.

A family member is in BKK at the moment and is seriously ill requiring heart surgery and also an orthopedic surgeon and was going to have to pay the costs upfront himself - he didn't have enough credit limit on his card so was in serious trouble - luckily his bank manager (Westpac) hassled Zurich and got the claim approved within 3 days and the hospital agreed to bill Zurich direct.

A normal travel insurance policy would not have had these problems at all as you are definitely covered once you take out the insurance rather than them having to verify your expenses and all the terms and conditions.

We personally had a claim once that cost over 10K and luckily we had organized a larger than usual limit and were fine.

After another experience with Zurich whereby we ended up at the Financial Ombudsman service (we won after 14 months and got all the money paid) I just won't bother with credit card insurance - it is too vague and uncertain and just won't help you when you are in a foreign country.

Dale.

you raise an interesting point. However I'm not entirely sure that other insurances don't operate in a similar way, requiring eligibility of cover to be confirmed before they will agree to cover/pay a claim.

For example, you may have been injured through an accident not covered by the policy (motor sports for example). Or you may have been affected by alcohol to the extent the claim is denied.

CC insurances also recognise the cost of treatment in the USA may be prohibitively expensive... they don't ask you to put $200,000 on your card before you get the treatment you need.

Aside from the eligibility criteria for CC insurances, I'm not sure 'regular' insurances differ all that much. They largely have the same terms and conditions, and same exclusions. I don't see the ANZ policy as being vague or uncertain.

I appreciate your circumstances were such that the CC insurance didn't meet your expectations... would be interesting to know what happened and why the claim was initially denied (as a data point).
 

mooingchicken

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Another warning is that you are required to pay the medical expenses yourself until the claim is approved.

As I understand this is the case with all. Atleast with my friend that claimed. They did the medical treatment (as it was an emergency) and then had to wait to be formally approved and given the money. This was not CC insurance

He made a similar post here http://www.australianfrequentflyer....surance-via-cba-plat-31133-3.html#post1219967 saying it was because his wife was sick. assumingly serious enough for travel insurance to cover it.
 

Archphoto

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I had a look at the insurance offer by ANZ Platinum card (just switched) as I was going to use on my next trip - unfortunately the wording seems to imply that if I'm flying anywhere other than AU-xyz-AU I won't be covered.

As I'm based in BKK, that (possible) exclusion clause deems the insurance on offer null and void, unless I read it wrong as I didn't have the time to read it fully to see what loopholes/exclusions etc were in place.

I'll check it out again once I'm back from this shoot, and see if I can actually use the CC insurance, but for now, I'll have to stick with TID, who don't seem to care where in the world I fly to/from as long as I select the correct policy and pay the fee.
 

MEL_Traveller

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I had a look at the insurance offer by ANZ Platinum card (just switched) as I was going to use on my next trip - unfortunately the wording seems to imply that if I'm flying anywhere other than AU-xyz-AU I won't be covered.

As I'm based in BKK, that (possible) exclusion clause deems the insurance on offer null and void, unless I read it wrong as I didn't have the time to read it fully to see what loopholes/exclusions etc were in place.

I'll check it out again once I'm back from this shoot, and see if I can actually use the CC insurance, but for now, I'll have to stick with TID, who don't seem to care where in the world I fly to/from as long as I select the correct policy and pay the fee.

it depends where you buy your TID policy from... if you buy if from TID Australia, you may not be covered as you must be a resident of australia, with a permanent australian residential address.

If you buy it from TID thailand, you may be covered.

you are correct that ANZ (australia) will only cover return trips from australia.
 

JohnK

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With so many tricks and traps is the card insurance of value? Considering my $5,000 loss I do not think so and will be cancelling my expensive ANZ black cards and opt for the certainty of directly purchased insurance.
I would rather purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy direct form a travel insurance provider. Luckily for me still only a few hundred dollars a year for piece of mind.
 

dajop

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I would rather purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy direct form a travel insurance provider. Luckily for me still only a few hundred dollars a year for piece of mind.

Again, you still need to know and understand what you are getting (and I am sure you do).

However, it is a folly to automatically assume that paid insurance is going to always be better than card based insurance. I raise this every time this discussion comes up, but I have successfully made a claim on card insurance that was rejected by commercial insurance, and in side by side comparisons seen deficiencies in some commercial policies compared to card policies and vice versa.

With card policies, the key is knowing and being confident exactly what will trigger the policy to be in effect. Once that it is triggered, usually the policy is actually quite good. I do find that if it's a simple return airfare from my home country paid fully on the card, I have that confidence. Involving FF points, one way flights, partial payments for land travel and nested itineraries is a minefield, and you need to know exactly what the conditions are to have confidence in the cover. (for example I recently paid for MEL-SIN-HKG-SIN-MEL with one month stopovers at home/Singapore/ in both directions . I paid for flights on my normal Singapore based credit card, but I as the journey originated in Australia, itis not an eligible for insurance for my trip to HKG, even though if I just paid for SIN-HKG-SIN it would be).
 

MEL_Traveller

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Again, you still need to know and understand what you are getting (and I am sure you do).

Exactly.

The OP is right to point out that everyone should carefully read the terms and conditions of any insurance policy before they buy it, and not make assumptions about what may and may not be covered.

Even 'paid' policies can vary widely as to what is covered, and the conditions under which cover kicks in.

Quite the reverse from being a 'trap'... insurance policies are carefully and extensively worded so that there is no ambiguity. But you have to find the policy that is right for your circumstances.
 
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Archphoto

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it depends where you buy your TID policy from... if you buy if from TID Australia, you may not be covered as you must be a resident of australia, with a permanent australian residential address.

If you buy it from TID thailand, you may be covered.

you are correct that ANZ (australia) will only cover return trips from australia.

As a Australian citizen (still with a permanent address in AU), it's not a problem at all. I made sure to research insurance closely - too many policies insist that you commence and conclude the journey from AU. They seem to be one of the few, who actually allow you to buy insurance that doesn't include AU as a start/end point or even a country you visit. (Holders of 457 Visas, Spousal/Partner Visas and Kiwis living in AU can also purchase.)

"Unlike other insurers, you do not need to be commencing from or returning to Australia in order to purchase our insurance. When purchasing a policy, simply enter the date you want the policy to commence in the 'Departure Date' and the date you want the policy to end in the 'Return Date'."

https://service.travelinsurancedirect.com.au/customer/portal/articles/526821-who-can-buy-

So far, so good - only caveat is you don't include Australia in the policy along with any OS destinations if you're flying back to AU for any reason, as it will automatically select a domestic policy. They instead advise you enter a "Start" date and "End" date for the policy in the Departure/Return boxes (along with the relevant OS countries) to cover you under their international policy.
 

sabre1

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MEL_Traveller was quick to the defence of the cards and insurance companies and overlooked the important information I provided which is: if you are forced to purchase an expensive travel item (in my case the cruise) but have not yet finalised your itinerary, then you can get cancellation cover for around $150 by buying any cheap ticket from anywhere overseas to anywhere Australia even if you do not plan to use the ticket.

Our cancellation was for unforeseen illness and the $5,500 was the residual after refund from the cruise company.


[/QUOTE} Coverage for ANZ CC insurance is perhaps one of the most generous out there, and eligibility is fairly straightforward: return ticket (yes it states simply 'to Australia'), under 6 months, under 80 years of age, no pre-existing conditions, and spend just $250.

The answers to your questions are then fairly straightforward... coverage for cancellation begins as soon as you have met the above criteria. And you are covered for a maximum of 6 months from the date of departure.

It's not quite clear why you needed to cancel your itinerary with the value of $5500? Unless you cancelled for a reason covered by the policy, you wouldn't get the money refunded even if you had a return ticket. Are you saying the cruise was fully booked, therefore you had to cancel, and the airfare was $5500? If the cruise company overbooked, and you got a refund, there is nothing for insurance to cover you for. Alternatively, if the cruise company cancelled, why are they not refunding any associated costs? (ie, I think you might have good grounds to recover your losses without needing the insurance anyway)

However, on the broader issue, for my annual ANZ CC fee of $79, the insurance policy represents outstanding value for money![/QUOTE]
 

MEL_Traveller

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MEL_Traveller was quick to the defence of the cards and insurance companies and overlooked the important information I provided which is: if you are forced to purchase an expensive travel item (in my case the cruise) but have not yet finalised your itinerary, then you can get cancellation cover for around $150 by buying any cheap ticket from anywhere overseas to anywhere Australia even if you do not plan to use the ticket.

Our cancellation was for unforeseen illness and the $5,500 was the residual after refund from the cruise company.

I didn't overlook the issue, but rather recognised your advice to carefully check the terms and conditions. For ANZ, eligibility is fairly straightforward in that it requires a return ticket to activate the insurance. If you had seen that, you would have made the appropriate inquiries.

I'm not saying I don't feel for your loss! It's awful when things like that happen and it's just money lost :(
 

sabre1

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MEL_Traveller is quick to support the card and insurance companies and overlooked the important advise that I provided. This is, if you are committed to purchase high cost items in your itinerary but have not finalised your travel plans (including return to Australia) then you can gain cancellation cover for a cost of around $150. You can do this by purchasing any low cost ticket between anywhere overseas to anywhere in Australia - the example I gave was DPS - DRW using a LCC. There may be cheaper combinations and there is no requirement to use the ticket. The absurdity of this insurance condition is obvious.
 

mannej

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Having being stung by paid travel insurance before (it was a number of years ago when I was a touch naive) I can echo the sentiment of checking the PDS before you rely on any form of TI.

As they say buyer beware (and no I am not defending the TI providers, but advocating for due diligence from the buyers perspective).
 

vetrade

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FWIW we make sure we qualify (minimum travel spend etc) for both NAB and ANZ CC travel insurance before each trip. I figure that gives us some broader coverage. One example is that the ANZ card only covers us for car hire excess in Oz but the NAB card covers us OS as well. Then again, we've never had to make a claim so we've never put that theory to the test.
 

Jeffrey O'Neill

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Only had 2 make 2 claims in 20 years of OS travel

One via CB insurance when stuck in Thailand for an extra week due to the Icelandic volcano erupting a few years back.

Another via TID when I had my phone snatched from my hand while walking to my hotel late at night, again in Thailand.

Can't say either was better in terms of the claims process. Filled out some forms and a few weeks later received a deposit in my bank account.

If you're going to buy a $150 flight ticket to activate your CC insurance you might as well buy a policy from TID.
 

sabre1

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I fully agree !!!!!!!!!!!!
Only had 2 make 2 claims in 20 years of OS travel

One via CB insurance when stuck in Thailand for an extra week due to the Icelandic volcano erupting a few years back.

Another via TID when I had my phone snatched from my hand while walking to my hotel late at night, again in Thailand.

Can't say either was better in terms of the claims process. Filled out some forms and a few weeks later received a deposit in my bank account.

If you're going to buy a $150 flight ticket to activate your CC insurance you might as well buy a policy from TID.
 

wandering_fred

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As TID seems to have been mentioned frequently, I have a question. The annual insurance allows for the cover of a couple, provided the names are shown when purchasing and the itineraries are the same. What is an itinerary? I ask since I tend to purchase separate tickets with FF reward tickets often being part of MrsWF's selection even though we will be on the same flights (though perhaps not in the same cabin).

And when we return to Australia (though not home) can we then "break" the trip, starting separate itineraries?

Happy wandering

Fred
 
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