He canceled his diving trip for medical reasons. Will TripMate cover his costs?

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By Christopher Elliott

After Stanley Wales cancels his diving trip to Bonaire, he files a travel insurance claim with TripMate. What’s taking it so long to respond?

Question

My wife and I planned to travel to Bonaire for scuba diving late last year. Before our departure, I went to the hospital with abnormal bleeding. My urologist told me not to travel, especially out of the country.  

I canceled my plane tickets on Delta Air Lines and my reservations at Belmar Bonaire Oceanfront Apartments. Delta gave me credit for future use, which I have used, so no problem there.  

I contacted TripMate, my travel insurance company, to begin my claim for the rest of the trip. I have been waiting for months for my refund. I have contacted TripMate several times and keep getting the same message that my case is under review. Can you please help me with the refund? — Stanley Wales, Perry Hall, Md.

Answer

TripMate should have paid you by now. I reviewed your claim. You had a travel insurance policy that covered cancellations for medical reasons. You also had a note from your urologist, on letterhead, explaining that you couldn’t travel. 

Now that’s a slam dunk if I’ve ever seen one.

So what went wrong? I suspect your claim came in at a busy time for TripMate. Simple insurance claims take only a few days to process under most circumstances. But higher-value claims (usually anything over $1,000) have to be reviewed more carefully, and you might have to wait weeks or even months to get your check.

I know that because I’ve also had to wait months for my own travel insurance claim to be paid. It can test your patience even if you fully understand what’s going on behind the scenes. (Related: I just want my Trip Mate claim to be paid. What’s going on?)

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TripMate asks for 30 days to process its claims. By the time you contacted me, you had waited far longer than that. You can reach out to the company directly to inquire about a delayed claim. If it doesn’t respond, you can contact someone at a higher level. I list the names, numbers and emails of the TripMate customer service executives on my consumer advocacy site, Elliott.org. (Here’s how to fix your own consumer issues.)

I contacted TripMate on your behalf. A few days later, you received a check for the full amount of your claim.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter. He is based in São Paulo.

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