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Sunday, January 7, 2018

A Primer on Trip Insurance




We have all been there.  You buy a trip or cruise from your travel agent or directly from the company and the question arises:  "Do you want me to include trip insurance?"  Ugghhh...more money!  Trip insurance is complicated.


Do we buy trip insurance?  Yes.  Have we used it?  Yes!  We have used trip insurance for lost or delayed luggage.  We have used it for missed trip because of injury.  We have used it for a lost cell phone while overseas.  Have we met people who wished they had bought travel insurance?  YES!  There was a woman on a tour with us recently who had health issues develop 6 weeks before our very active tour, and she did not have trip insurance.  She regretted that because she took the tour anyway, injuring herself on the tour.  A friend broke her ankle and could not go on a planned trip losing the $4000 she already paid.  One of us fell recently on a tour, but fortunately did not need medical or dental care.  This could have been a bigger issue.  LTD recommends getting a travel insurance quote and shop around.  You can find better coverage for less.  But understand your travel insurance quote and policy by reading this article.

Here are the basics:

1. Make sure the insurance policy is PRIMARY.

You send your receipts directly to the insurance Company without having to prove you do not have insurance with another provider. (For example, most Medicare plans will not cover you out if the country).

2. If you have any preexisting medical issues, buy coverage within 2 weeks of your trip deposit or it will most likely not be covered.

You must be healthy enough to travel when you buy the policy. There is a 60 day look back period to your medical history.

3. At the first sign of an illness, while traveling, call the insurance company toll free 24x7 number to ask for help finding an English speaking doctor. 

Do not ask the hotel or cruise line to do this for you, since the doctor or hospital, might not be covered if that entity is not approved by the insurance company. (Much like in-network providers) Even in an emergency situation, once you are stabilized in an ER, have your loved one contact the insurance company. They are your advocate with the hospital and can set up direct payment with the hospital. The insurance companies have detailed information on their approved doctors and hospitals in each area.

See LuxuryTravelDocs post about a Mexican Hospital Horror Story

The insurance company will arrange transport to a different hospital if they feel you are not at a good hospital. Insurance companies want you at an A rated hospital.  Put the number in your cell phone and wallet.  Leave the phone number to your insurance company with a contact at home to help you also.

4.  Read the policy!

Suicide and mental disorders are generally not covered. Do not assume if you get travelers diarrhea and drink electrolytes and miss your tour that insurance will cover your missed tour.  It is not that simple. You must be seen by a doctor, and not a family member doctor.  These must be arms length transactions and must have written diagnosis.  Keep all receipts!  Just like any type of insurance for your home or car, all claims go through a claims adjuster.

5. You may need a Medjet Policy.

On a recent cruise, a fellow passenger was airlifted from our cruise ship to a California hospital.  If you need to be airlifted to your home hospital, regular trip insurance will not authorize a trip back to the US. If you have a Medjet policy, in addition to your trip cancellation/medical policy, once you are stable and able to fly, this service will bring you back on a medical jet to transport you home. The maximum age is 75. If you are older than age 75, you will need your application approved.  Annually, a family policy not very expensive and may be an option.

6.  Know what your credit card provides.

This may not be as much as you think but may be better for some things like lost luggage.

See LuxuryTravelDocs post about American Express Platinum Trip Insurance

7.  Cost.  

Trip insurance can be costly and may run an extra 10% or more than the cost of your entire trip.  Ask your agent to shop around.  Make sure you end up with a company having an excellent rating, because you do not need to be fighting for your benefits after a crisis.  Alternatively you can utilize an online agency to find a better price.  You need to contact insurance agents within 2 weeks of booking your trip (not final payment) or you may not be able to secure insurance coverage. LuxuryTravelDocs recommends:


You secure your trip but what about your things?  To secure your things when you travel LTD recommends a security travel bag when out exploring!


Make Meaningful and Healthy Travel Happen!





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