Why is Travel Guard recommended for travel insurance?

Why does ETBD always recommend Travel Guard for travel insurance? Over the years I have found Travelex to offer much greater coverage limits for medical and $50,000 of rental vehicle coverage (included) for about a third less than Travel Guard. Have people had bad claim experiences with other insurers making Travel Guard a better choice albeit at a much higher price?

Posted by Bets
2791 posts

Great question, Mike. If no one knows, could you call the RS consultants in in Edmonds and post their answer.

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
853 posts

Per Rick Steves, Do I need Insurance? advice, "One of the better changes in recent years is that many companies, such as Travelex and Travel Guard, offer comprehensive packages that serve as your primary coverage;" and
"For extensive coverage, go with a big-name company (avoid buying insurance from a no-name company you found online). Consider the package deals sold by Betins (tel. 866-552-8834 or 253/238-6374), Allianz (tel. 800-284-8300), Travelex (tel. 800-228-9792), Travel Guard (tel. 800-826-4919), and Travel Insured International (tel. 800-243-3174)" Seems as though both companies are mentioned equally. Yes?

Posted by Pam
Troy, Idaho, USA
1742 posts

Bruce, when you sign up for an RS tour, the Travel Guard brochure comes with the initial packet, so it does seem as if it is recommended.

Posted by Mike
Petaluma, CA, USA
5 posts

Thanks Pam. You've hit on the root of my question. Since the Travel Guard brochure is always included in the tour packet, it seemed as if there was an implied recommendation there. I've always bought insurance from Travelex because it has been about 30% less for more coverage, and I could avoid having to pay extra for car rental coverage. I've never had to file a claim, so I can't speak to my satisfaction with Travelex except to show the thick packet of papers showing my coverage limits.

Posted by pat
victoria, Canada
8721 posts

Cause they get a kick back,, just kidding( maybe), no really likely because its a reputable company most likely.
I do think people should do their own homework and research what best meets there needs. I never buy travel insurance, just extra medical, but thats me.

Posted by Bruce
Whitefish, Montana
853 posts

Well now, tucking in a brochure with tour information does imply a recommendation by Rick. Hmmm. Why include? Punching in data at the insuremytrip website for my upcoming trip to Europe, reveals opposite results from the original poster and auto coverage is for a lesser amount. Various policies no doubt are tailored to the specific facts.

Posted by Galen
Dallas, United States
462 posts

There is a bit of insurance coverage included in the tour price. I thought the brochure was advising the traveler from which insurance company ETBD bought that little bit of coverage. "All our tours include Tour Cancellation/ Interruption coverage. You can even switch to a different 2013 date or destination with no charge or penalty up to 60 days before your departure date." - from RS website.

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2193 posts

Maybe it's as simple as that's with whom he has a business relationship. Example: The airlines will also offer you a travel insurance add-on when booking your ticket. They're not giving you 15 options with reviews and the pros/cons for each...they're offering you the one company with whom they have a business relationship, and the airline is getting something out of the deal. It's not a conspiracy...it's business. My guess is that Rick is doing a similar deal. As for bad claims experiences, you'll find plenty for every insurer when you read through the reviews. However, when you read through the reviews, you'll find that most people who are very unhappy were trying to file a claim for something that actually wasn't covered, but they thought it should have been. Tough bananas...read the contract/certificate of insurance before buying and not just the brochure. If you understand the details, you'll know exactly what is and isn't covered, and you won't have a problem. I've used Travelex and Access America (now Allianz). Allianz had better coverage for about the same cost, so that's who I might recommend.

Posted by Paul
Tuscaloosa, AL
884 posts

I've used Travel Guard several times and had to make a claim once (as a result of the Japan earthquake/tsunami). Travel Guard rejected my claim despite clear contract coverage (I read the contract Michael, but it isn't as simple as you make it out to be). Only after I got a lawyer to draft a complaint for a lawsuit that he sent to the parent company did they pay the claim, and they did so within days of getting the letter. Nevertheless, I'd still use Travel Guard again, assuming that the language in their contract wasn't too restrictive. But I recognize that they are an insurance company. Insurance companies enhance their profits by denying claims, that's just the reality. You just have to be prepared to fight if you have a legitimate claim and they try to avoid paying. The one thing in your favor is that it will likely cost the company more to fight your claim than to settle. The thing in their favor is that it may cost you more to fight for your claim than it is worth or that you can afford. If you don't have access to legal help, I recommend writing your state's insurance commissioner, the FTC, your representatives in Congress, and anyone else you can think of, sending a copy to the insurance company. The squeaky wheel . . . . Based on my experience, I wouldn't get insurance from any company that required arbitration or that tried to force you to resolve the dispute in a forum more favorable to the insurance company so that you could file an action in small claims court in your hometown if you exhausted all of the other options. Most small claims actions can be filed without a lawyer. You might not win, but it would probably cost the company an amount close to the value of your claim to defend because as a corporation, they have to hire a lawyer to represent them.

Posted by Elaine
Mission Viejo, Calif., USA
820 posts

American Express also offers great travel insurance. We have used them four times. We made a laim after returning from Australia and it was handled promptly. You sign up for the insurance two weeks before you leave on your trip. Then you cancel it when you return from the trip.

Posted by Michael
Des Moines, IA
2193 posts

Paul: The point I was trying to make is that 99% of the complaints found in the reviews are from folks whose claims were denied, and they should have been. In these cases, the insured believed they should have been covered, but had they read the contract (as I always do), they clearly would have found that what they thought should have been covered was not covered in the first place. They end up getting pissed and writing a bad review about how unfair the situation was. Of course, there are unique scenarios like you have described, and I agree with everything you said regarding the insurers denying claims, arbitration, and taking legal action when needed. BTW, I have always found it amusing that nothing more than a demand letter from an attorney will often prompt the other side to do the right thing and close out a complaint to one's satisfaction. Living with an attorney definitely has its advantages. :)

Posted by Love to Travel
San Diego, CA
126 posts

I use World Nomads. Good pricing and you can extend your policy online. If I am traveling for more than 2-3 weeks, someone's a bit sick at home, or going someplace that's not Europe I get insurance. Otherwise, I don't think you need it for 2 weeks in London or Paris.

Posted by Robert
Liberty, Missouri
126 posts

I just signed up for a RS tour and got the Travel Guard RS Gold Plan insurance flyer in my confirmation packet. I had already bought my insurance from my local travel agency in order for them to get the commission. Since I can't buy Rick's trips from them I can at least give them some of my business. I try to shop local when I can. However when I compared the Gold Plan cost charts, Ricks plan was $121 less. I asked my travel agent about that big of a price difference and she said she knew that Travel Guard does have a group rate plan. So it seems Rick can offer the Travel Guard Group Rates for less money than buying it just for yourself. And as mentioned by another poster a RS tour does have some basic coverage but not medical or evacuation coverage. And I ASSUME it is with Travel Guard and that Rick has been satified with that business relationship as I am susre he has had to make more than just a few claims over the years. Just my opinion, I don't really know but it seems logical.

Posted by gingerssbg
2 posts

Rental Car Insurance from Travel Guard:

Travelers should be aware that rental car insurance from Travel Guard covers only collision damage, not theft. Other travel insurance companies, like Travelex, do include theft protection. If travelers decline collision (CDW) insurance with the rental company, they may also be declining theft insurance , and end up with no coverage at all in case of theft of the rental car.

For example, if renting a car for France from Auto Europe, it is much cheaper to use their basic rate, decline the rental company insurance, and use rental car insurance from a travel insurance policy. Auto Europe's basic rate generally includes liability and fire insurance, but not collision or car theft coverage. However, if you use Travel Guard for your trip's rental car insurance, you will ONLY be covered for collision damage, NOT car theft.

With the prevalence of theft in some European companies, this is a glaring deficiency in Travel Guard's rental car policy. As always, you should read the travel insurance policy coverage document carefully. Even if you use the Travelex rental car insurance, the car rental agency will likely "block the deductible" on your credit card, meaning they charge the deductible amount you would be responsible for under their insurance to your credit card, even if your Travelex rental car policy has no deductible. In the case of Auto Europe car rentals in France, this amount may be 850 Euros, or nearly$1200, which presumably would be refunded upon safe return of the rental car.

Note that "theft" coverage in this case refers to theft of the car only, not theft of your personal belongings from the car.

Posted by TC
660 posts

We have had one claim for medical expenses related to an injury while out of the U.S. There was even follow up treatments and rehab after returning home. They did require documentation of the bills, but it was not at all unreasonable. We had a check within a week of submitting the paper work. We have no complaints and still insure with them. TC

Posted by Elaine
Mission Viejo, Calif., USA
820 posts

I found out recently that American Express does not offer travel insurance any more. Travel Guard or Insure My Trip could be used.

Posted by Charlie
Honolulu/Seattle, HI/WA, USA
2092 posts

When I was signing up for my first RS tour in 2001 I went to insuremytrip.com to research the cost of getting travel insurance. After applying/supplying all of my personal information I decided on Travel Guard mainly on price and lack of complaints. And then when my packet arrived from RS I see that flyer from TG. I have since purchased TG insurance for the rest of my 11 RS tours and have noticed that in their billing there is some type of notation about me being a member of the RS group. I have never had to file a claim, thank goodness, so I can not personally attest to their claim settling. Since reading the posts here I will take the time to compare this years bill from TG with a similar policy from Travelex just for my own peace of mind. I do like TG's coverage of pre-existing conditions if you purchase your policy as soon as you make your first payment for your trip. And, yes, you can make changes to the policy later as you add more costs to your trip. I do have some physical issues that I like being covered for.