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Travel Insurance

We are planning to take a Rick Steves tour in 2015, and plan to do a post tour excursion. With a past European vacation we purchased travel insurance through a local travel agent, and would like advice about how to go about purchasing this insurance on our own for this RS tour including the flight and post tour travel. Any advice would be appreciated.

Posted by
34 posts

Hi--There are websites that compare and contrast the various travel insurance policies, from companies such as Travel Guard. That may be a good starting point. Have a good trip.

Posted by
705 posts

Pat, first, an RS tour includes (or has in the past) certain travel insurance. You might check with the tour department to get an understanding of what is included. The website for doing comparison shopping of travel insurance is www.insuremytrip.com. Also research what your own health insurance covers, if anything, while you are traveling outside the US. Have a great trip.

Posted by
2145 posts

Hi Pat, I've taken 5 RS tours and always purchase Travel Guard insurance. I had to cancel a trip in 2012 due to a family emergency and they paid everything I requested ($400 tour deposit, plane ticket, train ticket, and some events I had pre-purchased). It was easy to do, minimal paperwork. When you sign up for a tour you will receive a brochure which provides more info (there is a special RS "plan") or you can check out their website. Have a great trip!

Posted by
2455 posts

Pat, when younger I traveled extensively and never even thought about travel insurance. No longer younger, I certainly do. I figure I could absorb most of the expenses of an interrupted or cancelled trip if need be, but not expensive emergency evacuation back to the States, which is what the insurance really protects me for. I have used Travel Guard for two recent RS trips, each of which included additional days on my own, before and after the tour. Be sure to read up on this insurance before you sign up for the tour, or right away after. I remember that coverage was only offered for any pre-existing health condition if you purchased the insurance within two weeks of paying your initial deposit for a trip, or something similar to that. Be sure to look into those details in advance.

Posted by
8206 posts

My wife is on Medicare with a supplement supplied by my company. I have private health insurance.

My health insurance is good worldwide. Medicare is not valid outside the U.S. (even Canada). We checked, and my wife's Medicare supplement covers her worldwide. Those on Medicare should have travel insurance if their insurance companies don't cover them outside the U.S.

Posted by
171 posts

Pat,
I recommend googling an article by Peter Greenberg titled Do you need travel insurance? I feel it will answer all of your questions without having to spend hours comparing quotes. One thing we learned about buying medical evacuation insurance was that you do not have any control over choosing hospitals. He explains all of that in the article. We have purchased a policy that does give us that option for our 2015 travels. We have always bought through Travel Guard which is one company that he recommends.

Posted by
681 posts

Kent,
Could you elaborate a bit. Our Medicare Supplement has been covering us for both doctor visits and hospital stays when we've been overseas. They assure me that medical evacuation is covered if needed. Am I missing something?

Posted by
5697 posts

Nancy, which Medicare supplement? We have Anthem F and I hadn't thought about it covering med-evac. (Don't know that it does or doesn't ... just never asked. ) But I DO expect it to cover expenses that would be Medicare-eligible at home.

Posted by
10344 posts

Nancy, I don't know any more than I said above.
So I don't know if you're missing something.
If you've had actual experience with Medicare, then maybe you're ok. Hopefully it will never become an issue for you.
I'd heard that some Medicare supplements don't fully cover you for things like medical evacuation, outside of the US--these costs can be high.

But fortunately, I have no personal experience with this. I do what some other some people here do, who are older, and buy umbrella health and evacuation coverage, consider it cheap "peace of mind" insurance. Perhaps I'm wasting a small amount of money by doing so.

Posted by
295 posts

I would recommend Travel Guard or Access America. I have used both and never had any issues. Travel Guard came in handy 4 years ago when the volcano erupted in Iceland and Access America came through for me once when my Mom needed surgery in Kenya and then needed to be evacuated. The money is well worth it. Your tour is covered through our company but not your air or any pre or post travels. There is a time limit in which you need to purchase the insurance so I wouldn't wait.

Posted by
681 posts

Laura,
Our Medicare coverage is with Kaiser Permanente. They've paid all of our out-of-the country medical bills, minus our co-pay. We usually pay these bills with a credit card and Kaiser reimburses us, although we had a French hospital send us a bill by mail. We sent that to Kaiser and they paid the hospital directly. Needless to say, European medical bills are much lower than those in the US, so it's not a problem to put them on a credit card.

Posted by
5697 posts

Thanks, Nancy -- explains the difference. You have Medicare Advantage (Medicare part C) through Kaiser as HMO while I have Medicare part A and B plus Medicare Supplement F through Anthem as fee-for-service. So I guess we'll still add on evacuation insurance but rely on Anthem for reimbursement if it's ever needed.

Posted by
318 posts

Thanks to all for taking the time to share your experiences. You have offered good suggestions and have given me direction.

Posted by
28 posts

I'm an oddball. I don't buy general travel insurance. My medical insurance is good world wide, and certainly in Europe they have a list of associated hospitals and medical practices that will work with them for payment. I self insure things like lost luggage, delays and cancellations. I have only had to cancel one trip and the reasons for it would not have triggered an insurance payment.

What I do carry is medical evacuation insurance. I am not willing to self insure the tens of thousands of dollars it would cost to get back home if seriously injured or sick. That costs about $220 a year. It is good any where that is more than 150 miles from my home.

Posted by
82 posts

I am so glad I saw this post! Last week I booked our first family trip to Europe (Best of Europe in 14 days) for June 2015 and paid the deposit, and I hadn't even thought about tour insurance yet. We have never purchased this before. I see from these posts there is a deadline to purchase....is this from when the initial RS tour deposit is paid?

Donna - you mentioned a brochure and a special RS plan...is this usually sent quickly after making the deposit? I don't want to slip up and miss a deadline!

We too will be extending the RS tour - a few days in front in London, another day in Paris before the tour, another day in back in Rome....so we will have our own hotel purchases, train tickets and the plane tickets. Are there travel insurance plans that will include both the RS tour and our on-our-own stuff? We likely will be paying for some of our 4 airline tickets with my Delta miles.

I will call on Monday to find out what our Cigna health plan covers in Europe. One area I want to ensure we have coverage for is medical emergencies and transportation back to the states if need be, as I have a relative who had a medical emergency while on a vacation in Europe and had to spend two weeks in a hospital in Austria and had to be flown in various medical helicopters and back home so I am sure the cost was enormous. (Thankfully she fully recovered).

As this is our first family trip to Europe, I am really finding this Tour Forum helpful and really appreciate all the tips!

Posted by
2712 posts

Most travel policies have a time, usually about 10 days from the initial deposit, within which they wave pre-existing conditions. If you have none, not a worry. All policies ask what dates you will be traveling, airline, tour company, but they will cover costs inside and outside of the RS tour. If you are not sure of the particular policy you are looking at, ask before you buy. Our health insurance will reimburse us for emergency care, once we submit claims. But they will not cover medical evacuation. That is my major concern. Even though we are in Europe and the health care is good, if someone gets really sick I want to be back in the USA. I became very ill the day before we were to depart on a family cruise many years ago. The insurance company at that time worked with a travel agent to re-book everything, but they would have given me the money if I wanted. I don't know if they do such a thing anymore. I would not travel without travel insurance.

Posted by
2455 posts

On this very page of this web site, if you go to the upper left, click on Travel Tips, then click on Trip Planning, and under "Do I Need Travel Insurance?" you will find a very good discussion and tips related to various types of travel insurance, a good primer.

Posted by
1167 posts

Before you buy insurance check with your credit card company. I found that mine includes pretty much the same coverage as the insurance companies do.

Posted by
1167 posts

Before you buy insurance check with your credit card company. I found that mine includes pretty much the same coverage as the insurance companies do.