Is Travel Insurance Worth It?

Andrea J    |   Last Updated: July 14, 2023
Is Travel Insurance Worth It?
It’s time for a pop quiz!

Which of the following has NOT happened to a Tekton pilgrim in the past couple years?
  1. While vacationing in another country six weeks before his pilgrimage, John* fell and broke his hip. He was unable to depart on his pilgrimage.
  2. On the second day of his Holy Land pilgrimage, Henry* fell gravely ill and required emergency surgery. He missed the rest of his pilgrimage and didn’t return home for an additional two weeks.
  3. Sarah’s* roommate fell ill prior to departure and had to cancel. Sarah was forced into a single room when she was only expecting to pay for a shared room.
  4. On their way back from Portugal, the airplane suffered mechanical issues, stranding several pilgrims in New York overnight.
  5. Five days before departure, Bill* and Barb’s* son was diagnosed with a terminal illness, and they cancelled their pilgrimage to care for him.
The answer is actually “f” – none of the above.

Each of the above unforeseen events has occurred to at least one Tekton pilgrimage in the recent past.

The good news is, that each one was also covered by travel insurance.

We here at Tekton Ministries never want to see any of the above scenarios occur with our pilgrims. Or any others – lost baggage, missed connections, falling off a camel, illness, death in the family, or any other tragic situation. However, when the unexpected does occur, we are very grateful when our pilgrims have travel insurance.

Israel recently lifted its mandate that all pilgrims have some form of travel insurance. None of our other pilgrimage locations require insurance, either. Nevertheless, we always highly recommend each of our pilgrims buy at least the basic form of insurance.

While we highly recommend CSA Travel Insurance, and they helped out in each of the situations above, we really don’t mind if you have a preferred insurance provider you would rather use. We just want you to be covered!

Common Questions:

1. What is “cancel for any reason” insurance, and can I get it?
Cancel for Any Reason insurance covers cancellations beyond what is normally covered through regular insurance. We cannot list all the covered reasons here (please check the fine print of the policy for all the specifics), but they do include:
  • your own illness or that of a close family member for whom you would be providing care
  • an injury that would prevent you from traveling (or an injury for a family member for whom you would be providing care)
  • death of a family member
These are the most common reasons a pilgrim would choose to cancel.

Reasons that would not be covered:
  • you don’t get your passport/visa in time
  • the trip is more expensive than you planned
  • you wake up one day and don’t want to go
  • you get a new job and they want you to start during the dates of your pilgrimage
These latter reasons would be covered by a Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) Policy.

A few important notes about CFAR insurance:
  • it does not usually cover 100% of the cancellation penalties
  • it must be purchased within 24 hours of your deposit
  • CSA does not currently offer this type of coverage and you’d have to do a search for it on your own

2. What happens if I don’t have insurance and I have to cancel my pilgrimage?
You are always subject to the pilgrimages terms and conditions as stated on our website and the back of each brochure.

All cancellations must be in writing. The following per person cancellation charges will apply in addition to any airline penalties and charges incurred by our suppliers: If canceled 91 days or more prior to departure, a $150.00 administrative fee will be charged. If canceled 90 - 46 days prior to departure, $300.00 will be charged. If canceled 45 - 15 days prior to departure, $1000.00 will be charged. No refunds will be made within 14 days of departure. In addition, once the airline tickets have been issued, 100% of the airfare is non-refundable unless you have been advised otherwise at the time of your booking.

Sometimes, depending upon when you cancel, we have already paid money out on your behalf to our suppliers/vendors. If we are not able to get those monies back, we will not be able to refund you those, either. This might include non-refundable hotel deposits, special entrance fees, and others. The closer you are to departure, the higher the penalties.

3. What if I don’t want cancellation insurance?
There is an option to just purchase insurance for the events that could interrupt, delay, or cause issues while on your pilgrimage. This would include the scenarios “b” and “d” above. This is also the minimum coverage we would ever recommend anyone purchase. However, it would NOT cover if you had to cancel prior to departure for any illness or injury, or any other reason.

4. How do I file a claim?
In many events that happen while on pilgrimage, you will have to pay first, and then get reimbursed. This includes medical events, extra transportation if you miss a connection, extra necessity purchases if you lose your luggage, and the like. In any of these cases, please save ALL receipts as proof of purchase.

Once you return from pilgrimage (or if you have to cancel beforehand) you will reach out to your insurance company to start the claims process. Your insurance documentation will have the proper phone number to call to submit a claim.

If you need any documentation from us, please let us know and we would be happy to help.

While no one ever really wants to cancel their long-awaited pilgrimage, there are occasionally these terrible situations that come up that force your cancellation. If you do find yourself in one of these situations, don’t get stuck without insurance, or you might find yourself on the hook for a large amount of money and no way to be reimbursed.

We don’t want to scare anyone – or focus only on the negatives – but we do want you to be prepared! A little investment in travel insurance goes a long way in protecting your successful pilgrimage experience.

*Names have been changed to respect their privacy.