Adam Geinitz and Jeremy Geinitz, his fiance, had intended to elope in Puerto Rico in September. Although there were warnings of possible storms, the couple decided to leave Colorado and travel to Puerto Rico for their destination wedding. During their New York layover, however, the storm became Hurricane Fiona. The couple called their travel insurance […]

Adam Geinitz and Jeremy Geinitz, his fiance, had intended to elope in Puerto Rico in September. Although there were warnings of possible storms, the couple decided to leave Colorado and travel to Puerto Rico for their destination wedding.

During their New York layover, however, the storm became Hurricane Fiona. The couple called their travel insurance provider when it became apparent that they wouldn’t be flying to Puerto Rico that evening.

Initial promises by the travel insurance company were that they would fund one night in a hotel while they plan another flight. They were unable to travel to Puerto Rico after one night turned into two.

This meant that there was no Puerto Rican wedding or honeymoon. However, the alternative proved to be even more appealing by almost all metrics.

They had an spontaneous ceremony in New York City’s Central Park. Perhaps the best part is that their travel insurance policy covered most of it.

How trip Insurance came to the rescue

Because of their photographic equipment, the Geinitzes often purchase travel insurance. If they have policies that include baggage insurance, a lost bag containing expensive equipment could enable them to make a claim for thousands of dollars. Because this trip would be more costly than other travels, it was important to have travel insurance.

Jeremy Geinitz states, “You never know what’s about to happen.” We decided to buy insurance because it was our big moment and we wanted everything to be perfect. ”

The total cost of the trip was estimated at $7,000, which included both anticipated and prepaid expenses. They sought vacation rental damage coverage because the itinerary involved overnight stays at vacation rentals. They also added adventure and extreme sport coverage to their policy because they were able to swim with sharks. Faye, an online insurance company, offered them a $299 policy.

The couple estimated that they got about $3,000 worth of travel insurance from their policy. This includes the extra delay per diem, last minute hotel nights in New York, airline changes fees and refunds for prepaid Puerto Rico expenses.

Puerto Rico plans dissolved

The Geinitzes decided to wed at Castillo San Cristobal in San Juan, Puerto Rico, after postponing their wedding because of COVID-19. The dress code would be casual, with sandals and tropical-inspired shirts. They would then honeymoon on the island.

They flew to New York from Denver, where they live, on JetBlue Airways. After landing, they landed at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The couple discovered that their next flight was canceled via JetBlue’s in-flight Wi Fi. Faye was immediately notified by Jeremy Geinitz via the app.

They said that JetBlue did not offer any assistance in rescheduling flights, or compensation. They did however, have travel insurance.

The “trip inconveniences & snafus” component of their plan provided $200 each to the couple ($400 total). This covered a last-minute New York hotel stay. Under their trip delay policy, they were able to claim $300 per person and per day ($600).

Faye Wallet is a digital wallet that the insurer sends to the recipient. It works through Apple Pay and Google Pay. This digital debit-style card, which looks like a debit card, is designed to cover travel expenses that most travel insurance companies require travelers to make out of pocket to be reimbursed later. The couple needed warmer clothes for New York because they had already packed for Puerto Rico.

They had planned to fly to Puerto Rico after spending the day in New York. However, their flight was delayed and then cancelled. Their travel insurance policy provided an additional $200 per person payment to Faye Wallet because they had another flight canceled. The policy also included $300 per person for trip delay coverage.

Just before they learned that their second flight had been cancelled, the Puerto Rico hotel informed the couple that the property was uninhabitable.

Adam Geinitz states that they thought they would be returning to Colorado at that point.

Their unique situation (two cancellations in a row of flights is definitely above average) and the large payout the Geinitzes received from their insurance company was a matter of concern.

An impromptu New York wedding

Three days later, their insurance company made an unusual decision. An employee called the Geinitzes to suggest that they marry in New York City.

The couple arranged to swap a wedding at the Island of Enchantment for one in New York City. Their insurance benefits covered a large portion of the expenses such as hotel nights, taxis, and warmer clothes.

The couple had to wait two more days before they could make an appointment with the clerk of the city for a marriage license. They decided to buy suit jackets and nicer slacks in New York because tropical button-ups were both too practical and inappropriate for the venue change.

Faye’s employee, who was a Florida resident, was also a registered marriage officiant. Faye flew him to New York from Florida to perform the ceremony for no cost to them. According to The Knot, wedding officiants usually cost $500-$800. New York requires a witness.

Jeremy Geinitz states that they were ready to hire Spider-Man in Times Square.

They were fortunate to have a friend who was available to witness the ceremony. The couple got married in Central Park exactly one week after their first flight was cancelled.

AJ Steele, who works for Faye Travel Insurance, officiated the wedding. (Photo courtesy Adam and Jeremy Geinitz

Reimbursement for a canceled wedding

The couple claims that they will be reimbursed for all of the prepaid expenses related to their Puerto Rican wedding. Here’s how:

Lodging A couple booked a wedding package through their hotel. This proved to be a qualifying expense under the couple’s travel insurance policy.

Operators refunded a few of their other prepaid lodging reservations. Their insurer covered what wasn’t refunded.

Southwest Airlines flew the couple from Puerto Rico to their return flight. They were able to change their Puerto Rico flight to one that would return from New York thanks to Southwest’s generous policy regarding change fees. They were charged the difference by Southwest because it was more costly, but their travel insurance covered this expense.

What should you expect when purchasing travel insurance

Geinitzes’ story was definitely unusual. First, the majority of insurance companies won’t send someone to officiate your marriage.

Because the couple had their flights repeatedly rebooked or canceled, they were eligible for more “trip inconvenience credits” as well as hotel night stays.

The Geinitzes were also able to get reimbursement because the prepaid wedding expenses were mostly in a Puerto Rican Hotel. Most trip insurance won’t cover wedding expenses, such as the venue. For that reason, you would most likely need wedding insurance. Because of the low-key nature and cost of the wedding, most Puerto Rican expenses can be reimbursed.

Bad weather was another reason they had to cancel. Insurance policies for trip cancellations can be very finicky about exactly what is covered. Although coverages can vary from policy to policy, they generally include situations such as being called for jury duty, death or sickness of an immediate family member, and a named storm warning.

Trip insurance holders can be disqualified for not being aware of the nuances. While most policies will cover you in the event that you become sick, you will still need to provide proof (such as a doctor’s letter), which can be difficult to obtain. Policies won’t usually cover you for fear of getting sick, as was the case with many people who cancelled pre-planned trips during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Although severe weather is usually covered, it is not always easy to determine if you are covered. Many policies cover cancellations caused by a “named hurricane.” However, if you don’t want to risk going to an area where a storm is developing — but hasn’t yet hit — then you might be in trouble.

The Geinitzes were not yet aware of the storm, but they had already been notified that the flight was canceled.

Trip Insurance: Is it worth the cost?

Trip insurance was a worthwhile investment for the Geinitzes, as it provided them with $3,000 worth of value. It can vary depending on the nature of the trip. This can make it difficult to predict.

There are many pitfalls to trip insurance. You will need to provide proof of cancellation, regardless of whether the reason is covered. This means keeping detailed documentation, such as receipts and flight cancellation notices.

It can be difficult to file a claim. Many times, claims are not reimbursed until the event, so you will have to pay for any last-minute expenses yourself. Last-minute hotel and flight bookings can be costly, and you might not have the funds.

Even if a claim is submitted, it’s possible that it will be denied. While 34% of U.S. travellers purchased travel insurance to cover themselves against pandemic-related issues starting March 2020, over 25% of pandemic claims were denied. This is according to Cover Genius, an insurance technology company that surveyed 6,000 U.S. travellers in September 2021.

Although the $3,000 value was well worth the $300 cost for the Geinitzes’, it is still an expense. Many insurers don’t provide transparency about pricing. It is common for insurers to require you to provide contact information and trip details before they give you a price. This makes it difficult to compare rates.

Generali Global Assistance, another provider of travel insurance, reports that the average cost of travel insurance is between 4% and 12% of your trip costs. It can be frustrating to add another expense, given the increasing cost of travel.

Premium travel credit cards often offer trip insurance as an option for trips that were paid for on the card. The coverage is usually as good or better than the separate coverage. Your credit card’s travel insurance benefits can be repaid as long as you have paid for the trip on that card.

But, such cards come with annual fees and require good credit scores.

The New York wedding ignited a love affair between the Geinitzes and the Empire State. They have already made plans to go back with their family and purchased travel insurance.

Featured photo courtesy of Jeremy Geinitz and Adam Geinitz.

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