Travel Insurance

Just curious: Do you buy travel insurance (trip interruption, cancellation, medical, evacuation, etc.)? If so, what do you purchase and why? I travel overseas often, but have never bothered--haven't had a problem yet. Does anyone have stories that you might like to share about the benefits of purchasing these products--or reasons not to purchase?

Posted by Ellen
Centennial, CO, USA
1520 posts

We've taken out insurance one time in 5 trips. Didn't have to use it...that being said, I have a good girlfriend that took out insurance on her trip to Europe 2 weeks before departure, she had an accident at home and ended up in the hosptial. She wasn't able to take her trip...the insurance came in handy. She was able to rebook for a later date. Without the insurance, she would have been out thousands of $$.

So don't always think about something that might happen during your trip, but something could (hope not) happen prior.

if you have older parents, or younger kids...I feel it's important to insure your trip. It's worth the extra $200-400.

Posted by Michael Schneider
New Paltz, NY
7477 posts

I always purchase medical/evacuation coverage. Keep in mind that should break a leg or hip that requires special seating in an aircraft to get you home, those charges start at $20,000 USD. Should the accident happen in a remote location or if you live in a remote part of the US, those charges can easily double. I have heard horror stories about people being financially ruined by these charges. I never take a chance, I always buy the insurance. There are lots of companies that provide this type of coverage, happen to use this one:

Posted by Norm
Ottawa, Canada
4555 posts

Think of it this way.....if you didn't have insurance at home, and you had to have an operation to fix a badly-broken arm....what would it cost you? That's the situation you may face when travelling outside the U-S. While the costs in many countries aren't as high as in the U-S, they're high enough to force most of us ordinary mortals into bankruptcy. Mfather had an operation for a blocked colon in Florida, and the entire thing (including 10 days in hospital and air fare back to Canada) topped $35,000 U-S....and that was 20-odd years ago!

Posted by Pat
North Shore, MA, USA
59 posts

I have always felt that the couple of hundred dollars spent on Travel Insurance was well spent. Check your policy. Many Health Insurance carriers do not cover you out of the US. If something happens you will be up a creek without insurance and if you have to be sent home under special arrangements, it could cost 20-30 thousand dollars.

WE have used Travelguard on 5 trips. Never had to use it and that is a relief. I don't think the rates are unreasonable and there are many levels of coverage available. Some for just health, other policies are more comprehensive. Don't take a chance, I think the next time I travel to Europe, I will buy trip Cancellation Insurance. Never felt the need to prior to this but the world is getting complicated. It might be worth considering.

Posted by Julie
SF Bay Area, CA, USA
446 posts

American Express has a good travel health and evacuation insurance policy for it's cardholders. It's about $110-120 per year (not per trip) and covers all trips (up to 30-45 days I believe) when you are at least 100 miles from home and staying overnight. It also includes doctor referrals and translation services, if necessary. I've never used it in Europe, but I have when visiting Las Vegas. It covered all the expenses and copays not covered by my primary insurance and incuded the charge to change my airfare when I couldn't fly home as scheduled.

Posted by Tom
Newport Beach, CA, USA
756 posts

Id agree with some of the above posts - I recently purchased policies for two trips - as they both required signifigant upfront tour payments and flight-tickets that have gotten so expensive due to high-season & fuel costs. If you take off-season trips with little up front money paid out - then the health/evac insurance may be sufficient ( looked like it was geared toward adventure travel and cheaper than others- but less on trip delay since it limited to 1000$ cancelation). I used TravelGuard since it adjusts to the cash amount you spend on the trip for cancelations (tour/flight etc). The hope is never to have to use it. Pick a reputable name too. Rick himself says he never used it in all his years - but maybe he has a "corp policy" for the company. hope these all help you out a bit.

Posted by Tom
Newport Beach, CA, USA
756 posts

forgot to add: was also another evac specialist - and they have yearly-memberships that might meet your needs as well. check out the three to see which covers your needs best!

Posted by Natasha
Concord, California
138 posts

I bought insurance together with my plane ticket. It was only 40 dollars. But what about all my hotels/B&Bs/pansions reservations? Is there a way to insure them all? Different places all in one policy? Is it possible to purchase insurance for a limited time, just to cover my upcoming trip?

Posted by Lisa
Beautiful Austin TX
582 posts

If you book a hotel through Expedia, they have hotel insurance for $13. But this is for only one person for eight days. It's worth looking into. Expedia does have budget hotels for way under $100. They list some hostals too. They do for Berlin anyway.
My airline insurance was $41, and that covers medical,dental and if a suitcase gets lost or damaged. Also it covers for cancellation. But I bought that right through the airlines.

Posted by Lisa
Beautiful Austin TX
582 posts

Oh yes Natasha, I almost forgot.
You were asking about insurance all in one. If you book together, a package deal for airlines and hotel,Expedia does have all in one insurance. I'm sure not only Expedia has this. Most likely any place that has package deals have insurance for everything, but I just happened to do it through Expedia.
I didn't do it this way this time for my Berlin trip. I got a good deal on airfare through the airlines. But in the past two years, I did get the package through Expedia. I really saved money!
I'm sure other travelers here have some good ideas too.

Posted by Karen
Colorado Springs
326 posts

We didn't start purchasing insurance until we started cruises and bicycle tours, which require up- front money and final payment several weeks before the trip. Also, as we have gotten older (55+), there is more "pre-existing" stuff that could possibly derail a trip (plus the extra bicycle training rides - all it takes is one fall). I don't cover anything that is refundable - hotel reservations, etc. and we usually buy train tickets as we go, so it's usually plane ticket, tour costs and cruises (rail pass, if you get one). We had a young man on a cruise last summer that had to be helicopter evacuated from the middle of the North Sea. Though my health insurance company says they would hve covered it, I think the comfort of knowing you're covered is worth the cost (much less than you pay for medical insurance monthly). I always go through which gives you lots of comparisons. If I plan a last minute, shorter trip, I usually don't bother with insurance.

Posted by Dona
32 posts

In the past never purchased Travel Ins, however as parents were getting older & infirm started purchasing ins. In Oct'05 while in Paris my dh was suddenly hospitalized. He remained in the American Hospital for 5 days. During this frightning time I was ever so grateful that we had Travel Guard Ins. They were the liasons between myself and the hospital and Blue Cross/Shield. Also offered to call parents,employers,credit card co etc, to let them know that our trip was extended.(Hospitilized on Sunday, we were to leave for home on Monday)They arranged for pickup to airport and flight home. After our Medical reimbused us, submitted paperwork to Travel Guard and was reimbursed. Only negative was that we did not have a policy to pay for my hotel room,meals etc. However hotel neg a lower single room rate for me. Upside, dh promises another trip to Paris for me, ambulance rides in Paris are free, and his gaul blatter was removed after we got home. Leaving for Turkey,Greece and have ins

Posted by Helen
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
705 posts

Always buy it. I just look as it as part of the cost of the trip. I'm not so concerned about luggage loss and the like but take it for medical cover. Have had to see a doctor on two trips and the cost of the visit was ridiculous - tourist price. Wouldn't have sent me bankrupt but was nice to get the $300 back. Also when travelling with a friend she lost her air ticket and all expenses were covered to have it replaced. I

Posted by BG
SF Bay Area, USA
1578 posts

I too always buy travel insurance for medical and evacuation. Luckily never had to use it. I will probably also get cancellation too this next time. It's worth the cost to not have to worry about something happening. has info/links to many travel insurance policies you can buy online. I usually use Travelguard.

Posted by Terry
Bend, OR
574 posts

Here's an interesting article from Budget Travel online regarding whether you are in the group needing travel insurance:

My husband called his insurer before our last European trip and was again reassured that we would be reimbursed. It sounds like every company and situation is different and you need to know exactly what your current coverage is so you don't waste money overinsuring yoursef, or worse, not having coverage in an emergency.

Posted by BG
SF Bay Area, USA
1578 posts

Check out the New York Times travel section in this upgoming Sunday's (5/6) They have an article about travel insurance that is very interesting. New policies being developed all the time to accommodate travelers.
I always get medical evacuation coverage, and regular medical, even though my health plan will reimburse me. If I have a major medical event may be hard to pay out of pocket first. So for peace of mind I get it. In 6 trips though, I have never had to use it. But that is good!

Posted by Kendal
Los Angeles, CA, USA
14 posts

What about insurance for loss or theft of belongings? i'm traveling with a laptop, engagement ring, digital camera, etc.... and I can't find an insurance company who will insure them to their real value! Just up to like, $500 per item. :-/ help! leaving in two weeks!

Posted by Tom
Newport Beach, CA, USA
756 posts

Jeff - you may be able to have your Laptop and oter gear covered by your Home-Owners insurance - or Renters Insurance - if you have either. Call and ask. I think many may recommend not traveling with your expensive rings (unless youre going to propose over there - which is a different story i guess!)