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seeking your successful strategies for getting money back

I know this has been addressed from various vantage points, but am looking for some specific answers and thought I'd start here.

  1. Any way to get $ for flight and prepaid hotel back via Travel Guard? I know they aren't honoring any arrangements made once COVID was on the horizon, but we made our airline reservations in November 2019, and got the insurance within a week. No one was aware of COVID back then. Would they honor that if either (1) our trip is cancelled by RS or (2) Air Canada cancels our flights? I understand Air Canada is only giving vouchers. As for hotel, we made reservations in early January (and added the cost to our insurance right away). COVID was happening in Wuhan at the time, but nowhere else. Has anyone had success with Travel Guard??????

  2. Anyone had success getting money back from Air Canada via their credit card company? We live in Upstate NY and were planning to fly in/out of Toronto. It's not an airline voucher we could use easily....and who knows when we'll even be allowed to cross the border to get on an Air Canada plane. How about getting a prepaid hotel reimbursed through the credit card company?

  3. Has anyone been successful getting a refund from Travel Guard due to health reasons? I was wondering whether we might have more luck going that route from the get go. We did get the insurance that covers pre-existing conditions. My partner has one knee that's been replaced and another knee that is bone on bone/causes a great deal of pain. Our original plan for our September trip was that she would start P/T in March, and that -- combined with diet and a cortisone shot right before the trip -- would get us through the trip, and she'd wait another year for the 2nd knee replacement surgery. Well, PT didn't happen because of the virus, the pain has increased, she's just had the shot, she's met with the surgeon, and it looks like she may be able to have the surgery in September. Has anyone gotten their travel expenses reimbursed in a similar situation?

Aside from the two major expenses, each more than $1000, we only have a few little things I'm hoping will be reimbursed (supposed to be a 72 hour cancellation policy IF the companies/hotel are even still in business) and a deposit made to a small B&B I'm not going to ask them to reimburse. They probably need the money more than we do.

I know this topic has been discussed a great deal already, but appreciate any advice you may have.

Posted by
20718 posts

Not sure I followed your question that well. Generally with insurance (does depend on policy) you only get back what your out of pocket cost. For example -- if you -pre-paid a B&B for $1000 and only got $800 back you should be able to get the $200 back from insurance (again, depending on policy) but not a full $1000. On a airline ticket it gets trickier with a voucher because you lost nothing. You cannot get both a voucher from the airline and the ticket price from insurance -- that is called betterment even if you don't use the voucher.

Regarding the medical --- it is what the fine print says it is. If you have cancellation for any reason or for specifically covered medical condition, you should get a refund.

Posted by
460 posts

Thanks, Frank. What you said about the airline makes sense.

From what I've heard from a lot of other people, trip insurance isn't covering anything pandemic related. So if we prepaid the hotel $1000 (nonrefundable -- we felt comfortable with this because we had trip insurance and a pandemic wasn't even on our radar) and either the hotel is unwilling or unable to give us a refund, we'll be out of luck with the trip insurance folks. I'm trying to find out if this is still people's experience even if they booked their hotel and travel insurance before COVID-19.

Posted by
2355 posts

Forget about COVID for a minute. Your partner can’t travel, needs surgery. You got insurance, file a claim. Include every non-refundable expense. This is not COVID related so you should be covered.

Posted by
5904 posts

We have gotten money back due to heath issues a couple of times from travel Guard. The doctors’ reports had to be comprehensive, surgical notes, etc.

Posted by
89 posts

We had to cancel a trip for medical reasons and got refunded by Travel Guard. They only asked for a doctor's note, possibly because the refund amount was only a few hundred dollars.
When you deal with Travel Guard I would not elaborate on anything COVID related (i.e. couldn't start PT).
We did have to provide proof that the expenses would not be reimbursed. The insurance company is not going to reimburse the B&B deposit if you don't ask the B&B first and they refuse to refund.

Posted by
1846 posts

Unless something has drastically changed with Travel Guard's policies since we last took out trip insurance (now 2.5 years ago), you do NOT have to accept a voucher from the airline -- you can file for non-refundable expenses under a typical trip insurance policy. You will likely be asked to sign something essentially saying you are waiving the right to use any credit from the airline (insurance fraud if you later use it).

Re: your partner's health reason. IF (huge important word) her doctor says she is medically unable to travel at the time of her planned trip, then you would LIKELY be able to file claim and be reimbursed the funds for expenses that are otherwise non-refundable. You would need to open a claim, provide any detailed info required by Travel Guard, provide detailed receipts and show the penalties for cancellation (outlining what is non-refundable). They may require medical records. If medical records indicate her surgery was more elective vs. necessary during the precise time of your trip...that could mess up payment of the claim. So be certain the doctor sees her surgery as truly necessary and the time frame as necessary.........and sounds like the doctor would. The fact that the surgery was schedule to take place earlier and then was not able to take place because the pandemic did not allow such surgeries is a well-known fact and could be easily documented by the doctor. I would be really surprised if there were an issue.

But (again, unless something has changed) you would not be required to accept the airline's voucher, as you may or may not be able to use it in the future. What is insurable are any NON-refundable trip expenses that were insured, and a voucher is technically not a refund. And, as you pull out your receipts, be certain that you insured every single penny that was non-refundable as you made the various reservations and payments on those reservations. If your airline ticket cost $2000 and you only insured $1995, you could be out of luck, as you may not have followed the requirement of the policy to insure..

Also, whether or not you would be allowed to cross into Canada in September should have absolutely nothing to do with a medical-related claim.

So, when you file the claim, stick crisply for the reason for the claim and send in supporting documentation for the claim. I would suggest calling TravelGuard in advance of filing out the paperwork, again focusing solely on the facts related to the medical claim. Claim agents can specify exactly what they will need from you to proceed.

Also if you are not submitting the deposit to the small B&B as part of the claim, do not even mention it and do not submit paperwork for that. Keep it crisply focused on what you insured and what you are claiming.

I agree with the poster that suggested leaving the word Covid and Coronavirus OUT of the discussion, because if your partner's doctor says she is medically not able to travel at the time of your planned trip, that has nothing to do with the pandemic.

Not sure where your line of thought is going re: getting a pre-paid hotel expense reimbursed thru the credit card company is going. If your credit card does not offer some sort of travel insurance (as a benefit), and unless there was a PROMISE of a return of payment if you canceled by such and such time frame from the hotel (that they are now not honoring), then the credit card should have nothing to do with it, IF (operative word) the hotel is still in business.

Also, it is important that your airline was not on Travel Guard's will not insure list for strikes or financial default at the time you booked your trip. Many people do not check that before booking, and that can really mess up a claim (and anything related to the claim, if your claim is because you could not take the trip because of an airline issue). I realize this is likely NOT applicable in your case, but I add this for anyone else reading this thread.

Posted by
460 posts

Thanks, everyone -- this is very helpful information! I will ask my partner to contact her surgeon to let her know we'll need some documentation from her. There is a history of visits, plenty of x-rays, etc. and the reality is that she is going to need the surgery sooner than originally hoped. The short term stuff like the cortisone shot isn't cutting it. So I think the doctor would say she isn't able to engage in any active travel, and I know the medical records would back it up. They have already submitted worker's comp paperwork for review but hoping for a September surgery date. The fact that there is a history of knee issues shouldn't be a problem, since we have the pre-existing condition coverage. I will not mention COVID when I talk with them -- thanks for that advice.

In terms of the money we'd want back, as far as Travel Guard is concerned it's really not a lot. At this point we are only insured for about a total of $3000 (about $1500 each), and I suspect that before all is said and done we will have received $800 of that back from our RS deposit. So it would only be a total of $2200 for travel guard to reimburse (2 expenses -- prepaid multi night hotel stay at the beginning of the trip and plane tickets). Both of theses, plus our RS deposit, were registered in full with travel guard within a week of purchase.

There are a couple of other expenses we are going to be on the hook for, but if I can get the bulk of the money back, that would be great. I paid for a food tour in Rome with a 48 hour cancellation policy and didn't include that in our travel guard coverage because I thought I had the 48 hour cancellation -- which I guess is no longer the case, as the government has allowed vendors to issue vouchers in lieu of repayment. I also have another hotel reservation but it hasn't been charged to the credit card yet -- I'm assuming I will be able to cancel that one (72 hour cancellation) since they didn't actually charge my credit card yet???? And as I said earlier, I'm not going to ask the tiny B&B for my 50 euro deposit back....although I will ask whether they might be able to credit it toward a future stay, if we are lucky enough to be able to visit within the next few years.

We had been waiting for our tour to officially cancel, but since I'm 90% sure that is going to happen, I think I should just bite the bullet and call travel guard now. Call? Or fill out a form on line? Any recommendations on that front?

Thanks again!

Posted by
2355 posts

Call to file a claim. Have your pre-paid expenses so you know the amounts. Do not ask the doctor for anything until you know exactly what Travel Guard requires.

Posted by
1846 posts

Part of my brain says to wait until your RS tour is officially canceled, if that is what you will be basing your claim on.....suspecting it will be canceled will not be reason for claim.

But, the other part of my brain does not think it would be a bad idea to call TravelGuard so you can begin to get what will be needed together, so you can file immediately upon learning of your tour's cancellation and specifically what you might be refunded (which should correspond with whatever RS's cancellation policies specify in the way of non-redundables............but I would suspect you would get the entire paid amount returned since RS would be cancelling. Like with the airline, if a credit is offered for a future RS trip, you may or may not be able to use the credit at that time....or you may not WANT to use the credit.

If you, as you say, registered the entire RS trip with TravelGuard (which I take to mean that you paid trip insurance on that total, as you made each payment), then if the entire thing is refunded to you, then you could file for other expenses that you may not have covered (such as small independent side tours or other smaller expenses, provided those are otherwise non refundable to you by the merchant).....hope that makes sense. You can claim up to the maximum of the amount you insured that was non-refundable...TravelGuard does really not care WHAT expenses they are, provided you followed the terms of the policy and have proof of payment and non-refund terms.

Posted by
460 posts

Thanks everyone. Called travel guard and actually got through on the 2nd attempt. Explained we needed to cancel because of my travel companion's need for surgery and would be asking for airfare and prepaid hotel (and possibly tour deposit) money back. Max they would have to pay out would be less than $3200. Got emailed the forms. Medical form looks pretty straightforward but my partner will probably try to see if she can actually make and appointment with the doctor to fill out. Looks as though they will reimburse airfare if we're only offered (and do not accept) a voucher in lieu of refund.

Will take up to 9 weeks from the time we submit....and who knows if it will go through...but it's worth trying.

As for waiting for the tour to cancel and submitting due to the cancellation, my understanding is that trip insurance won't cover any expenses incurred under that scenario because they don't cover pandemics...which is why RS would be cancelling. Also, part of our trip was independent travel. I am not positive about this, and our airfare was purchased at the beginning of December and hotel beginning of January -- pre-knowledge of virus so it's possible they'd cover us this way...but I haven't heard of people who've been successful and it seems the travel insurance folks have saying no to pandemic claims down pat.

AND the reality is we do have a legit medical claim and preexisting conditions coverage. When we planned the trip this past fall we honestly thought PT and a shot would get her through the trip and she'd have the surgery in 2021....but things are truly much worse and climbing stairs and walking for long periods of time would be exceedingly challenging, if not impossible. I'll keep you updated (check back in about 0 weeks?)

Posted by
992 posts

We have no out of pocket loss so I’m going to ask for an extension for coverage for a future trip. I’ve read some have been successful with this. Who knows when safe travel will be the “thing” again so we may lose the cost of the insurance in the end.

Posted by
1846 posts

Ruth........ahhhhh......you are absolutely correct..........doing a medical claim has nothing to do with RS canceling the tour or not. So, yep, there is no reason to wait to see if the tour is canceled.

It MIGHT take some coordination to make sure you do not wind up getting double reimbursements, by then getting surprised with a refund from RS (depending on when his organization decides to formally cancel your tour.....but at the same time, if your medical claim is denied (and it sounds like it would not be), then you could always ask for the refund from RS (assuming the tour is ultimately canceled).

A couple of balls in the air...........but I have a feeling it will all work out in the end. I have a feeling TravelGuard would want you to officially cancel your trip (and submit paperwork showing such) in order to submit the claim..........but do NOT go by me...what do I know????

If your partner's doctor is saying no-go for the medical reason, then there is absolutely no reason to not go ahead and file now.

Sounds like you are on track.........TravelGuard was good to work with when we had to file claims two times (over many many many successful trips over two decades). One of those trips, their assistance in lining up a last-minute flight to get us home was the most valuable of all. We have been very profitable customers for them in the end.

Posted by
460 posts

Thanks, everyone!

Maggie, we have insured a number of trips with travel guard and never once filed a claim, so I think that will help our cause. I was a little confused when I spoke to the claims rep (who was understandably less than warm and fuzzy) as to the sequence of what we were to do -- file the claim first or cancel the reservations first? (She did ask for our airline and confirmation number -- but didn't want the hotel or tour info.....maybe they just need something to open a claim?) I'll need to call back before we actually submit the paperwork and make sure we're doing it the right way.

The medical form is short and seems pretty straightforward. So our first step will be to get the paperwork to the doctor and ask her to complete it and return it to us asap. Once that's done, I can call and find out whether they want us to officially attempt to cancel our reservations (attempt because I'm not sure how hard it will be to reach a human being, especially at the hotel in Rome) prior to sending them all the paperwork. It is possible (I'd say about 50-50) that RS will cancel our tour between now and the time we've got everything back from the doctor to submit the claim. Hopefully that would make things easier....we can get the direct refund from RS (to save for our next tour, fingers crossed) and travel guard will only have to deal with our claims for the hotel and airlines.

The more we think about it, the more we know this is the right thing to do. My partner managed a RS tour with a cortisone shot and a lot of advil two years ago, but things really are much worse now. We had originally hoped to make it through our vacation and our son's college graduation (supposedly May 2021 but who knows what's going to happen with that, as well!) and have the surgery summer 2021. This way hopefully she'll be able to move around with a lot less pain before the graduation....and in time for our next foray to Europe. It would be great if that could be in Fall 2021....but at this point it seems too soon to know.

Posted by
2355 posts

Ruth, don’t over think this. You get no extra credit for having no prior claims. Nor do you help your claim by trying to save the company money. It confuses them and looks more like you are trying to finagle something. Simplify this: cancel your tour, your fights, take no vouchers or credits unless you are absolutely certain you’ll be able to use them (and who can be?). You can’t go anyway because of a health issue, right? Submit your tour deposit as a loss unless you want the credit RSE is offering. Frankly, I’d take the money from the insurance company but your call. I’d like to think RS will be back in the tour business in ‘21 or ‘22 but who knows? As long as your expenses are equal to or less than your coverage amount you are fine.

Posted by
14 posts

My husband and I cancelled our trip to Scotland due to leave 04/01/20. Smack in the middle of coronavirus. I had fallen in February and fractured the bone beneath my left knee. British Air would only refund the taxes we paid on the business class tickets. Luckily I had purchased a Travel Guard policy for this trip. I just heard today the claim was approved. It was a bit of a hassle to fax documents back to them, but eventually glad I did. It’s very helpful to call them if you need clarification on documentation . Good luck.

Posted by
460 posts

Thanks! I submitted all the paperwork to travel guard a couple of weeks ago. We were able to get a certification from the surgeon and even the scheduling information with the surgery date....so I'm cautiously optimistic. They told us to expect at least a 12 week wait. I'll let you know what happens.