In all my years of travel, I’ve never had a real travel disaster. Planes have left on time. My luggage has always magically appeared on the airport carousel. Nothing has been stolen. I’ve even managed to avoid injury and illness.
And yet, despite this stellar travel record, I still take out travel insurance for each and every trip. I like to know that if something happens, someone, somewhere, is there to help bail me out.
And so it was, that when disaster finally did strike, in the form of illness, it was the travel insurance – both my mother’s and mine – that saved the day.
Here’s what happen.
One day we were happily cruising around the Baltic on the Star Princess, completing the last few days of our epic two and a half month cruise vacation covering half the world. The next day, with absolutely no warning, Mom suffered an acute cardiac event. Being a sea day, she was admitted to the ship’s medical center where she received immediate and excellent medical attention.
But although the initial crisis resolved fairly quickly and Mom was soon feeling much better, the ship’s doctor felt she was far from recovered and should be disembarked to hospital at the ship’s next port of call – Olso, Norway.
Seriously, this was not part of our game plan. We were two days away from Copenhagen where we were planning to part ways – my mother to start the first of two bus trips around Europe and me to head home to New Zealand via New York City and Nova Scotia.
Instead we were stranded in Oslo, Norway - Mom tucked up in a bed at the huge University Hospital while I alternated between talking with medical staff and talking with the insurance company. Four days later, Mom was discharged refreshed and ready to go. I, on the other hand, was exhausted.
It was a disaster. But one with a happy ending. Mom is back in good health. And having travel insurance means that we will will recoup our financial losses.
And there was even a small silver lining – flying home to New Zealand business class!