Learning a Lot About Travel Insurance.

For years, I never bought travel insurance. But as I’ve gotten old and creaky, it makes sense to insure against getting sick or hurt far from home. That could certainly cost a small fortune.

And so, earlier this year—anticipating several trips to the mainland and one to Italy—I bought an annual policy from Travel Guard, an A.I.G. company. Today I called them to start the process of filing a small claim. Unknown
Two weeks ago, I was en route to London aboard a Eurostar train when some people who apparently work for the ferries that crisscross the English Channel initiated what the French refer to as a manifestation — a demonstration. Specifically, the demonstrators set fire to a stack of wooden railroad ties at the mouth of the tunnel which runs beneath the channel and connects France and England.
French authorities closed the tunnel and announced it would be out of service indefinitely. Eurostar officials were much more up beat and told us—as we were being returned to Paris—that they expected to be operating normally in the morning.
As soon as the train came to a stop at Gare du Nord, I scrambled out onto the street and managed to snag the last room in a small hotel very close to the railway station. At that point, however, I had officially become a no-show at the London hotel where I had booked a room for that same night.
The circumstances seem quite simple to me: through no fault of my own, I had incurred the unforeseen expense of a hotel room in Paris and also had to pay 269 pounds (more than $400) for a very nice room in London, which I never saw. And so this morning I called Travel Guard to initiate a claim to recoup the money I was charged by the London hotel.
It was a rather brief call. Apparently, what I call a demonstration, Travel Guard calls a disturbance … and disturbances are not specifically listed in the policy as a circumstance covered by the policy. On that basis, my claim was denied.
At least I now know the difference between a demonstration and a disturbance. It’s about 430 dollars.