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Travel Insurance

Hi, everyone:

I am seeking advice on travel insurance that covers Covid related expenses, not only medical but also prepaid & nonrefundable expenses, quarantine hotels cost and cancellation prior to departure due to Covid.

I found TinLeg Gold plan but not sure if it’s a good choice.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

PS. We will travel with RS for 10 days then on our own for 7 days, both in Italy.

Thanks!

Qun

Posted by
1135 posts

Try an aggregator like Squaremouth or others. Something to keep in mind, your home state will have a major say in what kind of insurance you can buy, unfortunately.

Posted by
181 posts

I bought a TinLeg plan for my Balkans area trip in April. I used the SquareMouth site to compare them and I also researched reviews on the different companies. TinLeg seemed the best one for me and included covid coverage. Good luck with the search!

Posted by
5267 posts

Insuremytrip.com is a good site to shop and compare choices. I've had good experience with Travelex. Travelguard is the company Rick Steves works with. Allianz seems to have a good reputation. Never heard of TinLeg, but that doesn't mean much.

I think most policies will cover the risks you mentioned, assuming that "due to Covid" means actually getting infected, rather than deciding to cancel because of worries about Covid (which I doubt if any insurer would cover). It's another illness that can upset plans and generate unexpected costs.

Posted by
13225 posts

I use insuremytrip or Squaremouth to filter different companies for policies that are appropriate to us. Squaremouth has twice suggested Tin Leg—-perhaps because of our age—-and the policies looked good to me. Reviews were also good. We have not had to file a claim, so I cannot rate that part.

It is true that state law does have some control over what policies can be sold in your state—-that is why you have to list that, along with your age, destination, trip cost and length, etc. to get a quote. Washington insurance law is very protective of consumers, so if a company’s policy is not offered to us as Washington residents, I am pretty sure there is a good reason. I had this happen once with Allianz insurance offered by an airline—-maybe American?—in connection with a flight purchase. Once I stated that we were Washington residents, the insurance offer went away.

Posted by
2 posts

Thank you all for the great information.

We live in CA and are in our 30s and 40s with no health issues.

I will look into each of your suggestion. That should get me to a good insurance option!

Posted by
3 posts

We loved our previous tour and hope to travel on another tour soon.
However, we are very reluctant to use Travel Guard after our experience in Beaune on a 2015 21 Days in Europe trip.
Be aware of what you are getting with this insurance vs your expectations.
Because my partner lives in California, the policy was over $600. For this we got nothing.
Situation: While walking in a line pulling our bags from the bus to our hotel in Beuane, my partner noted two women at the back of the tour group who had missed the turn and were heading down the wrong street. He handed me his suitcase and took off at a run to intercept them, passing out and doing a complete faceplant after @ one block. He awoke to a French woman's voice as she stood over him asking if he were ok. (A highlight of his trip!) One tooth was broken, his glasses were broken, his face and hands were badly cut and abraided. We called Travel Guard which turned out to only be a non medically informed answering service. The person had no idea where we could obtain medical care unless we were willing to leave the tour, arrange our own transportation and travel some distance to a large town. We speak no French. I am a nurse, so I packed socks full of ice cubes (kindly provided by the hotel) around his face and on his hands, used the (Oh so important) spare pair of glasses, and the Band-Aids we had packed. Of course we were concerned about facial fractures, etc. However, we carried on as there were just two nights left on the tour. I contacted TravelGuard again to see if there were any benefits we could use. There were no benefits for tooth repair, etc. after we left the tour and we were reluctant to incur costs to reschedule our flight home and stay in Paris to have his tooth addressed. I also contacted Rick Steve's Europe Inc offices in Edmonds after we arrived home to share our disappointment in this experience. RS personnel stated they had nothing to do with the travel company and had only given the name of the company as a suggestion. We remain disappointed to this day.

Posted by
3 posts

Clarification to my previous post regarding Travel Guard:
When we contacted the RS office in Edmonds they stated they had no relationship with the Travel Guard Insurance company and only provided the insurance company's name.

Posted by
1856 posts

@bevmc

First, I am very sorry your husband got hurt. When this happened, where was your guide? Did you inform him/her of your husband’s accident? Was he or she unaware of this accident? It has been my limited experience with things like this on tours with Odysseys Unlimited and RS that the guides know how to deal with these situations vis a vis getting the person proper medical attention and accompanying that person to the appropriate medical care provider as there can be a language barrier in a non-English speaking country. It seems that this was serious enough to need medical attention. If your husband had seen a medical provider, then perhaps his medical care would have been covered by the insurance. The accident would have been documented by any medical bills incurred and would have been compensated after the fact.

Posted by
8 posts

FYI…You need to be forewarned that if you cancel your Tour 120 days prior to start, Rick Steves will refund your deposit. Unfortunately, their business partner Travel Guard will not return your premium. They will issue a one time use voucher good for 2 yrs from cancellation and only applicable to a future Rick Steves Tour. As you know insurance premium is considerably more than the tour deposit. I understand they are separate companies, but for sure they are recommended business partners as evidenced by their link in the initial reservation and later in your tour account. We are longtime Rick Steves travelers and very disappointed and surprised that a more logical and fair cancellation has not been negotiated. In fact, we have been Rick Steves “South Texas salesmen” for many years…but, not any more!

Posted by
3 posts

Regarding our experience with Travel Guard on our 2015 21 Days in Europe tour: Our RS Tour Guide was aware of the injury. He was scheduled to take the group on a tour of the Hospice that afternoon and thus not available. We are not aware of any knowledge he may have had on how to get medical assistance.

Posted by
727 posts

Has anybody tried to reactivate their TravelGuard insurance from a March 2020 RS tour that was cancelled by COVID?

Posted by
138 posts

Eric, I used my credit from 2020 tour for upcoming tour in August. It was very easy to use.. I do think the new trip cost more to insure..

Posted by
22 posts

I've purchased travel insurance for years. It's someone distressing to see, that they all complain, about no customer service. It's next to impossible to see if they ever pay a claim. Luckly, I've never had to file a claim. In middle 60's I guess I'll purchase it again. Southern Italy in May,

Posted by
740 posts

I also used credit from Travelguard from a canceled 2020 RS tour. It took a day or two for the approval to go through, but was applied to the new tour.

Posted by
367 posts

Travel insurance is NOT a waste of money.

But you need to understand what its for. My partner collapsed in China, we were travelling independently in a reasonably remote area on a public bus. He ended up in hospital very,very ill and we were medivaced home. The insurance paid. That's the short version.

This is what insurance does NOT do.

They can't help you in an emergency - that's where you reach out to bystanders, tour guides, hotel staff whatever. They all know how to access their health systems- just like you do at home. If I'm travelling solo I have some key information on the lock screen of the phone - my name, nationality, ph no of a trusted friend (see below).

You seek care - in our case I paid thousands of dollars to get my partner admitted to hospital before I had a chance to call the insurance company.

You deal with the insurance afterwards - it was months afterwards I was finally reimbursed some. of the costs involved. The insurance did pay for the medivac flight and return via commercial flight up front. Keep detailed records of all costs as you incur them if you can - get receipts if you can.

I won't leave home without travel insurance. I also have a credit card with a very high limit. I also have access to a line of credit which is substantial. I also have an agreement with someone I completely trust, don't travel with, and who has resources. If required he'll fly to us and help out. My partner has pretty much fully recovered but has heart failure and we will continue to travel so we put in these backstops. Travel insurance is part of the package - not the whole thing.

Posted by
8515 posts

TinLeg: In 2020 we had a year-long TinLeg travel insurance plan. In March, when it was clear we were going nowhere, we requested a refund and promptly received a prorated refund. Easy to contact, good customer service.

We had another policy attached to a specific excursion. No one ever answered the phone at that agency. $ down the drain.

I agree with Lissie about the medical insurance. For a fall, it's up to the guide to get you to the walk-in or emergency room for x-rays if you think you need them. None of these services have complete lists of doctors speaking English in every town in the world. Even in Paris, our credit card's highly-advertised 24-hour service was useless.

We've had a few breaks, sprains, fainting spells, and the times we've gone to the ER, (including one near Beaune), we filed afterwards for reimbursement.

Posted by
94 posts

I opened a claim with Tin Leg about 3 weeks ago for a cancellation of a trip due to a covered medical expense. The only thing we were claiming were canceled airline tickets. It was a Tin Leg policy. After reporting the claim to Tin Leg I waited 1 week for a phone interview with the claims department. I was able to select the desired day and time for interview. After the phone interview they started the claim form online, which I completed and signed online. I uploaded receipts and our doctor faxed them the completed medical form. The claim was approved within a 2 days of them receiving all the documentation and a day later I received an email saying the check had been mailed.

I was surprised how quickly and smoothly this claim was handled. Make sure you have receipts for everything you’re going to claim. I’ve heard stories of insurance companies dragging their feet, but this was not my experience at all.