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twangster

Give Me Liberty, or ...not. An Insurance Claim Live Blog

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Today, April 7, 2019 as I write this I *should* be sipping a beverage having boarded Liberty of the Seas in Galveston, TX.  Mother Nature had other plans.

Instead of a cruise live blog, I thought I'd do something different.  An "OMG I missed my cruise and need to file an insurance claim" live blog.  If interested, follow along with me on this journey as I file my first ever insurance claim for missing a cruise, live as it unfolds.

Today's Itinerary:

  • 4am Depart home on way to airport
  • 6:15am Board aircraft
  • 6:16am Score awesome 1st row seat on Southwest Airlines with ample legroom 
  • 6:20am Begin watching 2nd half of free movie I half watched on last flight a week ago
  • 6:50am PA announcement of one hour air traffic control delay into Houston
  • 7:10am Finish watching 2nd half of free movie I half watched on last flight a week ago
  • 7:35am PA announcement that all morning flights into Houston are cancelled and please deplane
  • 7:45am Discovery that there is no possible way to reach Houston today in time to make the cruise
  • 7:54am Phone call to insurance company
  • 9:22am Back home to ponder life

I always advocate flying in the day before a cruise and getting a hotel.  I've cruised out of Galveston a couple times before and that has always been my approach.  In fact that is my default approach for all cruises that I take.  In this case family commitments meant that wasn't an option this time and with a relatively short direct flight arriving into Houston's Hobby airport at 10am on boarding day I thought I'd take the chance.  What could go wrong?

It's a beautiful sunny day here at home today.  Weather?  What weather?

I have an annual insurance plan with Allianz.  Like any insurance policy it has coverage for various events based on "covered reasons" with different coverage limits for each type of event.  My initial phone call confirmed this should be a covered event with a coverage limit of $2,000.00 for "Trip Cancellation".  That isn't a whole lot compared to the cost of a cruise but as a frequent solo cruiser it's enough to cover the whole cost or at least take a sting out of my losses for most cruises I tend to take.  

I've never filed to a travel insurance claim before.  This is a first for me.  

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The heart of the issue:

681004655_LibertyMissedFlight.thumb.jpg.2966eda06962a9ed6bcf3ffbc68c4a05.jpg

This weather front is moving, sliding left to right and would have been on top of the airport right as we flew into the area.  As the pilot put it, no sense taking off only to be placed into a holding pattern waiting for the slow moving storm to roll through.  

fly.faa.gov conformed the pilots claims.

348858240_LibertyMissedFlight-3.thumb.jpg.af53d65e24d5912b1b8c5101ee23956e.jpg1388692490_LibertyMissedFlight-4.thumb.jpg.168b91b37c45ccd4662ef2febc1e57bd.jpg

The result:

Status: Cancelled

116735690_LibertyMissedFlight-5.thumb.jpg.31fcf4f1ae0979439f658011701c9d5d.jpg

While I did look to see what other airlines might offer, the reality is there was no way to reach the ship in time.

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The insurance claim person I spoke to on the phone could take a claim on the phone or I could use the website, or an app.  I figured the website would have the best interface to work with so I waited until I got home to file my claim.  

1574523150_Allianzclaim2.thumb.png.7dd926bbeb42471fa7360efa53262443.png

With a description entered the next page offered the ability to upload copies of invoices and other supporting documents.

I also had booked a local shuttle for $40 round trip that was non-refundable.

563991089_Allianzclaim3.thumb.png.538b77cc714a9e8ad7d8aa68e399e71b.png

Next I accepted the warnings about filing a false claim and provide bank account details for reimbursement.

1727049854_Allianzclaim4.thumb.jpeg.b9b118eafb32f3f2245332ab44fdb795.jpeg

Finally submitted I was presented a summary to print for my records.

Seven to ten business days until I hear more.

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My policy requires I contact my travel agent and cruise line even though we all know the cancellation policy.  I did so anyways, knowing the outcome yet had it noted in the system that I tried to seek any refund or reimbursement they might possibly offer.  As expected, none was offered or provided.   

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-added back- Suprising you didn't throw the dice and go the trip interruption route. Got until Tue sday to catch the ship in Cozumel or Wednesday for Grand Cayman.

Also a word or warning about the limits on the annual policy for trip cancellation. The limit is for the year of coverage. Any claims will reduce the available amount towards future claims for the year. Might want discuss with the provider if buying a new policy would effectively reset the coverage and maintain coverage for current bookings.

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At this point with claim submitted I'm shifting into wait mode for 7 to 10 business days.

The purpose of this blog is for anyone to see how insurance can (or might not) cover an unexpected missed cruise.  I'll update the thread next when anything notable occurs with my claim.  

2 minutes ago, CGTLH said:

Suprising you didn't throw the dice and go the trip interruption route. Got until Tuesday to catch the ship in Cozumel or Wednesday for Grand Cayman.

Also a word or warning about the limits on the annual policy. Those limits are for the year of coverage. Any claims will reduce the available amount towards future claims for the year. Might want discuss with the provider if buying a new policy would effectively reset the coverage and maintain coverage for current bookings.

That's a lot of travel for a 5 night cruise.  

Good point on the annual limits. 

It's funny.  For many years I've had great success with dozens of cruises.  This year I nearly needed to file a claim when Brilliance was delayed returning due to fog.  Then Navigator and the Oasis transatlantic were cancelled by Royal.  Fortunately no need for an insurance claim on those (yet).    Now this.  Hopefully my bad cruise luck is behind me.  My remaining cruises all have a hotel stay the night before.  Although the guy next to me on the plane had his Houston flight yesterday cancelled due to weather and he was placed onto my early morning flight so it's possible that even if I did try to fly in the yesterday, I might still be in the same situation.  

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2 minutes ago, twangster said:

Then Navigator and the Oasis transatlantic were cancelled by Royal.  Fortunately no need for an insurance claim on those (yet).    Now this.  Hopefully my bad cruise luck is behind me. 

On second thought...Don't book the Anthem GC 😂 kidding...

In all seriousness,  you have had an awful string of bad luck.   Fingers crossed this claim works out for you.  I am forwarding this thread to my parents who are veteran cruisers and still insist on flying in the day of (They are so stubborn!  Hmmm....).  Thank you for sharing your experience.

My takeaway from this, I'm not booking any cruises out of Tampa or Galveston.  That weather...too much of a gamble. 

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So sorry to hear this.  My extended family has had really bad luck on Southwest this week.  At least 2 cancelled flights trying to get in for a wedding.  One family was still able to make it but the other just cancelled as they would not have made it in time.  While yours was weather related, I think the others were shifts of planes due to the Max 8 problems.  

Following along as always!

 

 

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Oh no twangster.  Am so sorry.  That's always a cruise fear .  Sucks you weren't able to fly in day before for to family plans. Even if you get your money back, there is still the disappointment of missing your trip.

Maybe silly question but anyway to make it to the first port?

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5 hours ago, WannaCruise said:

Maybe silly question but anyway to make it to the first port?

When you choose this route the insurance company will cover flights to do so up to a finite amount.  The routing and options to reach Cozumel on 1 day notice were not inexpensive and involved a very long day of travel.  

When they cancel the flight it cancels both legs including the return.  That would mean I would also have to file a claim for the cost of a last minute flight home which is another flight at a higher cost.  I would also need a hotel, (booked at the last minute) meals and taxis in Cozumel for a night.  I would approach or exceed my coverage limit for this type of trip coverage.  

The cost of the cruise isn't reimbursed and it doesn't change in this scenario.  A $2,000 cruise for 7 nights becomes a $2,000 cruise for 5 nights.  On a nightly basis that means you are paying significantly more for the 5 night cruise. 

Airfare was refunded since they cancelled the flight.  This makes those funds available for future use.

Combine all points and assuming I am reimbursed for my cruise fare, for the same money of airfare and cruise fare I can take a future 7 night cruise and enjoy all 7 nights without paying for nights on the ship where I can't enjoy all the things offered on the ship including shows, food and Diamond happy hour drinks.

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twangster, thanks for explaining.  Def not worth it then trying to catch up with the ship.  Am sorry again as I know the excitement before a cruise when looking forward to it.  Hopefully you'll get a replacement soon.

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@twangster I  wonder if you considered this scenario? Could you have taken a flight into another airport- Austin or San Antonio, rented a car and driven to Galveston? It's about 4 1/2 hours from San Antonio? Just playing Devils advocate!

Like you, we always go in the day before, in fact, we drive from San Antonio and still drive in early just to be sure. 

For future reference, on complicated or international itineraries  we always get the more expensive air from RCCL because my understanding is they are obligated to get you to the cruise.

Thank goodness for insurance-another thing we buy for every cruise and fortunately haven't needed to use it yet!

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16 hours ago, twangster said:

Navigator and the Oasis transatlantic were cancelled by Royal.  Fortunately no need for an insurance claim on those (yet).    Now this.  Hopefully my bad cruise luck is behind me.

That's three items. Bad luck always comes in threes. By spurious logic, I declare your bad cruise luck to be officially done. 😁

Seriously, though -- Sorry to hear you had to miss this cruise right after those two other cancellations. Hopefully the insurance claim will go through without any hassles or appeals needed and you can just look ahead to your next sailing.

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6 hours ago, Mljstr said:

@twangster I  wonder if you considered this scenario? Could you have taken a flight into another airport- Austin or San Antonio, rented a car and driven to Galveston? It's about 4 1/2 hours from San Antonio? Just playing Devils advocate!

Like you, we always go in the day before, in fact, we drive from San Antonio and still drive in early just to be sure. 

In my case hoping to find an alternate flight to a nearby airport and driving was not a solution right from the start.  

On this day all airlines with inbound flights to Houston appeared to divert to Austin.  Austin is roughly a 3 1/2 hour drive to Galveston in good weather.  With flooding roads (known feature of the Houston area) or simply driving in torrential rain or hail let's forget that for the moment and say you could do the drive in 3 1/2 hours.  Renting a car requires time beyond driving it.  Deplaning, walking the terminal to the car rental company, standing in line, finding your car, then the reverse in Galveston - this adds an hour.  

Working backwards from a 4pm departure you have to be checked in 90 minutes prior or 2:30pm. Take 4 1/2 hours off for the car rental and drive time.  Now you are at 10am.  That's the time you have to be pulling up to a gate at the Austin airport.  It's is a 2 hour flight from Denver to Austin with a 1 hour time change working against me.  If I could board a flight at 7am mountain time it would arrive at 10am central time.  A 7am flight boards at 6:30am, assuming there was actually a 7am flight with availability scheduled.  At 6:30am I was already on board my Houston bound flight thinking I was on time. Not to mention the topic of checked bags and wait times for receiving them.  Driving in a hailstorm is no picnic either.  

These were all the calculations that I played out as I looked to find an alternate.  

No one offers a 7am departure to Austin on Sunday.  Southwest did have a 5:45am flight to Austin.  Had I known that Houston airports were going to be the subject of a ground halt before that ground halt was ordered, I could have taken action but even then I don't know if I'd want to drive in a projected hail storm and deal with rental car damage.  That would involve a different insurance claim.  

6 hours ago, Mljstr said:

For future reference, on complicated or international itineraries  we always get the more expensive air from RCCL because my understanding is they are obligated to get you to the cruise.

I've used Air2Sea before and it does offer an "Assured Arrival"  guarantee like a form of insurance.   They would have have been responsible to fly me to Cozumel.   For domestic flights Air2Sea often costs more but you do get some benefits for that increased cost.  It's a good point for people to consider about Air2Sea.    I last used Air2Sea for a red eye flight to reach Empress on the day of cruise.  Knowing Air2Sea would be there in case of an airline or weather delay certainly has value.  

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18 hours ago, twangster said:

My policy requires I contact my travel agent and cruise line even though we all know the cancellation policy.  I did so anyways, knowing the outcome yet had it noted in the system that I tried to seek any refund or reimbursement they might possibly offer.  As expected, none was offered or provided.   

What proof did you have to show? Or did you have to simply say "yes, I tried"?

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5 hours ago, Matt said:

What proof did you have to show? Or did you have to simply say "yes, I tried"?

No proof required other than that check box, not yet anyways.  I'm not sure what power an insurance company has to inquire of my travel agency or carrier "Did this guest seek a refund?".  I did have to supply the phone number of my travel agency.  

When I told my travel agent I am calling because my insurance says I have to even though we both know I won't get a refund she seemed to spring into action and placed me on hold while she called Royal to have it all noted properly in the systems.  She didn't object or try to evade the request.  

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5 hours ago, twangster said:

It's a good point for people to consider about Air2Sea. 

I rarely fly in on sail day HOWEVER, I did it in Feb for our Anthem B2B and I am doing it again in July for our 4th of July NAV sailing.  I have just made it a point to bite the bullet and use Air2Sea on cruises where I am flying in on cruise day.  It costs a little more but for the peace of mind, I think it is worth it.  I am also using Air2Sea for my Freedom sailing at the end of April even though we are flying in a day early.  No real exciting reason for using it for San Juan except that it was easy to do so I did it.

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3 minutes ago, ellcee said:

Well, that sucks. Were you planning on working through or was this a no work vacation?

Cruising solo I often try to slip some work in here and there.  That way once I'm back all the fires have been put out and the next week is easy.  

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