Travelling – What would you do?

What would you do if a loved one died away from home?

Unfortunately, this is a scenario that familes do not consider and unfortunately, it does happen. The family is left in chaos and confusion of where to start, and what has to be done to repatriate a body. There is a solution!

A while back a gentleman called me and said: “I want that travel thing you have.” I thanked him for calling, and I was thrilled that he knew about “that travel thing.” I suggested that I meet with him to explain the benefits of the Guaranteed Travel Protection Plan (GTAP). He said “no, I live in Toronto and gas is too expensive to have you drive here and explain it to me, can we do this over the phone?” I said “absolutely!”

We proceeded to cover the features of the GTAP: return of mortal remains if a person died more than 100 kilometers or 60 miles from their legal residence. The lifetime membership is available to all people regardless of age or medical conditions. The benefits include the preparation requirements of the mortal remains, the sending and receiving consulate paperwork and fees, and legal proof of death certificate. Additionally, if needed: legal translations of documents, interpreter referrals, emergency message transmission to family members, and return of travel companion or family pet, are aslo included in the coverage for a one time fee of $485.00.

Over the phone we filled out the personal information needed and he asked me to put a note with the application and indicate where he was to sign and the other steps for him to complete the application.

At the end of our telephone conversation, the gentleman said: “I am going on a trip and when I get back I want to talk to you about prepaying my funeral arrangements.”

I thanked him for calling and sent the package to him with a stamped return envelope and a couple of days later the application was returned and submitted to the company.

About 12 days later, we had a call at the Funeral Home that this man had died in Bora Bora – in the area of the South Pacific Ocean. Over the course of the next few days we learned that the gentleman had died in a town that did not have a refrigerated mortuary, his remains were flown to another town that did have have a refrigerated mortuary and held there until they could locate his next of kin to fill out the documentation needed to start the process of sending his body home. The legal documents were in Spanish and had to be translated into English for his Executor to start closing his Estate in Ontario. This was covered with the GTAP.

The shipping requirements to send a body across international borders are regulated by the sending and receiving Country Consulates’ and inspected by the Public Health Departments. The preparation of the body and accompanying documents, official seals or stamps and other forms of verification are needed in this process. This was covered by the GTAP.

Then the mortal remains were casketed and placed into a shipping container. This was driven to the airport with the supporting documentation, and the container was weighed and the cost to fly the body home was determined. This was covered by the GTAP.

A call was placed to the Ontario Funeral Home to let them know when to pick up the mortal remains at Toronto International Airport. The Funeral Home then went to the airport and picked up the shipping container, all the documentation and drove the gentleman back to the funeral home.

All this was organized and paid for with the Guaranteed Travel Assurance Plan.

What a relief it was for the family, one phone call from the local Funeral Home, telling them, they were picking up their father from the Airport. There were no financial obligations for the family, because their father had the foresight to purchase the GTAP.

Without this type of coverage the family would have been very stressed emotionally and financially to make the necessary arrangements for a body across an International border and pay the approximately $12,000.00 it would have cost to bring their father home. What a relief for them.

I do not believe that he thought he would die on this trip as he had said to me that he wanted to complete his funeral preplanning when he returned home.

This is a sad story, and it could have been a lot sadder had this gentleman not had the foresight and courage to purchase the GTAP and take care of this potentiality for his family.

Many savy people have not thought about the logistics and the emotional or financial complications to return a loved one home, if they died away from home. With GTAP there is total peace of mind for all your lifetime travel.

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