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How many of you veteran travelers buy trip insurance?

I just did my first RS tour last month (Best of Ireland). I did buy trip insurance for that trip. I now have booked Best of Switzerland for September 2020 and debating on buying trip insurance again. They recommend Travelguard here at Rick Steves. Any of you veteran travelers like a different company?

Posted by
62 posts

Always - have heard too many horror stories about medical issues while overseas. Insurance cost is small percentage of total cost.

Posted by
1153 posts

Always do, especially since reaching Medicare age. Otherwise, I would have no coverage while traveling. It is expensive, but does give me one less thing to worry about. I use Roam Right.

Posted by
2319 posts

Never. Our medical insurance covers emergencies overseas; everything I book in advance is either refundable, changeable, or flexible.

Posted by
4889 posts

I never leave home without it.

I have an annual policy which is much cheaper than just buying it for a single trip, but it depends on how much travelling you do in a year.

Posted by
15 posts

Always but medical insurance when I travel. For less than $50 I get primary medical care and medical evacuation through AAA. Not taking that chance.

Posted by
503 posts

Always. We've only had to use it once - cancelled a trip two weeks before we were scheduled to leave due to a medical issue. We were reimbursed for all the expenses we'd incurred to date (over $3,000 worth).
Now, having said that - it really is a math question I think. If the cost of the insurance is more than or equal to what you would lose in terms of ticket costs and lodging deposits, then it's probably not worth it. If it's less, then I think it definitely is!

Posted by
2518 posts

Yes. I have fine health insurance through work but it doesn’t cover internationally. Also I get a plan with cancellation coverage - I had to use it once for illness making it so my group couldn’t travel. The insurance paid and it was very worth it.

Posted by
64 posts

Jennifer,
I've never heard of an annual policy. Can you tell me who yours is with? I have two tours booked for 2020.

Posted by
2990 posts

We also have an annual policy (but ours is Canadian, so no help to the OP). Important to look at what all your policy covers though. Trip cancellation/interruption is good to have, but medical/evacuation is even more important if your regular policy doesn't cover out of country.

Posted by
16165 posts

Yes, since turning Medicare age, I have bought a Medevac from Travel Guard. They have been keeping that "hidden" on their website recently as they really want you to buy a much more expensive comprehensive plan. I have also been using an outfit called Travel Protectors for group trips lately. In January this year, someone had to file a claim, and they did get paid after jumping through the requisite hoops.

Posted by
4787 posts

Insuremytrip.com is a good tool for comparing plans. We use Travelex, mainly because of a very good claims experience with them when we had to cancel a trip to India. (They don't win many points for their currency exchange rates, but that's another business line). For a tour or cruise, where there's a big upfront cost, we typically insure all or most of that. For an independent or shorter trip, more of a pay-as-you-go proposition, we don't typically insure. We make refundable hotel reservations. We buy non-refundable air tickets, but figure we can change flights if necessary and eat the change fees.

Edit -- Just to add -- you can insure the bulk of your expected trip costs without trying to cover the maximum. If your tour and flights cost $X, and the premium for a lower limit is significantly lower, you could self-insure for part of your trip cost. It's a gamble, but so is life. Insurance is about managing risk, not eliminating all possible losses.

Posted by
3492 posts

Had one claim with Travelguard for medical expenses incurred while on a cruise and was fully reimbursed shortly after submitting documentation. With regard to medical evacuation coverage, read the fine print. Some policies will only pay for evacuation to nearest appropriate medical facility while others may or will return you to your home. There is a company called MedJet that you might want to scope out. NOT medical insurance, just evacuation back home. Many different plans.

Posted by
8443 posts

Always. My Medicare Secondary does ~say~ it will pay internationally but I have never tried it. I also want evacuation insurance which might be the most important aspect to me.

I've used TravelGuard (but call for specifics) but this last time I used Divers Network. Do make sure you buy right away.

One thing that I have thought about with the latest stuff that is going on in Paris with the strikes is trying to recoup travel arrangements if there is a national strike. I would NOT think that would be a problem for Switzerland but it's something that has struck me with all the threads on transport strikes in both France and UK. You'd want to ask if your insurance would cover for cancellations due to strikes. IF you buy within 2 weeks of tour/arrangements purchase you may get a "cancel for any reason" policy BUT the cancel for any reason will have conditions so it's wise to ask what that excludes.

Pam
(PS Lived in PC for 20+ years!)

Posted by
646 posts

Medical insurance including transport home? We always get that when travelling abroad. Beinging out of network could be very expensive. For trip costs like plane tickets, trains, lodging etc.? Sometimes, it depends on how much of the trip can be cancelled cost free just days before it happens. We tend to insure large items seperately and just take the risk on the little ones.

Posted by
7 posts

I have never purchased travel insurance but after a RS Tour to Spain this year I intend to in the future. I had to spend a week in a Madrid hospital and although the medical bills were surprisingly reasonable compared to the cost of medical care in the USA, I felt like I had thrown away the money I spent on the tour and airfare. An emergency room bill was only 300 euros and the bill for 6 days/5 nights in a private room in a university hospital was only 2100 euros. My insurance eventually reimbursed me 80%.

Posted by
2891 posts

Always, for many of the same reasons reported up thread. As a healthcare provider I have seen and heard about catastrophic cases over the years. I have mentioned this before on the Forum but it bears repeating. A colleague's son had a catastrophic accident in Central Europe. He was there as a student abroad. He did not have medical evacuation insurance. Hence, his parents had to pay thousands of dollars to bring him home several months later. For us a couple hundred dollars that includes trip interruption and Medical evacuation gives us peace of mind. We have always used Travelguard.

Posted by
1240 posts

Never in 60 years of travel. I have saved enough money to cover almost anything (except an emergency evacuation). My wife had an accident on one overseas trip. Our health insurance paid the same amount they would have if the accident had happened here in the US.

Posted by
228 posts

RoamRight has annual policy. I haven't used but planning on it in 2020.

Posted by
6758 posts

Can you clarify what you're trying to insure against? "Trip insurance" could imply a wide number of things.

Posted by
1952 posts

I do! Mostly, as others do, for medical/evacuation coverage.

Posted by
6355 posts

I buy travel medical insurance and evacuation/expatriation insurance but not 'trip' insurance. I only book refundable hotels/apartments and don't worry about anything else. Plane tickets can be changed for a fee and train tickets are not that big of an expense.

When I took tours or cruises I did buy the insurance but I only travel independently now.

Posted by
2490 posts

I always buy a comprehensive policy. Note that you need to buy coverage up to the non-refundable cost of your trip on most plans. You just can’t choose to insure the plane tickets and not the pre-paid hotels for example. If there was a claim not sure how they’d know that but I’m putting it out there. We shop on insuremytrip.com and look for highly rated companies with good reviews by people who have had claims; we are brand agnostic. We always buy early as we want pre-existing condition coverage. And like most, evacuation coverage most important. Think something bad can’t happen? When I worked for a large health insurance company we had a young man who wound up in the ultimate wrong place wrong time. He was in a club in Thailand when a gunfight broke out. He sustained a high spinal cord injury. His health insurance had limited overseas coverage and that benefit was exhausted within a month. He needed months in the ICU then needed rehab. To get him home meant a fully staffed air ambulance including a ventilator. The cost was in excess of $250,000. Not a covered benefit. He stayed in Thailand for over a year until his friends and family could raise enough money to bring him home, all the while paying medical bills for services that would have been fully covered if he were home. Anybody who posts “never get insurance and nothing ever happened” is simply fortunate.

Posted by
5011 posts

Never. At least not anything marketed as "travel insurance".

Our regular medical insurance covers basic medical stuff overseas.

We also have a scuba divers insurance policy through an organization called DAN (Divers Alert Network), which provides supplemental insurance specifically for scuba diving-related injuries and other medical issues that might come up on a dive trip. That policy also includes medical evacuation coverage, even if the trip has nothing to do with scuba diving - it's a great policy (for us).

FWIW, we are scuba divers so we need specialized insurance for dive-related injuries (your insurance probably doesn't cover the expense of being helicoptered at low altitude to the nearest hyperbaric chamber if you get the bends...). We typically do one dive trip a year. Those are always to foreign destinations, often to pretty exotic locations, sometimes to incredibly remote ones...a memorable example was a tiny fly-speck, off-the-grid island in a remote corner of Indonesia, a 4-hour speedboat ride to the nearest town with medical facilities and an airport...when you spend time doing exciting things in places that far from civilization, it makes most medical issues that might pop up in Rome or Edinburgh seem less of a threat...

The only thing our insurance policies do not cover is trip cancelation. I can live with that. I blew out my knee a few years ago (eventually needed surgery but it could wait), that happened 2 weeks before a planned trip to Mexico; original plan was hiking up in the mountains to see the butterfly reserves followed by scuba diving for a week. After negotiations with my doc, we canceled the hiking-and-butterflies part and just went straight to the scuba diving, where I just had to be a bit more careful with weight-bearing activities (hoisting scuba gear on my back and shuffling around on the slippery deck of a boat...). That worked out fine (we went back and did the butterflies in the mountains the following year).

I believe Travelguard is not available in all states (including my own). Check to see if it is in yours.

Posted by
2788 posts

We have purchased Travelguard insurance ever since I reached Medicare age with no coverage in Europe. Nine years now. We get a basic policy and then add an umbrella option. This is a small price to pay considering what we spend on the trip. Never had a claim thank goodness.

.

Posted by
2629 posts

I’ve made 23 trips and have never bought nor never will buy travel insurance. I have overseas medical coverage through my medical insurance at home. Fortunately the only added expense I’ve had to make was for a hotel room in NYC when I missed my connecting to Istanbul due to weather. Great pizza as a result!

Posted by
2490 posts

Just to reiterate: Medicare does not cover you overseas. Some Medigap policies (Medicare supplement) have overseas coverage but it is limited: $250 deductible, $50,000 lifetime benefit. For those who have commercial health insurance and feel they are covered I would urge you to read and understand your particular policies benefit, coverage limitations. In any case Medigap policies and most commercial policies do not cover repatriation.

Posted by
7205 posts

So many of the travel insurance websites want to steer you into a "package deal". Don't fall for it - choose what you need. I always get medical evacuation insurance but nothing else. It's much much cheaper than buying the "package".

Posted by
680 posts

Always for international trips and organized tours that require prepayment. I rely on the expertise of my friend in the travel biz. Her forty years of experience with her firm’s primary underwriter is good enough for me.

Insurance is a ridiculous and expensive luxury until the policy is executed. However, there are many terrible insurance providers. Not sure how you do the research on your own.

Posted by
298 posts

I have purchased insurance for my last few overseas trips. I do comparison shopping after my brother had a bad experience. He purchased trip insurance but didn't look at all the fine print. His wife attempted suicide a few weeks before a cruise and was in psychiatric care for a month. His trip insurance did not cover mental illness. He was out several thousand dollars.

Posted by
3469 posts

What part of your trip are you trying to insure? Is it the actual expense of the trip (air, hotels, tour, etc)? Or do you only want medical coverage and medical evacuation? Also, you have a limited amount of time from when you book your trip to purchase trip insurance or the coverage is reduced.

I always buy coverage for medical and trip interruption or cancellation when taking a leisure trip. My current employer provides evacuation coverage for any trip I might be on and also has a separate medical plan for work trips which covers me for any medical costs as long as I am on a work required trip. So far, I have never had to make a claim for any travel issues.

To decide what insurance you need for your trips, you have to look at what coverage you might already have.

Is what you spent on the trip for air, hotels, tours, whatever, refundable or at least reusable? If so you may not really need trip insurance. Look at the credit card you used to book your travel may have trip interruption and cancellation coverage (read carefully). It may be enough. If you want the additional delay coverage to pay for additional hotel nights, meals, and such, that means you most likely need one of the Travelguard or similar additional policies. If you can absorb the expense of missing a flight or being stuck somewhere an extra day or two when trip interruptions occur, you may not need additional trip insurance.

IF your current medical coverage will cover you out side your home country (read the coverage very carefully), you probably do not need medical coverage. But you might still need medical evacuation to get you home in case of major medical issues. This coverage also varies between only moving you to a "suitable" hospital and getting you to a hospital near your home, and some will include a family member. The cost varies greatly on the option. The important thing to know here is that most medical plans require you to pay all of the charges before leaving the hospital in the foreign country and then they will repay you once you get home and file the paperwork. Do you have a credit card with enough available balance you can use to pay for a hospital stay in a foreign country? If not, you might want to look for a policy that pays the medical costs directly.

Posted by
12400 posts

Never, except one time ten years ago or so, but never before that since 1971 or since that one time.

Posted by
1979 posts

In the past, I never bought travel insurance. My health insurance covers "urgent" international medical expenses.

For my recent trip and my upcoming RS tour, where I have higher non-refundable costs, I bought it. I worry that something might happen to a family member, which could preclude my travel.

My health insurance does not cover MedEvac. So, I appreciate the up-thread references to being able to buy "MedEvac only" policies. I'd like to research that for my typical trips, where most of my costs are pay-as-I go.

Posted by
3554 posts

First of all, you are going to love the Best of Switzerland tour! I'm so glad you are signed up for it.
I think it is foolish not to insure unless you can afford to take the loss if something goes wrong. However, that doesn't necessarily mean buying trip insurance at all times.

My health insurance (part of the blue cross/blue shield network) covers me overseas. My credit card, Chase Sapphire Reserve, provides fairly comprehensive travel insurance (cancellation, interruption, delay, lost luggage, etc) as long as I charge at least some of the non-refundable costs to the card.

Here is how the pricing for the credit card works out. There is a $450 annual fee. $300 of that is refunded as a direct credit for the first $300 in travel expenses you have that year. The remaining $150 covers a global entry application every few years, priority pass lounge access in many airports, and the travel (also auto rental) insurance portion. I was spending more than that on trip insurance every year and wasn't getting the other benefits.

The card gives 3% cash back on travel, 2% on dining, 1% on other charges. There are no foreign transaction fees.

Everyone has different needs, but for me, this has met my travel insurance needs and given me several advantages besides.

Posted by
5658 posts

Buy insurancee for what you cannot (or do not want to) afford should the worst case happen. If I had to write off a $1000 RT air fare and a $3000 or $4000 pre-paid no refund trip cost it would be financially painful but wouldn't be a bankrupting event. If you cancel you lose what you would have paid for the holiday and life goes on.

On the otherhand, a medical evacuation flight staffed by a doctor and nurses would be beyond my comfort zone. The compromise is Medical/Medical Evacuation insurance and I've been buying AIG TravelGuard's MedEvac policy and been fortuante to not have had any claims.

Posted by
2755 posts

It seems trip insurance, medical insurance and evacuation insurance are being mixed and confused here often. It is important to know what you are buying and why.

I don’t buy trip insurance. I self insure. It is not cost efficient for all my travels thru the years to worry about each trip. Losing up front trip costs would be regrettable, but not bank breaking.

I have purchased medical insurance in the past, but now that my Medicare supplemental insurance covers me overseas I don’t need to do that.

What I feel is most important is medical evacuation that I control, not the doctor or insurance company. I have an annual policy with med jet assist. I tell them which hospital to fly me to when I am stable. This saves on overseas medical costs as well. Most combo policies take away the individual’s control for evacuation and hospital.

Posted by
1979 posts

I ran a few quotes to compare for next time. Very helpful, thanks Sam!

Posted by
370 posts

I've bought travel insurance the last few times I went to Europe. I get enough coverage to cover any pre-paid expenses like airfare and a tour plan in case I can't go for medical or other covered reason. Then I also include a medium-price coverage for medical issues that may occur while I'm gone. I use Allianz and feel their prices are reasonable. They also have an option for an annual plan. Luckily, I've never had to file a claim. It's worth the money for piece of mind, especially as I get older.

Posted by
6 posts

Yes, we buy insurance. We used to buy comprehensive per trip, but as my husband and I get older, it's getting to be prohibitively expensive. In 2019 we changed our approach. We buy insurance for evacuation and medical expenses but we mostly self-insure for air and land costs. By "mostly self-insure" I mean that we put our prepaid expenses on credit cards with travel benefits that provide some insurance under strict conditions. These cards are UA Mastercard for air (we are in Houston and have status on UA's frequent flyer program) and Chase Sapphire Preferred for land. We have an annual policy with MedJet Assist for medical evacuation only. I googled "annual medical insurance overseas travel" to find some providers but when I checked with them, we were too old for most of the policies available. So I ended up getting a per/trip medical policy from IMGiTravelInsured SE. As recommended by the person on the 800 line, I put in the minimum trip cost of $2000 in order to get the medical insurance of $100K apiece. Some insurance providers will not pay for medical if not all nonrefundable prepaid trip costs are covered, but IMG does not require this. They only require that insurance is paid for and that traveler(s) is/are medically okay to travel on date of insurance purchase. Fortunately we have not had to put any of our arrangements to the test of an actual claim, but purchase was easy (online). Another caveat: we don't go on cruises. The insurance requirements for cruise trips seem more complicated and I haven't looked closely on how/whether to modify our current approach.

Posted by
3248 posts

Never bought insurance and likely never will since it only seems logical to me if on a tour or cruise.

The medical evacuation insurance seems counterproductive. Why not stay in Madrid where a hospital room is 350€ day rather than come home to $6000 per day?

Posted by
5367 posts

Never bought it, but can understand why others do.

I have no expenses usually that I can not afford to lose, cancel, or recoup in other ways (Independent traveler, have not taken tours/cruises) and have Medical Coverage and other contingencies to cover issues.

Of course all this may change as I move to Medicare at some point, and if I were shell out big bucks for a tour or cruise, then the math changes.

Posted by
16165 posts

350 EUR a day hospital beds are not the point of Medevac. Paralyzed or in a coma and needing to get home are the point, and these expenses, as some of the posters have pointed out, can run to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Same reason you get liability insurance on your car, even though, lord knows, you are the safest driver to ever get behind the wheel.

Posted by
19210 posts

Tom_MN, in addition to the fact that some travelers do not have medical insurance that provides any overseas coverage, I think two major points of evacuation coverage are that:

  • You might have an accident or medical emergency in an area without a fully-equipped hospital. My mother nearly died on the Greek Island of Chios (no ventilator available), for example, and we were very lucky that the Greek Air Force airlifted her to Athens at no charge (back in 1995). Had we needed to arrange that airlift at our expense, I'd guess it would have cost somewhere between $20,000 and $50,000 in today's dollars, maybe more.

  • If recovery from your medical emergency (perhaps a car accident or cardiac event?) requires long-term rehab, wouldn't you want to be somewhere with at least one family member nearby, rather than in a foreign country where some of the medical aides assisting you probably would not speak English? If you wanted to go home before you were fit to travel as a normal air passenger, the cost of that transportation could exceed $100,000; I've seen reports in excess of $500,000 for special circumstances.

Posted by
10060 posts

I travel full time so I have an annual travel and health policy with Allianz.

I also have an emergency evacuation ( not just medical evacuation) with Medjet Assist. You can get a discount if you are a member of AARP.

Posted by
3899 posts

My mother ALWAYS does, but we don’t as my husband has insurance thru his work.

But when my husband is retired we def will.

Posted by
686 posts

If it were just a trip where we booked our own flights, hotels, tours, etc i would only look for medical/evac insurance. A minor issue we could cover but I've known people where one of the couple had to be hospitalized, the other needed hotel room til she could be released, airline ticket changes and the one who got hurt needed a lie flat seat flying back which added to costs.

However, we've made several tours with Tauck and always get their insurance. Thankfully haven't needed it. A friend did have a tour booked and two weeks out her husband developed a blood clot and could not fly. Tauck refunded all their tour fees less the insurance, helped her get airline refunds and told her they'd apply the trip insurance to another trip if booked within a year. I've heard only good reports from people who have used it.

Posted by
214 posts

For us medical evacuation coverage is key. A friend went to Italy in October and fell and fractured her femur on the first day of the trip. The hospital she ended up in had almost no one who spoke English and the care wasn't great; she ended up with a severe infection at her IV site. Eventually she was able to go on a medical evacuation flight home, thankfully she was insured because it would have cost $90,000! If she had stayed there, she might have lost her leg.

Posted by
279 posts

Even with both of us on Medicare, still buy it, always will. Travel guard.

Posted by
6761 posts

We have cancelled three trips due to health issues. Travel Guard paid 100% of our large claims. We get full coverage if on a tour. Purchase medical evacuation and care if traveling independently. If a US airline, cover change fees. If using a foreign carrier which we might not use within a year, cover whole flight..

Posted by
213 posts

In the past, I would sometimes purchase the travel insurance add on at the conclusion of booking my flight, however, those plans usually seemed to be higher in price with lower coverage limits than what you could find elsewhere. For the last couple of years, I have been purchasing an annual plan at Geo Blue for roughly $100/year. Fortunately, I have never had to use it but it is reassuring to have if something were to happen.

Posted by
5689 posts

Once, many years ago for a cruise.

Now, like Carol, I rely on the coverage from Chase Sapphire Reserve (includes medical evacuation -- they say it will get you home to recuperate after the local hospital releases you as fit to travel -- as well as emergency medical coverage, trip cancellation, trip interruption, primary auto rental ... but I haven't had to test it.) Medical also from my Medigap policy with a $250 deductible.

I looked at MedJet but since I turned 75 it looks expensive.

Most of our trip expenses are fully refundable (hotels) or adjustable for a fee (airfare) OR small enough that we can absorb the loss.

Posted by
95 posts

I haven't had time to check this whole page, but no-one seems to have said this:
I HAVE FREE TRAVEL INSURANCE whenever I want it from my automobile insurer in France. Actually it is offered by a consortium of mutual insurance companies. Does this not exist in other countries?

Posted by
6082 posts

Still some life in this horse.

Luv2Travel, Medicare doesn't cover anything overseas. Assuming you have secondary coverage through another insurer?

. . . after the local hospital releases you as fit to travel . . .

Laura B - Well that is the catch. What of you're not fit to travel? If you've had a serious problem, the only way you get to go home is on a private jet with a nurse by your side, with a bag of narcotics to keep you still. Spending a month's time in rehab in Italy might sound like fun, but its not going to be free. Nor is your spouses time and expenses being there with you.

Rainbow - if you're talking about automobile insurance (for damage to vehicles) then no, regular US insurance does not apply overseas. In the US, it is normal that credit cards if used to hire a vehicle, provide some insurance coverage. This seems to cause a lot of confusion as Americans assume that that is common in foreign countries. If you mean medical coverage, there is no government-sponsored insurance that covers medical costs.

I saw a guy taken off a cruise ship on a stretcher at a Caribbean island with dubious care facilities, shortly followed by his wife and all their luggage, unloaded onto the pier. I thought about the consequences they would face, and have taken out travel insurance ever since. I don't worry so much about losing the non-refundable fees, just the medical part.

Anybody who has had to deal extensively with regular US medical insurance companies has probably experienced having problems with anything out of the ordinary.

Posted by
773 posts

Interesting that some have mentioned that medicare doesn't cover you overseas. While I know that is true for 'original' medicare, I understood that the supplement/advantage plans that most people have DO cover you. Is that not most people's experience?

Posted by
6082 posts

Isabel, yes that is our experience, but not everyone recognizes that those medicare supplement policies (which are optional extra cost private insurance, and not available to everyone), not Medicare itself. And I know plenty of people who dont have supplements as their employers don't offer subsidized coverage. I've talked to a lot of people traveling who just assume their medicare card will cover them anywhere in the world.

Posted by
1248 posts

I think it depends what you're planning to insure for.

It's a reasonable decision (though not mine), not to insure for lost money through a holiday being cancelled or interrupted. I write this on the basis that committed costs like flights, hotels or sight tickets may be refundable in whole or part. But even if not, the loss of the money would be annoying but not financially devastating (I could afford it at the time I booked after all). Plus a reason I might have to cancel or return early is unlikely but if it did happen the "event" is probably much more worrying than losing the holiday money or having to pay for a new flight, etc.

On the other hand I'd never travel abroad without medical "evacuation" insurance, because the cost of that out-of-pocket can be ruinous. How much medical treatment cover I wanted would depend where I was going. For me travelling in the EU it's not going to be a big cost. But going to, for example, the US then I'd want a lot of extra cover. For Americans doing the reverse it could be the other way around.

I'd also want third-party liability insurance assuming my home policy didn't cover me overseas.

Having written that, I have an annual, multi-trip, world (excluding north America, of course), policy through my bank which costs about £50pa for the two of us and covers interruption, cancellation, liability and medical emergencies. I think that's a fair price for peace of mind.

Posted by
64 posts

Thank you for the wealth of knowledge you have shared on this subject! I did use Travel Guard for my tour in Ireland and am glad I did. Our tour guide told a story of a guy who broke his leg on the Aran Islands. I could see how you could get injured hiking up mountains and trekking over uneven, slippery ground. When we were at the Giants Causeway, one lady fell off the curb down near the ocean and rolled down the grass. She wasn't hurt, but one can see how easy it would be to fall.

I am 65 and Medicare does not cover any medical needs overseas. In my research, some plans like Geo Blue require that you have primary insurance, so I did not qualify. IMG Global Senior required that I also have a supplemental Medicare plan, which I do not, so I didn't qualify for that one either. You really need to read the fine print! I have two tours planned for next year and I am the most concerned with medical coverage and medical evacuation. My September 2020 trip is Best of Switzerland. What if I fall off the gondola? LOL! For peace of mind, I bought travel insurance for my trips so I have peace of mind in case anything happens. I look at it this way, if I buy insurance, nothing will happen. If I don't buy insurance, disaster will strike. I guess that's why they call it "insurance!"

Posted by
2755 posts

Lori, Check with GeoBlue. They do list Medicare as a primary insurance, whether it pays or not. I just purchased a GeoBlue for my husband whose Medicare/Supplement does not have medical coverage on it, and he did not want to go thru the application process for Med Jet Assist (he's 75+). I called and spoke with BCBS and read the literature about it to verify Medicare counted, but do your own research rather than relying on something a stranger, like me, says. I thought they sounded good rather than the other policies that combine everything, which is fine, but the more options a tool has, often the less strength it has in any of the options (IMO, YMMV). They will pay directly on several of their policies, rather than just reimburse, like most of the policies

Hopefully, my husband and I aren't in the same accident as I'll get flown home to the hospital of my choice ASAP and he'll have to wait for the insurer to decide when they want him flown home, to where, or to another European hospital, and he'll be on his own for a bit.

PS: The main reason I have med jet assist is so my daughter, who has a very busy work/child rearing life, will not have to run to Europe to babysit me and oversee treatment, which seems necessary in most severe injury/illness situations or feel guilt for not being able to do so. She can just tell them to bring me to the Boston hospital of my choice and oversee from there and from home. No crazy running to Europe. So I do it for her...if I'm over 150 miles from home, it is easy for her...all telephone work.

Posted by
2755 posts

Michael, I just ran my husband in thru the Berkshire Hathaway page for an equivalent quote. His GeoBlue cost $218.00 for $100K meds and trip evacuation for his 75+ age. Berkshire Hathaway quotes were all over the place starting at $600.00 and the applicable one was $746.00. So no, that's not accurate that GeoBlue is more expensive.

Posted by
1291 posts

You all have given me information to think about for my next trip. I used John Hancock last time but had no claim so I can't give feed back. I won't use Travel Guard because they made me mad when the thief travel agent stole our money. Beside InsureMyTrip, Aardvark also gives quotes from multiple insurance companies. One thing I noticed on both sites, medical and evacuation will be listed a "secondary" if they will pay after your personal insurance. Something to think about when looking at submission and payout times. I'd rather have travel insurance be the "primary" insurance, although it is seems more expensive. But if I had to use medical and evacuation would I really care about a couple hundred dollars additional policy cost--I think not.

Edit to add: My AARP Medicare Supplement Part F includes $50,000 life time international coverage but pays 80%. Newer G plan has international coverage. BUT there are supplements which do not cover out of US. My advise for those on Medicare: check your policy before assuming you are covered. As stated by others, Medicare A and B are US only.

Posted by
2490 posts

So no, that's not accurate that GeoBlue is more expensive.

Insurance rates vary widely based on state of residence, ages of insureds, destination.

Posted by
5658 posts

InsureMyTrip explaiantion of primary vs secondary medical insurance coverage:
https://www.insuremytrip.com/travel-insurance-policies-and-claims/secondary-vs-primary/

Annual, multi-trip medical plans and some single-trip medical plans
require travelers to have primary health insurance. For most plans,
any health insurance company would be considered a primary health care
provider aside from Medicaid. These details will be specified on the
plan certificate and under the “Additional Benefits” section of the
quote for review prior to purchasing.

For instance, Medicare is considered your primary health insurance, so
a travel insurance plan with secondary coverage may have extra steps
to see a conclusion. Generally, the company will require you to file a
claim with Medicare first. Once you are denied that claim, you can
file a claim with them. Medicare will send a “refusal to reimburse”
letter that will be crucial in your claims process with the travel
insurance company.

Posted by
8954 posts

So no, that's not accurate that GeoBlue is more expensive.

I went to GeoBlue and plugged in a one week trip for a 79 year old with 50,000 medical coverage and it gave me quote of $105.92 The same identical coverage over at Berkshire Hathaway is $55; nearly a 50% savings. When you use the BH site you need to enter $1 in the in the "Trip Cost" Box so that you only get medical/evacuation coverage, otherwise you will get a quote that includes trip cancellation/interruption which would bump up the price.

So I stand by what I said. GeoBlue is significantly more expensive than most other policies in that age bracket.

Posted by
1878 posts

I never have but considered it for my last trip. My health insurance covers me overseas, not worried about self insuring for cancellation, but the medical evacuation could be a concern as I’m in my mid-50s now. I will probably start doing it at some point especially since I am traveling solo now. It just makes me more risk averse even though solo travel probably does not affect likelihood of evac.

Posted by
5689 posts

Wondering if anyone has claims experience with Emergency Assistance Plus (EA+) -- as coverage for medical evac only.

Posted by
86 posts

For our last do it ourselves trip to Italy we bought Allianz Global Assistance (TripAssist) via our local AAA outlet. Never got sick or hurt so I can't comment on their quality. Am using the same Co. for our next trip on a RS tour next year. Figured if AAA is offering their products they went through a source selection and screening process.

Posted by
37 posts

Lori,
.... About falling off a gondola. In 2019 on the RS Best of Italy tour, one of our fellow travelers was exiting the gondola and tore her big toenail off! To say the least, it was not pretty. She was in too much pain to join the tours in Venice. And it made me realize that I had made the proper choice to choose sandals with a toe guard even though they were not fashionable. So you never know! We've done several foreign trips and so far, I have only gotten travel insurance for the Iceland trip we did in November of last year. I figured the hazards of winter made it more likely there might be a problem. We did fine though. My husband actually broke his shoulder in Jamaica once, on a clear day in full sunshine. Now that we are on Medicare, I will consider the purchase of travel insurance more carefully. Thank you all for the helpful information and your personal insights.

Posted by
6761 posts

We get trip insurance when taking a tour or a cruise and always buy medical evacuation home. We have had to cancel three expensive trips due to illness, surgery etc. and received a full reimbursement each time.
I know several travelers who ended up in European hospitals, needed surgery and did not have insurance. And one was in a sub par rural hospital ward.

Posted by
1050 posts

I had never booked trip insurance prior to turning 65 as my insurance was very good. Once I turned 65, I took out trip insurance for my wife and myself. It was a good thing I did. My wife developed a serious medical condition. We were able to go to Australia and NewZealand but had to cancel our Hawaii cruise and our Viking Rhine River Cruise. Our trip insurance refunded all our money, but be sure to read the policy carefully. The trip insurance company almost didn’t pay for our Hawaii cruise because we didn’t see the doctor within so many days of departure. My wife’s doctor knew of her condition and told us there was no point in coming in to see him and he would complete the doctor’s portion of the claim which was done about a month before we were to go. Her condition was very serious and the insurance company didn’t dispute it, but according to the policy, she had to visit the doctor in his office even though there was nothing he could do for her. After talking to many people at the trip insurance company, I found someone who was sympathetic and processed the claim. Bottom line, read the policy very carefully because it contains many provisions that gives them an out if you don’t follow everything in the small print. The Viking Cruise trip insurance policy was amazing. They were more concerned about my wife than the money they were going to have to pay back to us. I cannot say enough good things about them.

Posted by
1834 posts

We are new to this trip insurance thing. We had booked a Panama Canal cruise for January of 2021 and bought trip insurance at the same time to cover the cruise. Well, we changed our mind on the cruise. Now, normally, we would be out the trip insurance money, but we had bought policy from an insurance agent who was able to transfer the money and policy to another trip we are taking. We were thrilled as we even got a bit of a refund due to new trip being of a lower cost. I think next time, I will not buy trip insurance so far in advance ( when we purchased, we were 2 years out).

Posted by
5658 posts

I will not buy trip insurance so far in advance....

AIG's pre-existing waiver requires purchasing insurance shortly after first trip deposit is paid.

Posted by
6082 posts

Every time we've bought travel insurance, we had to buy within xx days of booking the a cruise or tour, including airfare within yy days after that. The insurers don't want you to buy insurance after you know you have a problem and then filing a claim right away.

Posted by
2891 posts

To Edgar’s & Stan’s point, we purchase the insurance as soon as our trip deposit is made. AIG’s policy for pre-existing waiver is 2 weeks from deposit payment. Our usual trip deposit is about 8 months or less from departure.

Posted by
5658 posts

If you don't meet the pre-existing coverage waiver AIG MedEvac's lookback period is 90 days. InsureMyTrip describes the look back period as:

Pre-Existing Condition Period

PRE-EXISTING MEDICAL CONDITION EXCLUSION: The Company will not pay for
any loss or expense incurred as the result of an Injury, Sickness or
other condition excluding any condition from which death ensues of an
Insured, Traveling Companion, Business Partner or Family Member which,
within the 90 day period immediately preceding and including the
Insured’s coverage effective date: (a) first manifested itself,
worsened, became acute or had symptoms which would have prompted a
reasonable person to seek diagnosis, care or treatment; (b) for which
care or treatment was given or recommended by a Physician; (c)
required taking prescription drugs or medicines, unless the condition
for which the drugs or medicines are taken remains controlled without
any change in the required prescription drugs or medicines.

Posted by
1834 posts

I realize pre-existing conditions would not be covered and I’m fine with that. At least we can change our mind on trip without losing all trip insurance money paid.

Posted by
2490 posts

I realize pre-existing conditions would not be covered and I’m fine with that. At least we can change our mind on trip without losing all trip insurance money paid.

What your broker did was distinctly unusual. He was probably able to do it because 1) he sells a lot of the insurance companies product, and 2) you had another trip planned that they could apply the premium to. Changing your mind is not a benefit of insurance coverage so don’t think for a minute you’ll always have that option. If you change your mind you will most likely lose any premium paid in the future (talk to your broker to confirm this). As for pre-existing conditions: if you don’t buy your insurance early and get the waiver the company will do a “look back” and, believe me, if they find some healthcare encounter in the look back period (usually 90 days) that they can use to deny your claim, they will.

Posted by
1624 posts

Yes, I get the basic policy from Travel Guard. Had to use it one year when I cancelled a trip due to serious illness in the family. Travel Guard paid my claim, quickly and completely.

Posted by
68 posts

By a great margin, this is the most replied to post on this forum. Clearly, the majority of us strongly recommend travel insurance. For many years, I did not buy the travel insurance. Now I know too many people who have had an accident or serious illness while traveling (including my 22 yo son who ended up in a German hospital for 5 days with a gastrointestinal bug). The first time I went to buy travel insurance, I did not realize I needed to buy it within a time limit from when I made my first deposit.

Posted by
5689 posts

" ... this is the most replied to post on this forum"
Cindy, have you read all 4660+ pages of posts ? All 5000+ posts regarding "insurance" ? There are many opinions on the advisability of travel insurance depending on the traveler's situation, other existing coverage,

Posted by
70 posts

Me! I've never had to use it but know others who did. It was worth it. I've also known others who did not, but wished they did.