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Travel Guard Insurance?

My question is for people in WA state who have used Travel Guard to insure their trips.

We are investigating insurance for an upcoming RS tour, and are comparing Allianz and Travel Guard, a company Rick mentions without actually recommending it. We live in Wa state, and Travel Guard isn't licensed in this state, and hence doesn't come under the purview of state regulators. I spoke with a knowledgeable man at the Wa State Insurance Commission just now and he told me that I probably would have no problems with TG, but that if there was an issue that needed mediation, we'd have to work through TG's home state of California because WA could do very little to help us.

Can anyone living in WA who has used Travel Guard comment on what their experience has been with them?
Thanks

Posted by
4543 posts

have you looked for comments on Squaremouth and Insuremytrip about this?

Posted by
398 posts

Phred beat me to it with recommendation for Insuremytrip. They helped us find the right program among many providers, and were great to extend a policy purchased in 2019 (for a 2020 trip cancelled due to pandemic's border closings) towards a 2022 trip without additional cost.

Posted by
45 posts

Gail, I'm not having trouble with Travel Guard--this is for a future trip. I'm just wondering what their track record in Wa state is since our insurance commission would be toothless if there was a problem.

Posted by
45 posts

Phred, we did look at Squaremouth, who brought up a number of possible insurers, non of whom are licensed with Wa state. We knew going in that we were interested in Travel Guard or Allianz, so we were disappointed that neither of them showed up in the initial listing. I'm not familiar with the other source you mentioned.

Posted by
2712 posts

Go to insure my trip.com. If you can’t figure this out call them. All the customer service agents are licensed insurance agents. They won’t sell you a policy of a company not licensed in your state. If somehow you could and did purchase one you’d have no leverage in a dispute-your state insurance regulator would not get involved and California? Good luck as a non-resident. And why are you focused on these companies? Pick a policy that has the coverage you need, is reasonably priced, has positive reviews from people who actually had claims (ignore all others) then buy it. Insurance is by and large a generic product, don’t get hung up on brands.

Posted by
16706 posts

Looking back in my emails, I see that I purchased travel insurance from Travel Guard in 2018 and 2019, so that must have been for trips in 2019 (we did make 2 foreign trips that year, to Spain and to Japan). I never had to make a claim.

I bought these through Insuremytrip and I had to list our state of residence (Washington), so I am assuming it was legit for them to sell me the policy. Otherwise Insuremytrip.com would not have offered it.

In the past, I have had Allianz decline to insure a trip (this was through an airline) as soon as I listed my Washington residence; they said the policy was “not available” in my state. I believe this meant that their policy did not meet Washington’s fairly stringent requirements. But now they are licensed in Washington

https://fortress.wa.gov/oic/consumertoolkit/Company/CompanyProfile.aspx?WAOIC=KmpSFCqRzPiQAEhDAQhBsQ%253D%253D

Turns out, TravelGuard is too, because they are a subsidiary of AIG, and their coverage is underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company. This is on their website homepage:

https://www.travelguard.com

Both AIG and National Union Fire Insurance Company are licensed in Washington:

https://fortress.wa.gov/oic/consumertoolkit/Company/CompanyProfile.aspx?WAOIC=BwzfRB7%252BWHuSyd84Lx2fJg%253D%253D
(This is one of 3 AIG companies licensed here; you can go back to “search” to see the others)

https://fortress.wa.gov/oic/consumertoolkit/Company/CompanyProfile.aspx?WAOIC=kxvk%2fNxbo1yjTM5OHxmARQ%253D%253D

PS. Alan has given you good advice.

Posted by
16706 posts

I will add that Squaremouth is a licensed agent here too. You can use the search pages above to check them out and see what companies they are licensed to represent in Washington. They include Arch, Berkshire Hathaway, and others.

I currently have a claim in the process with Berkshire Hathaway, and I will just say that so far it has been easy, and the agent with whom I spoke to start the claim was very professional and helpful.

Posted by
8525 posts

I usually don't buy additional travel insurance beyond what is offered by my credit card, but I did for this year's Sept trip due to the possibility of covid complications. I specifically was looking at trip cancellation or trip interruption features of policies. I live in Washington and I went with Allianz because I felt that they communicated what was covered clearly and I would only need an official positive test to make a claim, not a doctor note. I am hoping that I won't have any claims experience to report on, but if I do, I will report back on the forum.

Posted by
45 posts

Thank you all for your input. I hadn't heard of insuremytrip before, but we will investigate them when looking for insurance for future trips. I appreciate hearing from the collective wisdom of the group.

Posted by
16706 posts

Are you satisfied with the information I provided that Travel Guard is indeed licensed to sell insurance in our state? As well as Squaremouth and the companies it represents?

I am curious how you came to the conclusion that it was not licensed—-did you see a warning somewhere?

Posted by
27352 posts

I suspect this comes down to a confusion between a company not doing business at all in a state (quite possibly not being licensed there) and a company not selling certain policies in the state because those policies don't meet the state's requirements for what types of coverage must be included.

Posted by
45 posts

Hi, Lola,

Before I posted this question to the forum, we searched the Insurance Commission's website for the name Travel Guard, and when it didn't come up, I called them and one of their people told me that Travel Guard was not one of the companies that Washington State works with. Anyway, we're going to use insuremytrip, or at least give it a go.

Posted by
16706 posts

For acraven—-This not a situation involving confusion over “doing business” in Washington, whether they are licensed, or whether the Travel Guard policies are approved here. They are indeed licensed to “do business” here, but as AIG. Apparently the name Travel Guard is just used for AIG’s travel insurance division. I remember seeing the name AIG all over the policy documents I received, which caused a bit of concern. Given the collapse and near-failure of AIG during the 2008 financial crisis, it may be no surprise that they adopted a different name to sell travel insurance. But they get good reviews and ratings, and apparently there is no reason to avoid them now.

Also note that their underwriter for travel insurance, National Union Fire Insurance, is licensed in Washington.

When the person the OP talked to at the Washington Insurance Commissioner’s office confirmed that Travel Guard is not licensed in Washington, that answer was simply on a search of the name Travel Guard. The employee simply had no idea that the license is under the name AIG. I had to sleuth around a bit myself to figure this out.

Posted by
20317 posts

Given the collapse and near-failure of AIG during the 2008 financial crisis, it may be no surprise that they adopted a different name to sell travel insurance.

Not what happened. Travel Guard was founded here in Wisconsin. As happens these days, a big insurer named AIG gobbled them up and raised prices. All the executives got nice bonuses so they could take trips to Europe and fly 1st class.

Posted by
16706 posts

Ah, an all too common story, and not a pretty sight. What year was that? Before or after the AIG meltdown?

Posted by
20317 posts

AIG bought Travel Guard in 2006, right before AIG collapsed during the housing crisis in 2008.