Annual travel insurance

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Will do good
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Annual travel insurance

Post by Will do good »

Does anyone have experience or advice with annual travel insurance?

We travel (US & overseas) about 2 to 4 months every year and rather than buy coverage for each trip thinking about getting an annual travel policy instead.
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Rainier
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by Rainier »

Seems like paying for the Chase Reserve card would be the best option (granted, I'm not sure how much coverage you need).
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ResearchMed
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by ResearchMed »

Will do good wrote: Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:39 pm Does anyone have experience or advice with annual travel insurance?

We travel (US & overseas) about 2 to 4 months every year and rather than buy coverage for each trip thinking about getting an annual travel policy instead.
Here are two major threads about travel insurance on www.CruiseCritic.com - most of the issues are not specific to cruising (other than getting the cruise-line coverage, which is usually not recommended anyway).

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/4 ... insurance/

And this one is a special Q&A by the articularly helpful owner of a travel insurance brokerage company. (www.TripInsuranceStore.com) They sell from several vetted insurers (no extra charge for this to the traveler).
We found them through CC, and have had excellent claims experiences with our policies from Travel Insured through them.

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/forum/2 ... estorecom/

We do not get annual plans for general travel insurance, as we'd usually exceed the total IF we had a claim, and then it would be too late to get coverage for any trips still remaining (there are deadlines to start the coverage, depending upon what types of coverage you want).

But we do get annual MedJetAssist, which is available per trip or annually.
This is NOT "travel insurance". What they do is IF you are admitted as an INpatient at least 150 miles from home (for USA residents anyway), then IF *YOU* want to be medevac'd to the hospital of YOUR choice (near home or a specialty hospital elsewhere in the USA), then they do it. NO need for beancounter approval, or for local medical staff to be put in the possibly awkward position of needing to declare themselves not quite up to the task, etc.
All that is needed is that you are stable enough for transport in a full air ambulance, if that were to be needed. (They might also us something like commercial business class with a medical escort if that is "all" that is needed to get you where you want to be taken.)

You also need to think about what you want covered: just medical/medevac? Or lost trip expenses? Are there any pre-existing conditions? Any non-traveling family members who might have health issues?
These things can be handled differently by different insurers and policies.

Be careful of the terms with charge card coverages. Sometimes pre-existing conditions are just not covered at all. There have been other cut-backs on those policies.

RM
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dm200
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by dm200 »

Will do good wrote: Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:39 pm Does anyone have experience or advice with annual travel insurance?
We travel (US & overseas) about 2 to 4 months every year and rather than buy coverage for each trip thinking about getting an annual travel policy instead.
It seems to me that you may want/need very different types of travel insurance for different types of travel. For some, perhaps you may need/want no kind of travel insurance.
lstone19
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by lstone19 »

Although I am a regular at CruiseCritic, I tend to stay away from the travel insurance threads because there is so much misinformation there. Many, many people there tend to think of travel insurance as one product while I view it as four distinct products:
- Cancellation insurance
- Trip interruption insurance
- Medical insurance (while traveling)
- Medical evacuation insurance

For the first two, the risk to you that you're insuring is fairly limited. Cancellation insurance is never going to pay more than you paid for the trip. Trip interruption insurance, which covers expenses related to delays (including luggage delays), while a little more open-ended, is still fairly limited.

Then there's the medical and evacuation insurance. These can be fairly large liabilities should something happen. Very unlikely to happen but if it does, you're in a world of financial hurt. With a lot of the combined travel insurance policies, you really don't know what you're paying for each piece.

I usually just use what comes with the credit card for cancellation and travel delay insurance. While I would not want to lose $5,000 or whatever by needing to cancel a cruise or other non-refundable travel close to departure, it won't break us either. And while the card I use for travel (Chase Sapphire Reserve) includes some medical and evacuation coverage, I don't consider it adequate so for foreign travel, I get a medical and evacuation policy. But, the policy I like (GeoBlue) only covers outside the U.S. so of no value for U.S. travel and I generally don't bother when on a cruise that is all U.S. ports except for the obligatory foreign port as I doubt it will actually cover very much (probably only if something happens while at sea between port).
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by Will do good »

lstone19 wrote: Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:24 pm Although I am a regular at CruiseCritic, I tend to stay away from the travel insurance threads because there is so much misinformation there. Many, many people there tend to think of travel insurance as one product while I view it as four distinct products:
- Cancellation insurance
- Trip interruption insurance
- Medical insurance (while traveling)
- Medical evacuation insurance

For the first two, the risk to you that you're insuring is fairly limited. Cancellation insurance is never going to pay more than you paid for the trip. Trip interruption insurance, which covers expenses related to delays (including luggage delays), while a little more open-ended, is still fairly limited.

Then there's the medical and evacuation insurance. These can be fairly large liabilities should something happen. Very unlikely to happen but if it does, you're in a world of financial hurt. With a lot of the combined travel insurance policies, you really don't know what you're paying for each piece.

I usually just use what comes with the credit card for cancellation and travel delay insurance. While I would not want to lose $5,000 or whatever by needing to cancel a cruise or other non-refundable travel close to departure, it won't break us either. And while the card I use for travel (Chase Sapphire Reserve) includes some medical and evacuation coverage, I don't consider it adequate so for foreign travel, I get a medical and evacuation policy. But, the policy I like (GeoBlue) only covers outside the U.S. so of no value for U.S. travel and I generally don't bother when on a cruise that is all U.S. ports except for the obligatory foreign port as I doubt it will actually cover very much (probably only if something happens while at sea between port).
You are right, I do think of it as 4 products too. The ones I'm interested in is annual Medical insurance (while traveling) and Medical evacuation insurance. We are not interested in the first two products because of the credit card we use like you we have the Chase also.
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by JDCarpenter »

We travel a lot on long trips, so have geoblue for health insurance and evac. Note that if you are continuously out of country for a long time (60 days?), you'll need to buy a rider for the excess days. Also have DAN for diving related (hyperbaric chamber and evac). In actually, the two have some overlap.

Have never used geoblue, and only used DAN for phone consults from liveaboard in Fiji--although that may well have justified three years of premiums.

Both provide cheap coverage for dire situations.

[Fixed typo in last line]
Last edited by JDCarpenter on Tue Jan 07, 2020 5:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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dm200
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by dm200 »

The ones I'm interested in is annual Medical insurance (while traveling) and Medical evacuation insurance.
We do not do a lot of travel, but the Medical Evacuation risk, to me, seems like the biggest financial risk. Even in locations with excellent healthcare, some kinds of injuries or health/medical conditions can make it impossible to travel the normal way. On one of our cruises to Bermuda, one passenger was seriously injured (in a motorbike crash) and could not return home on the ship. He had to be sent back by air - with the capability of dealing with his injuries. You can even have this risk when traveling in the US.

Some health insurance covers you for emergencies in other locations and countries - so that is something to check out before buying this extra coverage.
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by Jablean »

TripleA has a program called EA+ (Emergency Assistance Plus). I don't think it's medical but it will get you home with a nurse travelling with you if necessary.
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by Artsdoctor »

lstone19 wrote: Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:24 pm Although I am a regular at CruiseCritic, I tend to stay away from the travel insurance threads because there is so much misinformation there. Many, many people there tend to think of travel insurance as one product while I view it as four distinct products:
- Cancellation insurance
- Trip interruption insurance
- Medical insurance (while traveling)
- Medical evacuation insurance

For the first two, the risk to you that you're insuring is fairly limited. Cancellation insurance is never going to pay more than you paid for the trip. Trip interruption insurance, which covers expenses related to delays (including luggage delays), while a little more open-ended, is still fairly limited.

Then there's the medical and evacuation insurance. These can be fairly large liabilities should something happen. Very unlikely to happen but if it does, you're in a world of financial hurt. With a lot of the combined travel insurance policies, you really don't know what you're paying for each piece.

I usually just use what comes with the credit card for cancellation and travel delay insurance. While I would not want to lose $5,000 or whatever by needing to cancel a cruise or other non-refundable travel close to departure, it won't break us either. And while the card I use for travel (Chase Sapphire Reserve) includes some medical and evacuation coverage, I don't consider it adequate so for foreign travel, I get a medical and evacuation policy. But, the policy I like (GeoBlue) only covers outside the U.S. so of no value for U.S. travel and I generally don't bother when on a cruise that is all U.S. ports except for the obligatory foreign port as I doubt it will actually cover very much (probably only if something happens while at sea between port).
Very, very nice summary.

I agree fully with your assessment. For the first two, I use my Chase Sapphire Reserve card. The cancellation insurance is quite impressive and I don't think another card has that degree of protection.

Credit cards are not adequate for medical insurance. I agree that GeoBlue has an excellent reputation and is highly regarded among seniors who travel a lot in particular. World Nomads also has a very good reputation according to many of patients who have used them.

It's true that needing insurance isn't particularly common while traveling but I have been impressed at how frequently incidents come up. I have traveled with groups quite a bit and things happen: falling off a bus, breaking bones while doing active sports, GI bleeding, appendicitis, etc., etc. And as a physician, I have seen plenty of my patients return from trips having been hospitalized.
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by fh2000 »

lstone19 wrote: Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:24 pm
And while the card I use for travel (Chase Sapphire Reserve) includes some medical and evacuation coverage, I don't consider it adequate so for foreign travel, I get a medical and evacuation policy.
The evacuation coverage for Chase Sapphire Reserve is $100,000.

"The Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Platinum Card from American Express both offer emergency evacuation coverage up to $100,000, which can be a godsend if you or a loved one is hit with a medical emergency. This is on top of scores of other perks, like bonus points on travel purchases and annual statement credits"

Is that not enough?
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by lstone19 »

fh2000 wrote: Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:43 pm The evacuation coverage for Chase Sapphire Reserve is $100,000.

"The Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Platinum Card from American Express both offer emergency evacuation coverage up to $100,000, which can be a godsend if you or a loved one is hit with a medical emergency. This is on top of scores of other perks, like bonus points on travel purchases and annual statement credits"

Is that not enough?
I've been on a cruise where someone was evacuated by helicopter. I have no idea what that costs but it can't be cheap. Although I think it was the Swedish equivalent of the Coast Guard doing it so for all I know, maybe there was no charge (from what I've read, the US Coast Guard does not charge for evacuations). And that was on the Baltic Sea where you're never all that far from land. I'd hate to think what the costs could be out on open ocean.

GeoBlue provides $500,000 with the per trip policy (not sure about the annual policy).
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by HawkeyePierce »

I agree with the above posters on splitting "travel insurance" up into the actual risks you're insuring against. I don't need insurance to cover an unexpected night in a hotel due to delays, I can eat that cost. I absolutely need insurance in the event I need medical evacuation back to the states. That I could not afford to pay out of pocket.

I have a membership in the Divers Alert Network. $35 a year and it includes their TravelAssist program which provides emergency medical evacuation. No need to be a scuba diver to join and it covers non-dive trips too.

https://www.diversalertnetwork.org/memb ... ndividual/

DAN gets high marks on FlyerTalk which is good enough for me.

For trip delay or cancellation I'd try to claim against my credit card, though I've never needed to invoke those policies.
informal guide
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by informal guide »

My wife and i have combined the Chase Sapphire coverage with the Chubb Passport 360 coverage, which we buy annually for less than $400 pp. We had one claim, which was handled well when we provided documentation. We began buying it 4-5 years ago, even though it doesn't cover more than $10K per person in trip interrruption benefits (even though we've taken some pricey trips), primarily for the medical assistance/evacuation overage (low frequency but very high severity, in insurance terms)
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by martiansteeler »

For the medical evac insurance, there are a few different types as well. There is the standard, you are able to get to a hospital away from home and you want to go to a hospital closer to home...doctors talk, air ambulance comes and gets you and transports you home.

There are the ones like DAN that can get you to a specialist center (like a hyperbaric chamber).

Then ones like Global Rescue which will come take you off a mountain or out of a valley in Patagonia as long as they have a possibility to land, evac you to a location to stabilize you, and then evac you to where ever you want to go. They have a rider for a security extraction too, to take you out of a hostile territory if needed...haven’t needed it yet. But it is nice to know it’s possible.
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by Artsdoctor »

fh2000 wrote: Tue Jan 07, 2020 9:43 pm
lstone19 wrote: Mon Jan 06, 2020 6:24 pm
And while the card I use for travel (Chase Sapphire Reserve) includes some medical and evacuation coverage, I don't consider it adequate so for foreign travel, I get a medical and evacuation policy.
The evacuation coverage for Chase Sapphire Reserve is $100,000.

"The Chase Sapphire Reserve and the Platinum Card from American Express both offer emergency evacuation coverage up to $100,000, which can be a godsend if you or a loved one is hit with a medical emergency. This is on top of scores of other perks, like bonus points on travel purchases and annual statement credits"

Is that not enough?
That depends on what you're after and how the evacuation limits are defined. If you read the fine print, Chase will arrange for transportation if it's necessary for you to recover or medically required. This can be a sticking point. With some medical evacuation insurance, you're permitted to be transferred anywhere you want without having a medical necessity. Other programs will transfer you to a center of excellence which is nearby. Others, and I think this applies to Chase, ultimately is decided by the plan and there is some subjectivity involved.

For what it's worth, a medical evacuation using an air ambulance from Asia to LA is more than $100,000.
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by ResearchMed »

martiansteeler wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:59 am For the medical evac insurance, there are a few different types as well. There is the standard, you are able to get to a hospital away from home and you want to go to a hospital closer to home...doctors talk, air ambulance comes and gets you and transports you home.

There are the ones like DAN that can get you to a specialist center (like a hyperbaric chamber).

Then ones like Global Rescue which will come take you off a mountain or out of a valley in Patagonia as long as they have a possibility to land, evac you to a location to stabilize you, and then evac you to where ever you want to go. They have a rider for a security extraction too, to take you out of a hostile territory if needed...haven’t needed it yet. But it is nice to know it’s possible.
To clarify that first "type": There is the plain vanilla, where you will be evacuated (after helo off ship, or from an accident/illness scene, etc.) to the closest appropriate facility, usually as decided by other people (e.g., insurer).
What YOU consider "appropriate" and what the local folks (including medical and also the insurer) may be quite different, especially if you are not in a major metropolitan area. If you prefer care at what you consider a "better" facility or closer to home, it could be quite a chore (or not possible) to convince the insurer that a pricey air ambulance is medically necessary.
Of course, there are plenty of reports (e.g., on CC) of times when such a transfer has indeed been made. It seems a few hospitals in southern Florida end up receiving some of the more serious cases from small facilities in the Caribbean.

In case that would occur, we get the MedJetAssist. That kicks in only after one is already admitted as an INpatient, at least* 150 miles of your home, for USA residents. Then, if YOU wish, they will take you to the hospital of YOUR choice (in your country, I think), be it by full air ambulance, or business class accompanied by medical staff, etc., as long as you are medically stable enough for a full air ambulance.

Having been treated in an "other country hospital", we are even more determined to keep MJA.
This was in a major city, but the facilities were not at all up to par. (That might have been due to the particular hospital, but I was taken by ambulance called by the hotel, and we didn't know the "choices".)
At about the time we thought, "Okay, time to call MJA", I turned the corner, and after about a week recovering at the hotel, we were able to enjoy the final week of our trip, although I spent it mostly sitting in a hotel lounge chair rather than doing any activities.

As stated, it all depends upon what type of insurance you want... what adverse events you are trying to insure.
However, the fine print *really* matters, in ways one might not initially think of, such as pre-existing conditions (and how defined) and whether pre-existing conditions apply to family members not traveling with you, etc. Or what limits there are, per expense or per trip/policy.
That's why speaking with an insurance broker (no extra charge for TripInsuranceStore.com, for example) and asking LOTS of "What if...?" questions, or even, "What else should I be asking?" can be invaluable, should you then have a claim.

The main concern should be to make *sure* that you do have medical coverage where you will be traveling, and whether the insurer will work with the facility *if* some sort of pre-payment or guarantee is needed before care is provided.
I remember seeing a sign in one small hospital admitting office about how they will not accept guarantees except from the following list of travel insurers. And yes, they did require a deposit of some certain amount, up front. (The list included the ones we've heard of, for the most part. It included ours. But we just paid with charge card, and submitted a full claim later; the costs were not high, and we just wanted to get out as quickly as possible!)

* Edit to correct, with thanks to Rich126

RM
Last edited by ResearchMed on Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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dm200
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by dm200 »

For what it's worth, a medical evacuation using an air ambulance from Asia to LA is more than $100,000.
Wow!!

Not surprising, though, given the cost - and only one or two folks being transported. This seems to be a very good example of the benefit of having insurance.

In addition to the obvious financial impact, it also should be considered that such an evacuation could save your life (or at least lower your risks a lot).

Even is the care you can receive in a distant location is great (maybe even better than at home),you still need to get home ASAP - and your injuries may take many months to heal - and can travel normally.

I wonder (don't know) if there are, or can be, provisions for such travel on commercial airlines? If so, those costs might be much lower.
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by Artsdoctor »

dm200 wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:55 pm
For what it's worth, a medical evacuation using an air ambulance from Asia to LA is more than $100,000.
Wow!!

Not surprising, though, given the cost - and only one or two folks being transported. This seems to be a very good example of the benefit of having insurance.

In addition to the obvious financial impact, it also should be considered that such an evacuation could save your life (or at least lower your risks a lot).

Even is the care you can receive in a distant location is great (maybe even better than at home),you still need to get home ASAP - and your injuries may take many months to heal - and can travel normally.

I wonder (don't know) if there are, or can be, provisions for such travel on commercial airlines? If so, those costs might be much lower.
Obviously, not everyone being transported back will need an air ambulance. It's entirely possible that you'd go from the hospital to business class on a commercial airline and then to the hospital.

There are two things that were off my radar when I was younger. First, I had assumed that people needing travel insurance of any sort were "older people" and I assumed that heart attack, stroke, broken hips would be what you'd want to insure against. The fact is that younger travelers will often do things when traveling that they wouldn't do at home (hang-gliding, parachuting, white water rafting, etc.); broken bones can be an issue and I personally would not want an internal fixation surgery in a small village somewhere. Second, there is a strain on family members if you're stuck somewhere and can't get home; it's one thing to be away for a few days but if you're recovering from something that requires you to stay in a hospital for a couple of weeks, loved ones will also suffer.
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by dm200 »

There are two things that were off my radar when I was younger. First, I had assumed that people needing travel insurance of any sort were "older people" and I assumed that heart attack, stroke, broken hips would be what you'd want to insure against. The fact is that younger travelers will often do things when traveling that they wouldn't do at home (hang-gliding, parachuting, white water rafting, etc.); broken bones can be an issue and I personally would not want an internal fixation surgery in a small village somewhere. Second, there is a strain on family members if you're stuck somewhere and can't get home; it's one thing to be away for a few days but if you're recovering from something that requires you to stay in a hospital for a couple of weeks, loved ones will also suffer.
Yes - such as I saw in Bermuda - renting a scooter - needing to drive on the left side of roads with no shoulder and ditches on both sides of the road ;)
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by rich126 »

ResearchMed wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:31 pm
martiansteeler wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:59 am For the medical evac insurance, there are a few different types as well. There is the standard, you are able to get to a hospital away from home and you want to go to a hospital closer to home...doctors talk, air ambulance comes and gets you and transports you home.

There are the ones like DAN that can get you to a specialist center (like a hyperbaric chamber).

Then ones like Global Rescue which will come take you off a mountain or out of a valley in Patagonia as long as they have a possibility to land, evac you to a location to stabilize you, and then evac you to where ever you want to go. They have a rider for a security extraction too, to take you out of a hostile territory if needed...haven’t needed it yet. But it is nice to know it’s possible.
To clarify that first "type": There is the plain vanilla, where you will be evacuated (after helo off ship, or from an accident/illness scene, etc.) to the closest appropriate facility, usually as decided by other people (e.g., insurer).
What YOU consider "appropriate" and what the local folks (including medical and also the insurer) may be quite different, especially if you are not in a major metropolitan area. If you prefer care at what you consider a "better" facility or closer to home, it could be quite a chore (or not possible) to convince the insurer that a pricey air ambulance is medically necessary.
Of course, there are plenty of reports (e.g., on CC) of times when such a transfer has indeed been made. It seems a few hospitals in southern Florida end up receiving some of the more serious cases from small facilities in the Caribbean.

In case that would occur, we get the MedJetAssist. That kicks in only after one is already admitted as an INpatient, within 150 miles of your home, for USA residents. Then, if YOU wish, they will take you to the hospital of YOUR choice (in your country, I think), be it by full air ambulance, or business class accompanied by medical staff, etc., as long as you are medically stable enough for a full air ambulance.

Having been treated in an "other country hospital", we are even more determined to keep MJA.
This was in a major city, but the facilities were not at all up to par. (That might have been due to the particular hospital, but I was taken by ambulance called by the hotel, and we didn't know the "choices".)
At about the time we thought, "Okay, time to call MJA", I turned the corner, and after about a week recovering at the hotel, we were able to enjoy the final week of our trip, although I spent it mostly sitting in a hotel lounge chair rather than doing any activities.

As stated, it all depends upon what type of insurance you want... what adverse events you are trying to insure.
However, the fine print *really* matters, in ways one might not initially think of, such as pre-existing conditions (and how defined) and whether pre-existing conditions apply to family members not traveling with you, etc. Or what limits there are, per expense or per trip/policy.
That's why speaking with an insurance broker (no extra charge for TripInsuranceStore.com, for example) and asking LOTS of "What if...?" questions, or even, "What else should I be asking?" can be invaluable, should you then have a claim.

The main concern should be to make *sure* that you do have medical coverage where you will be traveling, and whether the insurer will work with the facility *if* some sort of pre-payment or guarantee is needed before care is provided.
I remember seeing a sign in one small hospital admitting office about how they will not accept guarantees except from the following list of travel insurers. And yes, they did require a deposit of some certain amount, up front. (The list included the ones we've heard of, for the most part. It included ours. But we just paid with charge card, and submitted a full claim later; the costs were not high, and we just wanted to get out as quickly as possible!)

RM
I believe there is a significant typo
That kicks in only after one is already admitted as an INpatient, within 150 miles of your home, for USA residents.
It should read https://medjetassist.com/about-medjet/faq -
Regardless of medical necessity, if a member is hospitalized 150 miles or more from home, Medjet will arrange medical transfer to the hospital of their choice within their home country with no pre-existing condition exclusions (under age 75), health questions, deductibles or claim forms. There are no monetary limits to the program's benefits and no restrictions on the amount or type of travel taken annually.
----------------------------- | If you think something is important and it doesn't involve the health of someone, think again. Life goes too fast, enjoy it and be nice.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by ResearchMed »

rich126 wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:28 pm
ResearchMed wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 1:31 pm
martiansteeler wrote: Wed Jan 08, 2020 12:59 am For the medical evac insurance, there are a few different types as well. There is the standard, you are able to get to a hospital away from home and you want to go to a hospital closer to home...doctors talk, air ambulance comes and gets you and transports you home.

There are the ones like DAN that can get you to a specialist center (like a hyperbaric chamber).

Then ones like Global Rescue which will come take you off a mountain or out of a valley in Patagonia as long as they have a possibility to land, evac you to a location to stabilize you, and then evac you to where ever you want to go. They have a rider for a security extraction too, to take you out of a hostile territory if needed...haven’t needed it yet. But it is nice to know it’s possible.
To clarify that first "type": There is the plain vanilla, where you will be evacuated (after helo off ship, or from an accident/illness scene, etc.) to the closest appropriate facility, usually as decided by other people (e.g., insurer).
What YOU consider "appropriate" and what the local folks (including medical and also the insurer) may be quite different, especially if you are not in a major metropolitan area. If you prefer care at what you consider a "better" facility or closer to home, it could be quite a chore (or not possible) to convince the insurer that a pricey air ambulance is medically necessary.
Of course, there are plenty of reports (e.g., on CC) of times when such a transfer has indeed been made. It seems a few hospitals in southern Florida end up receiving some of the more serious cases from small facilities in the Caribbean.

In case that would occur, we get the MedJetAssist. That kicks in only after one is already admitted as an INpatient, within 150 miles of your home, for USA residents. Then, if YOU wish, they will take you to the hospital of YOUR choice (in your country, I think), be it by full air ambulance, or business class accompanied by medical staff, etc., as long as you are medically stable enough for a full air ambulance.

Having been treated in an "other country hospital", we are even more determined to keep MJA.
This was in a major city, but the facilities were not at all up to par. (That might have been due to the particular hospital, but I was taken by ambulance called by the hotel, and we didn't know the "choices".)
At about the time we thought, "Okay, time to call MJA", I turned the corner, and after about a week recovering at the hotel, we were able to enjoy the final week of our trip, although I spent it mostly sitting in a hotel lounge chair rather than doing any activities.

As stated, it all depends upon what type of insurance you want... what adverse events you are trying to insure.
However, the fine print *really* matters, in ways one might not initially think of, such as pre-existing conditions (and how defined) and whether pre-existing conditions apply to family members not traveling with you, etc. Or what limits there are, per expense or per trip/policy.
That's why speaking with an insurance broker (no extra charge for TripInsuranceStore.com, for example) and asking LOTS of "What if...?" questions, or even, "What else should I be asking?" can be invaluable, should you then have a claim.

The main concern should be to make *sure* that you do have medical coverage where you will be traveling, and whether the insurer will work with the facility *if* some sort of pre-payment or guarantee is needed before care is provided.
I remember seeing a sign in one small hospital admitting office about how they will not accept guarantees except from the following list of travel insurers. And yes, they did require a deposit of some certain amount, up front. (The list included the ones we've heard of, for the most part. It included ours. But we just paid with charge card, and submitted a full claim later; the costs were not high, and we just wanted to get out as quickly as possible!)

RM
I believe there is a significant typo
That kicks in only after one is already admitted as an INpatient, within 150 miles of your home, for USA residents.
It should read https://medjetassist.com/about-medjet/faq -
Regardless of medical necessity, if a member is hospitalized 150 miles or more from home, Medjet will arrange medical transfer to the hospital of their choice within their home country with no pre-existing condition exclusions (under age 75), health questions, deductibles or claim forms. There are no monetary limits to the program's benefits and no restrictions on the amount or type of travel taken annually.
Thanks!
I have corrected that to the "at least 150 miles from home".
One nice thing I forgot to add, regarding the annual policy, is the coverage would also include many smaller trips to visit family/friends, or business trips/etc., that are not "vacations", etc. One might want to get to a "home hospital" if one is hospitalized in another part of the country, but there is "no medical need".

RM
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jminv
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by jminv »

Reviving this thread to post about my own experience with an annual travel insurance plan and how it was the best financial decision I've made in awhile.

I have had an annual travel insurance plan for several years now. This is not a USA based plan but is essentially the same and covers worldwide travel. What I was most concerned about was my medical expense risk considering how expensive medical care can be in certain countries, including the USA where I travel to periodically. My plan covers trips that do not exceed 60 days in duration, although you can travel for 60 days, return home for a day, travel for another 60 etc. That's essentially what we have been doing for the past two years so already we were the people who these insurance plans are best for. I had looked at credit card options but none had the medical coverage I was most concerned about. My wife always thought travel insurance was unnecessary and didn't understand why we had it...

We had a claim for our child that is 75k and counting due to an incident in a high health care cost country. This is for something that would be 'free' at home or perhaps 5-10k at most in many other developed countries. It was not something that 'should' cost 75k. It was a 2 day hospitalization and surgery then discharge type deal. The claim process was a bit stressful as I had a hospital billing person breathing down my neck while my insurer took about 12 hours to really get into gear and while they first checked whether they would allow the claim (covid has given them an out if travel was against government rules for us, it wasn't but we had to prove this first, as well as residency).

We had the certificates that the insurer would pay but the hospital we were at was totally unfamiliar with this, looked at us like we were aliens, and said they didn't deal with foreign insurance after running it by billing. We were not treated 'right' in terms of healthcare until the insurer had made contact with the hospital and accepted financial responsibility. Once they accepted financial responsibility everything became much better and surgery happened. It was an eye-opener to how health care really works where we traveled to. We would have paid of course but even then they hedge against the risk of nonpayment by lowering the standard of care. Had we not had insurance and had been self-pay, the outcome of this whole thing would have been different. That alone justifies paying $300/year/for a family.

What I was surprised most about my insurance is that they actually advocated for further treatment that cost them money. Also, when they decided to spend more money (as in 50% more/25k) our child was stabilized so it would have actually been cheaper for them to 'force' us to come home by just paying to change our return tickets (perhaps $1000 for fare difference) to return the next day. Once 'home' our treatment would be 'free' to them. I was actually very concerned that they would do this as it was the financially sensible option but would have been a problem for other reasons. Instead, their doctors reviewed the case file and disagreed with the treatment plan and an early discharge. It was a surprising decision.

Travel with travel insurance that covers high medical bills. Many credit card policies have very low medical coverage. If you're not covered on your travels, you're taking a big risk and it's not just financial in nature. Without insurance, your hospital can't know whether you'll actually pay and especially if you're in a bad enough state to arrange payment and in the 'wrong' country just not treat you.
MedSaver
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by MedSaver »

Pre-pandemic, we relied on Medjet Horizon, but we were very disappointed to get messages from Medjet immediately after Covid became a thing saying essentially that any medical transfers related to Covid would absolutely not be covered. However, another medevac company (Global Guardian) chartered a plane to repatriate 144 American citizens from Honduras and only 1 of them was a Global Guardian customer (https://www.ajc.com/business/travelers- ... meEN8GQP/_ ). The non-customers had to pay, but still, it was nice that they decided to charter a large enough craft to repatriate so many stranded people. Anyone on here have any experience with Global Guardian? I assume it's more expensive than Medjet, but sometimes you get what you pay for.
orlandoman
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by orlandoman »

Yes, an annual travel insurance policy is a vert viable option for many. But, I suggest you check into the details, espicially what is listed under 'other covered events'. I have found that most times it is not the same list as under the more expensive one-time trip policies. In checking policies yesterday for a future trip, a 'traffic accident' on the way to the departure point was a covered event for cancellation or interruption on the one-time policy, but not on the annual policy I reviewed.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by ResearchMed »

MedSaver wrote: Fri May 28, 2021 12:52 am Pre-pandemic, we relied on Medjet Horizon, but we were very disappointed to get messages from Medjet immediately after Covid became a thing saying essentially that any medical transfers related to Covid would absolutely not be covered. However, another medevac company (Global Guardian) chartered a plane to repatriate 144 American citizens from Honduras and only 1 of them was a Global Guardian customer (https://www.ajc.com/business/travelers- ... meEN8GQP/_ ). The non-customers had to pay, but still, it was nice that they decided to charter a large enough craft to repatriate so many stranded people. Anyone on here have any experience with Global Guardian? I assume it's more expensive than Medjet, but sometimes you get what you pay for.
Did you get "caught" on a trip when MJA wouldn't cover Covid?

We've had MJA for several years (let it lapse if the end of an annual plan is when we aren't traveling for a while, and then re-start before next trip, etc.) and remember their announcement, along with the semi-chaos that erupted on CruiseCritic back then.

I thought that they had denied coverage for trips that started *after* the pandemic began, not for people who had started their travels before then. (Although I also remember some confusion in general about travel insurance back then in terms of what different travel insurers were considering the 'start date'.). That shouldn't have unexpectedly "stranded" anyone, but it may have caused some decision difficulties for those about to start a trip.

Impressive about Global Guardian allowing others on board at their own expense, because i also remember some folks who had a LOT of trouble getting back. I think that included at least one BH member who was stranded in South America.

I had looked into some other companies last year precisely because of this, but never figured out if there would be a better choice. We don't need travel insurance for the *very* occasional local medical outing during the past 1.5 years :annoyed

Later, MJA included Covid evacuations for a limited area, initially 48 contiguous states and Caribbean *IF* I remember correctly. I'm not sure if they've enlarged their coverage area for that yet.

But we never had used MJA Horizon... yet... the times they are a-changin'...

RM
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MedSaver
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by MedSaver »

ResearchMed wrote: Fri May 28, 2021 8:47 am Did you get "caught" on a trip when MJA wouldn't cover Covid?

We've had MJA for several years (let it lapse if the end of an annual plan is when we aren't traveling for a while, and then re-start before next trip, etc.) and remember their announcement, along with the semi-chaos that erupted on CruiseCritic back then.

I thought that they had denied coverage for trips that started *after* the pandemic began, not for people who had started their travels before then. (Although I also remember some confusion in general about travel insurance back then in terms of what different travel insurers were considering the 'start date'.). That shouldn't have unexpectedly "stranded" anyone, but it may have caused some decision difficulties for those about to start a trip.

Impressive about Global Guardian allowing others on board at their own expense, because i also remember some folks who had a LOT of trouble getting back. I think that included at least one BH member who was stranded in South America.

I had looked into some other companies last year precisely because of this, but never figured out if there would be a better choice. We don't need travel insurance for the *very* occasional local medical outing during the past 1.5 years :annoyed

Later, MJA included Covid evacuations for a limited area, initially 48 contiguous states and Caribbean *IF* I remember correctly. I'm not sure if they've enlarged their coverage area for that yet.

But we never had used MJA Horizon... yet... the times they are a-changin'...

RM
We didn't get caught away from home, but that's because we canceled our trip due to the uncertainty. In hindsight, Italy in April 2020 would have been an awful decision, but we couldn't know that at the time. The fact that Medjet wouldn't stand behind their customers was in poor taste. One might argue that a situation like this (getting a severe infectious disease in another country) is why services like Medjet exist in the first place, but apparently Medjet would argue otherwise.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by ResearchMed »

MedSaver wrote: Fri May 28, 2021 2:39 pm
ResearchMed wrote: Fri May 28, 2021 8:47 am Did you get "caught" on a trip when MJA wouldn't cover Covid?

We've had MJA for several years (let it lapse if the end of an annual plan is when we aren't traveling for a while, and then re-start before next trip, etc.) and remember their announcement, along with the semi-chaos that erupted on CruiseCritic back then.

I thought that they had denied coverage for trips that started *after* the pandemic began, not for people who had started their travels before then. (Although I also remember some confusion in general about travel insurance back then in terms of what different travel insurers were considering the 'start date'.). That shouldn't have unexpectedly "stranded" anyone, but it may have caused some decision difficulties for those about to start a trip.

Impressive about Global Guardian allowing others on board at their own expense, because i also remember some folks who had a LOT of trouble getting back. I think that included at least one BH member who was stranded in South America.

I had looked into some other companies last year precisely because of this, but never figured out if there would be a better choice. We don't need travel insurance for the *very* occasional local medical outing during the past 1.5 years :annoyed

Later, MJA included Covid evacuations for a limited area, initially 48 contiguous states and Caribbean *IF* I remember correctly. I'm not sure if they've enlarged their coverage area for that yet.

But we never had used MJA Horizon... yet... the times they are a-changin'...

RM
We didn't get caught away from home, but that's because we canceled our trip due to the uncertainty. In hindsight, Italy in April 2020 would have been an awful decision, but we couldn't know that at the time. The fact that Medjet wouldn't stand behind their customers was in poor taste. One might argue that a situation like this (getting a severe infectious disease in another country) is why services like Medjet exist in the first place, but apparently Medjet would argue otherwise.
What I'm still not clear about is whether anyone actually did get stranded being sick from Covid and MJA wouldn't help UNLESS they departed *after* the date that MJA notified everyone that Covid medevacs would not be allowed anymore, etc.
IF someone decided to start a trip after that announcement, that's a different situation, in my opinion.

I agree that it was NOT good at all for MJA to make that decision. You are correct... that is precisely the type of event for which one purchases MJA in the first place!
(They should be prepared for infectious diseases; they occured long before Covid was a 'thing'.)

What I strongly object to, regardless of context, is changing the rules after the game has started, etc. :annoyed
I haven't actually re-read all of the MJA contract about when they can get out of providing the service. Their regular service is quite different than other more general travel insurance policies. And I haven't explored MJA's Horizon coverage that carefully (yet...).
I also don't know what happened for those regular policies if someone needed care elsewhere, such as when they would in the past have medevac'd someone to Florida for more intensive care if warranted. Would they not have taken them with Covid when they would have with a heart attack, etc.?

RM
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engel001
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by engel001 »

Visiting this thread for information regarding travel insurance and evacuation and thank you to all who have posted above.
Important Update:
Medjet Assist is now covering transportation due to Covid-19
https://medjetassist.com/medjet-blog/bl ... oronavirus
MedSaver
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by MedSaver »

Medjet will cover COVID patients if hospitalized. Covac Global will repatriate travelers who test positive and have 1 symptom attributable to Covid infection, but do not require hospitalization. It all depends on if you are willing to get stuck in a foreign country if you test positive even if you aren't hospitalized. For us, it is worth the extra cost for Covac Global knowing we won't be forced into quarantine abroad. Also, while not guaranteed, Covac Global does their best to repatriate other covered companion travelers at the same time, even if they do not have symptoms or test positive.
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ResearchMed
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by ResearchMed »

MedSaver wrote: Thu Jan 13, 2022 8:40 pm Medjet will cover COVID patients if hospitalized. Covac Global will repatriate travelers who test positive and have 1 symptom attributable to Covid infection, but do not require hospitalization. It all depends on if you are willing to get stuck in a foreign country if you test positive even if you aren't hospitalized. For us, it is worth the extra cost for Covac Global knowing we won't be forced into quarantine abroad. Also, while not guaranteed, Covac Global does their best to repatriate other covered companion travelers at the same time, even if they do not have symptoms or test positive.
In these crazy times, we might consider duplicate coverages (after reading more carefully; we had only heard about Covac Global some time ago, and haven't studied their coverage - maybe not necessary?).

However, about "if testing positive", might one be forbidden by local authorities from leaving a local quarantine facility for some period of time?

We haven't yet started traveling again "since Covid", alas, but depending upon the situation when we do, we might be a bit more restrictive about where we go for a while. For example, is it a place where we figure we could "do okay" if quarantined there by authorities. And it's probably impossible to know just what arrangements might be imposed, etc.

If, for example, we didn't require actual medevac, then IF necessary, even the expensive, "last minute" premium air tickets are something we could cover (although we'd rather not need to do so).

We'd need to think through all of this in ways we hadn't, pre-Covid.

Also, MJA started covering "Covid" quite some time ago.
But they are still subject to local regulations, which could be a problem regardless of MJA's (or any vendor's) own policies.

RM
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MedSaver
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by MedSaver »

Obviously, these charters are subject to the local laws (they aren’t going to do anything illegal to repatriate clients). However, my understanding is that CG works with local authorities to provide door-to-door transport in respiratory isolation so if you need to be at home and cannot quarantine in a foreign country they seem to be the best option. I would imagine that most countries would happily sign off on repatriation as it means fewer sick foreigners to deal with (and the outside chance that they require in-country hospitalization).

CG also provides “regular” medical repatriation similar to MJA for an additional fee. I would see no need to purchase policies from both companies.

I don’t know what you mean by “ If, for example, we didn't require actual medevac, then IF necessary, even the expensive, "last minute" premium air tickets are something we could cover (although we'd rather not need to do so”. You mean chartering a flight if you get Covid? That would be very expensive indeed depending on the country of origin. I don’t think they will let you fly regular passenger jets if you’re Covid positive even if you shell out for business/first.
FinanceGeek
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by FinanceGeek »

This insurance makes no sense for COVID, the US won't let you back in unless you test negative.
NYCaviator
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Re: Annual travel insurance

Post by NYCaviator »

Will do good wrote: Mon Jan 06, 2020 4:39 pm Does anyone have experience or advice with annual travel insurance?

We travel (US & overseas) about 2 to 4 months every year and rather than buy coverage for each trip thinking about getting an annual travel policy instead.
What kind of insurance? Medical, baggage, trip cancellation?

I operate under the assumption that every insurance company is going to do everything in their power to deny claims for their own financial benefit (just look at what happened with everyone who thought their travel insurance covered them when things shut down at the beginning of COVID).

I see very little benefit to baggage and trip-cancellation coverage. I never check bags, and I prefer to self-insure the cost of most trips. Especially in the COVID era, more companies have very lenient cancellation policies and will give you a refund or future travel credit (which consumers clearly like, so I think that may be here to stay). That's good enough for me.

Medical is a different story. Most US based plans will only cover you overseas in "emergencies," and I don't trust an insurance company to decide what is or is not an emergency. Definitely get a medical plan, but price shop to see if its cheaper to do yearly or per-trip. The best coverage and price we've found is from Geo Blue, which is a Blue Cross company. They are about $40 per trip and the policies have pretty lenient language.

The only time we'd buy more complete coverage is for expensive trips to exotic places with substandard medical care (most of Africa and remote places in S. America and Asia). For that, I like World Nomads.

For any medical policy you buy, make sure you read what it does or does not cover. Some policies exclude what they call "high risk" activities like diving, and you don't want to find out the hard way that there is some exclusion like that.

I would caution people from relying solely on travel credit card insurance. You have to deal with a third party insurance administrator for claims, and there are enough stories of people getting burned by the fine print on these policies, that I wouldn't bother using it as a primary benefit. Nice if you need it, but don't expect it to pay out.
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