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Trip Insurance, our recent experience.

We planned a trip to Germany and Austria for August 2016.
The only things we prepaid were for our airfare, directly with Lufthansa, and a rental car through www.gemut.com. The car rental cost was fully refundable up until day of departure, so no problem there.
We bought 2 Premium Economy seats on Lufthansa for $2,880. Non refundable fares.
We purchased AIG Travel Guard Trip Insurance with the pre-existing condition included. This was needed to be purchased within 10 days of our first trip purchase. Check with each plan for requirements.

I wound up needing Hernia Surgery in mid August and we needed to cancel our trip. I first called AIG Travel Guard. I printed the forms from the AIG Travel Guard website and filled out my parts, which included listing any doctor appointments, ER and hospital visits for the last 6 months. After completing my sections I sent the doctors/surgeon parts to his office. He mailed them back to me. They also required proof of the airfare cost and proof that it had been paid. Within 6 weeks we had a check for the airfare. Pain free (no hernia pun intended). It may have gone quicker, but I waited for my credit card statement and cashed check to prove payment of the airfare.
These are essential:
1- Keep all receipts from the first trip payment on.
2- Keep a good record of medical appointments, ER visits and any hospitalization dates and doctors and diagnosis 6 months prior to a trip if possible. May come in very handy.
3- Call the Insurance carrier.
4- Read the fine print when filling out your claim. I filled it out and then noticed it said to fill out using ALL CAPITOLS. Filled out the forms a second time. I also gave this (ALL CAPS) info to my doctor just in case he didn't see it.

I would not plan another costly trip without this insurance. Thanks to AIG Travel Guard for making this process pretty straight forward and uncomplicated.

Posted by
308 posts

Thank you very much for posting this. I use Travel Guard as well but have not yet had to file a claim so I'm glad to hear it worked out for you.

Posted by
783 posts

Paul:

I am also grateful for this report on your experience with Travel Guard as that is the insurance company that I use as well. Good reminders to track your payments, doctor appointments, etc. Thanks

Linda

Posted by
1572 posts

We've also used Travel Guard in the past and have had some minor claims. They were very responsive on both occasions and paid our claim in about 2 weeks.

Posted by
518 posts

Another vote for trip insurance. I've used it for all my past trips and used it once when I had to cancel a trip on the day of departure due to illness. I got back every last cent, from the tour cost to airfare (upwards of $6K total). Many policies offer the "cancel for whatever reason" option, which if you read the policy, literally includes any reason, even if you decided you just don't want to go after all.

Posted by
1307 posts

I have never used travel insurance for independent travel. The money we have saved could pay for several trips' airfare (about the only thing we would lose as all the rest of our reservations are refundable). Now, we have booked an all inclusive tour at a cost of over $10k and we did get travel insurance for that trip.

Posted by
1742 posts

Glad to hear it worked out for you, though sad to hear about the surgery and missed trip.
I bought Travel Insurance for the first time ever this past trip to Europe. Glad we did not need it but was reassuring to have on such a big trip and only cost about $200 to ensure it plus medical coverage while abroad so I think worth it for big trips.

Posted by
2715 posts

Hi Bob,

For us, we've taken 10 trips to Germany, etc. With the money we saved for not buying trip insurance on those trips, it wouldn't cover airfare for even one trip. Figure 10 X 250 = $2,500 and our airfare alone for this one trip was $2,880.

Posted by
180 posts

Thanks for that update. I used to not buy travel insurance, now the main reason I buy it isn't for reimbursement, but for my health insurance and evac insurance. I've heard too many stories on the news where people are out of the US, get injured, sick and their own insurance don't cover hospitalization overseas. Same with medevac costs.

Posted by
293 posts

Travelfan, which insurance company/companies do you like for health and medevac insurance?

Posted by
607 posts

Has anybody ever made a claim under a credit card trip cancellation insurance?

I have just relied upon the insuarance attached to our premium credit cards and saved on not buying other travel insurance. From my reading of the fine print, the credit card coverage should be similar. Luckily, i have never had to make a claim.

Posted by
5769 posts

I posted this under your other thread, but cancelling your non-refundable flight does not mean you are out the ticket cost (Posting this to inform others, not to argue)

I asked about the cost mainly to point out something for others. Even though your tickets were likely non-refundable, that does not mean they have no value. For the cost of a change fee you could have changed your travel dates or taken a credit on the tickets for when you had your dates determined. The cost in the end would have been about the same, providing you are still going to travel, but the cost is not incurred up front and with a typical trip avoided. Change fees run from $150 to $250 per ticket, using the credit for the cost of the new ticket plus fee.
For a big trip with lots of up front costs (Tour or cruise package with strict non-refund policies) insurance makes sense, for a do it yourself trip where you likely have cancellation options on Hotels, rental cars, and airline tickets, then the value of cancellation insurance declines quickly.
That does not in anyway judge the value of evacuation coverage, medical, and other coverage that you may get with the policy, just the cancellation part.

Posted by
2715 posts

This additional info will be of help:

We bought a better, more expensive plan than we probably needed. My wife has many issues and we bought it with her in mind. Just wound up being me that was the cause to use it. Anyway, we paid $320 for the both of us. We could have paid as little as $240 for a plan that would have been fine for us. I paid more for the higher evacuation and hospitalization limits. In the end, for us, I'd rather be out $320 than $2,880.

Paul

Posted by
5775 posts

As Paul of Cedar IA notes, a non-refundable air travel ticket does not mean a total loss if you can re-book to a later date. I have re-booked air travel for close to a year later because of unforeseen circumstances, at the price of a re-booking fee. As fares become more deeply discounted (from refundable fares) as competition increases, re-booking fees have risen.

An overview of re-booking fees:
http://thepointsguy.com/2014/10/airline-change-and-cancellation-fees-how-to-avoid-them/

...look at current change and cancellation policies for major domestic
carriers, and offer some tips on how to minimize or avoid fees.....

Posted by
5697 posts

Thanks for the reference, Edgar! Very informative.

Posted by
518 posts

I've been using CSA Travel Insurance for a good number of trips, their "cancel for any reason" coverage reads as follows:

TRIP CANCELLATION FOR ANY REASON BENEFIT
If you purchased this optional coverage, we will reimburse
you up to the amount in the Schedule, for the prepaid,
forfeited, non-refundable Payments for your Trip, if you and
all other Insured traveling with you cancel the Trip for any
reason, provided:
1. your payment for this coverage is received within 24
hours of the date your initial deposit for your Trip is
received; and
2. you are not disabled from travel at the time you pay
your premium; and
3. you have insured 100% of all arrangements, that are
subject to cancellation penalties or restrictions; and
4. the Trip cost per person is no more than $10,000;
and
5. you cancel your Trip 48 hours or more Prior to your
Scheduled Departure Date.
Limitations
Please be advised this benefit is not available unless all
Insured under your coverage cancel the Trip.
T001BR15.01NW (05/11)

Posted by
415 posts

I used to never buy travel insurance, but now we have parents who are getting older. I also wanted to make sure we all had medical coverage. As it turned out we had to spend an extra day in London because of a strike. The insurance covered all of our expenses. That was more than the cost of the insurance.

Posted by
31435 posts

I always get medical insurance when travelling outside my home area (even to other provinces in Canada), as the consequences of not having it could have severe financial repercussions (especially for travel in the U.S.)! I've had to use it once and was very glad that I had it. The cost of the policy was well worth it! I sometimes get trip cancellation or baggage insurance when I pay for the flights, if the price isn't too steep.

Posted by
518 posts

"as the consequences of not having it could have severe financial repercussions"

My thoughts exactly, especially the medical part. While trip cancellation, etc., would only cost you the price of the trip (in the thousands), a trip to the hospital or worse, surgery, could cost you tens of thousands. Now, the chances of one getting hurt or sick to that extent might be slim, but the cost of insurance isn't that high. And while you can attempt reimbursement for such expenses from your health insurance carrier here at home after the fact, it's unlikely they'd pay for all the additional associated expenses: emergency evac flights, airfare for nurse to accompany you on the flight home, upgrade to first class so you can lie down during the flight, etc. It would be great to hear from someone that's actually had such an extreme experience and how well their insurance performed under such conditions. You wouldn't go uninsured here at home (whether it's your health, your property, liability, etc.) so why would you go uninsured while traveling?

Posted by
31435 posts

"My thoughts exactly, especially the medical part. While trip cancellation, etc., would only cost you the price of the trip (in the thousands), a trip to the hospital or worse, surgery, could cost you tens of thousands."

As I recall my annual medical policy cost $250 this year. As you point out, hospital bills can be exponentially higher so it's a really good idea to have a good medical policy!

Posted by
300 posts

My wife had a medical emergency in the Caribbean this winter. While her primary insurance (eventually) paid all but about $300 of her medical expenses the trip interruption and medical evacuation coverage was extremely helpful.