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Jun 9th, 2013, 01:13 PM
  #1
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Travel Insurance

I am shopping around for travel insurance for myself, and my parents as we will be visiting family in Europe this summer. It has been quite the task! My parents are going together and I will meet them there 2 weeks later. My dad will return after 6 weeks (44 days), and I will continue traveling with my mom. We will be gone for about 2.5 months. My mom is 64.
I used Kanetix, RBC, Travel Guard & PC travel insurance online quotes. I also looked at credit card travel insurance but know that it's very limited and may not cover persons age 60 and over. Some of the quotes were quite high. One of the quotes for my dad was over $700 and for my mom (I believe it was RBC), was over $1200!

Just a few stats:
My father is 66, in good health.
He had a stress test done a few years ago in order to renew his license. Most of the medical questionnaire's ask if there is any heart condition and I answered "NO" as there is/wasn't any issues. However, I'm wondering whether I should answer "YES" since he had a stress test, which may be seen as 'treatment' although there is no category for 'stress test'. I don't know what else to refer to it as.

My mom is 64 and takes medication for high blood pressure even though it's under control. I did answer "Yes" in the medical questionnaire when asked if she had high blood pressure.

In your opinion, besides medical insurance, what other travel insurance would you recommend getting for my parents? I usually opt for "All Inclusive" but don't know if I really need this package for both of my parents.

Since we will be staying mostly with family, with only a few stays @ B&B's (not booked yet), it is important to get cancellation insurance?

I traveled solo to Europe several years ago and purchased "All Inclusive" insurance. My departure flight was delayed due to mechanical problems so we spent the night in a hotel, which the airline took care of. We departed the following day. On my return to Toronto, I learned that one of my suitcases was left in Rome. I filled out a form at the airport, and the airline returned it to me the next evening. However, the 'gentleman' who brought it, or should I say 'dragged it' to my door, broke the handle and wheel off. He claimed that it was already broken when he picked it up. I contacted the airline and they sent me a cheque for the damage. The only time I really needed to use my travel insurance was for medical - dental claim. Even then I didn't file the claim b/c a family friend (dentist) performed the treatment. I'm debating whether I really need to get "All Inclusive" insurance again or whether getting medical insurance would suffice. I'm 40.

I forgot to mention that my mom maintained her Italian citizenship. My dad would have to reapply. I have dual citizenship (Canadian/Italian) and will be traveling with my Italian passport. From my understanding, and correct me if I'm wrong, my mother and I would receive medical attention if required. If this is the case, would my mother and I still need to apply for medical travel insurance?
I appreciate your helpful feedback.
Isabella36 is offline  
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Jun 9th, 2013, 01:55 PM
  #2
 
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Before you spend a dime on travel insurance, it is crucial that you read the fine print. In particular, not all "cancellation" means what you think it means.

I found the whole travel insurance industry a royal pain, and decided to avoid it. My business policy covers me for travel, so I no longer concern myself with this "you want security, pay through the nose for it" industry. Not sure what I would do if I had to cover parents for a lengthy time. I guess I'd be neck deep in research, hating every minute of it.

Your parents seem young, and who doesn't have high blood pressure? As long as they have their meds and aren't prone to injury, I don't think I would over-obsess.
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Jun 9th, 2013, 01:56 PM
  #3
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I found this information on the Italian Consulate site:

Q. How will Italian citizenship allow me to qualify for free health care and tuition?

A. Italian citizens enjoy access to free public health care and public education at all academic levels.

However, I'm just wondering if my mother and I would still need to get medical insurance if we need to come home due for medical reasons or would trip interruption take care of this?
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Jun 9th, 2013, 02:04 PM
  #4
 
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You and your mom are entitled to Italian healthcare, which is good healthcare. But I'd check on insurance for medical evacuation, as I doubt the Italian healthcare system would pay to repatriate you in the event that were necessary.

Your dad isn't entitled to Italian healthcare, though unless something serious happened he would probably be treated for very little money, perhaps even nothing. I'd look into covering him for serious matters, though. The rates you were quoted do seem excessive. Have you looked at insuremytrip.com? Maybe that's where you got these quotes?
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Jun 9th, 2013, 02:23 PM
  #5
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Hi,
Thanks. I did some more research & checked out AMEX again. It quoted me $191 for my dad, and $580 for my mom!! It includes: Emergency Medical, Flight & Travel Accident, Baggage & Personal Effects, & Trip Interruption / After Departure.
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Jun 9th, 2013, 02:31 PM
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Can you get AMEX to give you a quote for your mom minus the emergency medical (which she won't need)?
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Jun 9th, 2013, 02:58 PM
  #7
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I am going to call for myself & my mom. Is $191 good/reasonable?
Thanks for your help.
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Jun 9th, 2013, 03:08 PM
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Isabella,

Does the quote for your mom include medical evacuation? I wondered if that is why it seems so high.
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Jun 9th, 2013, 03:26 PM
  #9
 
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There are a number reasons for the price including length of stay and a pre-existing condition.

When buying any insurance it is imperative to read what they cover and the exclusions. This is probably more critical than the dollar covergae. You cannot just shop price you must know what is covered.

It is good that you separated the insurance for your father and for your mother
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Jun 9th, 2013, 07:30 PM
  #10
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NYCFoodSnob ~ Sorry. I missed reading your post! I just had a chance to read it now. I'm glad you said what you did b/c I agree 100%! I'm so frustrated with all this research, and the concerns that I have with what is actually covered. It seems that there are a lot of 'exclusions' in many policies, and 'fine print' to read. I'm hating this part of the planning. It's stressful. My parents don't have any other policy although my mom will have medical benefits b/c she has her Italian citizenship. My father is retired (was self-employed) and my mother is a homemaker. I'm trying not to over-obsess but a little concerned. The "what if's" pop up in my mind but I have to just let it be and not stress about it. Like you said, they are still young and in good health. I pray that everything goes well and that their won't be any issues.

I read several articles on the internet about couples (mostly seniors) who purchased travel insurance, answered the questions correctly based on how the questions were written, but the insurance company would find something to prove that the person(s) didn't answer the questions correctly.

A part of me asks, "What's the point in getting travel insurance if insurance companies are going to scam their way out of helping people when something happens!?" Why are they making difficult, and hurting so many people in the process? It's sad to read the stories of seniors having to take out a second mtg. to pay for their medical bills, and/or becoming depressed b/c of it and being on medication. I don't understand how they get away with it!
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Jun 9th, 2013, 08:03 PM
  #11
 
Join Date: May 2013
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Individual state insurance departments approve the rates and insurance contracts. That is why they vary from state to state. There is a wide range of coverages. Unfortunately the average person does not how to discern the differences.

If you have a problem with a claim with an isnurance company. Not in the first communication, but in the second mention they are conducting themselves in "bad faith." This will give up a slight edge up. And if you do not get any satisfacttion then write directly to the insurance department in the state where you live and be concise about the claim and attach any relevant documents. Remember you want to get an insurnace company to pay a claim and a bureaucrat to get off his ass.
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Jun 9th, 2013, 09:03 PM
  #12
 
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The only time we have ever had to make a claim was for a trip I had insured with TravelSafe that I bought through www.squaremouth.com, an online trip insurance broker. It was a standard trip cancellation/interruption/medical policy. I had only purchased coverage of $1,000 for each of us.

My husband came down with pancreatitis in July and our departure was scheduled for early September. However, he had lost so much weight so quickly and was still relying on pain meds that the doctor didn't feel that he was able to travel that soon.

We postponed our trip until October so we lost the $350 pp copay for our Biz Class upgrades as well the additional air fare cost we had to pay of $100+ pp. After completing the TravelSafe claim form and providing them with the Attending Physician's Statement and a copy of AA's policy on refunds, we received a check for everything we submitted.

We found that as long as we could substantiate our loss, they were willing to reimburse us for it.

Squaremouth can assist you decide what kind of policy you need or you can compare policies online. Just be sure that you read the policy and understand what is covered.
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Jun 10th, 2013, 05:34 AM
  #13
 
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I feel the pain of insurance research. But there's something about travel insurance policies that I do not like. Compared to other insurance policies I have, travel insurance seems very shady and over-priced. Obviously, companies are in business to make money, but it seems more extreme in travel insurance. Maybe that's because sales are low in this particular sector, and there are so many things that can go wrong when you travel.

I know a woman in her 60's who broke her leg while vacationing in Tuscany. Her story is horrific, and I wouldn't wish that on anyone, but it's not because she didn't have insurance. She was put on a commercial flight home, and everything turned out OK, but the road to get there was harrowing. And she could afford whatever bills came in, and she never claimed her bills were too high or outrageous.

Still, if you find the right policy to protect your parents, you'll worry a lot less. If my parents were alive, I'd do what you are doing.

Be sure to check other forums, especially SlowTrav. They have many senior couples who travel for weeks at a time. Those are the travelers with whom you want to share your dilemma. You're getting good advice, so far, but you need to hear from more people.
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Jun 10th, 2013, 06:32 AM
  #14
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Thanks everyone. I checked out Amex & it quoted me $191($206.28 with tax) for my dad. I believe I left a post about it above. It includes: Emergency Medical, Flight & Travel Accident, Baggage & Personal Effects, & Trip Interruption / After Departure. I read through some of the points & for medical included: From emergency treatment to flights home, help is at hand during your travels:
Direct payment of eligible medical bills whenever applicable
Emergency air ambulance, when
pre-approved by Assured Assistance Inc.
Prescribed medication due to a medical emergency
Private duty nurses
Return transportation for a travel companion

I also am looking at TD Meloche Monnex. My parents bank with TD so I'm wondering if this would help.

I will continue with my research, and visit Slow Travel.

Thank you.
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Jun 10th, 2013, 07:01 AM
  #15
 
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If you are travelling outside Italy you won't be covered for healthcare based on your nationality. You need a European Health Insurance Card for that, and I don't think you qualify for one based solely on having Italian passports.
Just a point to consider.
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Jun 10th, 2013, 07:13 AM
  #16
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Thanks hetismij2. I am going to call a few travel insurance companies so that I can get more information, & support from them. It's too overwhelming trying to figure it out on my own.
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Jun 10th, 2013, 05:23 PM
  #17
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I called RBC, Travel Guard, & AMEX. I also called Medjet Assist but learned that it's American. Now I know what chiaro di luna was referring to!

Just a recap:
Dad ~ 44 days/NO on questionnaire
Mom ~ 95 days/YES to meds for high blood pressure

This is the information that I received:

RBC ~ Single Enhanced Trip includes:
Emergency Medical
Flight & Travel Accident
Baggage & Personal Effects
Trip Interruption/After Departure

Dad ~ $191
Mom ~ $585!!

Travel Guard ~
All Inclusive:
Emergency Medical Expenses
Emergency Evacuation & Repatriation
Trip Interruption
Trip Cancellation
Lost, Damaged & Stolen Luggage
Concierge Service
Bag Trak

Dad ~ $353 ($381 tx)
Mom ~ $256 ($276.48 tx)

I'm surprised at the difference with my mom's total b/w RBC & Travel Guard! Also, Travel Guard did not request or need medical questionnaire completed!

I called AMEX but b/c my parents don't have an American Express card, I can't get travel insurance through them although I was able to get an on-line quote through their web-site!

I told the agents that my mom & I are Italian citizens, & would be covered by the Italian healthcare but all of them told me that it's better to have unlimited medical travel insurance through their policy b/c they don't know what's included under the Italian healthcare.

I am baffled by the differences b/w RBC & Travel Guard especially for my mom. At this point, I'm considering getting RBC for my dad & Travel Guard for my mom OR getting just medical for both? I don't know anymore. This is a pain. I think the only thing that will be on my mind is medical & interruption. I'm not as worried about the rest b/c with baggage it's from one plane to the next, although it covers stolen/lost passports, etc.

Any thoughts?
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Jun 11th, 2013, 06:01 AM
  #18
 
Join Date: May 2013
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Like some of the people comments here the most important is not just the price but what will be covered that will bring you peace of mind all the way of your trip

It is always important to check all the options you can get..there is a company that is a travel aggregator that has more than 15 different insurers that they can find the best plans that will fit your needs.

http://www.securiglobeusa.com/

I used them and they were very helpful to find the plan I needed for my European cruise last May.
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Jun 11th, 2013, 06:09 AM
  #19
 
Join Date: May 2013
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Travel Guard has many levels of benefits. I am not sure why Mom was so much cheaper than Dad. It is possible you accidently entered the wrong information?
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Jun 11th, 2013, 07:22 AM
  #20
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I decided to get my dad's travel insurance through RBC. I planned on going with Travel Guard for my mom but when I called back to ask a few questions, & confirm quote, the agent quoted me $491 for medical, & $88 for interruption & baggage! I was given a different quote the first time around, & wish that I had gotten a confirmation number. My mom is frustrated with the whole thing, & the high quotes. I looked also looked at TD & it quoted me $1227! She told me last night that she doesn't won't to bother with it anymore since she has medical healthcare in Italy, & will be staying with mostly with friends/family. I'm frustrated too b/c she's in good health even though she had high blood pressure a few years ago & is still on meds to keep things stabilized. I think it's ridiculous to pay $600-$1000 for insurance considering the cost of the trip was just over $1200!
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