No Refunds, No Exchanges & No Credits
Use it or lose it.
It’s a standard policy for airfare, cruise reservations, and tickets to events like concerts.
For international travel “use it or lose it” frequently extends to ground transportation, activities, tours and lodging which is why travel insurance was invented.
Reservations are Normally 100% Prepaid and Non-Refundable
Without Travel insurance you will not receive refunds for missed nights lodging, unused transportation, un-ridden horses, un-zipped ziplines etc. as a result of illness, weather delays, missed flights, changing your mind, airline strikes, etc.
In Costa Rica reservations are typically prepaid (or the full cost is pre-authorized to your credit card). If you cancel or do not show up most are not refundable. It’s not malicious or greedy it simply reflects the reality that if you don’t show up for your Scuba lesson it’s unlikely anyone else is going to fly in from Manitoba at the last minute to take your spot.
PLEASE consider obtaining Travel Insurance for your Costa Rica vacation. We personally use the free insurance included with some premium credit cards.
Trip Insurance Cost & Benefits?
When shopping it helps to have an idea of what it costs to insure your trip. Costs and coverage vary by company and your age (when emergency medical coverage is included).
We found quotes from $148 to $362 to cover the $4,222 total cost of a two week trip for two 50 year olds.
The cheapest had basic coverage and limits on valid reasons for cancellation. The highest cost plan was of course more generous and flexible.
|Cost of Trip||$4,222||$4,222|
|Cost of Travel Insurance Plan||$148||$362|
|Emergency medical transportation||$50,000||$1,000,000|
|Existing medical condition cancellation||$4,222||$4,222|
|Travel company goes out of business||$4,222||$4,222|
|Collision/Theft Rental Car Coverage||$50,000|
|Electronic/Sporting Equipment Coverage||$1,000|
All of the plans require valid reasons for claims – these may include death, injury, birth and illness for the travelers and immediate family members; air travel problems due to weather, strikes etc. There were a few oddball reasons like being the victim of an assault, jury duty and your house burning down. Whatever happens check the fine print; you may be covered.
Only travelguard.com ($345) included “We just decided not to go” as a valid reason for cancelling. Some others include reasons like “Required to work” which could probably be substituted for “we changed our minds” with a note from your boss.
How & Where to Buy Travel Insurance
We don’t sell insurance and we do not receive commissions or any other kind of payment from the companies listed below. We recommend travel insurance because we have seen a number of people burned by the unexpected when traveling without it.
Free Trip Insurance
We generally don’t pay for trip insurance. Instead we use the free trip cancellation and travel insurance included in our Citi – Double Cash credit card. We are automatically covered when we pay for travel with our card.
The Citi coverage on the business MasterCard we have is similar to the less expensive paid plans. Check with your card issuer for details of your credit card travel insurance plan (if any).
- Up to $3,000 per person per trip refunded if the trip has to be cancelled or is delayed due to death or illness of any of the travelers, family members or pets, weather, terrorism and a number of other reasons.
- Covers hotels, transportation, tours and other non-refundable travel expenses
- It also includes $250,000 Common Carrier accident insurance, emergency flights home, travel for significant others or dependents to come to you if you’re hospitalized.
- Our credit card benefit does not include the payment of any medical bills. It is not health insurance.
Nothing in life is free, “there must be a catch” you say – you’re right. The average consumer pays several hundred to a few thousand dollars in hidden bank and credit card fees every year. They are called merchant discount fees and are added into the price of everything you buy (whether you use credit cards or not). The fees total about $50,000,000,000.00 a year (yes that’s the correct number of zeros) and taking advantage of “free” travel insurance is just one way you can get a tiny fraction of it back.
Making a Claim
Regardless of whether you purchase coverage or use a credit card benefit you will need documentation to make a claim.
A certified licensed travel planner like Pacific Trade Winds (recommended) will provide you with an itemized invoice or fax/mail it directly to the claim office in the event you need to file.
On the other hand, if you book your travel independently you will need to provide written documentation of each non-refundable air ticket, hotel stay, tour, transfer and activity. If any partial refunds have been issued or if any credits for future travel are available.