My husband and I have recently signed up for a Rick Steves tour - Best of Italy! I'm sorting through all the travel insurance options and I'm uncertain about how much we really need. (I'm using the list of insurers in Europe Through the Back Door.) We're both 57 and in excellent health. We both have elderly parents who are in excellent health, but I want to make sure that we're covered in case something happens to one of them and we have to cancel or interrupt our trip. I'd like to hear about what others here have chosen to do about insurance. Also, do you have to have your flights booked before you purchase insurance? We're not going until September, so we planned to book flights in a couple of months. I appreciate all the tips!
Take a look at the thread about this originated by Genie W.
Here is a handy, dandy link to the above posters comment. The post Genie W. began on the subject of trip insurance.
We recently bought trip insurance and actually had to use it to cancel our trip due to my unforeseen hernia operation.
We have always used insuremytrip.com. You can go to the site, compare multiple policies from multiple companies-coverage, ratings, cost- and the customer service folks can help you if you get stuck. I usually guesstimate the cost of the flight when I'm booking the insurance. However, customer service said I could wait and call them with the actual cost later. Check with them before you purchase as I'm not sure if that was not specific to the policy I purchased. Disclaimer: I overinsure as we too have parents in their 90's and have a few health problems of our own. I've used it twice, once when I became ill before a cruise and a few years ago when we found out our daughter was pregnant and would deliver while we were in Europe. Process was simple in both cases.
I have gone to Europe for 14 of the last 15 years and have always taken out travel insurance. I am on Medicare and it does not do much to cover me outside the US. I first went to "insuremytrip" and did lots of research finally settling on Travel Guard which I have used every trip. They do cover pre-existing conditions if you sign up for a policy as soon as you make your first payment for the trip, that being flights, tours, hotels, etc. We also add on an umbrella policy which is inexpensive and yet about doubles all of the coverages. My main concern would be medical evacuation from Europe back to the US which would bankrupt us if not covered by insurance. We have never made a claim, thank goodness, but I have read many reports from folks who have and most all have exceptional things to say about TG. When we take out the TG insurance just before making our first payment, we estimate our costs as TG allows you to go back and make changes to your costs that you first listed.
Travel Guard. You can lock in your tour, then add your flights, and whatever else you want afterwards.
It's great coverage for those on medicare as it covers medivac insurance back to the U.S.
For the assurance of knowing we will be taken care of while traveling and that we can cancel at last moment due to
reasons realted to ourselves or other family members is peace of mind.
I use Travel Guard, but I get the silver (?) plan-it's a little less expensive, but seems to cover everything I need. Luckily, I haven't had to cancel a tour, but I have used the insurance to pay for a Kindle that I lost on the flight to Europe. Also, one year in Italy there was an airline strike and people were able to rebook and find hotel reservations through the travel insurance company. In the US I've used other travel insurance companies for vacation rentals and used it twice for hurricanes and illnesses. The price of insurance is well worth it!
I buy emergency evacuation insurance since that is a huge expense.
My CC offers some insurance if I have to cancel the trip for medical reasons.
So far that is about it.
Before you research a host of other options, have you first determined that RS policy is insufficient for your needs? If all you are worried about is having to pull out of the trip (more than 60 days before it starts), then it's worth giving this a read. It's unclear what other events/circumstances you need coverage for, but start with the RS policy (caveat: it's not comprehensive insurance but your post didn't sound like that's what you were looking for).
If you have healthn insurance through Blue Cross or Blue Sheild you may have coverage in many countries if you use hospitals associated with them.
Blue Cross / Blue Shield policies are all a little different. The one for most federal employees will usually reimburse you when you submit a claim after returning home. But you usually have to foot the upfront money yourself.
Yes, TC has described my experience with the BC/BS federal plan. The good news is that I was not required to have my Slovenian invoices translated into English. BC/BS took them in their raw form and sent me a check. I was very pleased.
Medical evacuation service is a whole 'nother story, though.
Thank you to everyone who has posted replies to my question! You folks on this forum are a wealth of helpful information - hopefully we'll be able to return the favor after we take our trip.