Will Trip Mate ever pay my claim?

"Will Trip Mate ever pay my claim? "

Nancy Kridel-Clapp and her husband leave their cruise early when Hurricane Irma passes near their home. When they file a claim on their Trip Mate Travel Protection Plan, the company acknowledges that the claims are valid but doesn’t pay them. Kridel-Clapp wants to know: “Will Trip Mate ever pay my claim? And if not, why?”

Question:

When Hurricane Irma passed near our home in south Florida, my husband and I were away on a Grand Circle Overseas Adventure Travel river cruise. Our two daughters, who have special needs, were at our home with a caregiver. We left the cruise on Sept. 11, 2017, the earliest we could book flights home, because the situation was more than our caregiver could handle without us.

My husband and I purchased a Travel Protection Plan from Trip Mate prior to our cruise. After we returned home, we filed a claim with Trip Mate to recover our expenses. Trip Mate accepted the claim, but has not paid it.

Since then, I have been corresponding with Trip Mate and spoken to numerous supervisors every week, but the only answer they give me is “Your claims are still under review. We are sorry for the delay but we will expedite your claims.”

How much longer do we have to wait for Trip Mate to review our claims? Will Trip Mate ever pay us the money it owes us? Can you turn up the heat on Trip Mate for us? — Nancy Kridel-Clapp, Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Answer:

I’m glad you made it home safely and that your children were safe. I wish that Trip Mate had paid your insurance claims immediately. Four months after Hurricane Irma is a long time to keep you waiting for your claims to be reimbursed.

Your Travel Protection Plan indicates that

OPTIONAL TRIP INTERRUPTION (If Purchased)
Benefits will be paid, up to the Maximum Benefit Amount shown in the Schedule of Benefits, to reimburse You for the Additional Transportation Cost paid to rejoin Your Trip or transport You to Your originally scheduled return destination, if You must interrupt Your Trip after departure.

Trip Interruption must be due to: …
Your or Your Traveling Companion’s primary place of residence or destination being rendered uninhabitable by fire, flood, burglary or other Natural Disaster; … Your primary place of residence or destination is uninhabitable if: (i) the building structure itself is unstable and there is a risk of collapse in whole or in part; (ii) there is exterior or structural damage allowing elemental intrusion, such as rain, wind, hail, or flood; (iii) immediate safety hazards have yet to be cleared such as debris on roofs or downed electrical lines; or (iv) the property is without electricity or water. …

Inclement Weather that causes complete cessation of services for at least 12 consecutive hours of the Common Carrier on which You are scheduled to travel.

So what’s the timeline for payment of a claim?

But the Travel Protection Plan document doesn’t establish a timeline for sending the payment. It says only that “We, or Our designated representative, will pay the claim after receipt of acceptable proof of loss.” Still, that’s not an excuse for Trip Mate’s personnel to keep you waiting for four months, and not to expedite your claim after repeatedly promising to do so.

You might have used our executive contacts for Trip Mate to escalate your claim. And that’s exactly what our advocate Dwayne Coward suggested. You appealed to one of the Trip Mate execs in writing. The company’s claims management completed its review and notified you that it is issuing you a check to settle your claims.

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