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Can someone explain travel insurance to me?


Nov 21st, 2011, 03:12 PM
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Can someone explain travel insurance to me?

I've never gotten travel insurance before, but am considering it for a trip next summer (2012, seven months from now). Most of the threads here talk about medical evacuation insurance, or car insurance, or insurance for belongings - none of which I would need. All I would be looking for was to get back the cost of the air fare, and whatever hotel deposits/payments I'd made that were not refundable should I need to cancel the trip at the last minute. I would be booking the flights now, and then reserving hotels, maybe train tickets sometime during the next several months. Most of the insurance I've seen on-line talks about having to purchase the insurance within a certain amount of time after you pay for the trip. But I'll be 'paying' for the trip over a period of months, as I book things, not buying one pre-packaged trip. The total amount we'd be spending would be probably less than $2000 each (husband and self) before the trip (so that's the amount I'd want to insure). But there is a higher than normal (for us) likelihood that we might need to cancel this trip so if I could insure that $4000 or so I would do it.

So - is insurance like that even possible? Is it 'worth' it? I've looked at several on insuremytrip.com and they don't make any sense. Can anyone suggest a company that does this?
isabel is offline  
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Nov 21st, 2011, 03:40 PM
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You are on the right site of insuremytrip.com as we have used them often depending on how we want to ensure our trip. You might feel more comfortable calling them and talking with an expert as this is your first time with insurance.

This way you can how how much to list the trip expense at, when would be the cutoff date for you to buy the insurance, what you would have purchased by that time, the conditions of the tics you buy etc. You might want to check the cc you will use to see if they might cover you as well. As you can see from the insuremytrip.com online request, age, $$, state of residence, etc all plays a part in the premium.
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Nov 21st, 2011, 04:35 PM
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The above link will give you details on when you have to buy it to get the pre-existing conditions waived (that is the reason for buying it after you first paid for a trip). If you don't even care about or want medical insurance, that is irrelevant, actually. But the date of buying it in relation to a trip is in reference to the first payment you made, whenever that was.

I don't know what kind of air ticket you are buying where you would lose the cost of the entire ticket. I think there are some like that on consolidators websites. But travel insurance isn't going to pay you the full fare of a ticket if the airline merely says you can rebook with a $150-200 change fee.

Insuring $4000 for the likelihood that you may just want to cancel for any reason (you don't say there is any expected health reason) is going to cost you a bundle, of course. Because you are saying upfront that you have a high likelihood of canceling, and not for unforeseen reasons. That's an awful lot of money to insure if you are staying in hotels as you shouldn't have to lose money on hotels if you cancel within some reasonable time frame before. If you don't cancel until the day of arrival, yes, you may have to pay something but is that really likely for whatever may cause you to cancel?

If you want to buy insurance that allows you to cancel for any reason, you probably will need to buy it within a very short time period of your first payment, and it may cost you about 10 pct of your money (ie, $200-300 to insure $2000). And that will only cover strictly nonrefundable costs, not airline tickets that are changeable.
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Nov 21st, 2011, 05:23 PM
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We have always bought insurance when we do expensive flights. Twice it has paid off. The first time there were four of us booking a trip to Germany and one started chemo between the time we booked and the trip. The Doctor said he could not travel and the ticket was refunded with a letter from the Doctor. This pass Sept we had bought tickets for a girls trip to Dublin and Scotland. My friend had a heart attack and open heart surgery three days before we left. She really had to jump through hoops with letters to Access America but they did pay her the almost 1000.00 for her ticket. BUT, I booked the Dublin to Edinburgh flights through the Dublin webpage and because I did they would not pay the insurance on that ticket. Aer lingus did refund me 53.00 dollars in tax money to my credit card. My other friend still went and we never made her help us with the apartment rental or hotels that we had booked. The Galway accommodation gave us a double instead of a triple but the price stayed the same. We did get a refund on one tour we had booked in Scotland. Anyhow buy trip insurance on flights for sure.
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Nov 21st, 2011, 06:28 PM
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Insurance will only cover you if you MUST cancel the trip - not if you just decide to. Typically the causes are serious illness for you or a travel partner or a very serious illness or death of a close relative (this would be first degree relative - and a cousin or something.) And, often if you know about the illness in advance but it becomes worse - you may not be covered (pre-existing condition).

So, be sure you understand what you might want to do and buy a policy that covers the condition you anticipate.
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Nov 21st, 2011, 06:50 PM
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“Most of the threads here talk about medical evacuation insurance, or car insurance, or insurance for belongings - none of which I would need.”

Isabel, I don’t have an answer to you specific question but I would be hesitant to say that you would never “need” medical evacuation insurance. Hopefully not.

Two years ago I was in Britain when I broke my wrist and had to return to Boston for surgery. I had bought insurance (big company, can’t recall the name) who eventually reimbursed the cost of my flight home and number of days I missed. Must admit there was a great deal of paperwork involved in this transaction.

Glad I had the insurance, but I could have absorbed these costs (painfully), but not the cost of a medical evacuation if that had been necessary. That exigency can cost tens of thousands of dollars, not to forget an extended stay in a foreign hospital if one were unable to travel under any circumstances.

Safe travels…

PS When I was younger, I did not consider these possibilities but now I do.
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Nov 21st, 2011, 07:44 PM
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Travel insurance varies greatly from policy to policy and from carrier to carrier.

Besides reading what is covered, you must read the exclusions. You must also consider what if there is a deductible. These will all determine the price.
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 05:32 AM
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Thanks for taking the time to reply. So am I correct in understanding that if we had to cancel a trip, insurance would NOT cover the price of the air fare because we could supposedly just reschedule for the change fee (usually around $200)? In our case we could not do that, which is why I was looking at insurance in the first place. Usually when airlines let you reschedule for the change fee it's within a calendar year of your original dates. If we had to cancel this trip we could not reschedule it within one year (due to work) so we would be out the entire ticket price.

We are looking at tickets around $1200 (each) plus easyjet tickets of another $100 each plus train tickets around $200. So about $3000. Most of the hotels I book are able to be canceled up to a week or so before the stay but occasionally I book something that requests prepayment or has long cancellation policy. So I was thinking if I could buy insurance for a couple hundred or so that would give me back the $3000-4000 I would have laid out then it might be worth it. But it looks like that is not possible.

The reason I am considering this is that my mother is getting older and while there is nothing specifically wrong with her, I know it is quite possible that seven months from now she could be in a position where I would not be able to leave her. I don't know if that counts as 'pre-existing' condition or not.
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 06:11 AM
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It depends on the reason you are canceling the trip. If the reason for cancellation is a 'covered reason' or if you purchase 'cancel for any reason' coverage, you'll get your money back. The 'cancel for any reason' coverage typically reimburses you 50-100% depending on the plan, but the trip cancellation reasons are often pretty broad.

See this link for a list of covered reasons for trip cancellation typical to most travel insurance plans: http://www.travelinsurancereview.net...-cancellation/.

Travel insurance companies have a number of ways to protect you in the case of your mother's potentially pre-existing medical conditions, but the trip insurance has to be purchased soon after you make your first trip payment. (i.e., when you buy your tickets or book your hotel) If you've already made any payments, you may be past that timeframe and if you do cancel, they may be able to claim a pre-existing condition if you cancel to care for your mother.

It sounds like getting a plan with 'cancel for any reason' could be your best option. See this link for a bunch of plans and the percentages they reimburse: http://www.travelinsurancereview.net...ason-coverage/.

Good luck!
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 06:26 AM
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Old age is not a pre-existing condition. Did your mother have a an accident, chronic illness, had acute illness that has been corrected but is still a threat before the trip commences?

A doctor will have attest to the condition if you make a claim. Trip insurance where the policyholder can cancel for any reason is extremely expensive.

There are policies that will cover weather condition, natural diseasters, and bankruptcy of an airline or a hotel.

Once again to you need to read the policy carefully, especially the exclusions.
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 07:03 AM
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I agree that calling insuremytrip.com is a great way to go. They have walked me through all the hidden texts, once to find a policy that would not treat mountain hiking as an excluded hazard, and once for my son's trip to ecuador.
The pre-existing exclusion also is tied to the time you purchase the trip, the farther out you book, the more likely you can find coverage. My experience is that talking to them and explaining exactly what you want to cover is the best way to get what you need for a good price.
They can explain primary vs. secondary coverage- another interesting topic.
Travel safely.
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 07:32 AM
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Unless your own health insurance covers you completely for travelling abroad please take out health insurance too. Hopefully you won't need it but if anything happens you will be covered.
Medical evacuation insurance covers you getting home should you prefer to be treated in the US (assuming you are American), or if, God forbid, you are involved in anything serious and a body needs repatriating.

European tax payers should not be expected to pay for visiting Americans health care.
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 08:16 AM
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I can't imagine ever travelling without travel insurance, and I don't understand how people think they don't need it. It's almost universally used here in the UK - at least by anyone with a brain - and indeed most pcakage holidays, cruises etc demand evidence you have it if you are not buying theirs.

I understand that you are mainly concerned about recouping the cost of flights if your mother's health deteriorates before you go, but I don't see why you think you would never need cover for anything else such as medical treatment abroad (unless you have private domestic cover which also covers treatment abroad), medical evacuation or loss of belongings. If you became ill or had an accident, might you not want to be flown home for treatment? Even if you stay abroad for full treatment, what if you were permanently incapacitated to the extent you couldn't fly home on a normal flight ? What if one of you dies abroad - wouldn't you want to repatriate the deceased ? What if your mother dies or has a series health issue while you are away - wouldn't you want to return earlier ? What if all your luggage were stolen - wouldn't you want to claim for it ?

Anyway, to get back to your main concern - if your mother becomes seriously ill or worse before you go, I'd expect insurance to cover that - but not if she just becomes a bit more frail.

I am not in the US (as I assume you are) but I think you are probbaly overestimating the cost of travel insurance at a couple of hundred dollars - I now have it included as a benefit of my bank account, but the last time I bought it separately it was about 35 pounds for DH and I for a year (and single trip insurance is obviously cheaper).
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 08:24 AM
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Because I like to include a rental stay as part of my European trips, I buy trip insurance. I've always done it through Travel Guard, and have found their prices to be good, and servcie excellent (had to make a claim in '06 when my travel partner suffered a spiral leg fracture 23 days out). Money wise, if you are staying in hotels with 24 hour cancellation policies (and no-non refundable deposits), renting a car with either no deposit or one fully refundable on short cancellation notice, and flying an airline that you frequently fly, or would be likely to fly on if you were in position to merely reschedule the trip, then trip cancellation insurance does not make a lot of sense. You might still want medical insurance (and evacuation coverage), so maybe you buy it as a package anyway, but, strictly from a money standpoint, unless you have a lot of non-refundable expenses, trip insurance may not be a smart investment.
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 08:39 AM
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Most quotes I've seen show that travel insurance seems to be much more expensive in the US than in Europe. I've always assumed that's because:

- Most Europeans are covered by their taxes for medical treatment in much of the world, and rarely show any interest in being repatriated.

- Americans rarely bother with travel insurance when travelling domestically (their normal insurance covers most eventualities), but "foreign" travel is a lot further away than a quick drive to the Dordogne through the Tunnel
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 08:52 AM
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Ah right, I stand corrected flanner. Still seems madness not to buy it, though !
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 10:49 AM
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I ALWAYS buy travel insurance for European travel. I have had to use it many a times living as I do in the Northeast USA and traveling frequently during wintertime. It pays for hotel if delays, etc....

I just paid $43 to insure a non-refundable $800 air ticket. It includes Medical, travel delays, bagage loss, etc.... I have been very pleased with Access America and Berkeley. By the way, Continental Airlines quoted me $80 for the exact SAME coverage (even same insurance company!). The website insuremytrip.com is a great recommendation.
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 11:00 AM
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Isabel-- you understood everything WRONG when you stated "So am I correct in understanding that if we had to cancel a trip, insurance would NOT cover the price of the air fare because we could supposedly just reschedule for the change fee (usually around $200)? In our case we could not do that, which is why I was looking at insurance in the first place."

Travel insurance is about emergencies, unforseen, unavoidable circumstances. If there is a serious illness for you, travel companion, or a close family member that would prevent you from completing any portion of the travel during the time period you insured for you will NOT be asked about rescheduling possibilities WHATSOEVER. IF YOU decide you want to re-initiate your trip, your insurance will cover travel expenses incurred due to the emergency event. For example, we were taking a cruise last February. All flights were cancelled due to weather. The insurance told us that we could either cancel all together and be reimbursed fully or fly whenever we could and try to catch up the cruise. They would cover the expenses...and they did EVERY PENNY-- extra flights, extra hotels, extra taxis, extra meals. I am a firm believer in travel insurance and I would URGE you to insure, at a mimimum, your flights.
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 01:08 PM
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Thanks viajero2. Could you give me the name of the company you used.
isabel is offline  
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Nov 22nd, 2011, 02:26 PM
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Caroline, you got in before me.

we just buy an annual policy every year and for less than £100 it covers us for all of our travel in europe for the whole year without us having to give it another thought.

that's not much for peace of mind.
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