Tuesday, 27 May 2008

Mmmm yeah I got those mean old travel insurance blues

Aargh! I have had a horrible horrible horrible time on the telephonic speaking apparatus and the Interwebs trying to sort out travel insurance.

Ever since I got ill this has, of course, been a pain. But I thought I had cracked it when for 2006-7's busy travel year I got a full-year policy - at fairly huge expense - from Axa. It was a bit of a pain because they had moved their medical vetting overseas thereby making some complicated stuff even more difficult to discuss, where formerly they'd used UK-based staff who actually knew what I was saying when I mumbled "antiphospholipid syndrome". Nevertheless I struggled through their screening process a few times, explaining every other word as I went, and got this annual policy and that was fine. 

So today, in a pre-travel flap about Banff, I went to renew this policy, and despite the mercy of it all being online now, was horrified to find that I could not. Why? Dunno. Snotty little message didn't put on its white coat and stethoscope and go into details but merely said "bog off".

Great. I am now in a flat spin. Axa's snotty "Bog Off Mate" page recommends Freedom, "Travel Insurers to the Already-Screwed" (yeah, I made that bit up, sue me.) I ring them, they are lovely, they and I have a first language in common, I can do business here I think. No they won't do me an annual policy (why not, dammit?), but they'll quote me for just the Canada trip. How much? They ring back after a decent gap (they probably do this to give heart patients time to check where the pills are) and say Three Hundred and Thirty Pounds! Voop! Red Alert!! Exploding Pants!!! Batten Down The Hatches!!!!

This is not good. I am not happy. I am starting to wonder how on earth I am meant to travel anywhere. Also just how confident the insurance companies are that I am going to drop dead or, more expensively, fall ill while away ... am I really that bad a risk? I'm as fit as a (rather portly) fiddle! I go orienteering!!

In desperation I try Saga. Motto: If You Have to Ask How Old, You're Too Young. (Yeah, I made that up too. Sue me some more.)  I am not sure if you have to have pipe in mouth and cardie and slippers on before you attempt it, but hey. I find this all somewhere between comical and humiliating but, hell, I can't travel without some kind of insurance and I am starting to get "a bit concerned". (Yes, that is code for something more extreme.) Saga's online system ("press the mouse button NOW dear, press it NOW. THE MOUSE BUTTON PET, JUST PRESS IT. No dear I don't know where Tiddles is, just press the MOUSE BUTTON") went through the same kind of thing, told me to bog off with regard to annual cover (of course, I was getting used to it by then) but quoted me a much-more acceptable price of around £170 for just the Canada trip. More or less weeping with gratitude I coughed up, prontissimo.

So, great, I have travel cover, I can go, it's a terrible price but it's cheaper than Freedom (there's a song title in there somewhere) and by now I don't care, I am so relieved. Phew.

Want to know the really annoying bit? After all that I went back and out of curiosity did what I should have done before on the Axa site, which is to ask it for a quote for just the Banff trip. Stupidly I had not done this - I was so shocked at them turning me down for the annual policy that I went off in a tizz. Twit. Guess what? Seventy quid! Same screening questions, same answers - seventy quid at Axa, a hundred more at Saga, another hundred and fifty at Freedom. Gah! Life was a lot easier and cheaper when I was the model of good heath (hem hem).

So, I'm stuck. I am paying out £100 more than I needed to, but I do have a policy, which is the main thing. I dare not try to change anything again now. I am very cheesed off. It appears that I will no longer be able to get annual policies, which is a massive drag. Why not?? Nothing has changed in my er er er glowing good health, but the algorithms must have been tweaked so I am no longer acceptable. B*st*rds. It's these little annoyances that just make you so ... so ... GAH!!!! I discard them. Chiz. I diskard them too, in fact.

Mr Thompson, the single malts if you please: I rather think that I will select, with your assistance, from the better end of the collection this evening. Thank you so much.


Kat said...

"Exploding pants!!" Maybe you need some of these.

Strawberryyog said...

Thank you. Quite possibly I do, but I may never be sure. "We're sorry, currently our video library can only be streamed within the United States." Gah! But thank you for the kind thought. :)