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Travel insurance or flexible flight – both?

Covid interfered with our tour last month & our flexible flight came in super handy – we are still waiting on the insurance

For the 1st time ever husband has agreed to upgrading from the cattle car economy seats for our upcoming spring trip to France & is trying to save money by not having both: travel insurance & flexible flight

***What do ya’ll do about travel insurance & or flexible flight

Posted by
4951 posts

I buy flexible flights on United, since I want the additional benefits anyway. My credit card covers a few prebooked activities and any advance local transit. My health insurance covers me worldwide.

I still buy an annual insurance plan for medical/political/natural disaster evacuation, which is much cheaper than insurance would be for my individual trips, each covering airfare.

Posted by
581 posts

Aren’t you insuring more than just the flight with the travel insurance?

Posted by
564 posts

Travel insurance also includes medical evacuation, hospital stays, lost luggage, delays and other accidents or incidents that could happen once you are there. what happens if you get COVID or some other illness while touring? If you are on an RS tour, you will be forced to leave the tour. You may get a refund on some unused tour days, but can you pay for the separate hotel(s), the alternate transportation and the extra medical costs?
I'd strongly consider travel insurance unless you can bear those unexpected costs should they arise.

Posted by
14291 posts

They can cover different things. The Travel insurance, as mentioned by CWSocial covers more than just changing your flights. I make sure I have coverage for medical issues that might happen and I'm one that always wants to have med evac insurance. I usually get $500,000 coverage there but many don't want that much.

Does your health insurance cover you out of your home area? Do you have deep pockets where you could pay for an air ambulance to transport you back home if you had some kind of catastrophe?

I don't care about lost luggage, replacing clothing, etc. That is minor to me (especially since I've been doing carry on the last few trips).

To me the flight coverage is the least of my worries! I can cover a flight home with my credit card.

You have to pick apart what you actually want covered and what you can manage to "self-insure".

Posted by
256 posts

I never buy travel insurance. Instead, I always book my flights on US airlines so if I must cancel then I can easily use flight credits on future domestic flights. I never prepay for hotels or rental car or other items so no loss if cancelled. My Medicare supplement plan includes some coverage for foreign healthcare costs so I don’t buy additional medical insurance. Many on the Forum push medical evacuation plans to get them home if sick. I suspect that they have never used the plan or never read the fine print because the chances of being flown home on a private jet are remote. If taking a RS tour or a cruise, there may be a cancellation fee which I must pay. I am sure that I have saved more money by not buying travel insurance than I will ever pay in cancellation fees. Just my thoughts based on my risk tolerance profile. Some people are not willing to take any financial risk so insurance gives them peace of mind.

Posted by
798 posts

I think this is a case of discussing apples & oranges... First there's flexible flight - I believe all major US airlines offer the option of changing flights before first departure, & there are no longer any cancellation fees for flights. So if you book with a US carrier (and not a discount airline) & are willing to travel within 12 months, you don't need to pay up for flexible flights. The $$ goes back into your account to be used on any flight within 12 months.

Second there's travel insurance - I'm just not going to skip having trip interruption & medical evacuation insurance! Check the credit card you're using for flights, that may well have (some) travel interruption insurance. I don't consider what's offered by the airline when you book flights to be enough insurance.
I pay $265 per year(in my late 60's) for "GeoBlue Trekker Choice" insurance, good for multiple trips per year. There are lots of others people on the Forum recommend highly.

PS, There are many reasons you might need trip interruption insurance, many people have written about their experiences getting stuck somewhere without travel interruption & evacuation insurance. BTW, Overseas Adventure Travel requires you to carry this kind of insurance, because DUH, stuff happens! (Israel a month ago?!)

Posted by
604 posts

Simpgolf, medical evacuation coverage doesn’t necessarily imply only a private jet. It can include returning to the US or other home country in more comfortable Business Class with 1 or 2 medical supports such as nurses. The decision for medical evacuation, when someone is medically stable enough to fly, is often made by the insurance company covering the emergency hospital care expenses. Perhaps because the cost of medical care is cheaper outside of the US in many instances, there isn’t the same pressure to get the sick person back to the US but for other jurisdictions it may be different.

Posted by
5067 posts

Agree that this is a case of apples and oranges and one shouldn't be chosen over the other as they are so different. As is the case with all insurance, the devil is in the details. Many (in not most) policies will med evacuate you to the nearest facility that can treat you. There are some that will evacuate you back to a hospital near your home. One is MedJet Assist. It is NOT medical insurance. Just med evac insurance. They have a number of plans so google them and see if you think such a thing will be worth it for your situation.

Posted by
120 posts

Thank you all kindly for your time & input; it is appreciated

FYI: Our experience with RS refund for our trip was most positive

Happy Travels

Posted by
1450 posts

I've shared this before, but in 2015 a co worker got sick while on a tour in Europe and was hospitalized. Her trip insurance took care of everything, including a hotel room for her husband because he also left tour group and converted their already booked home bound flights into something they could use from the city they were stuck in.

In 2017, my luggage was sent to Honolulu even though I was going to Harlingen Texas. Still don't know how such a thing is possible. Because they got the bag to me minutes before the 24 hour window was up, my trip insurance gave me nothing

Posted by
2925 posts

Fortunately I have never had to use my travel insurance. I probably over-insure but this is my peace-of-mind level:
• I buy refundable plane tickets, preferably United. I may not be able to use a changeable ticket so getting my money back is necessary.
• I book only hotels that are cancellable and do not require a deposit. Cancellation policies vary but most will charge one night if I cancel within three days of my booked stay.
• I buy an annual Allianz Premier travel insurance policy. This covers fall and spring trips.
• I buy an annual Medjet Horizon evacuation policy so I can get home if I get sick or injured.

Posted by
7470 posts

I think of insurance as covering something that would be very painful financially to endure. So luggage and a few hotel nights don’t hit that pain point mark. But paying for getting me through a medical emergency situation where I am unable to just hop on a plane and come back to the US definitely would be in that painful financial limit.

In 2020 I had to pay for a 3-day non refundable lodging in Rome, plus a few minor ones. Since then, I almost always go for the refundable option when booking, even if it’s a little more money.

Posted by
2256 posts

We usually have refundable airline tickets, but not always. When we have not, we have never had a problem with getting credit to use.

As for travel insurance, we always buy it. Like many others here, I am not worried about a delay, or lost luggage etc. For us, it is for the medical aspect. My husband is retired military so we have Tricare insurance. There are not supplements that you can purchase like you can for Medicare, and we are not old enough for that. So far we have not had to use it, but I was very close once. I fell and really messed up my knee. The pharmacist gave me something amazing for the pain, and I texted my husband to get me into the ortho as soon as I returned. If we did not have a good ortho at home, I would have gone to the hospital in Paris. I did have peace of mind that I was covered if need be. On that same trip, we saw a poor lady trip on the cobblestone and land face first, before she could break the fall with her hands. Am ambulance came and took her away, and I always wondered if she had insurance. It did reinforce to me though between my own fall and seeing that, that anything can happen to anyone at any age.