Helpline Question of the Month: Does Travel Insurance Really Work?
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Of the millions of people who buy travel insurance, relatively few (fortunately) ever need to file a claim. So, Cate from Tacoma wonders, how well do these companies perform when they need to?
Tag along on Cate's journey through our Travelers Helpline...
If you bought travel insurance, did you use it? Which carrier did you use? Will you be buying it, again? Tell about your experience.
I buy travel insurance regularly without ever having call to use it. I buy from a different provider each time through www.insuremytrip.com
I use TravelGuard. In May, we were delayed 24 hrs in Newark. We called them and they told us to just get receipts. They paid for our hotel and meals. It took some contacts to collect but we got it.
I buy insurance, though not always the same company. I get the least expensive coverage I can find for each trip that will cover what I need. I use insuremytrip.com to compare policies. In September, I had to go see a doctor while in Germany. I paid cash for the doctor, tests and prescription. Access America reimbursed me for everything I had to pay out. I filed the claim online and faxed them my receipts. It could not have been easier. I didn't try to have the doctor bill the insurance company, as the cost was not too high and I forgot to bring the insurance information with me to the doctor. I will never travel outside of the U.S. without travel insurance. I would rather have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. The cost of my medical expense was higher than the cost of insurance for both myself and my husband. In addition to the flight coverage and medical/dental coverage, etc., some companies have policies that also cover car insurance.
Ocean Shores, WA
We bought travel insurance for a trip to Ireland in 2009. My wife fell and broke her arm and cracked a bone in her shoulder. Our company, chosen based on cost of premium, reimbursed all of our out of pocket medical expenses in Ireland AND upgraded her to 1st Class (as per Dr's. orders) so that she could get up and walk around easier to prevent blood clots. We will never travel without travel insurance....so little to pay, but so much to lose if you need it!
I have bought travel insurance from CSA. I had to file a claim in 2008 (our plan included car rental insurance and we damaged the car). The car rental company took forever to let me know what we owed...the insurance reimbursed us so fast it made my head spin. I always buy travel insurance, and getting it with car rental is actually cheaper than buying non-deductible insurance from the car rental company. (We had a zero deductible and the whole accident cost us nothing out of pocket.) Although I have bought insurance for all our trips, this was the only time I have used it. However, it was a $3200 accident, so...I think it is a worthwhile investment. I only buy it for overseas trips. (My own insurance covers me in the U.S.)
We bought travel insurance from Access America for a trip to Peru this past September. Because of prostate surgery the trip, of course, didn't happen. After getting forms completed by both the primary care physician and the surgeon/specialist, and a larger set of forms that I completed, we were reimbursed for airfare which had been our only expense. In fact, both my wife and I were reimbursed even though only one of us had surgery! I recommend getting insurance.
Apache Junction, AZ
Yes, I used it when I broke my ankle in Egypt and had to have two screws put in. The company was AIG which is no longer in business since the economic collapse. The biggie I found out was that they only reimburse you later when you turn in your proofs of expenses. My tour leader covered the operation and two days and a night in the hospital (only $2000 over there in 2004) but she only would do it after I showed her proof of travel insurance.
I firmly believe if you can't afford travel insurance you can't afford to travel. Obviously I can't compare the providers in Oz to the USA. However, I have had to claim on our last two trips. Once in Ireland to see a doctor on a Sunday and on our last trip to Germany I attended the emergency department of a hospital in Berlin. Also, my camera case and a few bits 'n' pieces were lifted from my husband's back pack on the underground in Paris. (Fortunately, my camera was around my neck.) Medical bills paid in full. However, the camera case and miscellaneous items were subject to 'depreciation'. My claim for $160 to replace them was paid out in the grand sum of $15.00. I have always organised travel insurance on-line. Like all insurance policies, read the fine print.
Let the recent snow delays across Europe be a lesson. Buy the travel insurance. Not just medical problems can happen. Volcanoes or other totally unpredictable things can happen.
Our trip to Europe in April was canceled due to the Icelandic volcano. We filed a claim and were reimbursed for all of our expenses. When we went to Europe in September we had insurance and will always purchase it for an expensive overseas trip. Another consideration is aged parents and the possibility of canceling a trip or cutting a trip short due to illness or death of a family member.
For more information on Travel Insurance, read Rick's article: To Insure or Not to Insure?
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