I'm booking my travel insurance for my newly confirmed RS tour, and I'm wondering exactly what you tend to insure. Of course, the trip cost and the airfare. But do you insure the value of the pre and post tour hotels since they usually have a 24 or 48 hour cancellation policy (or to be specific, that's the cxl policy I book under). And perhaps the pre-purchased long distance train tickets? What are your thoughts.
Barbara, based on recent previous discussions here on the forum, I am considering buying only medical assistance and medical evacuation coverage for our trip, from another insurer. My reasoning is that RS has a generous credit-on-another-tour policy if I have to cancel the tour, and my airline tickets will likely be either refundable, or changeable via credit or at a fee. Train tickets, if I had any, I would just take the risk. But that's my comfort zone.
Read the fine print of your policy for cancellation/interruption. Some policies require that you insure all costs.
Personally, I don’t buy trip interruption/cancellation insurance; I realize I could lose a couple thousand dollars, but I am willing to take that risk.
I do make sure that I have adequate medical and medical evacuation coverage.
Ever policy will be different. My Nationwide policy reads that the pre-existing conditions exclusion is waived if you (among other things) "purchase this Certificate for the full cost of Your Trip."
I had clarified this with them when I purchased insurance for my 2020 trip and the "cost" included all non-refundable costs. Even my Southwest domestic tickets, for which I would get a 1 year credit, were considered non-refundable.
The Nationwide insurance cost depends on the "range" that a trip cost falls into, not the exact cost. The distinction is that unless a cost pushes the entire trip cost into the next highest bracket the insurance cost remains the same.
So, I do not insure my non-prepaid, 24-hour cancellation hotels; I did insure 1 non-refundable night. I also insure my pre-paid train tickets - they didn't amount to much and didn't raise the cost of my trip insurance.
Your policy is likely to be different.
With an all in one trip carrier like Travel Guard you should be insuring all that is 'at risk' from the moment you step onto the plane until that plane returns you home. The key being at risk. This would be items that you have prepaid.
I only get ins for medical and evacuation. There are 2 kinds of evacuation though, the less expensive one is if a doctor deems it medically necessary and that could be just to another medical facility in the country you’re in. I get the more expensive one, where I decide if I want to be brought home to a medical facility near where I live.
For my cancelled 2020 trip, it was easy to cancel the hotel reservations with a 24-72 hour cancellation policy, so -- no -- I did not insure those things, nor did I need to. However, I had also booked a tour where my credit card was charged upon booking with a guarantee of refund if I cancelled more than 24 hours in advance. When Covid hit, the tour company was unable to refund my money, because it had taken such a huge hit. I received a voucher. I didn't insure that and I don't think the travel insurance would have permitted me to insure it, because it was "sold" as a cancel up to 24 hours ahead tour, and therefore in the eyes of the insurance company I could get my money back.
The general rule of thumb is to ensure only those irreplaceable, once in a lifetime costs that you can't afford to eat. And not ordinary misfortune, but extraordinary. Because insurance is expensive and doesn't cover that much. Medevac is one of those extraordinaries everyone should consider, a lost train ticket probably not.
Of course, then the other thumb says everyone is different and you will have your own insurance comfort level.
Some policies require that you insure 100% of your pre-paid and non-refundable costs, while others will let you self insure some things. Cancel for any reason insurance typically requires that you insure everything you prepay for, when it's non-refundable. So that's hotels, trains, entry tickets, tours, etc. And if a cancellation would leave you entitled to a voucher, that may be good enough for you, but the ins. company doesn't consider that to make it a refundable cost, so you have to insure that cost. So for example, if you are not worried about insuring the airfare because you know you'd get an eCredit good for a year if you had to cancel, pay attention to the fact that CFAR insurance requires you to insure it anyway and pay the related premium. Failure to do that risks voiding the CFAR coverage.
If you cancel a trip, and it's for a covered reason, you only get back your insured and PREPAID and non-refundable costs. If you prepay for a hotel to get the discounted rate, you can get that payment reimbursed. If you book under flexible terms, providing a credit card to guarantee the booking but with nothing due until time of stay, you'll be subject to cancellation penalties that vary from hotel to hotel. You are not required to insure a hotel stay if you've only booked it and paid no deposit. Maybe you want to insure it, however, worried that a last minute cancellation might leave you subject to those hotel cancellation penalties (e.g., must cancel at least 7 days prior to check in, and if you cancel on less notice than that, they'll charge you the full cost of the room). I've learned from my trip insurance agent that this is not a loss that you can insure, unless you prepay the hotel's cancellation penalty before the incident giving rise to your need to cancel. If you didn't pre-pay that money, but it was just a penalty imposed on you at the time of your cancellation, your trip cancellation insurance won't reimbursed you for it.
We have booked a stay in an agriturismo and paid a 30% deposit. That's what I've insured for the time being. We owe nothing more until time of stay but I am going to voluntarily pre-pay another deposit each time we get to a new cancellation penalty period, e.g., so that our total deposit is up to 50% eight weeks prior to check in and is up to 60% four weeks prior to check in and is up to 75% one week prior to check in. Those are the penalties we'd be hit with if we cancel. Each time I pay more deposit, I'll evaluate whether I have enough coverage on my policy, and will increase the coverage and pay the related new premium if I don't. If I then have to cancel, I can include those prepaid costs on my insurance claim. Trip insurance companies allow voluntary prepayments. But if I don't prepay, and I have to give notice of cancellation to the agriturismo, and then the charges are put through on my card as a penalty, I cannot include them on my claim.
RS terms and conditions provide that if you have to cancel a tour after making final payment, and it's for a "creditable event," e.g., death or serious illness of you or a family member, and it's within 30 to 60 days prior to the tour, you'll get credit toward another tour. The credit goes down to 50% if you cancel less than 30 days prior to the start of the tour. They warn that this shouldn't be seen as insurance, and they do want their tour members to take out insurance. But you might make a reasonable decision to insure just half the cost of the tour, since cancellation for a "creditable" reason would give you a voucher for at least half of what you paid. Choose, then, a policy that permits self insuring some costs.
I usually just buy medical and evacuation insurance.
Most of my trips have been RS tours. I don't feel the risk to benefit ratio is high enough to need insurance.
I also generally pay ahead for extra hotel rooms. Last year, I lost $700 or so in hotel fees because of the pandemic. I believe that this hotel, if still in business, will work with me if I am able to make it to Paris sometime. If not, I have certainly saved enough money not buying insurance and paying less for paying up front to cover the $700.
I did pay for insurance for my upcoming Iceland trip. I think the tour company is reputable, but I was feeling more vulnerable. I also have to get rental car insurance outside of the country for the first time which has been a nightmare for me. I finally have my plan for the car insurance worked out.
After I have a successful trip, I think I will go back to self-insuring except for medical/evacuation. Dealing with insurance policies is more stressful than worrying about losing money : )
Our medical insurance covers us overseas, so we only buy medical evacuation and repatriation. Depending on the policy, medical evacuation may include translation, etc., and medical staff to accompany the ill person home. A friend's husband died while on a trip. The cost of returning his body was tremendous. Everything else is self-insured. Insurance that can run up to 10% of the costs of travel, since we have never had any major problems, we are money ahead.
We have never bought insurance for any trip expenses. Our typical mode of travel is to take a RS tour with some time on our own before and after. Now that we are older, we may consider medical evacuation coverage.
The past few years we have been doing combo of cruises and independent travel or 30 day length a few times a year.
I purchased GEO Trecker annual medical insurance and evacuation policy. Doesn’t cover any trip cancellation or interruption. Last year with COVID I had to cancel an independent trip to Asia and was able to recover all but about $500 in small Asian airline costs.
I was hoping to do a 4 1/2 month trip to Europe, UK and Egypt in 2022 but am running into insurance issues. The GEO medical policies only cover 70 days. Also this time we have several expensive tours within that time period and credit card travel insurance only cover up to 60 days
I’m now thinking I am going to have to break up the trip into 2 separate trips and fly home for a couple weeks in order to get coverage on the medical insurance
We will be 65 and 71 next year and in good health but I am not comfortable traveling without medical insurance at our age. It just takes one heart attack on a trip.
But I am bummed out since I wanted to spend a month here and there in Europe until we hit the 90 day limit
I'm booking my travel insurance for my newly confirmed RS tour, and I'm wondering exactly what you tend to insure.
It depends on what coverage you are looking for, especially with regards to medical. Medical policies have a look-back period for pre-existing conditions unless you insure the full value of the trip. So if this is a concern, then insure everything that can't be cancelled or doesn't offer a cash refund if prepaid. There is an explanation of pre-existing conditions at https://tripinsurancestore.com/how-travel-insurance-pre-existing-medical-conditions-coverage-works/
Personally, I put down a travel cost of $0 and buy policies from https://www.squaremouth.com/ I don't have any pre-existing conditions. I won't be happy if I lose the non-refundable purchases such as train tickets and the like, but I choose to use insurance only to cover expenses that really would impact me such as a $100K medical bill. The $250 in train tickets, not really the same.
We started buying medical & evacuation insurance after one of our neighbors had a medical incident traveling and realizing that could be too many risk if we ran into a similar issue. I don’t buy the trip expenses type insurance.
I spent the last two days looking at a variety of travel insurance policies and scenarios. After reading the fine print until my eyes blurred today I came to the conclusion to buy medical through GeoBlue and evacuation through Medjet. If you go that route look carefully at each of their policies; they are not the same.
My biggest concern at my age is if I or my hubby get very sick between now and tour date in Sept 2022. With Rick’s generous cancel policy I will gladly take the credit. Delta has refundable airfare for a fee which I have not checked out but they and British Air have changeable tickets.
I just can’t deal with all the exclusions and conditions the travel insurance policies put into their contracts. Asking questions of their reps to clarify a couple things lead to none answers. Not reassuring if I would have to make a claim.
Since pre- and post-trip hotels will be cancellable reservations, my main lose should be pre-purchased train tickets and museum tickets/passes.
Thanks for all your replies. Thanks, Vickie, for a detailed answer. This has been so helpful.
My eyes are blurring, just like horsewoofie's. With Travel Guard credit voucher(s) amounting to about $660 from last year's canceled trip, I was thinking I'd just get the same thing this year and apply those vouchers.
So I called TG to get a quote using the RS phone number. I learned that the "Gold" plan they previously offered is now called "Preferred" and that I've aged into a higher cost bracket. I was 73 when I bought the insurance for the 2020 trip. I'm now 75. That makes the cost about $200 more. There was no suggestion from the agent about insuring half the tour cost or of any cafeteria selection options.
I did get a link to their various kinds of plans and the details for them. I wanted to see the full coverage info. This discussion has me thinking I should look at the possibilities more carefully.
There have been multiple posts about Travel Guard recently, both pro and con. I'll probably use them one more time to use those vouchers. After that, I don’t know.
Below is a link to their TG Plan Details Library with the multiple options I mentioned above. It's one indication of the kinds of things that can be insured. Note that when you click on a plan, there's a link to states. When you click on your state, you get the actual plan details.
IMO, to decide if you want to insure your actual trip, you need to determine how much of a loss it would be if you received no money or vouchers back if you had to cancel. If the loss hurts emotionally, is that worth getting insurance for? If it means your retirement is financially hit and you won't have enough money to make it through your life, then that needs insurance or another type of trip or no trip at all.
Having to pay for a special flight back to the USA or Canada from Europe is a huge hit, which is more likely to affect retirement, etc. I chose to insure that by having Medjetassist. However, that doesn't insure all illnesses (Covid was not covered, but is starting to be covered in some South American countries last I checked). MedJetAssist contacted their members immediately when Covid became an issue to advise us accordingly, and plans could be made to get home before something happened. Also, there is a system on informing the member, which countries in the world wouldn't be covered at various times. So nothing is foolproof, but for the usual accidents and sudden illnesses, I would be covered. I get this to be able to cut my medical expenses in Europe by being flown home as soon as I am stable for treatment at my hospital of choice, not the insurer's or the doctor's choice. Another reason I do this is so my extremely busy daughter can stay home and direct proceedings by phone until I arrive at my home destination. So she doesn't have to make decisions.
GeoBlue covers the medical and helps with choice of doctors, etc. They pay directly to the medical provider. (Also, I believe pre-existing conditions is not a discussion on this policy, but you read the policy to make sure.)
Also, I called the companies involved and for flying me out, MedJetAssist would take over and be in charge, not Geo Blue. So there would be no debate going on as to who has control of that.
This being said, knock on wood, I have not needed them. I had a yearly policy but don't have one right now, because I haven't been traveling anywhere. But they cover 150 miles from home and beyond, so I think it is a good investment for me. Also, I found with the Covid cancellations, I seem to have done just as well without trip insurance as people with insurance did. I have only one night at the Sofitel at Heathrow that for some reason I made non-refundable, but they have changed my date on that twice. I feel I should just let it go as they have gone out of their way to assist me, who made the non-refundable mistake...quite surprised that I did that, btw. Anyway, we all have our own list of what we need covered so research is what is needed for every individual, not what others have done as it might not fit each person's travel.
I usually use a year round policy. But I'm planning on Med and Med Evac mainly for this trip. With the cancellation policies, I'm not as concerned with anything else. I have a couple of questions based on everyone's advice:
1) If we don't have any pre-existing conditions, is there any reason to rush purchase?
2) Y'all recommended Medijet. But when I read the Covid page, they don't cover Europe. I'm thinking they may change this as things get better. How are you dealing with this? I'm reading a lot of fine print and it looks like they may be better at getting you home vs other policies that will get you to the nearest hospital. Is this why they are popular here?
3) Our year round policy has some med and evac built in. Does anyone have input on this as they are similar in price.
Thank you for the question Barbara