No issue brings us as much angst as the question as to whether we are going to insure a trip.
We used to always purchase travel insurance and yet when we did, we were never sure if it was a good policy or not. You really have no way of knowing till you have file a claim, or someone you know, and how their claim was resolved. The other part of this equation is, if their claim was not paid, was it because the claimant didn’t follow the rules. Perhaps they didn’t notify the insurance company and make a phone call before seeking out medical help first….or save the receipts…go to an authorized physician or facility. Just because it was denied doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a good company, it could be as I have alluded, that it was the fault of the insured. But then again, maybe it just wasn’t a good company.
Let’s go a step back and talk a little bit about travel insurance. I’m no expert and I don’t hold myself up as one but if you are going to purchase travel insurance make sure you ask questions and compare policies before you purchase. If you are purchasing through your travel agent, they are not the ones to ask questions of. They are not insurance agents but merely passing on to you the travel insurance that their agency sells. It may be a good policy but ask questions of that insurance company. Some questions to ask: are you looking for a cancel for any reason insurance policy? cancel for health or death in your family? how close must the family member be? do you want your pre-existing medical conditions covered? do you want medical evacuation? medical coverage? if you have several trips do you want year long coverage? Lots of questions to consider and to ask. One thing that I will say about having your pre-existing medical condition covered, you generally need to purchase your travel insurance within 14-21 days of putting down your deposit on your trip.
If you are looking to compare different policies, I recommend you going over to the Insure My Trip website. You can check off what you want in your policy and then compare them. If you are more comfortable, give them a telephone call and tell them what you are looking for. They will be able to guide you.
Another option for you to look at is your credit cards. Chase Sapphire Preferred has primary rental insurance for your car rental. In addition to that they also have Trip Interruption/Trip Cancellation coverage of up to $10,000 per trip; Baggage Delay insurance of 5 days at $100 per day. Make sure you save your receipts to get the reimbursement. Finally, they have Trip Delay coverage. You need to have purchased your tickets using your Chase Sapphire Preferred card which you should be using since you do get 2 x points on travel.
You should check with your health insurance company to see if you are covered overseas. I do not believe that Medicare covers you overseas but my military health insurance, Tricare does. It is called Tricare Overseas and if you do have Tricare and find that you need medical care while overseas, call their telephone number for the region that you are in. Wondering how I know that? When we were in Denmark I did have an accident – I fell out of a very tall bathtub while attempting to take a shower because there was no mat and the tub was very slippery. I cracked my head open on the toilet and was laying on the bathroom floor bleeding profusely from the back of my head. All I could think about was that we didn’t get health insurance. Visions of the English actress Natasha Richardson with her head injury from her fall kept going through my head. Tricare Overseas was called and off to the hospital we went. But you know what? Since Denmark has socialized medicine, there was no charge to be seen, for the tests, for the suturing of my head or for the two bags of medicine they sent back with me to the hotel.
Right then and there it had reaffirmed my decision that if I was traveling in a country with a western culture and socialized medicine, I would forego travel insurance for medical purposes.
The next issue we consider is whether we would cancel due to a death in the family. My husband’s father is still alive at age 90 and is quite healthy but we know that things can happen. If something did happen, would we cancel the trip or would we need to return? We discussed different scenarios and made the decision that works for us.
Using our points for our airfare and hotel stays, we are able to cancel and get the points, sometimes with a small fee, redeposited to our account. When estimating the cost of a trip, I have to exclude those arrangements that we are not paying for and that are refundable.
For our cruise to South America that we just booked, we did decide to get travel insurance. We figure that being at the bottom of South America, medical care may not be readily available if something serious was to happen. The insurance covers medical evacuation up to $500,000 if I should need to leave the area. It’s been years since we purchased insurance but at our age and our destination, we feel that we are being prudent in purchasing it.