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Amex Platinum insurance pays up again (when it didn’t need to)

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Three years ago, I wrote an article about my experience claiming on the American Express Platinum card travel insurance.

Amex made some nasty changes to the insurance on the Platinum card in January 2012.  What was comprehensive, no-worries cover became a bit of a game, with flights and hotel required to have been paid on an Amex card in order to qualify for some of the smaller benefits.  The upper age limit also dropped from 80 to 70 which meant that my Mum’s supplementary card on my account was now useless.

(It is worth noting that Amex never changed the insurance on the Business Platinum charge card.  This has an identical annual fee and very similar benefits.  If you value the travel insurance benefits of Platinum and have your own business, you may want to consider switching to Business Platinum.)

Amex Platinum

Back in 2012, when we were in Barbados, our then 1-year old son vomited badly for a day and we had him seen by the resident hotel doctor.  We did not get this pre-approved by Axa (Amex’s insurance partner), which is a pre-condition for repayment.  I had deleted all my e-ticket receipts by the time I submitted the claim, and the claim itself was a scruffy receipt torn from a standard receipt book, available in any stationers, with B$450 written on it (c £150) and rubber stamped with the doctor’s name.

Not exactly great proof – all that I sent Amex was that receipt.  Amex paid in full.

When we were in Singapore in May, something similar happened.  Our now 4-year old son developed a temperature.  At the suggestion of our hotel, we headed down to (sic) Raffles Hospital.  This was a great deal – we got seen immediately and the cost of a consultation and a selection of medicines was just £85.

When we got back to London, my wife tried to claim the money from her corporate BUPA policy but that carried a high excess.  I then submitted a claim to Amex.  The whole claims process can now be done online – it took about 10 minutes to fill in the form and I attached a photograph of our receipt taken on my iPhone.

Again, Amex would have been perfectly within their rights to deny my claim because we had not sought pre-authorisation and we had not used one of their recommended hospitals.

Instead, I got an email yesterday saying that my claim will be paid in full.  There are no excesses with Amex’s coverage so I receive the full £85.  It took 8-9 working days to receive this email from the day I submitted the claim.

My history with Amex insurance is not unique.  I can’t remember ever hearing of someone who was given a hard time by them over a claim. (EDIT: looking at some of the comments below, I may have been too hasty in saying that!) I don’t know if they behave differently if you buy stand-alone travel insurance from them, but for Platinum charge card holders it is a decent benefit.

Comments (69)

  • Mike says:

    I’ve had generally good experience with Amex. I submitted a claim 2 yrs ago for cancellation of a trip to run New York marathon due to illness, which they paid. I had to make a claim for the same event a year later, this time due to injury, and it was initally refused, saying “professional sporting events weren’t covered” but when i pointed out that they had accepted the claim a year earlier they paid out. Cover also extends to children even when they are at university, and this has been a great benefit for them.

  • Oliver says:

    Glad it all worked out for you.

    Is there a post on your site where I can see the comprehensive list of changes that occurred in early 2012?

    Thank you.

    • Polly says:

      You should get an up to date letter outlining their current insurance cover and exclusions. There are many notes to pay attention to, especially the pre authorisation issue. Always call them!

    • Rob says:

      There were a number of articles on the change but I don’t remember ever doing a line by line breakdown of, for example, what claims could now only be made if you had paid with an Amex.

  • RK says:

    I was given a hard time for claiming with Amex Platinum over a missed connection last year due to a 3 hour immigration queue at MIA. AXA were asking for unrealistic amount of proof that I had missed my connection due to immigration and not my own fauly – how does one prove this, its not like US immigration are going to help?

    Anyway in the end AXA paid out but I had to hassle them a bit to change their mind, for what was a completely valid claim.

  • Mike says:

    Alright then – here’s an unfortunate claim situation with Amex Insurance that took over 3 months to sort out, emails went unanswered, wrong information provided on three occasions, phone calls where the agent didn’t know the policy and had to be corrected and finally 3 calls to the managers to get it sorted.

    Background: My parents were traveling to Palm Springs in California. Flights were cancelled on the return due to fog. They were put in a mini bus and shuttled to LAX to spend the night before catching a flight in the morning. They were told to “fend for yourself”. No hotel, no food. Called Amex and they said hotel and food would be reimbursed. And then the whole malarkey started.

    Anyway, after several months, Axa paid up and also gave GBP 50 for the hassle.

    It really is Axa and not Amex at fault here. My dealings with Amex have generally been positive, but unfortunately dealing with Axa has been painful.

    (And had another claim which they also messed up 2 months later!)

    • Polly says:

      Mike, we had similar sit in Bali, where I ended up pushing my OH in a wheelchair for the whole time. Axa disputed everything, when they finally looked at the claim. That took 66days. It was a total nightmare. They wanted petty little taxi receipts £3! to and from the hospital, which I had provided. Sent them 26 pages of receipts 5 times. Claimed to lose them, obviously stalling techniques. Turns out it was the call handlers I was dealing with each time not Claim handlers. Be very sure who you speak to in AXA. I found the amex team sided with Axa. Only when I said it was going to the ombudsman, did they pay up. A more genuine claim it couldn’t be. Fortunately I had documented every call, name and length of call. Unreal. It was still only £1500, not massive. Would have been 3 times that if we had gone to the. British hospital. I also said we would take it to the Sunday Times. It was an awful experience, and hope we never have to make a claim in the future. And we had had permission from their Spanish, admittedly! Call centre to go ahead, pay and be reimbursed within 2 weeks! Some hope. You were lucky Raffles…..

  • Mrtibbs1999 says:

    Mt wife and I both came down with food poisoning the morning of our BA flights home
    from Istanbul. Not feeling that ill we boarded the flight, but just before landing we both took turns for the worse. Arriving at Heathrow we both felt we couldn’t continue to Manchester and I called AXA who were pathetic and tried everything to deny the claim for accomodation in London and train tickets at a later date. After about an hour of arguing they agreed but it
    left a bad taste in my mouth. I was very poorly and did. It want to be fighting it out with my insurer – especially when they would have had a much larger claim of i had done the sensible thing and stayed in Istanbul!

  • Xavier says:

    I believe it’s Axa is a pain, my company travel insurance is with them and I have been waiting since May to get reimbursed for a broken luggage. I had to escalate the case to my broker.

  • Gabriel says:

    Bought travel insurance from Amex, and I’m still waiting to hear back from them after my hold luggage was delivered 4 days late while visiting Tanzania in June. I’m not sure if the card’s insurance is better or not, but Axa is a nightmare…

  • Pol says:

    I had a problem recently. Booked a holiday last September for travel in July, in perfect health at the time. A few weeks before travel I developed chest pains, which I put down to indigestion but went to the doctor to be safe. Because of a family history of early onset heart disease the doctor referred me to a cardiology clinic. I got an appointment straight away and they decided to send me for a heart scan as a precaution but this wouldn’t be for a few weeks (after my holiday). Phoned Amex insurance who wouldn’t cover me for travel on the holiday but also wouldn’t reimburse if I cancelled. I was left with the option of traveling without cover or canceling and losing my money. Luckily our fabulous NHS came to the rescue and when I phoned the clinic and explained my predicament they fit me in for the scan in their lunch hour the same day and gave me the all clear so I was able to phone Amex back and go on my holiday with full cover.

    • Polly says:

      You should certainly be taking that up with amex management. That’s appalling,,you should not be left without cover. That’s the whole point of insurance, is it not? For unplanned eventualities. Glad you were cleared, but what a dilemma.

    • Alan says:

      Glad you got it sorted, although sounds very dodgy of them to try and say it was a pre-existing condition when it was after purchasing the holiday!

      NHS 1 Axa 0 😛

    • The_Real_A says:

      There is a standard “unfit to fly” letter available from your GP for £10. With this evidence the insurer would be oblidged to pay the claim.

      • Pol says:

        Therein lay the problem. The doctor said I was fit to fly, they were confident that the matter wasn’t heart related but due to the strong family history (heart attacks in 40’s) they wanted a scan just to make 100% sure.

        • The_Real_A says:

          Ive DO have a great deal of sympathy for your situation, and the title of the article is “(when it didn’t need to)”.

          Im just not sure any insurer would have payed that claim.

          • Pol says:

            I remembered after calling Amex I had free travel insurance with my HSBC account. Called them and again they wouldn’t cover me for medical expenses if I chose to go but would allow me to cancel because of this.

          • RIccati says:

            Any illness or ailment can be linked to a genetic factor/conditioning. Susceptibility to infections deceases, etc. If we follow this route no claims have no be paid because there is a pre-existing factor, erm, you have a less then perfect DNA!