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Travel Insurance, worth it?

After having read the many horror stories about people not being able to take their vacations they have planned for years, I was wondering if travel insurance would help "soften the blow'. We are traveling to the UK in late summer and we are wondering if travel insurance would have any benefit for us in case something similar happened?

Posted by
23434 posts

You have to determine what is at risk. In other words all you can only insure is the potential financial damage to yourself (health insurance is a different issue.) The could include non-refundable deposits, cancellation fees, change fees for the airline ticket, etc. Policies vary greatly as to coverage so read the fine print very carefully. If you plan a $10,000 trip and cannot go it does not mean that you get $10,000. You could pay a $200 premium just get back an non-refundable deposit of $100.

Articles in local paper indicate that travel insurance is not paying for several reasons -- nature disaster excluded in some policies, actions of a government agency excluded in others, airline will fly you at a later date so you have no financial lost., etc. etc.

You cannot not insure inconvenience. Just evaluate what you have at risk. Use for comparisons of policies.

Posted by
408 posts

Do the numbers for your own case. Here is a (very general) scenario from our travels. For the past ten years (+) we spend about $10k a year on the summer trip and the insurance for that trip would run about $800-900. We actually did cancel one of those ten years - a week before departure - and, when all the dust cleared, we lost a little under $4k (of the planned $10k). Ten years of insurance (in this general example) would have been $8k (and it's an unknown how much of the $4k in expenses would actually have been covered).

When we first started serious traveling, I really, really wanted the comfort of insurance, but the advice (at the time) was that it was pricey and really only paid back in the peace-of-mind factor. Year-one it might have been worth it to me; at year-ten I'm a bit more comfortable with figuring things out as they unfold ... like this ash situation, which has many of us unnerved. E.g., if our departure flight is cancelled could we get to the second spot in our itenerary by some other means and pick up the rest of the trip from there? One bump doesn't mean everything is necessarily lost.

Posted by
82 posts

Gooo information guys! I just dont' want to get stuck with $3,000.00 in plane tickets and not being able to use them to go on a trip we've been planning for awhile.

Posted by
333 posts

If it is an airline related problem that you haven't caused you shouldn't worry about getting reimbursement. Those things tend to work out although sometimes they are a bit of a hassle.

Even a lot of the 'non-refundable' fares on US airlines will allow you to make a date change for personal reasons for a fee (Usually $150-200/ticket).
Check the restrictions and call your airline to see what the policy is.

I almost always book directly with hotels since they usually offer the best cancellation policies. (48 hours prior to arrival in most cases) I will usually pick the higher pay on arrival fee than prepay. (it's usually never more than 10 euro/nite difference anyways)

Insurance worth is usually an inverse of the ease of getting it. There is a reason a lot of different companies offer travel insurance with no application process and a lot fewer companies offering primary health insurance with an extensive application process

Posted by
11507 posts

I always get extra medical insurance,, but have only gotten travel insurance once,, the year I booked and had to pay up front for our RS tour.

My airfare is rebookable for 100 dollars. My hotels always have good cancellation policies( I do not prepay ) usually 24-48 hrs notice or one night penalty) and I pre purchase almost nothing else.

I could lose my 80 euro Eurostar ticket for this upcoming trip, but my hotel is only 80 euros,unless I give 48 hrs notice, and my airfare would involve no fee if airline cancels, and only 100 dollars if I do( to change dates)

For me, travel insurance is best for trips where you have preapaid alot( cruises and tours) or where you have paid large non refundalbe deposit on an apartment or villa.

Posted by
881 posts

FYI - Pretty much every travel insurance company has, or is in the process of deeming the Iceland volcano as a "pre-existing" risk, and will NOT cover it for trips/policies purchased after April 15th - until the declare it a non-risk again. I wouldn't count on it for volcano from here on out.

For 100 million and 1 other reasons though, I would get it. Well worth the piece of mind, medical evacuation insurance, etc, etc, etc.

Posted by
506 posts

After years of travel we have only bought insurance when we have taken a tour package and had to pay in advance. If it is only air, you will be charged about $200.00 a ticket to rebook (airlines are waiving that for the volcano), which is about what you would pay for insurance anyway. Other wise it is a matter of cancelling hotels and car rental. We always go to a travel agency and buy train ticket once we get there.

Posted by
2193 posts

I would recommend purchasing a basic yet comprehensive policy for peace of mind. On many previous trips, the only coverage I concerned myself with was related to health and auto – health was covered through existing medical and auto was covered through credit card and optional add-ons. On all previous European visits, I had never purchased travel insurance before a trip last November when H1N1 was hitting hard. I went with a Travelex Basic plan for about 3.5% of covered trip cost. Without the policy, a cancelled trip due to illness would have meant change fees of $250 per ticket (times four). Plus, we had some pre-paid hotel that would have been at risk. The policy was $76. For most travelers, a basic plan will do, and it will cover a lot of things you might not even be thinking about (layoff, house gets burglarized prior to trip, illness, whatever). Plus, it covers the predictable biggies…health, trip cancellation, med evacuation, etc.). Compare several and go with one that gets good reviews and is underwritten by a major insurance carrier you’ve heard of. Note that an extra “cancel for any reason” add-on may not actually allow you to cancel for any reason at any time…there are restrictions. I would suggest asking the insurer to e-mail you a copy of the contract prior to purchasing so that you’re familiar with the fine print…there’s just not a lot of info on the websites (other than marketing messaging). That’s what I did anyway. Good luck, and happy travels!

Posted by
2349 posts

I noticed on his blog that Rick himself does not carry trip insurance. But he's not really on vacation, is he? He's really working. A major problem becomes something to write about.

Besides a major health event, the reason I would cancel a trip would have to do with our small business. Loss of a key employee, etc. I doubt that would be covered in most policies.

Posted by
333 posts

Has anyone successfully filed a claim with a Travel Insurance company?

Was it quick, painless and fair in your opinion?

Posted by
124 posts

Yes, we have. My wife (mid-fifties) slipped and fell in Ireland last August and broke her upper arm and shoulder. They paid our out-of-pocket direct medical expenses (Dr. visit, injection, and 2 perscriptions). They asked us to provide a tele number to maintain contact, but would not cover the 60Euros for the cell phone. Also would not cover "over-sized" blouses that we needed to purchase to fit over the arm sling. The biggie they did cover, was the $3,000 air-fare upgrade to first class that the Drs. had prescribed, since she had to be up every hour walking on the plane to prevent clots from forming. The insurance company paid the airline directly, and then we submitted receipts with a claim form for the out-of -pocket items, which took about 2 months for them to pay. We won't go with out travel insurance in the made a believer out of us! Dan

Posted by
811 posts

We have also successfully filed a claim resulting from a situation while traveling internationally, although it was in Peru, not Europe.

Our travel insurance was through Amex Travel (or whatever their insurance subsidiary is) and our bus transportation was canceled on our day of travel due to a strike. We ended up flying, instead, and the last-minute flights were expensive. We called Amex from Peru and they told us to document EVERYTHING, including an article from a local paper (it was ok everything was in Spanish) detailing the strike.

Once we were home we filed the claim and recieved full compensation a few weeks later. This included our flights and transfer costs to get to the airport.

If anyone with travel insurance ever has a situation arise where you'll have to file a claim, I cannot underscore enough how important it is to document everything, even if you don't think it will be necessary. You don't want to give the insurer any reason to deny your claim.

We were pleased at how Amex Travel Insurance handled the claim and would use them again.

Posted by
1 posts

The medical coverage is vital.Emergencies may not be covered by Health Insurence in the States,especially Medical evacuation.I have witnessed a tour member fracture her ankle in Normandy.She was transported by ambulence to Paris and she max out her credit card just for that ride.She also had to pay for the special plane ride home with an temporarily air cast on her ankle.She had to use her other credit card for the emergency Orthopedic care in Paris.She had no travel insurence and the US Health insurence do not cover her overseas expenses as they are not on their preferred provider list.