Trip insurance – Is it worth it?

March 24, 2018 | Posted in: JHMG

Last year we had this great client.  Let’s call her “Jennifer.” She was from Portland, OR, was an avid runner, skier and backpacker and if there was such a thing as the “perfect Grand Teton candidate” she fit the bill.  She trained for 5 months, got all of her necessary gear and in Mid August, got in her car and road tripped out to Jackson to fulfill her life long dream of standing on top of the Grand Teton.  As recommended, she arrived 3 days early so she could get in a few hike and acclimatize to the altitude before her climb.

On the day before her trip, she was descending a well-traveled trail on one of the local hikes, stepped on a softball-size rock and severely sprained her ankle.  It swelled up to the size of a grapefruit, was badly bruised and she could literally not walk on it.  The doctors confirmed what she already knew.  Jennifer was not going to be able to participate in an adventure that she has prepared for half a year.  Understandably, she was devastated, and our hearts went out to her.

Jennifer is a successful attorney in Portland and does not get a lot of time off every year to chase her outdoor pursuits.  Besides the fact that this was probably the worst vacation ever for her, she also spent a considerable amount of money to climb a mountain that was now no longer an option.

Thankfully, This story has a happy ending.  Jennifer had purchased a travel insurance policy.  She contacted the insurance company, we verified that Jennifer did not receive a refund per our refund and cancellation policy. The doctors verified that she had been injured prior to the trip, and Jennifer was fully reimbursed, not just for the guiding fee, but other travel related expenses.

This happens more than we would like. Our cancellation policy is very clear, and anyone who participates on Jackson Hole Mountain Guides trip is required to acknowledge that they have read it and agree with it’s conditions.  Our policy is not in place to rip people off.  It is place because the business of guiding is a seasonal business, and when a client books a trip, expenses are incurred, reservations are held and guides are booked.  We understand that things happen, that is why we recommend to all of our clients, weather it be a 1 day climbing class or a 4 Day Grand Teton Climb to purchase trip insurance and usually direct them to a reputable trip insurance specific sales organization. We recommend and have had great success with them, but there are a number of other organizations out there.

The cost to climb with Jackson Hole Mountain Guides is significant, and we are humbled that you have chosen to spend your valuable time and hard-earned money with us.  That is why we urge you to  protect it and consider purchasing trip insurance for your adventure.  Hopefully, you will not need it, but if you do, you will be glad you have it.

In case you are wondering, after a lot of ice, ibuprofen, acupuncture and rigorous physical therapy, Jennifer is back this summer to climb the Grand Teton.

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