Letters: Always be prepared

Travelers outside Canada should read insurance policy closely

Your headline story in the Sooke News Mirror on March 18 regarding the “nightmare” experience faced by the DeRoccos during their vacation in Mexico deserves some additional comments.

Whenever hospitalization is required anywhere outside Canada, it is standard procedure to present any hospital with a valid credit card as a form of guarantee that services provided will be paid for.

The next step is to immediately contact your insurance company back home, who, after verification of your policy, will contact said hospital confirming that payment will be forthcoming.

All major reputable Canadian insurance companies provide their policy holders with a 1-800 number for assistance on a 24-hour basis, plus a direct line accepting collect calls.

The couple failed to mention the name of their insurance company who supposedly left them with phone numbers that were, “unreachable and the service unacceptable.” If so, it would  be interesting to hear from the unnamed insurance company to get their side of the story.

The couple purchased an all-inclusive vacation package with a charter airline. Remember the term – charter. Their seats are pre-sold as part of that package. Changing the return date could result in denied boarding of two other vacationers booked on that very same return flight.

Reason why changes in reservation are not permitted. When booked on a charter you use it or lose it. That’s a pre-condition.

So, don’t blame Air Transat for their refusal to rebook you on a different return. WestJet on the other hand is a scheduled airline operation and has the flexibility to accommodate changes if needed. At a price of course. Again, travel insurance covers that aspect in case of a genuine emergency.

When traveling abroad, be well informed and prepared before leaving. It can save you a lot of unexpected frustration.

Ed J.M. Broekman

Sooke