Archive for category Travel

GetCover Insurance – Latest Update

Plume from eruption of Chaiten volcano, Chile,...
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If you haven’t read my last blog post, you should do now –

I finally got a response to my email from the claims department of GetCover insurance. And here it is :

“I am sorry to advise you that unfortunately there is no cover under the travel insurance policy as the disruption to air traffic due to the volcanic ash cloud is not a named peril on your insurance policy and therefore I cannot consider the expenses you will incur to get home from your trip.”

This really makes my blood boil, so with every insurance policy we take out in the future, should we mention every possible event that could lead us to requiring assistance from our insurance company? Must I state that I may possibly fall over a broken footpath and fracture my arm to ensure that I’m covered??? Where do these people get off??

More annoying is how they clearly omit the part about the local government directive as if that part didn’t exist in their policy document. This is a clear case of urine extraction.

Looks like it’s going to be a long road ahead!

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GetCover Insurance ( give me the run around after flight cancellation

English: National Emblem of Thailand, depictin...
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I’m still stranded in Bangkok with my wife and 2 year old daughter. Luckily for us, we have a bit of savings put away that will help us survive while we’re stuck in Thailand. Over the last few days, I’ve been trying hard to organise our flights home, extended visas and of course sort out who is going to cover us for this extended holiday (if you can call it that).

As with every holiday I go on, I made sure I got myself Travel Insurance. You just never know when you are going to need it. In all the holidays I’ve ever taken, I’ve never once had to rely on my travel insurance for any reason. Until now that is.

Who would ever have thought that a volcanic eruption in Iceland could cause the whole European flight zone to be closed? So foreseeing this event was something I certainly didn’t envisage. Isn’t that why we get travel insurance in the first place?

When booking my travel insurance through GetCover (, an Irish based insurance company, I was mindful of the terrible events that happened in Thailand not so many years ago and wanted to be sure I was at least covered for such a catastrophic event.

I carefully studied the travel policy document to ensure I was covered for anything that could possibly happen. The document from GetCover can be seen here :

The important part of this document is on page 13, under the heading “Catastrophe”. It states:

What You Are Covered For:
The Insurer will indemnify you up to the amount shown in the Schedule of Benefits in the event that the Tour Operator is unable to assist and you are forced to move while in resort, from the pre-booked accommodation as a result of fire, lightning, explosion, earthquake, storm, tempest, hurricane, flood, tsunami, medical epidemic or local Government Directive which is confirmed in writing by local or national authority, for irrecoverable travel or accommodation costs necessarily incurred to continue with the trip or, if the trip cannot be continued for return home.

Now I know it doesn’t specifically state “volcanic eruption” or “volcanic ash“, but it does say “government directive”. Clearly the governing body that caused this cancellation in my case, was the Irish Aviation Authority.

When I rang my Insurance company’s emergency helpline from the airport on Sunday night, I assumed that because I had taken out the best policy they offered and paid a premium for it, that it would be an open and shut case. How wrong was I?

The first phone call, left me quite irate when I hung up the phone. The person at the end of the line, after me already spending 5 minutes giving him my policy details and explaining the situation on a premium rate phone number – decided to tell me that he was being told to inform anyone who called with cancellations due to the volcanic ash that they were not covered. To make things worse, when I question him about where in the policy document does it state that I’m not covered, he told me he couldn’t explain to me over the phone and that I would have to ring the “broker” whom I purchased the insurance from, GetCover. After this call, I’d only a few coins left to make an important phone call and that was to my wife’s brother. I thought I’d just email GetCover when I got to an Internet connection.

I’ve so far received two responses from GetCover – the first basically reiterated what I was told on the phone. The email I just received now has left me furious!!! After asking nicely in my email for them to clearly state where it states in their policy document that I was not covered, it was suggested that I contact their claims department which is a completely different company.

I’m not at all happy about this, it is wrong on so many levels. Firstly on the false advertisement of the product I purchased from them and secondly that they seem to be able to decide at their leisure when someone is covered and when they are not.

Would welcome others opinions on this situation and what they feel my rights are. I’m not letting this one go!


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Volcanic ash leaves me stranded in Bangkok

Suvarnabhumi Airport, Bangkok, Thailand - betw...
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I’ve been one of the poor unfortunates caught up in the whole flight cancellations due to the volcanic ash across Europe.

My wife, 2 year old daughter and I arrived at the Suvarnabhumi airport on Sunday in Bangkok, well aware that there could be difficulties with our flight home. Before we travelled to the airport we tried numerous times to get through to Etihad Airlines phone line without luck. After checking our flight details online and noticing it was possible to check in for our flight online, we had no choice but to drag all our belongings to the airport and see what was going to happen.

We travelled to Thailand with my wife’s family and friends who were there for a wedding. We decided to stay and little longer than them. Their connecting flight was cancelled when they arrived in Abu Dhabi from Bangkok and the airline had been putting them up in a 5 star hotel with 3 meals a day. So we thought, if that was our only option from the airline, that we would do the same rather than being stuck in Bangkok with no accommodation arrangements etc.

When we got to the airport, we headed straight for the Etihad customer service desk. Of course, it had one of the longest queues in the airport. We queued for about 45 minutes, when a shout came from behind the service desk that “anyone travelling today can go straight to check-in?. We thought to ourselves “right that means we are being sent to Abu Dhabi at least?.

After queuing for another 30 odd minutes, we were ushered to a separate check in desk for people hoping to travel to Dublin. When we got there, the Etihad check-in girl, handed us a piece of paper with new flight dates and said “goodbye?. The flight was for 10 days later, the 27th of April. I asked her was this all they were doing, well aware of the rest of my wife’s family’s plight. She said yes and walked off to talk to the next unfortunate soul. I know it wasn’t her fault, but you would have expected a little more help from the airline – even some suggestions on where we could stay, what we should do etc etc. Luckily for us, my wife’s brother lives in Bangkok and he was able to help us organise somewhere to stay.

The first thing I did was gain access to an Internet connection, when on myt first port of call was my travel insurance company – I won’t say much about them now, but let’s just say, the first call I was told to ring my broker as they are being told they are not covering anyone for this Volcanic event.

So now 3 days into my extended stay things are starting to look up – but I have to admit, Bangkok city isn’t the place to stay with a 2 year old. There’s very little to do after spending more than 10 days here already added to the fact that a lot of the main shopping areas are closed because of the Red Shirt protests.

My baby turns 3 on Sunday, we had a party organised for her that she still talks about – looks like it will be a small happy day with the 3 of us! :)

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Baumanburi Hotel, Patong, Phuket, Thailand

View of the Patong Beach facing South.
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One of the hotels we stayed in on our trip through Thailand was the Baumanburi Hotel in Patong, Phuket. The hotel is well located if you want access to amazing nightlife as it is just a 5 minute walk away from the famous Bangla Road on Patong Beach.

The hotel itself is pretty nice. The rooms aren’t too bad, with my only complaint being that the bathrooms are in much need of an upgrade. Other than that they are pretty standard and good for the price of a stay at this hotel.

The pool area of the hotel is probably the nicest part of the hotel. Surrounded by large palm trees, there is one large pool and one kids pool. In the main pool, it separates nicely to give different ambiances and feels depending on what area you are in. There’s also a fantastic pool bar that my 2 year old wanted to constantly swim to, to get a drink (of soda of course!). Overall, it was a nice hotel – not worthy of the 4 star rating in my opinion, but I’ve stayed in worse.

Now for the negatives and it comes in one word “staff?. Not all the staff were bad, but be very careful when ordering food or drinks by the pool or even in the main bar area.

There were a number of staff who would simply steal from you. I admit it wasn’t all of them, but it was easy to pin point those that did. They stole from us in two different ways. One was to give you the bill and return the wrong change. A simple trick that can look innocent initially, which you’d probably let go. But then you see them doing it with everything you purchase, you know there’s something not right. You should always check your receipt and change before tipping them.

The other trick they had was not to present you with the actual bill at all. For example, when you asked for the bill, they would go off for a few minutes, come back and tell you a price without giving you the actual receipt. Insist on seeing the receipt as it’s very likely they have added extra to the actual cost. Every-time they tried this with us, they had added at least 50-100 baht to the price of the bill. I know it’s not much, but they are ripping you off.

With all that said, I would recommend this hotel for a place to stay in Patong, Phuket. The hotel is nice and reasonably priced. But like everywhere else in Phuket, you have to have your wits about you or run the risk of overpaying for everything.

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Hotel Los Jameos Playa, Lanzarote

Just back from a weeks break in Lanzarote, hence the lack of posts last week. Have loads of work on so I’ll keep this short.

My wife, little girl and I stayed in the Hotel Los Jameos Playa Hotel which is on the border of Playa de los Picollos and Playa Matagorda in Peurto del Carmen. In the sweltering heat, it’s about a 25 min walk to the centre of Puerto del Carmen.

The hotel itself was fantastic, I had read horrible reviews about the place before we left, but to be honest I’ve been in worse 5 star hotels.

My only criticism of this hotel was that it was overrun with Germans, not that that’s a bad thing of course. But if you want in anyway to be social and get to know people, you’ll need to know a little German. It was hillarious though watching my 1 year old daughter stare blankly at them as they tried talking to her :)

But she was over the moon. She had plenty of space to run riot and cause havoc! There were 3 pools that we could safely bring her to, with only 1 being too cold for her liking. There is also a playground and a pond loaded with fish!

The food was great, plenty of choice for every taste. The evenings were perfect too, they had kids entertainment for an hour every evening and straight after that there was entertainment for the adults. It was OK to have the kids at the adult shows too.

A lot of the reviews complained about the staff being unpolite. I only encountered one of them and it wasn’t rude enough for me to be too concerned.

All in all, I’d definitely recommend this hotel to anyone who is planning a sun holiday.  It’s particularly suited to families or older couples. It’s a nice quite place without the hussle and bustle, but within easy access to the great night life in Puerto del Carmen.

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