Nancy typically spends six months out of the year traveling. In 2012, she decided to take her dream trip – an African safari.
The first portion of the trip was a three week photo safari through Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, where they had up-close experiences with lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, and buffalo. Following the safari, Nancy and her husband would spend a few days in South Africa.
Throughout the safari, they stayed in tents with no phones or air conditioning – one even had outdoor showering facilities. But just before traveling to South Africa, they planned to enjoy a few nights in a newly renovated hotel near Victoria Falls.
Soon after arriving, Nancy prepared to take a shower. The shower floors were lined with a suction cup mat for grip. To be safe, Nancy tested the mat – it felt secure.
“But when I stepped in and turned my back to the faucet area to rinse my hair, the mat flew out from underneath me,” she said. “I was sailing through the air, and smashed my face onto the porcelain tub.”
Nancy broke seven teeth during the fall.
“It felt like everything in my mouth had been shoved up my nose,” Nancy said. “I could feel all these jagged edges in my mouth.”
Her initial thought was to fly home for treatment, but there were no immediate flights, and her dentist was unavailable. Nancy decided to visit a local dentist who found there was no nerve exposure, and the basic treatment available in Zimbabwe would be sufficient for the time being.
“I decided to sip through the corner of my mouth with a straw and stay for the remainder of the trip. It was uncomfortable, but it was just an amazing experience. I didn’t want to give it up.”
When she returned home, Nancy filed a claim with her travel insurance provider for the dental bills. She was reimbursed for the policy’s maximum amount of dental coverage.
Four Months Later
Just months after returning from Africa, Nancy and her husband were preparing for their next big trip: a three week vacation to China.
The couple had been planning this trip for about a year. Less than two months from their departure, Nancy suffered another fluke injury, this time forcing them to cancel their trip entirely.
“I sneezed, and I herniated a very large disk in my back,” Nancy said. “There was no choice – I had to have an extensive surgery with rods and screws. There was no way we were going to be able to take this trip.”
Nancy’s travel insurance policy included Trip Cancellation coverage, so she contacted her provider and began the claims process immediately. Her doctor sent in a two-sentence letter to her travel insurance provider, explaining the injury and advising of her inability to travel.
Nancy’s claim was approved, and her provider reimbursed her for the entire $9,390 trip cost. Because she was fully reimbursed, she wanted to use the money for the same trip at a later date.
“We had already secured our Chinese visas, so I started calculating how long it would take me to heal and how long our visas would be good to rebook the trip,” Nancy said.
Nancy had surgery in May, and her recovery went as planned. They went on the trip in September.