Travelocity’s Travel Protection Plan (BerkelyCare) Trip Cancellation: It works!

About a month ago, I had to cancel a trip to St. Croix due to illness. I had booked the vacation package (flight + hotel) through Travelocity.com so I called them to cancel my trip less than 24 hours before my scheduled departure.  After deducting non-refundable fees (imposed by the airline and the hotel), they were only able to refund me about $40 of my $800+ trip cost.  I was a bit disheartened at the thought of losing that much money, but I remembered that, at the time of booking, I also purchased Travelocity’s Trip Protection Plan at a cost of $44.95, so I still had hope of recovering most, if not all, of what I had lost.  After all, according to the terms of the Protection Plan, cancelling a trip due to illness (of yourself, an immediate family member or traveling companion) seems to be a situation that is covered by the plan “up to total trip cost”.

When I cancelled my trip on the phone with Travelocity, the customer service representative gave me the phone number to reach BerkelyCare, the company that administers the Travel Protection Plan, and told me that I should contact them as soon as possible to file a claim.  So, I hung up with Travelocity and immediately called BerkelyCare to begin the process.  The BerkelyCare representative that I spoke with was friendly and extremely helpful. I was really happy with the way he interacted with me because it seemed like his desire to help was more genuine than that of many customer service representatives these days.  He took down my contact information, my Travelocity trip id, and the reason for my trip cancellation.  He told me that, since I was cancelling due to illness, I would need to get a doctor to verify that the illness prevented me from traveling or else the claim would definitely not be approved.  (I made sure to see a doctor the next day so that the illness could be documented.)  He then provided me a claim number and told me that they would be e-mailing me a copy of the claim form within the next few days.  Once I filled out the forms, I would need to send them back to BerkelyCare and, from that point, he estimated that it would take 4-6 weeks for the claim to be processed.

Within 48 hours of speaking to the BerkelyCare representative, I received the simple 3-page claim form via e-mail, as promised.  On these forms, I just had to provide information on how much my trip cost, how much of a refund I was expecting, the reason for cancelling my trip,  and brief information about the medical condition that prevented me from traveling.  There was also a half-sheet form that my doctor needed to fill out where she could confirm the nature of the illness, the date I was seen in her office,  and whether or not she believed the illness prevented me from traveling.  (It took the doctor’s office over a week to fill out their portion of the form, but since they were swamped with all of the swine-flu patients and other sick people coming through, I can’t really fault them.)

Once the forms were completely filled out, I attached a copy of my trip itinerary (a printout of the trip confirmation e-mail from Travelocity that included the detailed flight and hotel information) as they requested and mailed it to BerkelyCare.  After about a week, I called BerkelyCare to confirm that they had received my claim forms.  Another friendly customer service representative told me that they had received it and that it was being actively worked on.  She told me to call back about a week later if I hadn’t already heard from them to get an update.  So, a little over a week later, I gave them another call to check the status of my claim.  The BerkleyCare representative that I spoke with informed me that my claim had been approved and that a check to cover the cost of my trip (other than what had already been refunded) had just been mailed to me that day!  I was ecstatic!

I received the check two days later and, just like that, I had all of my money back!  It took just about 5 weeks from the day that I first called BerkelyCare (and only about 3 weeks from the time they received my claim forms) for me to have my refund check in hand. Not bad!  All in all, I consider this to have been a positive experience… except for the illness, of course.  I admit that before I knew that my claim had been approved, I was worried that there was some fine print that I had missed or that BerkleyCare would find some kind of loophole to prevent me from getting all of my money back, but neither of those was the case!*

So, based on this experience, I would definitely say that it’s worth spending the extra money to purchase Travel Protection Plan when booking through Travelocity.  You never know when something is going to prevent you from traveling, and for a cost of only about $45 dollars (relatively little as compared to what could have been lost), I’d rather have the peace of mind of knowing that I can get my money back.

However, before cancelling any trip for which you are hoping to get a Travel Protection/Insurance refund, I would make sure to call the plan administrator, give them all of the exact details of your situation, and do your best to confirm that you are entitled to a refund under the plan that you purchased.  I’m sure that there are some situations in which you believe you should get your money back but your provider will disagree.   Of course, there are times where you will have to cancel due to reasons that are not covered by your plan, and in those cases, you will unfortunately be out of luck in terms of getting a refund.  In those cases, check to see if postponing your trip (i.e. setting new dates of travel with  your agent/airline/hotel) is a less costly option than cancelling and losing all of your money outright.

Good luck!

* I am, in no way, affiliated with Travelocity or BerkelyCare. I do not receive any compensation for what I write about them and my opinions stated above are based on my personal experience with their services in October and November of 2009. The circumstances and outcomes of others’ experiences may be different from mine.

12 Comments

    • Sorry to hear about your bad experience with Travelocity. I never had a problem getting someone from Travelocity on the phone via their toll free number so I’m surprised to hear about it taking you 6 hours. That’s definitely unreasonable and I’d be interested in hearing whether other people have had similar experiences.

      As for the rudeness, I’ve found that’s relatively common among customer service representatives (for all kinds of companies), so whenever I encounter someone uncooperative, I don’t hesitate to hang up and call back to get a different rep.

  1. BerkelyCare was the travel insurance we purchased for our cruise with Royal Carribean and it was totally worthless. The cruise line was not kid friendly so they made the trip miserable and to make matters worse our luggage was taken from the private owned beach in Haiti and my daughters computer bag never made it back to the luggage pick-up area in port. Upset about our loss but somewhat relieved that we had insured everything we went through the pain stacking task of filling out reports, gathering info., and finding old receipts to copy and send along with report. After several weeks and a few letters back and forth letting us know the claim is being processed, we get a letter from BerkelyCare stating they’re not honoring our claims. Now, this is the first time, I’ve actually had to use my insurance and I’ve taken 4 cruises and I had to put in a claim on almost everyone of use to have it denied stating we didn’t notify them in writing. Shouldn’t they have told me that when I notified them on the phone that I needed to make a written report. I’m not going to battle this one, I’m calling an attorney because, this vacation was such a nightmare, I wouldn’t mind suing the pants off Royal Carribean only I’ve never had a civil suit in my life so I’m going to need some help.

    • Wow, I’m really sorry to hear about your ordeal with Royal Caribbean and BerkelyCare. It definitely sounds frustrating!

      I’m fortunate in that I’ve never dealt with having to have possessions replaced/paid for through a travel insurance policy, so

      I can’t comment on that. I hope that, whatever course you follow from here, that you get the results that you deserve. I agree that it sounds like what you’ve been through sounds infuriating. Good luck with everything.

      All I can say is that when I had to cancel a trip insured by BerkleyCare, the process to file a claim and get all of my money back was easy for me. I guess I consider myself lucky for that.

      • It’s been an ordeal and now they are saying they lost my paperwork that I send on the 29th of Sept. requesting that they reconsider their decisions to deny all 4claims and to issue the cruise credit to me rather than my 14yr.old. If you have ever taken a cruise would you mind telling me which company you preferred? I have sailed with princess, royal caribbean, and carnival. I would have to say that Princess is the best for adults and carnival is best for the family and kids. Royal Caribbean wasn’t good for much and I was greatly disappointed. Thanks for your feadback.

  2. Everyone should check first what coverage and protection is provided by their credit card (AmEx, Visa, Mastercard) company used to pay for the trip. That coverage is usually very comprehensive and redundant with any additional trip protection plan. Also, certain home owner and renter insurance plans (e.g. Chubb insurance) offer certain travel insurance. Just call your credit card company and/or home insurance companies to inquire before spending unnecessarily. Oddly, most health insurance plans do not automatically cover you for medical expenses incurrend abroad unless you add a special package.

    • Thanks for the great advice, E. I’ll have to look into that when I’m next considering trip insurance. I guess I’ve heard about certain coverages offered by credit-cards, but have never gotten around to reading the “fine print’ about what’s included.

      You’re right, though, a simple call to the credit card company would be a simple solution to that.

  3. I am writing because I am having a ridiculous time getting refunded for a cruise that I had to cancel due to illness. I booked a cruise for 4, close to $4,000. I purchased $95.00 insurance per person. 2 days later, I became ill and had to cancel this trip. I felt comfortable cancelling because I saw that as of March 1, 2011 they now had a “cancel for any reason” plan. And, the agent that I booked with suggested I purchase insurance. At NO point was I told what company this insurance was through.

    So, how would you know? Secondly, I am battling this BerkleyCare because the want a physician’s note. I believe that to be an invasion of my privacy since they now adopt the “cancel for any reason”. I have talked to the cruise line representatives, their complaint line, consumer affiars complaint line, this BerkleyCare insurance and I am waiting on some kind of response. I hope I have the same good luck of a 100% refund like some of you have had. Any suggestions would be very helpful.

    • Hi Cyndi,

      I’m so sorry that you’re having so much trouble with your travel insurance situation. I would suggest that you check with the agent/site from whom you purchased your cruise to see who your travel insurance company was. You might also check the receipt from the cruise purchase or your credit card bill (insurance is usually billed separately) to see if that gives any indication of the insurance company name.

      In terms of BerkleyCare, since my reason for canceling my trip was illness, I did provide a doctor’s note as per the requirements outlined in my policy. (Just so you know, my doctor simply provided a form letter with the illness and a recommendation that I should not travel during that time – Nothing terribly specific.) I do agree that the “cancel for any reason” should not necessarily require a doctor’s note, but maybe that’s just in the case where the reason is not illness.

      Sorry that I can’t be of much help to you – I’m not much of a trip insurance expert. Best of luck with the process, though, I do hope you get your money back. Let me know how it goes.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *