Travel insurance, do you need it or not?

Apr 20th, 2003, 07:37 AM
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Travel insurance, do you need it or not?

We will be going to France, Swizterland, and Germany for 21 days. We have a credit card that covers purchases, rental cars, etc. Do we need to buy additional trip insurance for medical, luggage, trip interruption, etc? If so, why to buy?
areinert is offline  
Apr 20th, 2003, 07:53 AM
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You should do a search on this board as the topic has already been discussed extensively. Here's a recent thread, to which I contributed a rather lengthy answer to your question regarding appropriate coverage:

Hope this helps,

Andre is offline  
Apr 20th, 2003, 12:47 PM
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Medical costs can be a huge burden, although not perhaps to the USA levels but even so very expensive.
I always get an annual policy its really cheap and covers the whole family.
Mucky is offline  
Apr 20th, 2003, 01:34 PM
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I am 60 years old, in good health but I buy travel insurance because:

If you become very sick or very injured while overseas it can cost up to $50,000.00 to be flown home in an ambulatory condition. Hard to believe but true. If you should enter the big sleep while abroad it can easily cost $5,000.00 to ship your body home. I do not get trip cancellation coverage as I do not use tours, travel agents etc. to arrange my trips but I do buy coverage for trip delays, missed connections, itenerary change, accident and sickness medical expense , medical evacuation, repatriation expense (to ship your dead butt home), baggage, baggage delay, common carrier AD&D, 24 hour AD&D all for $43 for a person age 56-69 to cover a trip of up to 31 days.

The company is Travelex and is recommended by AAA the auto club.

Hope this is of some value to you.

Larry J
LarryJ is offline  
Apr 20th, 2003, 03:49 PM
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I've never bothered with any sort of travel insurance and i've spent months at a time travelling. You may need insurance, so check to see what coverages you get from your car insurance, health insurance from work, homeowners/apt rental insurance, and from your credit card. You'd be surprised at what kind of coverage you get from policies you already have to pay for.
angeleno is offline  
Apr 20th, 2003, 06:17 PM
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Buying travel insurance is like buying an extended warranty for an appliance. On a benefit-cost basis, it is not a good way to spend your money. The odds are so vastly high that you'll never use the features not covered some other way that it is not a good investment. That said, for some people the psychological peace of mind it can buy may make it worth the price. And there is the off chance that you might actually use it someday.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
Apr 20th, 2003, 06:34 PM
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If you are on Medicare and your supplement doesn't cover foreign travel, you absolutely need it. Access America was great for us in that regard. Otherwise, your PPO medical will cover 70 or 80%.
LVSue is offline  
Apr 20th, 2003, 07:24 PM
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Totally worthless.
jor is offline  
Apr 21st, 2003, 05:56 AM
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I completely disagree with people who think travel insurance is worthless. We have used it many times and are in our 50's and 60's. We had to cancel a trip to Africa because my husband had to have open heart surgery, a trip to Egypt when my husband's mother died unexpectedly and another trip to Egypt when my husband had to have a different surgery. Also, we used it when a helicopter ride was necessary in Fiji because of a cyclone and another time in Turkey because our passports and other items were stolen. This has been in a 12 year period travelling usually not more than once a year. Our losses would have probably totalled $40,000 or more. I read somewhere, maybe on this board, that if you can afford to lose the money don't buy insurance.
Louise is offline  
Apr 21st, 2003, 06:26 AM
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It depends on what your up front costs are. If you have prepaid a lot you may want it covered. If you are on a tour they probably already provide coverage. I think if you are driving you would want to have medical insurance. The medical care in Europe is excellent and often very cheap. If you require medical evacuation that could be very costly. Be aware that if you are using frequent flyer miles for your transport it will not be reimbursed. You might go to the Access America site and see the levels they offer and see if it is for you. Also check with your insurance carrier in the US to see what they cover.
Gretchen is offline  
Apr 21st, 2003, 10:49 AM
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I don't buy it either and I work in health insurance consulting. I agree it would be a good idea if you do not have any medical insurance policy that would cover you abroad. I never prepay much of anything and am not worried about medical care in Western Europe. I can't imagine why you'd need to be evacuated by plane under special medical conditions from France, Germany or Switzerland as they have excellent medical care.

I think if you analyze Louise's post you'll see that she bought it because of probable trip cancellations due to pre=existing medical conditions or illnesses for trips where she had probably prepaid a lot of money, and unusual circumstances in countries that are not in Western Europe. I agree it makes sense in those cases.

I think my credit cards actually cover luggage, or my homeowners, but if not, I wouldn't buy insurance for that reason anyway as my luggage and clothing isn't worth that much. If you do have most of this other stuff covered and just want to insure for medical evacuation, there is a company with relatively small premiums just for that service and it covers evacuation on demand. I don't think most travel policies cover you unless it's medically necessary (which they shouldn't). If you really want to be home in a hospital for any reason (ie, to be near family, your own doctor, etc), it might make more sense to buy one of those on-demand policies. is one of those.
Christina is offline  
Apr 21st, 2003, 12:23 PM
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Thank you every and especially Christine for the information. I did a lot of research based on the information people shared. My credit card covers everything I bought on it (I purchased my flights, hotels, rail pass, rental car, etc with my card), it also has rental car coverage, and they say they will cover trip interruption, medical, etc. I asked them to mail me the specifics.

My health insurance covers my emergency care as out of network which is 80/20.

My homeowners covers my personal items, such as digital cam, luggage, etc.

The only questions I have left are these:
- My medical insurance said I would have to pay out of pocket and then submit a invoice. Would I have to pay in cash in Europe for something large, like a bill if I was in a car accident when I drive on the wrong side of the road?
- What about trip schedule change, I need to come home early cause of domestic problems, etc. Would the airlines (Northwest) work with me?
- We are both 31, in good health (who couldn't lose a few pounds and walk a little) and are parents are healthy, no kids, so why come home until we have too!

Thoughts? Aarron
areinert is offline  
Apr 21st, 2003, 12:29 PM
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On our recent trip, my mom had her bag pickpocketed. Her travel insurance, minus the deductable, covered the cost of a new passport, a new drivers license, the cost of the train we had to take to get to an American consulant (we were on a group tour), the cash that was stolen, and the money we gave the Globus guide who met us in Munich on her day off to assist us! To her, the insurance was worth it!
kybsbfan is offline  
Apr 21st, 2003, 03:03 PM
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Actually, there were no pre-existing conditions involved. I guess I am just paranoid thinking about things that might happen especially with older parents.
Louise is offline  
Apr 21st, 2003, 03:37 PM
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areinert - With my luck, I figure it this way. If I buy medical insurance nothing will happen to me. I might be out a few bucks, but at least I will be healthy. If I don't buy insurance I am convinced I will be in a train wreck, but at least I will have saved a few bucks upfront. Life's a crap shoot. Figure out the odds, choose your poison and pray!
CharlieB is offline  
May 12th, 2003, 01:01 AM
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I came across this article today & thought it presented a good overview of the issues regarding travel insurance:

The only comment I would add to the article is (like many people commented above), credit cards often offer almost the same benefits as travel insurance (mine covers lost/delayed luggage, has a 24 hour medical assistance hotline, etc.).
Andrea_expat is offline  
May 12th, 2003, 01:56 AM
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I've been telling people to take a second look at their supplementary medical insurance ever since a colleague of mine and his wife were hit by a drunk driver in a pedestrian crossing in Nice. My colleague was very badly injured (they weren't sure if he would make it), but his insurance covered a flight home when he was stable but still unconscious. His wife was less badly hurt, but both her legs were broken, and she had to wait several more weeks, because her insurance did not cover a flight home in a stretcher (you pay full fare for as many seats as the stretcher takes up).
Cluny is offline  
May 12th, 2003, 02:08 AM
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Totally worthless just like most insurance, until you need it. If you have spare cash to pay out for medical costs etc, fine. If not get it.
Travelnick is offline  
May 12th, 2003, 02:17 AM
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Overall, travel insurance is akin to warranty extensions that you can buy for a variety of products--a huge moneymaker for those selling the insurance or warranty extensions. Unless you have a specific condition or expect a specific set of events covered by the insurance to be highly probable, it is a bad buy.

Does it pay off for some people? Yes, it does. But, like extended warranties, if you buy travel insurance every time you travel the odds are that you will spend much, much more in travel insurance than you will ever collect.

BUT there is the peace of mind factor. If you are a worrier and you'll be worrying about all the possible things that might go wrong while on your vacation, then the peace of mind might be worth the cost (though if you read all the fine print for most travel insurance, you'll find it almost never covers as much as you think it will based on the ads, and that the conditions for payment are often highly subjective--with the company making the subjective decisions).

No one can guarantee that travel insurance won't pay off on a particular trip for a particular individual, but for most of us it is not a good buy.
RufusTFirefly is offline  
May 12th, 2003, 07:53 AM
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I buy travel medical insurance only, not trip cancellation insurance. The reason is because my insurance company takes forever to pay and I have heard that sometimes you can't leave the country till you pay up! Don't know if it is true or not, but don't want to find out the hard way! My credit card co. will fly me home.
WanderingTexan is offline  
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