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Travel Guard Insurance

Rick Steves will currently allow you to cancel your tour reservation 120 days prior to the tour start date and will return your deposit. But you may not be aware that Travel Guard will not refund your premium paid when you cancel. Typically the premium is considerably more than the tour deposit. Travel Guard will cancel your insurance and issue you a voucher in the premium amount which is only good for a one time use within 2 years from your cancellation date and can only be redeemed for a Rick Steves Tour! Understand they are separate companies, but they certainly appear to be a business partnership(and recommended)with links both in the initial tour reservation and in the online account. We are long time Rick Steves customers and are very disappointed in this handling and would have expected better treatment managed by Rick Steves.

Posted by
519 posts

We generally insure as we spend, so initially only insure the initial deposit on the tour. In that scenario, the insurance premium is quite low. We add items as we pay for them -- non refundable reservations, etc. As long as you add each item within a week of purchasing it, all of the original protections (such as coverage for pre existing conditions, etc.) holds. It's even possible to wait until several days before the start of your trip to insure a hotel room with a 72 hour cancellation policy. This way of insuring only what you've actually already paid for has been explained to me by Travel Guard agents when purchasing over the phone. It's too bad you were not provided with this information!

Posted by
93 posts

I was surprised and pleased when we cancelled our RS tour, modified our Travel Guard insurance for a much less expensive US trip and then received a voucher for the difference. I was expecting to lose the cost of insurance. I found the voucher system to be generous.

Posted by
8 posts

If you are concerned about possible preexisting health conditions, you must buy the insurance within 2 wks of signing up for the tour. Additions and "pay as you go" along toward the tour lv date is not possible. As you age, you will find the preexisting aspect becomes more and more important.
Re. use of the voucher for a future tour...Travel Guard was very very specific in their cover email they will not refund for a difference in the original premium. Maybe they've changed since your experience. They also emphasize the voucher is only good for 2 years from your date of tour cancellation and only for a Rick Steves Tour (see the separate corporate entity with no business relationship!!). That stipulation is most onerous to us as we probably will never take another Rick Steves Tour after 8 past tours, but do look forward to River Boat cruises, etc.

Posted by
186 posts

Expecting better treatment by Rick Steves?? How? They do not own Travel Guard and Travel Guards treatment is usually top notch. Let's see...you want to cover a list of preexisting conditions from day 1. Any of which could prevent you from going on the trip and Travel Guard would have to reimburse your losses. Thus you are instantly covered by Travel Guard from the minute you purchase the policy. So you want free coverage (100% their financial risk with no benefit to them if you later cancel) for months prior to the trip if you decide to cancel the trip. And the fact they will let you transfer your policy to another RS Tour for a period of 2 years is also unfair and bad behavior by Rick Steves. OK, got it.

Posted by
8 posts

Perhaps I didn't make it clear...I'm talking about "insurance coverage" from the reservation date until the allowed Rick Steves cancellation date(now 4 mos prior to Tour). Other than the Tour deposit(6/14/21) which Rick Steves refunded, there are no other expenditures by us and so there is no dollar or health or other risk for Travel Guard to insure. Once we get past that cancellation date, or buy plane tickets, reserve pre/post tour hotels, pay balance of tour, etc., then the insurance coverage begins and can be claimed. Keeping these front end risk free premiums with no claim possible certainly financially supports the positive claim experience you have had with Travel Guard.

Furthermore, I am not convinced that an apparent separate entity business partnership between Rick Steves and Travel Guard does not allow for Rick Steves to affect Travel Guard's policies and procedures for their customers.

Posted by
186 posts

Travel Guard is part of AIG, the 87th largest publicly traded company in the world and you believe Rick Steves bosses them around. So when RS changes their cancellation policy one of the largest companies in the world is expected to instantly change their internal operating guidelines to match them. RS has cut the best deal they can with them and gets purchasers a 2 yr transfer period - that is a strong advantage and negotiated for. That is fantastic!!! Just because you didn't spend money before the cancellation date doesn't mean that others don't. Many buy airline tickets, prebook pre and post hotels, often have extensive pre and post tour self guided events planned, that they all are include in their coverage, especially to keep everything covered by the pre-existing condition waiver. AIG/Travel Guard has very specific upfront cancellation rules. If buyers don't like their policies they shouldn't insure with them; no one forced the buyers hand.

Posted by
1781 posts

Thank you for the info. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that Travel Guard would issue a voucher to be used within 2 years. I thought you’d just lose the amount you paid. That’s good news to me. I’ve purchased Travel Guard for 8 RS tours. Had to cancel once due to family illness and they paid everything I requested. I think it’s a solid company.

Posted by
519 posts

Jackdon, I think your information re pre-existing conditions is incorrect. In the past we paid for insurance only on the initial RS tour deposit. Later we added plane tickets and hotel reservations. Each time we made a purchase, we upped the amount of insurance within a week of the most recent purchase. When we needed to cancel due to a pre-existing condition (my travel partner needed knee surgery) travel guard covered everything we'd paid for. In this case, RS had refunded our tour deposit, but Travel Guard reimbursed us 100% for the hotel and plane tickets. I'm not saying we didn't need to submit a ton of paperwork, but they absolutely honored the pre-existing conditions part of the insurance, even though we were adding insurance coverage as we planned the trip piece by piece.

Posted by
8 posts

Ruth…Your firsthand recent Travel Guard claim experience with “add trip insurance coverage pieces as you spend” is excellent. Thank you. I just wish Rick Steves or Travel Guard had made us aware of that purchasing option over the past 8 Tours we’ve bought insurance. The insurer certainly promotes you buy all the insurance up front if you for sure want pre existing conditions covered. Cost us $1471 to learn what you experienced!

It is however clear they will not pay for some non medical claim like “concerned about overseas Covid exposure” or some other schedule problem.

Posted by
5149 posts

Ruth, thank you for that information. I didn't know you could add on and still be covered for pre-existing conditions. Since we didn't sign up for the insurance within 15 days, we don't get that anyway, but it's good to know.

Posted by
186 posts

Direct from Travel Guard's web site below, this is NOT some secret hidden from anyone. Failing to ask questions, failing to investigate before spending money is not the fault of RS, nor Travel Guard in any manner whatsoever. Travel Insurance is complicated, tricky, and a total PIA to figure out at times. Insurance is a legal contract. Neither RS nor anyone else is going to give you a legal review or advice before buying. Actually, most insurance policies are a pain to read and deal with. I have over spent on insurance for years before I finally sat down and really read the policies--demanding all the fine print before buying. Were those earlier mistakes (my wasted money) the fault of the carrier or tour provider. NO. This mistakes were mine and mine alone. If you are spending money on something it is your obligation, and no one else, to get it right.

Travel Guard
"Pre-existing condition waiver.
To qualify for this waiver, certain conditions need to be met including:

Purchasing the travel insurance with your first trip deposit, or shortly thereafter as explained in the policy;
The amount of coverage purchased equals all prepaid, non-refundable trip payments or deposits, and the cost of any subsequent arrangements added to the same trip are insured by the date of payment or deposit for the additional arrangements;
You are medically able to travel when your travel insurance policy is purchased. "

Posted by
334 posts

As soon as we booked our May 2022 Best of Eastern France trip in 2021, I bought a Travel Guard insurance policy and added only the deposit expenses of $800. We paid $120 for the policy. Even though I have changeable airline tickets, I added those for another $150 when I bought them in January. This week I will be paying for our tour, so I will modify the policy online and they will charge us, accordingly. It is extremely easy to purchase and modify your trip details. I've called TG twice during the last year to ask questions about coverage as it pertains to the Covid. Our regular supplemental insurance covers us for emergency coverage anywhere, so we purchased the Essential TG policy feeling the benefits and coverages limits will work for us knowing we could have some of out-of-pocket expenses. I always buy travel insurance, but we have never made a claim. Each time I feel I become a little more knowledgeable on the subject. This thread is evidence of how confusing travel insurance is for many of us.

Posted by
8 posts

mnannie...Good first hand information. Do you know for certain you are covered all along the insurance addition process that you are covered for pre existing conditions? Also, what did TG state re. Covid concerns? I have seen written that will not cover your Tour cancellation if you're concerned Covid risks have increased at the destinations.
Enjoy your May Tour...we have taken that one some time ago.