Wednesday 15 July 2015

Travel Insurance, Does It Have To Be So Expensive? Apparently Not

I've moaned on several occasions about the extortionate prices companies charge to provide travel insurance to those with pre existing medical conditions, as an example I recently priced up 5 days in Barcelona and was quoted £1,800+ even though I am probably more likely to break a bone than I am to have a problem related to my condition. This ridiculous price was not only from your generic travel insurance companies but it was reflected across the so called "specialist" insurers that should theoretically offer better prices.

Based on this price and quotations from one insurer I was expecting to pay upward of £5,000 to insure my travels.

This was until one evening a couple of weeks ago when someone shared a Facebook status written by a woman who has previously had cancer and had had similar experiences price wise, being quoted around £2,500 for a 10 day trip to Santorini. In the post however she mentioned finding another company called InsuranceWith through a friend at work who quoted her an astounding £23 for the same trip. I had never heard of these people before but with quotes that good they had to be worth a phone call.

I was prepared to be denied insurance or given inflated prices due to the fact I still have cancer whereas the woman that shared the status was a few years clear but still I phoned them the following morning and enquired about insurance for my trip to Japan and Australia next year. Firstly the woman on the phone was friendly and helpful (vital as I can't stand chatting to moody idiots on the phone), secondly the prices I was quoted were far from what I had experienced elsewhere.

The following quotes were given to cover my trip to Australia via Japan:

Both quotes are based on a 93 day duration (3 months) for worldwide cover excluding America & Canada.

Cover TypeBackPacker CoverLong Trip Cover
Medical Cover£1m£2m
Item Cover£500£1500
Regular Excess£75£75
Condition Specific Excess£300£300

This is obviously far better than the prices I've been quoted in the past and the prices shown on all the comparison websites.

While on the phone I enquired as to why I hadn't heard of them before this Facebook status popped up, and they said that they had little to no marketing budget (I would assume mostly due to the fact that they are the only company I've found that doesn't exploit those with serious medical conditions) and relied on referrals for business. Hopefully this post will  help others who've struggled to find travel insurance to get a reasonable quote as well as introducing the company to an audience that otherwise may never have discovered them otherwise.

Tuesday 7 July 2015

A Little Trip To Sonar

That's mostly due to nothing much happening medically and as it would take Tolkein to make a few tablets for 5 out of every 28 days sound interesting I haven't bothered posting,  however I've finally got a few things worth writing about, so here goes:

A couple of weeks ago I went over to London with a few of the boys, initially planning on watching the Foo Fighters at Wembley. However, Dave Grohl stubbed his toe or something and they cancelled the show. Not to be deterred we headed up anyway and just replaced the gig with a night out in the capital. The only problem with that plan was the fact that we were a group of 4 men and as such a lot of places didn't want to let us in , worried that we would ruin their penis:vagina ratio. We ended up spending the majority of the night in Be At One in SoHo going through a variety of mojitos until the early hours when my tiredness finally hit me and I called it a night and headed back to our apartment.

Funnily enough a night of rum turned out to be the first night in over a week that I didn't need sleeping tablets to get to sleep. Just as well really as I had to be up early to catch a train from Brentford (where we were staying) to Gatwick, ready to catch my flight to Barcelona.

And so, nursing a hangover I started my train/plane/taxi journey from Urban Villa Brentford to Hesperia Tower Barcelona. A slight change in weather was anticipated. In preparation for this sun I had brought with me two snapbacks to protect my bald head, unfortunately I left roughly 50% of these in my taxi from the airport to the hotel.

I was also under orders from my doctor to not allow myself to get overtired as it can increase the risk of seizures. Having just spent the best part of the day travelling with a hangover this meant that if I wanted to go to Sonar Festival in the night I would be needing a significant disco nap first.

This nap, combined with the Red Bull tent at Sonar kept me going through the first night in Barca and awake long enough to see the sun rise over the warehouse that was hosting the festival.

Being in Barcelona we of course made time to visit Barcelona's football stadium, The Nou Camp, for a tour of the stadium and a brief break from the Spanish sun. Following on from the tour we headed back to the hotel to get food and squeeze in more disco naps before heading out in the night once again.

This time we were going to check out Barca Pacha. On the way in we enquired about tables and for a €500 minimum spend we could guarantee one. As there were 5 of us not wanting to queue at the bar all night (and me personally really wanting a seat) we went ahead with it and entered the club. Although in a place like this I'd usually prefer to be in amongst things on the dance floor I was quite glad to rest my legs and enjoy the music from a VIP table overlooking the main dance floor for a change. A few hours and a couple of bottles of vodka/disaronno later we stumbled out and headed back to Hesperia Tower.

For night number 3 we were told not to go to a club as it was the Festival of Sant Joan, the Spanish Summer Solstice festival where people would be partying on the beach. So we rocked up at the beach after a few drinks in the hotel, bought a bag of lager cans from one of the cerveza men and tried to not get blown up by the fireworks people were throwing about the beach. Following on from the beach beers (which I'm fairly sure were brewed in the guys own bathtub) we headed into one of the beachside accompanied by a couple of strange Spanish lads that had sat near us on the beach. Unfortunately for one of the boys these two lads found two spanish girls and rode off into the sunset with his freshly purchased bottle of Ciroc and possibly with another one of the boys' phones. Thankfully I was gum deep in a kebab by this point and missed the whole shebang. So the night ended rather disappointingly for half of us, and the rest of us would soon be crashing back to earth with the hangovers brought on by bathtub beer cans consumed underneath the makeshift firework display of Sant Joan.

Questionable beers on the beach for #SantJoan2015 #barceloneta #🇪🇸 #🍻

A photo posted by Jamie MacDonald (@thejamiemac) on

Much more detail than that I cannot divulge as "what goes on tour, stays on tour".

Unfortunately that rule does not reply to the tour goers themselves, and I was back in Sunny Bristol (for once this isn't sarcasm) all too soon, ready so start my next block of chemo.