Year round travel insurance was not enough

dinero.no, vacation, consumer, tips, insurance, credit card, Thailand- I travel frequently and always use credit cards for payment of travel, says Arne Berg Johnsen to Dinero.no. On holiday in Thailand he broke his back - without coverage by his year round travel insurance. Illustration photo: Dinero.no

Year round travel insurance not enough when back was broken

When Arne Berg Johnsens (62) travel insurance did not suffice, a credit card with free travel insurance included was the saviour.

 

Arne Berg Johnsen from Lofoten travels frequently to Thailand to escape the cold in his hometown, Bodø. A trip to the otherwise idyllic resort of Pattaya, had a dramatic twist in the tail last year.

Boat trip turned into ambulance ride

It was on the way to a day trip to an island just outside Jomtien that the travel savvy Norwegian was faced with something that might have led to a financial nightmare. During the boarding of the boat that was to take him to the island, the accident happened. With one foot placed on the gunwales and the other on land, the extraordinarily troubled sea and the absence of a boarding plank contributed to Berg Johnsen’s losing his balance.

– I realized that I had to step back onto the pier to avoid falling between it and the boat. The guy who was helping me get on board did not let go of my hand, so I just had to pull him along. This meant that I landed on the back of the concrete pier, with the “helping hand” on top of me, says the 62-year-old to Dinero.no.

Instead of a boat trip, there was an ambulance ride in store for Berg Johnsen.

Credit card with travel insurance was the saviour

When he arrived at the hospital, it was discovered not only one, but three fractures in the spine. Berg Johnsen quickly contacted his insurance company in Norway to cover the accident using his year round travel insurance. There was however a snag; as the travel insurance was no longer valid.

The reason is that most year round travel insurance is valid for between 35-50 days abroad. Berg Johnsen’s travel insurance had a duration of seven weeks. When the accident occurred, he had been on holiday for seven weeks and four days, i.e. four days beyond the validity of the insurance. The consumer smart 62-years-old had literally more cards up his sleeve.

– I travel frequently and always use a credit card for payment of the trips, he says.

Many credit cards offer free travel insurance included in the card, the only thing you need to do is to pay at least half of the transport costs using the credit card for it to be valid.

– Siden jeg hadde betalt hele reisen med kredittkort tok jeg kontakt med SOS International, hvor jeg opplevde den største velvillighet og service, sier han.

All expenses covered and upgraded return trip

Arne’s situation shows that it is worthwhile to have double insurance.

Both the insurance company’s doctor and treating physician in Thailand believed that an 11-hour return trip on economy class was irresponsible considering the condition he was in. Berg Johnsen’s original economy ticket was therefore upgraded to a business ticket at the insurance company’s expense.

– It was arranged to travel by taxi from the apartment to Bangkok International Airport. At all airports – in Bangkok, Oslo and Bodø – a wheelchair.was made available. Upon arrival, a taxi was there to bring me home. I have not experienced this kind of great service and facilitation before, he says to Dinero.no.

Every fifth Norwegian travel without travel insurance

It is estimated that as many as 20 per cent of all Norwegians who go on holiday, travel without a valid travel insurance. Last year, a total of 8.17 million trips abroad were made from Norway. Statistically, this means that as many as 1.64 million travels abroad are made without travel insurance.

According to Finans Norge’s injury statistics for land based insurance, the number of reported injuries increased by 2.7 per cent from 2016 to 2017. In numbers that is from 311,962 to 320,312. The number of reported travel accidents is almost unchanged in the same period, with a reduction of 0.7 per cent – from 11,527 reported injuries in 2016 to 11,450 in 2017.

From Berg Johnsen, the enticement is clear:

– I recommend that everyone who is traveling to pay for it using a credit card. And make sure that your stay does not last longer than the maximum number of days covered by the insurance.

 

© Dinero.no / #Norway Today

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