Insurance woes | Deccan Herald

Clipped from: https://www.deccanherald.com/opinion/right-in-the-middle/insurance-woes-1026432.htmlRepresentative Image. Credit: iStock PhotoRepresentative Image. Credit: iStock Photo

When we had to go abroad for six months, the most important thing, after the tickets, was travel insurance. A few years back when I visited the same country, I didn’t opt for travel insurance as my stay was only for 17 days. Unfortunately, I caught the flu on the flight and promptly fell sick a couple of days after landing there. I went to the urgent care facility with a raging fever by 4 o’clock only to be called in at 9 pm! I was sent away with a mild antibiotic and a huge bill from the county after a few weeks.

So this time before travel, a top priority was to buy good travel insurance. Asking around helped us to pick out a well-known insurance company. The agent even came home with the necessary documentation. Once this was sorted, we were mentally at peace though we prayed that there would be no occasion to use it.

A few months went by and everything was fine. One day, I suddenly developed pain and numbness in my shoulders. I consulted an orthopaedic doctor via video in Bengaluru, which was an ordeal in itself as we had to coordinate due to the difference in time zones. He prescribed medicine that was not available over the counter. The cost of the medicines added up to $ 200. 

By some strange stroke of luck, the pharmacy manager was an Indian, who decided that the tablets were eligible for a discount, reducing our bill to $ 62. We were overjoyed and grateful for this gesture. 

Then began the ordeal of claiming the amount through insurance. At least 10 emails, 20 harried calls to the agent occurred in the span of six months. The office kept asking for documents, each time a different one, rather than giving a consolidated list. My husband got annoyed and asked me to write it off, clubbing it with the heavy insurance purchase cost. I wasn’t going to give up so easily. I replied to their infrequent emails, patiently providing them with the documents, one after another. We returned to India but there was no sign of insurance money.

Finally, one day, I asked the agent to tell me once and for all, if he would help me settle my claim. Out of guilt, perhaps, I got a mail shortly. It said that there was a minimum of $100 dollars in deductibles and since my claim was less than that, I would not be compensated. So much time and energy was wasted as I hadn’t read the document fully and because some inefficient clerk at the insurance office didn’t bother to check the amount in the first mail!

Is this called “reading the fine print”?

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