When I read an email to me, I had to stop and take a serious pause.
Shannon O’Keefe with Consumers Advocate — we do our best to take complicated subjects and make them understandable.
I just found [one of] your [wine] article[s] while dreaming of far, distant, and magical wine flights for my wife and I. 🙂 What a smart piece of writing!
Our team just discovered a bit of information I wanted to run by you, though.
In revamping our guide to travel insurance, we discovered a person almost always voids insurance coverage if they’re inebriated in any way …Basically if you’re drunk and get hurt, you’re not covered.
My story was about a business trip, and I was being chauffeured from one place to the next, so there would be no inebriated collisions to report. But, insurance for when I might fall and break a leg, or some such unexpected occurrence? The thought just never occurred to me. Along came the email that made me sit up and take notice. I do travel in my wine writing work, including abroad… Still, I hadn’t even thought about that twisted ankle (mentioned in the article below) and what would happen next.
So, Let’s Explore Why
This really caught my eye, and makes me want to spit more than ever, people…
What about the rest of the trip? Your visit to the hospital for your twisted ankle? The missed flight in Fiji?
Unfortunately for you, you voided the rest of your coverage by being drunk. Standard in most travel insurance policies is a drug and alcohol exclusion that won’t pay out if you’re intoxicated. You were drunk when you twisted your ankle, which means that your hospital visit was not covered. And because your injury caused the delay which caused you to ultimately miss your connecting flight, that most likely wouldn’t be covered either.
This is the closest thing to that mythical “get out of paying all claims free” card as you’re likely to find in a travel insurance policy. And, to be frank, it makes sense not to cover incidents that happen while the insured is intoxicated. Of course there is some wiggle room in what constitutes intoxication. If you had a glass of wine with dinner and injured yourself somehow, your medical coverage will probably be honored. But if you sprain your throwing wrist by playing four straight hours of beer pong, you’re on your own.
…For the final word on what to look for in a travel insurance policy, we asked Megan Cruz for an insider’s perspective of what she looks for when she buys travel insurance (yes, the Executive Director of the US Travel Insurance Association buys travel insurance almost every time she travels). She answered: “I’m going to look at what’s covered and I’m also going to look at the limits of the insurance offered by the carrier, and I always read the fine print. I know those coverage limits so I’m not surprised later. I think about other costs in addition to my flight.”
Sobering, I know. I’ve been in the wine business since 1993, been to 43 of our 50 states and to Europe (Portugal, Italy, and France) and the Caribbean. I’ve been very lucky. But, since I ruptured the meniscus in my right leg this past August (tripping over something, carrying my yoga bucket, and landing HARD on both knees on a hardwood floor… surgery suggested), what would I have done away from my home? My torn ligament meant that I was bedridden for a month, for starters, and the next month was spent learning to walk again. How could anyone have handled that from afar?
I’m going to call my primary insurance provider… That’s my solution. I hope you think about it, too. If you’ve also traveled for work, you know; but have you also thought about “what if?” and not done anything about it yet? If not, please think about it.