I canceled my cruise, but my $19,148 credit card claim is lost at sea

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By Christopher Elliott

Brent Feinberg and his wife cancel their cruise after a medical emergency. Why won’t their credit card cover their $19,148 loss?

Question

I’m having some trouble with a travel insurance claim for a cruise I purchased through my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. 

Last summer, I booked a Viking Cruise with my father and my wife. At the airport, my father suffered a medical emergency and had to be rushed to the hospital. We missed our cruise.

Since I had purchased the cruise using my Chase Sapphire Reserve card, which covers cancelations when you’re traveling, I filed a claim for the value of the cruise and the plane tickets.

I submitted all of the documents. Chase is taking its time with the claim. It is coming back and requesting information it already has, such as a Travel ID Number.

I have provided them with all this information. If they had read the claim, they would have clearly seen they had what they were asking for. I had to upload the same Viking Cancellation Statement four times before someone at Chase finally accepted it.

I want my claim approved and the full $19,148 paid as per the Chase Sapphire Reserve benefits. Can you help me? — Brent Feinberg, Canton, Ga.

Answer

I’m so sorry to hear about your father, and I hope he is on his way to recovery. Chase promises you “peace of mind” when you book travel with its card, ​​noting that if your trip is canceled or cut short by sickness, severe weather and other covered situations, you can be reimbursed up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip for your prepaid, nonrefundable travel expenses. Your father’s collapse appeared to be covered by Chase Sapphire. (Related: My Chase Sapphire Reserve travel insurance doesn’t work. Where’s my $15,194?)

Allianz Travel Insurance has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

As I review the voluminous paper trail between you and Chase, it looks like the company was working on your claim. But it was taking its time. As you note, Chase asked for the same documents repeatedly. It also required you to get a letter from your cruise line that stated you did not receive any credits. Worse, the claims process was confusing.

How long should an insurance claim take with my credit card?

My advocacy team and I receive frequent complaints about travel insurance claims that take forever to resolve. So, how long should an insurance claim take with your credit card? (Here’s our guide to finding the best travel insurance.)

Credit card companies have varying policies when it comes to processing insurance claims. Some may have a faster turnaround time than others, while some might require more documentation or information before approving a claim. Generally, you can expect the following timelines for different types of claims:

  • Travel-related claims such as trip cancelations, delays, or interruptions: 7 to 14 days.
  • Purchase protection claims for damaged or stolen items: 30 to 60 days.
  • Extended warranty claims like product malfunctions after the manufacturer’s warranty expires: 60 to 90 days.

Note: These are general guidelines, and actual processing times may vary depending on the complexity of the case, the amount of documentation required, and the workload of the credit card company’s claims department. (Related: PayPal and Chase missing refund problem: “My money is nowhere to be found”.)

Chase outsources the claims management to Allianz to underwrite and administer its travel claims. Allianz generally has a reputation for lightning-fast claims processing, so something must have gone wrong with your claim.

How to make your credit card travel insurance claim go faster

To ensure a smoother and faster claims process, here are some strategies:

  • Carefully review your credit card agreement to understand the specific terms and conditions for your insurance claims.
  • File your claim as soon as possible, ideally within the specified time frame stated in your credit card agreement.
  • Keep all receipts, invoices, and other relevant documents. Be prepared to submit them with your claim.
  • Follow up with the credit card company periodically to check on your claim.

If you run into any issues or difficulties during the claims process, reach out to your credit card company’s customer service department for assistance. If that doesn’t work, contact your state’s insurance commissioner or file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau if you believe your claim has been unfairly denied or delayed.

(Of course, you can always reach out to our consumer advocates. We’re always here for you.)

Your claim was taking too long

There’s nothing wrong with your credit card company requesting all the paperwork — in fact, you want a credit card to be thorough when it is dealing with a large claim like this. What is wrong with your case is that it had dragged on for nearly three months. Even the most complicated claims should take no more than a month.

The Chase Sapphire Card has a lot of bells and whistles for travelers. But stories like yours make me wonder if it is worth the $550 annual fee you paid. You might have applied for a garden-variety cash-back card, bought a travel insurance policy for your cruise, and saved some money. (Related: Can I get my 173,116 Chase Ultimate Rewards points refunded?)

I think appealing this to someone higher up might have worked. You can always send a brief, polite email to one of the Chase executive contacts I list on my consumer advocacy website, Elliott.org.

I contacted Chase on your behalf. You received a call from Chase the next day. A senior claims specialist worked with you to fast-track the claim, which Chase has now paid in full.

About this story

I just had to take this case. Feinberg has a credit card with an astonishingly high annual fee. Considering that the U.S. reached a new record high of $1.13 trillion in credit card debt last quarter, this is an important conversation to be having. Would someone like Feinberg have been better off with a low-interest credit card stripped of the points and high annual fees? Perhaps. (You won’t read skeptical comments like this on the other travel blogs. Their publishers love high-fee, points-earning credit cards because they receive huge kickbacks from the cards whenever one of their readers applies for one. But I digress.) Thanks to my entire team — Mel and Dwayne in advocacy, Andy and his team in editing, Will in our community forums and my brother Dustin for helping with the illustration. You guys are the best!

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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 Panamá City.

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