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Travel Insurance

My wife and I are making our first European tour in June. We are doing the Best of England tour. Looking for recommendations and information about Travel Insurance.

Posted by
187 posts

Do not use Travel Guard! I had a terrible experience claiming a refund for a cancelled trip when my mother entered hospice care with a terminal illness. Horrible customer service!

Posted by
726 posts

I have used Travelguard for all my European trips over the past several years and have claimed twice. Not for medical expenses but for lost luggage and missed connections/hotels/excursion costs. Travelguard was very easy to work with. We got the money within a week of submitting the claims.


Posted by
1 posts

I appreciate the heads up on travel guard. I have bought them before and not used. I will be buying insurance soon for a month stay in UK. I rarely buy but my parents are in their 80s now so I find myself worrying more and more about having to come home or cancel a trip

Posted by
2576 posts

Take a look at this website: You can choose from a large number of policies from a variety of companies. Know this: if you are beyond 10-14 days from making your initial payment for your trip you will not be able to get a pre-existing condition waiver. That may or may not be important to you. Decide what you want to insure against when you look at the coverages. We care more about medical coverage and evacuation than we do the non-refundable costs such as airfare. When you are reviewing companies pay attention to reviews by folks who have had a claim experience. If I see more than a few negatives I pass. Positive reviews from people who have not had to make a claim are useless. Oh, the customer service number gets you to an agent so they know their stuff.

Posted by
2 posts

Do any Medicare supplements pay for medical care outside the US. We are planning a Best of Europe trip and Travel Guard insurance is quoting $1092 for the 2 of us. $25,000 medical coverage. Has anyone ever used Generali? It has a 98% approval and an A+ with the BBB. It's "only" $800 with a $50,000 medical coverage. It all seems so expensive. :-(

Posted by
5517 posts

I always encourage people to do a little research and discover what coverage they already have or do not have. Many credit card providers offer some sort of travel insurance. Do a little research to see what is already covered by existing sources. Find out what is covered by your medical plans.

Most people find that their biggest concern is medical evacuation.

Posted by
13212 posts

I think we need to know a bit more about Lynda’s experience before judging Travel Guard harshly. Most (or all) insurance companies will deny a claim if it does not strictly follow the terms and conditions of the policy. One must be very careful about reading and following the terms, and keeping good records and documentation.

What was the reason for the denial? Illness of a loved one can fall under the “pre-existing condition” terms so special considerations apply. Also, did you fully insure the total cost of the trip (non-refundable prepaid expenses)?

The cost of a standard policy (trip cancellation coverage, medical and evacuation insurance) is based on several factors, including the age of the travelers, the length of the trip, and the total cost of non-refundable prepaid expenses. When one has booked a tour, that last item can be high. And you must be careful to include the total cost of all non-refundable expenses if you hope to claim reimbursement for cancellation.

We are old enough (70+) that coverage is expensive, especially for 3-week trips including a tour component (we do guided hiking tours with REI Adventures or other adventure travel companies). We have paid over $1000 for coverage of such trips. But the medical insurance component is relatively inexpensive. We have an upcoming trip with no guided hiking tour, all independent travel in Italy. And we fly with miles, so no expense there. We chose a “medical and evac” policy only, no trip cancellation. It was less then $200.

Posted by
5789 posts

Do any Medicare supplements pay for medical care outside the US.

Medigap coverage outside the U.S.

If you have Medigap Plan C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, M or N, your plan:

Covers foreign travel emergency care if it begins during the first 60
days of your trip, and if Medicare doesn't otherwise cover the care.

Pays 80% of the billed charges for certain medically necessary
emergency care outside the U.S. after you meet a $250 deductible for
the year.

Foreign travel emergency coverage with Medigap policies has a lifetime
limit of $50,000.

Trip insurance with foreign medical coverage is typically "secondary" meaning you would need to first recover from your Medicare Supplemental before the travel insurance pays. If your MediGap pays the 80% up to $50,000, your travel insurance would pay the 20% .

Note that insurance companies like AIG Travel Guard sells Medical/Evacuation insurance:
Medical evacuation flights are the big risk compared to lost luggage.

Posted by
6950 posts

And medical evacuation flights are very seldom by chartered private jets--where the big expenses would be. Most can be done on scheduled legacy air carriers even if they have to be flying first class.

Posted by
7991 posts

Travel Guard paid several large medical claims for us promptly in a month. They have also been prompt with trip cancelation claims due to illnesses.l

Posted by
5789 posts

And medical evacuation flights are very seldom by chartered private jets--where the big expenses would be.

I would add that while medial evacuations be it medical staffed charter flights or a seat on a commercial flight are rare, if a chartered medically equipped and staffed flight is required, you would be looking at more than the cost of a missed Best of England tour.

My former boss suffered a traumatic head injury in France after he retired. He was in a coma when he medevaced back on a medical charter to the States. I don't know what the trans-Atlantic medevac cost but a fixed wing medical charter last year from Medford, Or to Portland OR was billed at over $30,000. (Medicare paid a lot less).

Fixed Wing Airplane Our pressurized, twin-engine aircraft is
equipped to handle intensive care conditions – from heart attack and
auto accident patients to sick infants, critical illnesses and more.
Our two-person, in-flight medical staff includes a specially trained
registered nurse and paramedic equipped with advanced life-support
systems to provide the finest possible airborne care.

Fixed wing emergency: $14,516 + $78.84 per flight mile

Posted by
1667 posts

squaremouth also will help you search travel insurance. Note that they state whether insurance is primary or secondary, reimburse or pay direct. It helps to know which for evacuation and medical.

My travel buddy and I also had a problem with Travel Guard and will not use them again. Our problem was unique but we were very upset with their service and how they twisted the legalese to deny the claims and appeal, siting different clauses for each of us. If you’re interested you can search for my posts from 2017.

Posted by
720 posts

We have found the medical insurance that we needed using based individual trips. We also have an additional annual emergency evacuation assistance policy through our Chase Mileage Plus credit card. See what may be available through whoever has booked your trip.

Posted by
866 posts

I ended up insuring us with Allianz Global Insurance. I almost went with Travelguard, but for almost the same exact thing it was cheaper. (There were minor difference so you’ll have to decide what risk to take). But I thought the difference in cost was enough for me to take that risk. I googled as to why it was cheaper and read an article saying they were basically the same, but Allianz is bigger therefore can offer lower premiums. It also had a slighter higher rating.

As stated, we wanted to cover pre-existing conditions, as a precaution, so we purchased within the time frame. I decided this time to forego the Cancel For Any Reason upgrade. Our kids are with us this trip and we don’t have to worry about getting home for them, or canceling because of them. It only covered 50% anyway.

We ended up going with the cheapest coverage. It ended up being $408 for the 4 of us.

Posted by
459 posts

Allianz. Policy covers all travel within a year, versus just one specific trip. Haven't had to use it yet, so no gritty experience story, but the best coverage-per-premium we've found.

Posted by
381 posts

We also purchase the annual Allianz policy and had to use it last year due to illness that cancelled our trip the morning we were to leave for Portugal. We received a full refund within 14 days.

Posted by
3465 posts

Helpful recommendations up thread. I always recommend doing your research as to what is the best plan for you. We have used Travel Guard over the years. For us we prefer the Gold Plan. Due to the fact that we live in WA State the insurance coverage is at a lower rate. That said, the rate increases with age. Fortunately we have never had to file a claim.

Working in the health care industry I have seen cases where people do not have a policy. One that comes to mind is a colleagues son who was in the study abroad program in Central Europe. He sustained a life-threatening injury. He did not have travel insurance, hence no medical evacuation. He was hospitalized months before stable enough to be transferred back to the States. This cost his parents over $100,000.

Posted by
2788 posts

We go to Europe every year since 2001 and have used Travel Guard (at a RS recommendation) every years since going on Medicare and loosing any coverage in Europe via Medicare. We have never had any problems with them regardless of what has come up and we do get the Gold Coverage and add on an Umbrella additive.

Posted by
381 posts

We insured a recent overseas trip with Allianz Global, and when my husband seriously came down with the flu, we changed our plans to come back to the US four days earlier than planned. Allianz reimbursed us for everything I asked for: 1)Hotel charges that we couldn't get a refund for; 2)Change fees from the airline; 3)The cost of a Comfort Plus upgrade that we'd paid for but couldn't use on the flight we changed to.

The claims process was relatively simple to follow (I called them twice for clarifications) and the claim was approved in just one week.

Count me a happy customer.

Posted by
1 posts

Does Rick Steves have recommendations regarding “cancel for any reason” travel insurance. In this age of Coronavirus, I am reading that normally recommended policies do not cover if 1) one becomes ill from the virus; 2) if the trip or portions of the trip are cancelled due to same; 3) one becomes stranded and must pay the costs incurred until being able to get home.
Appreciate any thoughts. Thanks.

Posted by
1 posts

Hi Mike,

There's a ton of different options out there for finding a plan that works best for what your needs are. Some of the ones I've used to compare policies are:


These 3 are easy because they're comparison tools. You can also go straight to the carriers (i.e. Seven Corners, IMG) to see what they have available directly (it's kind of like using Expedia vs. using the airliners actual website to book).

Just make sure you read your policy selection in detail so that you're covered for everything you need. They can get pretty intricate, but most of them cover for new sicknesses/illness, accidents and injuries, medical evacuations, return of remains and some dental work. There are some that cover for coronavirus too but you'll just want to read the fine print.

Hope you have a great trip!