Travel Troubleshooter vs. Access America travel insurance

Americans buy travel insurance less often that Europeans; is that because we have no reason to trust the insurance companies?

This traveler called Access America twice and asked if she would be covered for a missed connection. Both times the agent on the phone answered yes, you’ll be covered. But the troubleshooter reminds us we need to read the contract:

Check out Part 6, Section H of your contract for what is — and isn’t — covered in the event of a missed connection. You would have been covered for up to $300, if you were delayed by a traffic accident or bad weather.

In other words we can’t trust the agents we speak to on the phone. They say “yes” when they should say “yes in very rare cases but most of the time we’ll deny your claim”.

”It was a confluence of events that caused Ms. Wolf’s delay,” a spokeswoman for Access America said. “None of them were covered under her policy.” I have no problem with this in general, but the fact that we can’t trust Access America phone agents tells me that this is a company I’ll never trust to insure my vacation.

Back to my original question. I think Americans don’t buy travel insurance because we don’t want to hire a lawyer to figure out what the contract means. And since we don’t trust the insurance companies to give us a straight answer we risk vacationing without insurance.

Filed Under: Travel insurance

Comments (16)

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  1. Rita Caton says:

    DO NOT TRUST what the agent tells you on the phone! My daughter, myself and friends were traveling to Cabo for a weeks vacation. My daughter misplaced her drivers license, so I called US Airs, our airline to fly out on. I explained that my daughter misplaced her drivers licence and asked if her birth cert. and her picture college id would work for id. The agent of couse told me yes, several times. The day came to travel, we drive 180+ miles to the airport, spent $100.00 on a room near the airport, spent $300.00+ on clothing for Cabo. At 4:30am. we checked our lougage in, received our boarding passes, go through the long line for security. The guy checking id and ticket info. asked my daughter how old she was, she replyed 19 and we were told she needed a government approved picture id. I tryed to explain what we were told by the agent over the phone, but that did not matter. He sent us back to the ticket lady, who sent us to another, not so nice person, for us to be told to bad, your daughter can not go. Throught the tears we waited onother hour for them to find our lougage, it was already on the plane.

  2. James Trotta says:

    Sorry to hear that Rita. I’ll add US Air to the list of travel companies never to use.

  3. brian sheriff says:

    So sorry to hear about Rita and her family’s woes – actually abuse. I’d like to ask her a question – Rita, were you travelling international? In which case a passport would have been necessary for your daughter to board the plane – unless a bilateral agreement allowed for travel without a passport. But in that case a form of ID to prove nationality would be necessary. And there is were my beef lies – a driver’s license is not an ID – it is only proof that your daughter has been permitted to drive in the state that issued it.

    An ID would have to be a document issued purely for the purpose of identification – something the US (assuming you’re American) does not provide to the civilian population. US Airs was totally out of line by insisting on your daughter providing a document they are not legally permitted to use for their business purposes. If they don’t issue ID’s at time of ticket purchase they cannot ask you to provide a document that does not exist. Trust me – you can sue them for breach of contract – failing to fly you…

  4. Mike says:

    Cabo San Lucas (Mexico) is an international destination, but as of this date a passport is not required to return to the United States. You only need your birth certificate and a “government issued photo id”. While in most cases, a drivers license is not a true proof of identity in the strictest legal sense, the feds have deemed it good enough in these cases. Please also note that it was not US Air who denied boarding. Permission to pass into the secured area of the terminal was denied by “security” presumably the T.S.A. who answers to Homeland Security, not US Air. The info given by the US Air agent is normally correct.

    Your situation is unfortunate in that you ran into “supercop” who went by the strictest interpretation of the rules. There is a fine line in that the airline controls boarding, but T.S.A. controls acces to the terminal. The other issue at work is what documents are acceptable to enter the U.S. from a foreign country. When arriving from Mexico, the documents listed above are required, however in cases of lost documents it is allowable for relatives to sign affadavits affirming the persons identity. This may not be available at the airport where a separate set of rules prevails. Confused yet? When you run into these situations, it is best to politely but firmly request to speak to the next highest person of authority and appeal to their common sense and reason. No guarantees, but worth a try.

    My sympathy for your tough situation.

  5. Lisa says:

    I purchased travel insurance from Access America for two very expensive Broadway tickets for my daughter and myself. The week before our trip, my 85 year old Dad passed away. I submitted the death certificate and tickets to Access America based on the fact that a family member had died which prevented us using the tickets. This was the information stated on the TicketMaster website for Access America. Several weeks later I receive a claim denial letter from Access America as a result of an “exception” clause for a pre-existing mental health disorder. Upon examination of my Dad’s death certificate, the physician present at the time of death – not his personal physician – listed the cause of death as dementia. My Dad had Parkinson’s Disease and Stage IV colon cancer. NO! We didn’t do an autopsy – who would on an 85 year old!

    What is unconscionable is that it isn’t enough for Access America that there was a death that prevented using the tickets that were insured by their company. The issue becomes the cause of the death. This should be clearly stated in their advertisements – and it wasn’t. The fact of the matter is that even if my Dad had passed away from a fractured toe – I wasn’t able to attend the function that was insured BECAUSE HE DIED!

    I think Access America is insensitive and a rouse to get people to buy their insurance plan while they have no intention to pay claims. They have incorporated exclusionary rules into their contracts that discriminate against elderly by giving give loose definitions of mental illnes that have not been previously “defined” by any source as such. Furthermore, a large number of medical sources refute the fact that one can even die from dementia.

    I appealed their decision and the findings where the same. I intend to send a letter of complaint to the Better Business Bureau as well as their governing board.

    BEWARE OF ACCESS AMERICA INSURANCE!

  6. SteveL says:

    AccessAmerica trip insurance is a scam. A waste of money and not worth it. I have bought it many times for trip cancellation insurance and the one time I tried to make a claim- DENIED! A total pain. They make you jump through paperwork hoops then you have to constantly check the web site for claim status as they will not contact you. So, you’ll eventually find your claim is denied. I found it to be a scam and will never buy it again. Good luck if you do. AceesAmerica=scam.

  7. Sanford Morris says:

    I agree with ALL who say AccessAmerica is a scam. I had an emergency trip to see my sister with cancer. While we were there she passed. We had to change our flight to go back home earlier than anticipated. YES, AccessAmerica denied my claim because it was a pre-existing condition, yes cancer has a way of doing that. I would suggest that they will not cover expenses if you, family, relatives or friends are traveling and have a pre-existing condition causing you to have to change flights. In my case the person I was visiting had the condition and I was denied my claim. AccessAmerica is a sham and condoned by USAIR as an insurance carrier.

  8. FRustrated says:

    We bought Access American insurance through Delta. It was misleading and deceptive. You couldn’t find our “policy” on the Access AMerica website. When we filled our claim, they gave us a claim number and then left us hanging. We kept checking the webiste and it said NOTHING about claim incomplete or waiting for paperwork. When we finally called the day before our trip was suppose to start, they said we were not covered for the reason we were cancelling. At that point we couldn’t even go on the flight because we had cancelled the hotels already. Now we are out a lot of money. Will never buy insurance again through Access American.

  9. Belizean Beach Bum says:

    ACCESS AMERICA’S SNOW JOB

    I booked my daughter’s holiday visit thru Orbitz who use Access America as their supplier of trip insurance.

    My daughter’s Boxing Day flight out of Victoria to Vancouver was canceled due to a snow storm. Air Canada’s first available rebooking was 5 days later and it required an extra day layover in San Salvador so we were looking at a 6 day interruption on a 16 day vacation. I went online and found flights for the next day on American Airlines thru Seattle. We had trip interruption & cancellation insurance so they would cover us for the difference right? Well I got my daughter to call Access America to double check (I couldn’t call because Access America doesn’t accept collect calls from Belize) and they told her “no problem”. I booked the flights & got my daughter to cancel the rebooks. I also went to Access America’s website & initiated a travel claim.

    The net cost to us for the flight changes totaled $536US but Access America is refusing to pay. In the fine print of their insurance policy under cancellations due to weather it states “Your airline, cruise line, or tour operator or travel supplier stops offering all services for at least 24 consecutive hours where you’re departing, arriving or making a connection…”

    So it does not matter that Air Canada couldn’t fly between Victoria & Vancouver for 2 days or they couldn’t get us replacement flights until 5 days later, as long as they could make one flight to Timbuktu, we aren’t getting reimbursed.

  10. Jim says:

    That is evil. People wonder why travel insurance isn’t popular in America…

  11. Deb says:

    I have a similar horror story regarding Access America. Join me in reporting them to the Better Business Bureau… here’s the link.

    http://www.bbb.org/richmond/business-reviews/insurance-companies/mondial-assitance-in-richmond-va-4001660/

  12. Roy Manry says:

    Yes, Access America is a scam. I purchased it via delta.com (real surprised Delta offers this company as fake as it is) just in case my return needed to be changed. Guess what, it did. I called Access America and they said “no problem, you’re covered”. Instead they denied my claim for a 150.00 change fee.

    If you google their name Access America and type fraud with it your screen dipalys many other examples like this and above. Actually some real nightmares from travellers who really thought they were insured against any misfortune on their trip.

    Let the buyer beware!!! Access America is 100% a scam. You’re better off to take your chances, or else see what your credit card company offers.

  13. Tom says:

    Total Scam is right. The only people you can believe is the ones who tell you your claim is denied. They are telling you the truth. Don’t ever expect the claim to be paid no matter what the policy says, they will find a way around it. Been trying to get a 100.00 claim honored since August…..I finally gave up, they won.

  14. Patti Spallone says:

    I thought I would be one of the first to slam Access America but I see I have to stand in line. Because I travel a lot and had elderly parents, I decided that it would be a good idea to purchase travel insurance in case one of them should die.

    I believe that Access America should present their insurance policy to potential customers by stating that you should never consider purchasing their insurance if you have elderly parents… that will die eventually… mostly due to “pre-existing conditions”. After all, who does not have a pre-existing condition (as determined by Access America) by the time they are ninety two years old. Of course, there is always the slight chance they they could die by falling off a ladder fixing their roof at ninety two. But would you take out a policy based on this slight chance. I don’t think so. You take out the policy because you strongly believe everyone dies and that chances are greater at age 92.

    After six months of phone calls and paper work, I too gave up on trying to get reimbursed for a cancelled flight due to the death of my mother. Yep, you guessed it. She died of a pre-existing condition. Old age!!! And everyone wonders why insurance has such a bad name!!!!!

  15. Godfrey says:

    Access America is a scam. They denied my claim due to a pre-existing health issue about my son. My 17 year old son never has any health issue. A qoute from their letter – “The definition of an existing condition does not required that the condition be treated or even diagnosed.”

    Basically means, if you have a health problem from birth to the time you buy the travel insurance you did not know of, your out of luck.

    Report this scam to your state agency that regulate insurance, BBB and your local news. People need to be inform of Access America scam.

  16. Carol says:

    Don’t buy this for airline travel—it only covers death and illness—refuse any other delay reason for travel. I certainly will never pay for this again. Wish I had checked reviews b4 purchasing. You have to go through 10 pages of

    disclaimers–they should say upfront–only for illness and death reasons

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