A lot of you are like me. You run through the airport from Point A to Point B. Run…run…run!
You got your boarding pass in hand. Your suitcase, tackle and rod tubes are in the “gentle hands” of baggage handlers. Depending on the time of day, you get to the gate and your most critical concern is getting to either Starbucks for your morning latte or to the nearest airport sports bar to wrap your hands around something icy. Let vacation begin!
You pass all the usual airport hot spots.
Nope, don’t need See’s candy. Don’t need a magazine or novel. You don’t need a t-shirt either.
And you run by the booth that says “Travel Insurance.” You give it a glance but not a second thought.
That was me for years. I didn’t even know what it was. I didn’t really care either. What could possibly go wrong?
But, after a zillion miles of travel…after working here in Baja for two decades and over 1,000 fishing clients-a-year…regretfully, stuff does happen.
Honest, it’s rare! Don’t panic. You probably have a greater chance of getting in an accident on the way to the airport than something critical happening on vacation.
But, for the same reason, we all have car insurance and home insurance, you’re playing those slim odds. It’s better to have it and not need it…than to need it and not have it!
And, the longer I’m in this business, the more I see the value in it. Because stuff happens. Life happens.
I’ve seen medical emergencies like busted legs and fingers; Appendicitis; allergic reactions; heart problems; diabetic problems; heatstroke, hooks-in-fingers; inspect bites; slip-and-fall; etc.
Some are just accidents. No one’s fault. Some could have been prevented by the person or perhaps with just a little less alcohol consumption.
There are others like lost luggage; lost medications (or forgotten medications!) and then there’s canceled flights; missed flights: fender-benders and hotel problems (one hotel decided to go on strike several years ago and simply locked clients out of their rooms!).
And then there are the weather-related situations (“acts of God”) that simply happen. There are hurricanes or smaller weather-related situations that can cause part or entire vacation cancelations.
Last week there were two days when the Port Captain simply did not let any boats out of the marina because it was too rough. You just never know.
Last year, when devastating hurricane Odile that slammed into Baja with historic impact, many of the items in the list above were quite evident.
There are still folks waiting for refunds and credits and having to deal with that nightmare. Some inexpensive travel insurance can help alleviate much of that.
Living here in Baja, where facilities might not always be the best, I’ll tell you…we have medical insurance that covers us. Jill also purchased a policy whereby in the event of a serious catastrophe like storm or civil unrest, etc. and we’re sitting on our rooftop, they will basically send in the Seal Team 6 to evacuate us out.
While that might be a bit extreme for the majority, regular trip insurance is pretty economical. And it saves a lot of headaches.
Because, let me tell you…getting refunds from many operators in Mexico is non-existent or very difficult.
Many simply don’t offer any refunds. Some may take months. (Do you really want to spend all that frustrating time on long-distance calls and e-mails? How good is your conversational Spanish? ).
In extreme situations, it will probably cost you more to bring legal action even if your booking agent is American based, let alone trying to sue an operator in Mexico. Litigation in Mexico is a maze you don’t want to get into. Danger. Danger!
Airlines are big and handle things like this all the time, but you still may have to jump through hoops.
A major hotel chain like the Marriot or other international chains may give you some relief. They can be really great…or not.
Or they’ll tell you that you have to deal directly with the local hotel franchise in which case you better get ready for some anxiety time. You can pretty much forget it if you booked at Jose’s Cantina and Palapa Hotel. Good luck reaching Jose!
If you google “Trip Insurance” you’ll be surprised.
You can actually insure against all of these crisis pretty easily and even “doctor” the policy to cover only the things you need. You can individualize medical, luggage, transportation, activities, etc.
Or, you can simply get a comprehensive policy that covers everything!
Just for example, I found one online plan to cover a hypothetical trip to Mexico for one week from the U.S. I estimated the cost of the trip at $2,000 ($400 for airlines and the rest for hotel, fishing, diving, etc.).
For $72, the policy included things like:
$2000 in trip cancellation / $2000 in trip interruption
$500 baggage lost
$200 baggage delay
$150 for more than 6 hours travel delay up to $300
$10,000 medical ($50 deductible)
$500 dental (never know when that flare up happens or you crack a tooth on ice)
$50,000 medical evacuation
And, I could adjust any of those areas for paying a bit more or a bit less!
For $500, I almost hoped they lose my bag with Walmart brand underwear, socks and my toothbrush and toothpaste!
And there are many other plans as well from a myriad insurance carriers. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of pain. Something to think about next time!