In May my boyfriend and I planned a 2 week trip to Morocco and Paris. Our trip was fairly complex as we moved from city to city and handled all of our own transportation and hotel bookings. Given the complexity of the trip, the fact that our hotels were very small and would charge full-nights stay in the case of cancellation, and the third world nature of Morocco, travel insurance seemed like a necessity.
We purchased Trip Mate insurance, which was intended to cover us in the case of any cancellations, sickness, losses incurred, etc. We were fortunate that for the most part our trip went smoothly and we encountered no major issues. The only mishap was when my beloved coat was stolen from the luggage rack of the train from Marrakesh to Casablanca at the end of our trip. I reported the coat as lost at the Casablanca train station, but not surprisingly the harried train station staff did not speak English and were generally indifferent to the loss. They showed me the lost and found, where I did not expect my coat to be, and otherwise offered me no forms to fill out or other recourse. We had plans for our one afternoon in Casablanca before catching our flight the following morning to Paris, so dealing with non-English language police seemed like a ridiculous and futile waste of time and would have required us to waste more money by missing our pre-arranged tour of Casablanca.
All that said, I assumed my loss was covered by the insurance I spent good money on. Isn't that the point of insurance? I filled out the necessary Trip Mate paperwork and submitted my claim. My coat cost $208.50 from J Crew, and I was able to provide proof of that, and I sent a detailed explanation of the loss and the steps I took to notify the train authorities.
Imagine my dismay when my claim was denied. The reason? I don't have an official train form claiming the loss. Mind you, no such form exists, and I did all I could do at the station to explain my loss to non-English speaking staff (and I don't speak fluent French or Arabic). In an effort to fix the situation, I had the staff of one of the hotels I stayed at go to the station again on my behalf after my claim was denied. They explained the situation and were told that there is NO loss form to fill out. The website of ONCF also states that there is simply a lost and found. So there is NOTHING I could have done short of cancelling the rest of my plans and attempting to communicate my problem to what surely would have been perplexed and indifferent Moroccan police. I certainly didn't expect them to find the culprit so why would I have thought to bother?
I am a frequent traveler, and I am extremely disappointed of ind that Trip Mate doesn't come through when it's important. Their requirement of an official ONCF form is absurd - how does my ability to fill out a form (that doesn't exist) prove or disprove that the loss occurred? How does Trip Mate actually protect you in a third world country that doesn't have the infrastructure or customer service a more western nation might? I can't imagine many situations that would have inspired me to actually waste a day of my trip dealing with the police, especially for a loss that in the grand scheme of things was small.
Trip Mate once again denied my appeal with the same explanation. They have made no allowances for the fact that they require an official form that doesn't exist. What was I to do?
Avoid Trip Mate at all costs, especially if your trip is to a second or third world country. They will find an excuse to deny your claim, and they have unrealistic requirements for travelers trying to prove a loss. I wasted my hard earned cash on insurance that did NOT protect me when I needed it, and now I'm out more than 200 for my coat plus the hundred some odd bucks I paid for useless insurance.