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Travel Insurance

So many things have changed since we originally planned a trip that got cancelled during Covid that I am in need of guidance about what the best travel insurance is. Do travel health insurance companies typically cover pre-existing conditions? What is considered a reasonable price for a 2 week trip, 2 people in their 60s, including cancel at any time coverage?

Posted by
1288 posts

The cost depends on your total non refundable costs. To cover preexisting conditions, you must buy the insurance within a certain time after making your reservations. Each company has their own timeframe for this. Go to insuremytrip.com to compare what companies offer.

Posted by
21195 posts

There is not a good, direct answer to your question. There is a difference between travel insurance and heath insurance for travel. Those are separate policies. Pre-existing conditions general are covered if purchased early in the reservation cycle and not so if purchased at the last minute --- BUT -- each policy is different so read the fine print several times. We are nearly 80 but only purchase insurance for medical evacuation back to the US for a serious condition. In fact, we carry a year around policy that covers us for all of our travels. It is cheaper than buying individual trip policies. We have never booked trip interruption insurance although many do. We have self insured for so long that we are thousands of dollar ahead and can afford to lose the whole next trip. However, with trip interruption insurance you can only insured potential loses. So refunds, change fees - you need to determine your actually potential out of pocket loss is. Cancel at anytime is expensive insurance. Expect to pay about 10% of the total value of your trip and can easily run $1000 or more if it is a big trip.

Posted by
3524 posts

Travel Guard is frequently referenced on this Rick Steves website. I've bought it in the past and added extra coverage for the plan I chose. I scheduled it for the RS Best of Ireland in 14 Days tour in May 2020. We all know what happened with that.

If they had refunded my premium I might have considered other companies, but they didn't. Instead they gave me a voucher. So when my deposit was accepted and I was confirmed for the same tour in the summer of 2022, I got back to Travel Guard to use that voucher. I expanded my trip to include time in Dublin before the tour starts there and to go to Wales after it ends in Belfast, for a total of 5 weeks coverage.

I learned that their plans had changed and that the price for me had gone up. I was 73 when I bought it in 2019, but I'm now 75. Over 74 when you buy, at least with TG, and it's more expensive.

I always buy within the deadline to get the pre-existing condition waiver and I always get extra medical coverage and emergency evacuation and repatriation of remains. Upon exploration of the newly named plans, I learned about a plan called Travel Guard Plus.

It turned out that it had all the coverage that I usually pay extra for and that there were other features that I liked. I compared it to TG's other plans with the extra coverage I usually get and the price was virtually the same, at least for the Republic of Ireland, Northern Ireland and Wales. That may not be the case for other destinations. It wasn't cheap, but my voucher covered most of the cost.

Be aware that regardless of company or plan, where you live may affect what plan you can get. That some companies won't cover you if you don’t leave from your home. And that some plans require a little digging to locate. That was the case with the one I chose.

I'm not trying to promote TG, but I am posting some links here in case you are interested. I'd never buy any kind of insurance strictly from online listings, but doing a little research on what's available really helps when you call them. In TG's case, you work back and forth while looking at the quote the agent just sent via email and asking questions.

Link to plan comparison for their most popular plans. The one I got isn't listed. Nor are some of their others.

Link to a review of the plan I got. It includes descriptions of the basic features.

Link to a TG page with the plans briefly described. You must scroll down to see all of them.

As far as a "reasonable price" goes, comparing different companies and plans will give you an idea of what that would be for you.

Posted by
5966 posts

estowb, assuming you are from the US, if you have existing health insurance at home, from your employer or self-paid, it may cover (reimburse you) medical treatment costs abroad. You should check with them if thats what you're concerned about. For many people its medical evacuation coverage that we worry about. That is, covering the cost of bringing you home for treatment or recovery if something major (heart attack, car accident, broken ankle, etc). You have to read the language for coverage very carefully.

Posted by
3134 posts

The previous posters have done a good job of covering the ins and outs of travel insurance. I’ll add just a couple of points. On medical evacuation: Stan said it, but didn’t include the ballpark figure for costs. We’re talking 10’s of thousands, $50,000 or more.
Cancellation: The admonition to read the fine print can’t be emphasized too often. At the start of the pandemic, some people were shocked to find that pandemics were specifically excluded from their “cancel for any reason” policies. My sense is that in the end, most air fares and pre-paid tour fees were refunded or compensated with vouchers, but some people had to wait a long time. If you haven’t pre-paid much, you may find the cost of such cancellation provisions makes them not worthwhile.
If you go to insuremytrip.com or squaremouth.com, you can easily compare costs and make an informed decision.

Posted by
25 posts

Thanks, all, for your advice. Has anyone used GeoBlue for their travel insurance? We have Anthem Blue Cross and they referred us to GeoBlue for the trip.

Posted by
2 posts

We had to cancel our France trip due to COVID issues and had purchased the "cancel for any reason" option on a TG policy. When applying for the refund I told them I was unable to travel because of my health and they did not require any specifics or documentation. They provided a cash settlement for 50% of the covered and unreimbursed purchases. No voucher for future use was mentioned. Took about a month.
The only static I got was American Airlines who wanted to give me a voucher. After some wrangling they refunded 100% of the ticket cost.

Posted by
18869 posts

I remember reading at least one positive comment about GeoBlue on this forum. It's possible you'll be able to find it--and perhaps a few others--by using the Search function.

It's my understanding that standard cancel-for-any-reason policies pay back only 50% of the money you had at risk if your reason for canceling is not otherwise covered. You can buy an upgraded (more expensive) policy for better coverage, but those seem to pay back only 75%. Personally, I think the cost of those policies is out of line with the potential payout. (That's an opinion, obviously, not an undisputed fact.) The economics may differ for people who book non-refundable lodgings; I do not do that.

It's worthwhile to read the language of a standard travel-insurance policy carefully to see what is already covered even if you don't opt for a cancel-for-any-reason policy. No, fear of COVID would not be a valid reason for cancellation under most policies (unless they've changed a lot in the last 18 months), but job loss is often covered, as is a serious illness for a close relative.

Posted by
3134 posts

A reasonable price? One thing that continues to astonish me about travel health insurance is the enormous range of prices. The good thing about consulting insuremytrip or squaremouth is that they bring up all the companies that you can choose from, given the filters you provide; e.g., age, trip length, etc. they show the ratings for each company, as well. I cannot see any reason to pay $800 for the same coverage that I can get for $400. And that isn’t the largest difference I’ve seen!