In case of emergency

“You do not want to be the last one in here,” he said.

A few seconds later, I was in the hallway with all my gear and a few hundred other people. If Mike hadn’t said that to me, my computer, backpack, and passport would still be in that room. Hence, I would still be in Mexico instead of getting out on the first flight I could find yesterday.Rear cover in Mexico, December 2008

Traveling internationally requires a certain false confidence. A traveler should always appear as though he knows what he’s doing, so as to not become an immediate target for ne’er-do-wells. A traveler should always let himself believe he knows what he’s doing, so as to not allow fear to ruin an experience. A traveler should balance both of he above with a certain latent uncertainty, so as to not get so overconfident that he stops paying attention.

Although well traveled, I’m no expert. Still, despite what could’ve been some tricky situations, I’ve managed to keep myself safe on the road when in the presence of crooked Mexican federales, a horde of angry Argentinians, and a Chilean guy named Pablo (all true and as yet untold-by-me stories by the way).

Monday’s mail was a pleasant surprise. Apparently, the client who sends me around the world thought it proper to buy me some travel insurance. Although I don’t receive health insurance for that gig, someone in the HR department must have figured it was a good idea to cover me in case of an emergency. So, now, if something bad happens while I’m out of the road, I can get medical and legal care without having to go broke.

It’s a really good and really specific policy. For instance, I know if I should break my arm while on a banana boat ride (see page 17 of the policy definitions book), I am covered. If I am mugged and my money is stolen, I am covered. If the claim results directly–and I’m quoting here–from “being an alcoholic,” then I am on my own.

All of it seemed fairly standard and I’ll admit some joy at being given something of at least some value by the client. Still, I couldn’t help but laugh when I reached page 51.

Section 16 — Hijack

This section of the policy sets out the benefit we pay in the event of a hijack.

What is covered

In the event the insured person is prevented from reaching their scheduled destination through hijack of the aircraft or other vehicle they are traveling

  • £50 per day per complete 24 hours the insured person is incarcerated
  • The most we will pay for each insured person under the policy per trip is £1,000.

    And that’s it. Despite being so comprehensive as to explain which activities are covered (roller skating on a recognized rink) and which events do not receive coverage (injury caused by war, riot, invasion, revolution, or civil commotion), the section on hijacking left me wanting a bit.

    I mean…£50? I’m going to sit in a hot airplane all day (for up to 20 days of coverage) with a guy who has a bomb strapped to his ass and is crying because Alyssa Milano never returns his calls and I’m only getting $75 a day? That’s less than minimum wage. I do things for fun that I wouldn’t do for £50 a day.

    So, to my client: Thank you. You’ve made me feel a little safer on the road. I will feel much better about any on piste skiing I do and will be very careful about getting hijacked, because I’m not sure being incarcerated for 20 days would even cover the deductible.

    Brad Willis

    Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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    6 Responses

    1. Mean Gene says:

      I may bring that policy up when my current contract expires. Seems the must-have perq among bloggers this season.

    2. KenP says:

      Looks like the 50 is a CYA amount to get them off the hook. Do you get it if you’re drunk?

    3. BG says:

      They don’t hate us because Alyssa Milano won’t return their phone calls – they hate us for our freedom.

    4. Drizztdj says:

      I’d wonder though if you get hijacked on say the first leg of a round-trip to Peru for 20 days, what happens if your return to G-Vegas is met with pissed off Peruvan hammock salesman who hijacks the plane and you spend another 20 days drinking those little bottles of Wild Turkey while eating overly salted peanuts while he bargains the passengers for the 3 for 1 deal on his multicolored portable resting places?

      Is this the same trip and are you out fifteen bucks when you relent and buy his wares plus a package of chiclets?

    5. Reading this sent me to review my own benefits. Oh dear… it seems I have already been hijacked! My salary is my compensation!

    6. change100 says:

      “If the claim results directly–and I’m quoting here–from “being an alcoholic,” then I am on my own.”

      Then what the fuck good does this policy do for you anyway?

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