ABC News in North Carolina reports that a driver in the state looked up and saw a bird carrying a huge fish.
“It was one of those slow-motion moments in life. I saw the fish and I saw him drop it,” said Rhesa Walston of Beaufort, North Carolina.
The catfish smashed straight into her windshield.
It happened so quickly she didn’t have time to react.
“There was glass all over my front seat…glass on my lap,” Walston told ABC News.
After making sure her daughter in the back seat was safe, Walston contacted her family and her insurance company. Family members tracked down the fish (apparently, catfish dropped from high altitudes bounce) and took pictures to corroborate her catch.
Walston told ABC News she will have to pay the $250 deductible on her comprehensive auto policy — not a huge price for a story the family will be telling for years to come. Animal damage is covered if you have optional comprehensive coverage. If you only have collision coverage, then you’re not covered.
As I’ve written previously, many who travel for pleasure think little, if at all, about the risks associated with their destinations and plans. Travel insurance, such folks believe, is to cover the cost and inconvenience of trip cancellations and lost luggage.
Who wants to think about illness, accidents, and – you know, the other thing – when going on holiday?
Industry numbers seem to bear this out. A recent report by the U.S. Travel Insurance Association (USTIA) found Americans spent nearly $3.8 billion on travel insurance in 2018, up nearly 41 percent from 2016. However, trip cancellation/interruption coverage accounted for nearly 90 percent of the benefits purchased. Medical and medical evacuation benefits accounted for just over 6 percent.
Most common claim, but…
Indeed, trip cancellation is the most common claim paid on travel policies (or so I’m told – insurers hold their claims data close to the vest). Assuming this is the case, one might be tempted to roll the dice when it comes to occurrences that seem less likely – say, an automobile accident, a bad fall, or a heart attack or stroke.
Last week’s story about a 22-year-old Briton fighting for his life after falling from a hotel balcony in Ibiza got me thinking about value of the “post-departure benefits” of travel insurance. According to the article, the young man had insurance, though it wasn’t clear what kind of coverage he’d bought. The article did say his parents are soliciting funds on line to help with expenses.
“Globally, an estimated 37 million unintentional falls requiring medical treatment occur each year” write researchers in the journal Injury Epidemiology, citing 2018 World Health Organization (WHO) data. Unsurprisingly, alcohol consumption was found to be a major risk factor in these falls.
During one three-month period in 2018, the BBC reported, citing the Association of British Travel Agents, “11 British holidaymakers have been reported as falling from a balcony – with eight of them in their teens or 20s.” In March 2019, a Missouri man fell from the balcony of a Florida hotel where he was vacationing. In the same month, a Michigan teen on vacation in Cancun fell to his death.
Think you’re too smart, careful, or abstemious to fall from a balcony? Well, the most common cause of injury and death on vacation isn’t falls. It is – you guessed it – automobile accidents. According to a WHO and World Bank report, “deaths from road traffic injuries account for around 25% of all deaths from injury”.
Or maybe you avoid a fall or a crash and wind up in a situation like New Yorker Steve Lapidus, who credits his $79 Allianz travel insurance policy with saving his life when he became seriously ill while on vacation in Italy. Steve was in a coma for several days with sepsis and pneumonia and given 50/50 odds of surviving. But, after six-and-a-half weeks of medical care, doctors cleared him to fly home.
Nobody wants to be in a car accident, but they happen to almost all of us. According to a new survey from Esurance, 77 percent of U.S. drivers have been in at least one accident (which aligns well with previous research showing the average driver will be in 3 to 4 accidents in a lifetime).
The survey also found:
Drivers aren’t taking post-accident precautions to ensure their well-being.
More than half neglected to file a police report or document the damage.
Only 42 percent talked to the police after their incidents.
And, of respondents who suffered injuries in an accident, fewer than half (47 percent) sought medical attention.
And drivers are underprepared before an accident even happens.
75 percent of drivers believe they’re well covered by insurance but may have gaps since 3 out of 4 drivers experience some out-of-pocket costs (and 16 percent know they have coverage gaps but choose to take the risk).
Ideally no one should be involved in a collision, but since car accidents are still a fact of life, the I.I.I. has advice on steps to take after an accidents here.