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Trip insurance for 2022 tour??????

Hi everyone -- we just signed up for the Southern Italy tour we were originally hoping to take in September 2020. The acknowledgement had the standard language about purchasing trip insurance within 15 days (to cover pre-existing conditions, etc.). In the past I always purchased trip insurance. I honestly haven't followed too much travel related news these past 14 months, so I don't know how things have changed. A lot of people got burned because travel insurance didn't cover a global pandemic. We were lucky in that we only lost a few hundred dollars, but we could have easily been out several thousand. Is Travel Guard still a good idea? Is traditional trip insurance still a good idea? Are there other options?

Others of you who just booked your 2022 tours today -- what are you thinking re trip insurance? Thanks!

Posted by
1956 posts

I have a Travelguard e-voucher which I will apply to my Scandinavia tour. I have 15 days to purchase the coverage for pre-existing conditions. For this trip, I plan to purchase the “Cancel for any reason” coverage which will give me a 50% refund if I need to cancel.

Posted by
25 posts

Hi. I will definitely purchase trip insurance. It's important to get "cancel for any reason" coverage to avoid the problems some experienced in 2020. Travel Guard is fine, also Allianz. I used to work for a large travel agency before covid and their agents sold Allianz. Happy traveling. Yay!

Linda

Posted by
5980 posts

I booked an RS tour today, and saw the standard link to Travel Guard. I am not at all worried about coverage for RS tour cancellation, or the airfare. I am interested in the medical and medical evacuation coverage area of travel insurance, and was hoping for more explicit guidance on that. That has been one of the most informative forum discussions over the last year.

Posted by
1253 posts

Stan, is this the topic you’re referring to? https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/budget-tips/trip-insurance-comprehensive-vs-medical-evac-only

After more research, I’m considering GeoBlue and Medjet. The cost difference between those and comprehensive is over $600. With cancellable hotels, RS’ change policy, changeable flights, I would not be out a lot of money if the trip had to be postponed. Basically, I’d be self-insuring the cost difference.

As many if you know, my friend and I had both had bad experiences with Travel Guard so will not use them or recommend them.

Posted by
242 posts

The devil is in the details. It is important to read the whole policy before you buy.

Posted by
759 posts

As noted above- the devil is in the details and how/where you are traveling. NOT all situations are the same. My wife and I have a friend who was traveling in Italy, solo, about 10 years ago (his wife was off at some conference). He was on a RS tour and had an unexpected heart issue and ended up in the hospital (thought to be but not a heart attack). He hadn't insured the trip (money not an issue). BUT he was alone.

The RS tour of course moved on. What happened- the RS Guide contacted RS HQ, HQ contacted Travel Guard. Again, he did not have insurance. Didn't matter. Based upon their working relationship with RS Travel Guard contacted him in the hospital via hospital staff (cardio units don't have phones). They assisted (phone calls he couldn't make) in getting transport back to Rome, booking a Hotel in Rome for several nights, and getting his flight home changed. Now there was no insurance so he paid for it all (hotel, flight change fees). But Travel Guard did the ground work for him while he was laying in a cardiac unit for free. What kind of value do you put on that? Now traveling as a couple you have a spouse do that stuff...but he was solo.

Posted by
75 posts

I just put down a deposit on the RS Portugal tour for 2022. Soon i will go to my local AAA and buy the Allianz Global insurance. We had this same tour booked for Sept 2020, and after it was cancelled by RS, I sent the cancellation email to my agent at AAA. After sometime passed i unexpectedly received a full refund for the insurance premium. There is also a website platform called www.insuremytrip.com that will display a number of insurance options.

Posted by
28 posts

We booked a trip also, and the tick tock to purchase insurance has begun. We are always concerned there will be a pre-existing conditions "gotcha", so we purchase it early to get that waiver. But like some others, we are willing to self-insure the travel expenses, but worry about the medical. I wasn't familiar with GeoBlue, so that might be an option? We are retiring soon, so we will have Medicare at the time of our tour. I will be following this thread and appreciate all insights provided.

Posted by
1253 posts

Lisa, Medicare will not cover you outside of the US. Some of Medicare supplements will cover $50000 Lifetime international benefit. I have AARP Part F but the replacement for that is Part G.
Here's the link to GeoBlue https://www.geobluetravelinsurance.com/ It was recommended to me to also get MedJet Evacuation because it will get you home instead of to the nearest medical facility https://medjetassist.com/
Read the thread I posted in my question to Stan. It will give you more information. Others have a lot more information and experience with travel insurance than I do.
Kathy

PS Welcome to the forum. It's a great place to learn how to travel.

Posted by
28 posts

Kathy - (Horsewoofie) Thank you for the welcome and the information related to insurance choices!

Posted by
168 posts

Horsewoofie, not sure what "Medicare part G replaces part F" means. For myself, I have Part N which covers up to $50k in international medical expenses.

Posted by
1253 posts

Terri, I noted the policy availability change because not all Medicare supplements include the international benefit. It’s something to consider when choosing a supplemental policy.
I haven’t looked at what the alphabet soup offers in several years so policies may have changed since.

Posted by
31 posts

I am struggling with the same decision. I have always purchased insurance in the past, but never had to use it. Ironically I was booked on a trip last April, received a refund from Rick Steves and American Airlines both very swiftly. The only think I was out was my actual insurance premium! As someone else posted, in thinking this through RS is accommodating about changing the dates if something happens before the trip starts and I plan to use mile and book refundable pre-and post hotels. So my risk is getting sick on the trip (I have never been sick as an adult), or something happens to my daughter in college while I am traveling. I am switching to Medicare this year but my supplement has international coverage. I booked two back to back tours, which is a significant investment that I would hate to lose, but the lowest insurance premium is around $600 which is a lot too. I am not sure if I were to buy coverage and something happens between now and December and I decide I need to use the RS no fault cancelation if I can cancel the insurance but researching that, but the clock is ticking on the pre-existing conditions deadline. My sense is I will either go with no insurance or get evacuation only. It has been good to read other opinions.....

Posted by
1946 posts

I did extensive research yesterday, as the 10 day pre-existing coverage window was running out to purchase my usual Nationwide single trip coverage. I've decided that for this coming series of trips, I'll purchase Nationwide's Annual Plan.

My situation:
- I live in California; the plan is not available in Washington state (perhaps other states, I did not check.)
- my health coverage includes international emergency/urgent care
- I researched my current credit cards (before my intended research for a new one); guess what, one of them has Trip Cancellation / Trip Interruption for common carriers (airfare, trains)! I'll be using that to buy transport tickets.
- I usually book refundable hotels
- I've booked 2 RS tours; thanks to this thread and others, I carefully read the RS Tour Conditions Agreement; my greatest tour risk is 50% within 30 days / 100% once I'm on the tour

My biggest exposure is med evac / repatriation.

I found that my preferred carrier, Nationwide, offers an Annual Travel plan for my age/state:

  • $59 for $50,000 MedEvac and Repatriation (too low coverage for my taste)
  • $79 for $250,000 MedEvac and Repatriation (in the "Additional Details" section, click on the "Pro Deluxe Upgrade (+$20)")

Note: SquareMouth recommends $100,000 for Europe
Note 2: a Physician must order the emergency evacuation, this policy does not allow for evacuation at the individual's discretion.

The medical coverage is low, $20,000 per person / per trip (secondary.) With my own health insurance, this is sufficient.

There are options for Trip Cancellation/Interruption:
Add $86 for $1250 of coverage
Add $150 for $2500 of coverage
Add $300 for $5000 of coverage (higher coverage options available; this is sufficient for my trips)

Note, you do NOT have to insure all of your non-refundable expenses with this policy, just choose the level of coverage you want.
Note 2: the Trip Cancel/Interrupt coverages are aggregate for all trips within the policy year. And unlike single travel plans that allow you to increase your coverage before your trip departure, you must choose a fixed coverage level up front.

Age did not affect the premium until 80, when it was no longer available. Not available to residents of WA (and perhaps others I didn't check.)

At a minimum, I'll buy the $79 Annual plan for the higher level of MedEvac coverage. I'll probably buy one of the lower tiers of Trip Cancellation/Interruption, since I have a small enough additional amount of non-refundable risk that I'm willing to self-insure.

I will buy this nearer the time when my tour deposit becomes non-refundable or I have other costs at risk. There is no reason to buy it now because it does not have a pre-existing conditions waiver if you buy within XX days.

(I have no affiliation whatsoever with Nationwide, except as an insurance customer.)

Posted by
1956 posts

CwSocial,
“I've booked 2 RS tours; thanks to this thread and others, I carefully read the RS cancellation policies; my greatest tour risk is 50% within 30 days / 100% once I'm on the tour.”

Please help me understand your comment here re: RS tour risk 50% within 30 days. I understand 100% risk while you are on the tour.

Thanks!

Posted by
378 posts

CWSocial, thank you so much for clear, concise information. You had me ready to sign up. At least until the disclaimer about WA. 🥴 We miss living in CA for many reasons, and now the dearth of insurance coverage is yet another. I know your information will help many others though.

Posted by
1946 posts

Judy B, this is the section of the Tour Conditions Agreement that I was referencing:

All payments to RSE become non-refundable on your final payment due date (60 days before departure). We may provide you a credit for future travel with Rick Steves' Europe Tours if you cancel your reservation for a Creditable Event, as outlined below, before the tour begins. If you cancel your reservation for a Creditable Event 31–60 days before the first day of the tour, your credit will be equal to 100 percent of your original tour price. If you cancel your reservation for a Creditable Event 1–30 days before the first day of the tour, your credit will be equal to 50 percent of your original tour price. [CW emphasis added]

(taken June 6, 2021 from "Tour Conditions (For tours departing Jan. 1–Dec. 31, 2022)"

Posted by
1946 posts

TravelingMom, I had read the posts about TravelGuard coverage in WA state, so I thought I'd check. Sorry to get your hopes up!
ETA: I've added a note near the top of my post that the plan is not available in WA.

The Nationwide notice says "Not available for residents of Washington due to pending licensing approval."

Posted by
1956 posts

CwSocial,
Thanks so much! I haven’t read this yet but will delve into Creditable events. That is the key.

Posted by
1946 posts

Judy B, exactly right! It is NOT "Cancel for any Reason." It definitely requires a covered event: a medical or family emergency, as defined in the same Tour Agreement. Quite similar to what I often see in insurance policies.

Posted by
77 posts

Be forewarned- are you taking any prescriptions? If so you have preexisting conditions. Be careful and fully read your policies.

Posted by
31 posts

Thank you so much CWsocial! I also live in California and will check out nationwide! I am leaning towards purchasing the evacuation policy and a carrying a 4 leaf clover :)

Posted by
1946 posts

Jill S, great idea the 4 leaf clover! Years ago my Mom tucked a medal of her patron saint in my car and my suitcase. They go with me on every road trip and international trip. Every little bit helps!

Posted by
1946 posts

One additional note on the Annual Plans: pay close attention to whether each benefit (MedEvac, Trip Cancel/Interrupt, Baggage Loss, etc) is aggregate for all trips within the plan year or per person / per trip.

For example, when I was comparing TravellGuard's annual plan with Nationwide's, they handle MedEvac differently:

Naionwide's ($79 annual plan) MedEvac is $250,000 per person / per trip.
TravelGuard's (annual plan) MedEvac is an aggregate $500,000 limit for the plan year, limit of 2 evacuations.

Trip Cancel/Interrupt for Nationwide is also aggregate. I've added a note to that effect in my detailed writeup, above.

Posted by
9 posts

I cannot recommend Travel Guard. We are checking with USAA now and perhaps Nationwide.

Posted by
80 posts

I had a voucher from Travelex from my canceled 2020 trip that was supposed to be valid for travel within one year. I will be traveling in April 2022. I called to see if my voucher is still good, and I was very happy to hear that they have extended the vouchers. I did add a bit more coverage, because I realize many more things can go wrong than I thought in 2020. Anyway, just thought I would let others know that it is worth a call to see if time limits have been extended.

Posted by
9 posts

I was scheduled on RS Istanbul Tour in April 2020 and purchased Travel Guard Insurance. Obviously RS Co canceled all tours. I 'd received a voucher from Travel Guard, no expiration date. I'm confirmed on back to back RS tours in April 2022, Athens & Heart of Greece followed by Best of Istanbul. I used the Travel Guard Insurance voucher for this trip.

Posted by
268 posts

We've purchased travel insurance for Europe trips in the past, and luckily never needed to use (rationale for Insurance in general). For those considering a policy, but like us, naive as to comps and coverage between the issuers, consider using a broker to help identify the right fit. We purchased an IMG policy thru such a broker for Sep2020 GAS Tour, which obviously never happened; but the broker and IMG worked together to agree to extend the coverage -- without additional cost -- for our re-scheduled Sep2022 GAS itinerary. Not sure if this is normal practice, and imagine 'mileage varies' quite a bit between companies and policies, but this speaks to the value of using a broker to get the right coverage at competitive rates.

Posted by
61 posts

I'm splicing together 3 trips in June 2022. My biggest concern is trip interruption and quarantine now that "breakthrough" infections are a thing. I don't want to fly from my RS V-F-R tour to France to start my river cruise to be turned away at the airport or boarding the boat. The cruises aren't nearly as flexible with cancellations as RS. I mostly covered that leg as the non refund/creditable portion.

Posted by
1 posts

Can anyone tell me if RS cancels the tour due to a covid shutdown in Europe do we receive a credit for a future tour?

Posted by
1 posts

We are booked on a Scotland tour and understand if the tour is cancelled the tour cost will be refunded. My question is if a country requires a 14day quarantine upon arrival, regardless of vaccination status or covid test, will Rick Steves Tours cancel a tour under those circumstances?

Posted by
1956 posts

Opal,
I would contact the Rick Steves office and ask your questions.