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Will TripMate cover costs for trip canceled for medical reasons?

After Stanley Wales canceled his diving trip to Bonaire, he filed a travel insurance claim with TripMate. What’s taking them so long to respond?

Will TripMate cover costs for trip canceled for medical reasons?Peter Dejong/Associated Press

Q. My wife and I planned to travel to Bonaire for scuba diving late last year. Before our departure, I went to the hospital with abnormal bleeding. My urologist told me not to travel, especially out of the country.

I canceled my plane tickets on Delta Air Lines and my reservations at Belmar Bonaire Oceanfront Apartments. Delta gave me credit for future use, which I have used, so no problem there.

I contacted TripMate, my travel insurance company, to begin my claim for the rest of the trip. I have been waiting for months for my refund. I have contacted TripMate several times and keep getting the same message that my case is under review. Can you please help me with the refund?


STANLEY WALES, Perry Hall, Md.

A. TripMate should have paid you by now. I reviewed your claim. You had a travel insurance policy that covered cancellations for medical reasons. You also had a note from your urologist, on letterhead, explaining that you couldn’t travel.

Now that’s a slam dunk if I’ve ever seen one.

So what went wrong? I suspect your claim came in at a busy time for TripMate. Simple insurance claims take only a few days to process under most circumstances. But higher-value claims (usually anything over $1,000) have to be reviewed more carefully, and you might have to wait weeks or even months to get your check.

I know that because I’ve also had to wait months for my own travel insurance claim to be paid. It can test your patience, even if you fully understand what’s going on behind the scenes.

TripMate asks for 30 days to process its claims. By the time you contacted me, you had waited far longer than that. You can reach out to the company directly to inquire about a delayed claim. If you don’t receive a response, you can contact someone at a higher level. I list the names, numbers, and e-mails of the TripMate customer service executives on my consumer advocacy site at www.elliott.org/company-contacts/trip-mate/.


I contacted TripMate on your behalf. A few days later, you received a check for the full amount of your claim.

Christopher Elliott is the chief advocacy officer of Elliott Advocacy, a nonprofit organization that helps consumers resolve their problems. Elliott’s latest book is “How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler” (National Geographic). Contact him at elliott.org/help or chris@elliott.org.