Travel Insurance Conundrums

By Shimon Cohen

Ah… spring is in the air! And with it… thoughts of traveling back to Abba and Imma for a glorious Pesach (or summer) holiday.

For us insurance people, this means one thing: TRAVEL INSURANCE.
“Do we really need it? We have some sort of cover on our credit card, don’t we?”
“It seems expensive — maybe leave out baggage cover?”
“Doesn’t the Kupa o£ er something? And what about jewelry?”

Three years ago, Mrs. L. insured her jewelry for overseas cover before a trip back home. While staying at her cousin’s house, her ring, which had belonged to her husband’s grandmother, was mislaid. Extensive searches at the time and over the following year didn’t result in anything. The insurance company paid her claim of NIS 3,500.

A few weeks ago, Mrs. L. called me with the following story; unfortunately her cousin in the U.S. was a victim of a robbery where everything was stolen except for the ring. (Yes, it was the ring that had been “lost” three years previously!) Apparently, the ring had indeed been secure in the cousin’s safe but had slipped behind a shelf. The robbery dislodged it and it was the only “survivor.” A big question remained: Whose ring is it? The L family’s or the insurance company’s?

A call to their Rabbi and my meeting with the insurance company came up with the same result—the ring belonged to the company. The insurance company did however, agree to “sell it back” to the L family for NIS 1,000, acknowledging their honesty. Granny’s ring had come home!

Moral of the story: Remember to insure your jewelry when you travel abroad.

This does not have a happy ending. A group of madrichim on their way to a summer camp in Europe left two laptops and a briefcase with $24,000 (!) in a parked car in Madrid. The windshield was smashed and the car’s contents stolen.
They did have baggage insurance, but this obviously excludes the cash. The laptops were also problematic, as any items stolen from a car are only covered at a lower rate. (Up to $300 only!)
The result: $300 for the luggage and a further $1,000 we managed to get ex-gratia (lifnim meshurat
hadin). Better than nothing, but not nearly
enough to cover the loss.

Rabbi J. took out a travel policy for himself and his wife. Unfortunately, while away in the U.S., he suffered a stroke. The policy paid out for his medical treatment (to the tune of almost $45,000) but the family wanted to fly him back to Israel for rehabilitation. In those days (about seven years
ago) the medical flight was an optional add-on, which they hadn’t purchased.
We did however manage to convince the insurance company to pay 50% of the flight costs and Rabbi S. was flown home to his family and doctors. (Today, all travel policies have the medical flight as standard.)

About five years ago, a terrible earthquake struck Nepal, which really brought home the importance
of having a comprehensive travel insurance plan. Two of the insurance companies that we work with (Harel and Clal) had extensive search-and-rescue teams on the ground within hours of the earthquake.
One of our clients was a student with whom contact was lost after the first quake. When we checked the policy details, we found to our dismay that the policy had already ended, due to a human error on the part of the parent who took out the policy! We immediately contacted the insurance company to explain the mistake, and she was added to the list of missing Israelis.
Baruch Hashem, the next day she managed to contact her worried parents and soon after that returned home.

Never, ever travel overseas without comprehensive travel insurance. For a reasonable amount of money, you cover yourself for up to $2,500,000 with options for pre-existing conditions, maternity issues, medical evacuation, extreme sport, etc.
1) Make sure you have an insurance agent whom you can call in the middle of the night in case of emergency! Even though you can purchase travel insurance through your kupat cholim or travel agent, only your devoted insurance officce (that’s us) will:
a. Issue a last-minute policy as you board the plane in the event that you completely forgot in all the rush.
b. Extend your policy if you need to stay on unexpectedly.
c. Issue a policy even if you only realize two weeks into your stay that you forgot.
d. Make sure that both your Saba’s heart condition and your daughter’s maternity are properly covered.
e. Deal with your claims personally and professionally when you return.
2) Even with the best planning and effort everything is essentially in G-d’s hands!

Shimon Cohen is the manager of Egert & CohenInsurance.Egert & Cohen is a family business that specializes
in serving the Anglo and new olim populations. They provide a friendly and professional one-stop-shop for
all your insurance needs.

Egert & Cohen can be reached at 02-622-7999 or through their website


Shimon Cohen

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