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Sunday, March 1, 2020

Travel Insurance Quandary: Coronavirus, golf and me

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        I have big plans for late spring and, of course, they involve golf. It also involves a friend from North Carolina and a brother-in-law from England and a week of golf in the Scottish Highlands. I mention their geographies because, like a putt that rolls in a direction you didn’t read, who knows which countries and states will be affected by the coronavirus come June?
        I booked my plane flight to London before the virus left China, committing a little over $1,000 for my wife and me. I have a resort booked for five days in Aviemore, a Scottish town about a 35-minute drive from Inverness and under an hour from widely regarded seaside links and one heralded parkland course with the oddly attractive name Boat of Garten.
        Beside the flight and lodging, the other dollars I will need to commit ahead of time – all non-refundable under normal circumstances – are the golfing fees which, for three people, are not inconsequential. (I also intend to ship my golf clubs from Connecticut to the first golf course we will play in Scotland, but I can wait on that until the week before I leave the States.) When I looked a month ago, the online tee sheets at Lossiemouth, Nairn, Fortrose & Markie and Boat of Garten still looked fairly open for the first week of June; on the other hand, we don’t want to fly thousands of miles without tee times. I expect to book those times next week.
         My question for the golf courses will not be about refunds but rather if the trip is cancelled because of circumstances beyond our control, will I be able to get a rain check. More than that, I have begun to research travel insurance, something I have never considered buying in the past. I went to a web site TravelInsurance.com and entered a few details about my trip that included the ages of the four people traveling, the country visiting (United Kingdom) and the total cost of the trip. (I estimated $5,000 total for all of us.) The insurance site also wanted to know when I made my first payment, which was for the flights in mid-February.
        The 18 quotes that came back ranged in price from $296 to a whopping $819, but each carried different features and coverage. The low-price estimate had everything I was looking for, and included the following:

        Trip Cancellation $5,000 (100% of trip cost)

        Trip Interruption $7,500 (150% of trip cost)

        Medical Evacuation $250,000 per plan

        Emergency Medical $50,000 per plan ($0 deductible)

        Baggage Loss $1,000 per person

        Flight Accident $50,000 per person (plan limits apply)

        Accidental Death No Coverage

        The $819 option covered trip cancellation and trip interruption at exactly the same levels, but added medical evacuation at $1 million per person, emergency medical at $50,000 per person (rather than $50,000 for four people), baggage loss at $2,000 per person, and no coverage for flight accident or accidental death. 
        I’ll be doing a bit more research but the lower priced plan looks more than good enough.

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Larry Gavrich

This blog was conceived and is published by me, Larry Gavrich, a former corporate communications executive who founded HomeOnTheCourse, LLC, in 2005.  Our firm advises baby boomers and others seeking a lifestyle in which golf is a major component.  My wife Connie and I own a home in Connecticut (not on a golf course) and a condo at Pawleys Plantation in Pawleys Island, SC, on a Jack Nicklaus layout.  We began our search for our home on the course more than 15 years ago, and the challenges of the search inspired me to research golf communities and write objective reviews of them.

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