Author Topic: Do I need travel insurance?  (Read 2371 times)

La Bibliotecaria Feroz

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Do I need travel insurance?
« on: July 09, 2018, 03:26:33 PM »
I'm traveling to Europe in 2 weeks. I am not concerned about the value of my trip--the amount of money I am on the hook for is not that much--and my Kaiser insurance will cover emergency treatment in Paris. But what I do not have coverage for is medical evacuation. Is that something I should be concerned about/buy a policy for?

If so, any carriers people have researched/used?

teltic

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #1 on: July 09, 2018, 05:43:51 PM »
Commenting mostly to follow.

I plan to go to SE Asia for 3 months, and people always talk about getting travel insurance... Isn't insurance basically a huge scam?   Can't we "self insure" ourselves?

Linea_Norway

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #2 on: July 10, 2018, 02:39:44 AM »
You probably have some kind of travel insurance if you pay most of your trip (plane, rental car and overnight stay) with a credit card that has a built in travel insurance. Check out the different credit cards in what they offer.

Some countries charge a lot for rescue operations in the mountains. This is not always covered by credit card insurance. Same is for when you get injured and need to be transported home in a special way or on another date than planned. This is covered by a normal travel insurance.

Some insurances don't cover health care in the USA. In that case we non-Americans need a special insurance for that if we would travel there.

Here in Norway an all-year travel insurance will also cover your commute to work and small weekend trips. I have never needed my insurance for that.

Moonwaves

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #3 on: July 10, 2018, 03:09:35 AM »
My current annual travel insurance policy* is with ERV and it looks like they have a version of single trip insurance for visitors to Germany and other host countries (which in basically most of Europe). Might be worth taking a look.  https://www.reiseversicherung.de/en/travel-insurance/medical/incoming.html, it does seem to include medical, too.

Do check your credit cards, too, that seems to be something a lot of people rely on. Have you checked with Kaiser to see if they also offer some kind of medevac add-on for travel?




* This covers travel within Europe and costs me around 85 per year.

former player

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2018, 04:40:54 AM »
I'm traveling to Europe in 2 weeks. I am not concerned about the value of my trip--the amount of money I am on the hook for is not that much--and my Kaiser insurance will cover emergency treatment in Paris. But what I do not have coverage for is medical evacuation. Is that something I should be concerned about/buy a policy for?

If so, any carriers people have researched/used?


What would happen if you needed medical expenses not covered by your insurance?  And can you live with those consequences? There's your answer.


Also, what if you couldn't take your scheduled flight back for some reason?  Are you able to pay full price for an alternative flight to enable you to get home and back to work/family?


You have two young children to consider and a career which depends on you turning up at work on time, which I think puts you in a different position from say a single young person on a gap year or a FIREd person with no obligations and plenty of cash reserves.

Should you decide you want insurance, if your current insurance allows you to pay for a top-up that could be the way to go.

deborah

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #5 on: July 10, 2018, 04:47:54 AM »
There is another dimension to this. If you are doing any group travel tours, they often require you to have travel insurance to do the tour.

jlcnuke

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #6 on: July 10, 2018, 04:52:23 AM »
Commenting mostly to follow.

I plan to go to SE Asia for 3 months, and people always talk about getting travel insurance... Isn't insurance basically a huge scam?   Can't we "self insure" ourselves?

Sure you can self-insure. As long as you're comfortable with the risks. I have annual travel insurance as well as a specific dive insurance policy. A medevac and treatment for decompression sickness can run hundreds of thousands of dollars. It's unlikely, but a couple hundred dollars per year to not have those bills if something goes wrong is well worth it for the peace of mind to me as the alternative (needing it but not having it) could be catastrophic financially.

If you got hurt in SE Asia, what's the worst case scenario and it's impact on your finances? Injury plus rescue operation plus medevac plus treatment = $$$$ as a general rule....

WootWoot

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2018, 09:54:29 AM »
I always get it. Never did when I was in my 20s, but who's ever going to get sick/die then? ;)

I go to InsureMyTrip.com and go through the menu of options. I've paid less than $200 per policy for my last three trips. Well worth the peace of mind.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #8 on: July 10, 2018, 10:04:05 AM »
If you require a medical evacuation with a nurse/doctor. That will cost ten of thousands of dollars from Europe to Canada/USA.

Even within Canada people get stuck since your BC health insurance will cover treatment in say ON, but not an evac flight home. So you either have to stay in ON until you can fly commercial or you pay for a medical evac flight yourself.

I currently have medical coverage through my GF's work, but back when I didn't and travelled in the US/Mexico I would buy medical insurance, which included evacuation coverage.

It's one of those things you will probably never use, but might be happy to have.

therethere

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #9 on: July 10, 2018, 10:17:19 AM »
I'm curious what the primary activities on vacation are for those who are buying travel insurance. $200 for a 2-week trip seems pretty steep yes, I know that evacuation can be $$,$$$. Still I've never even thought about purchasing it before. Are you doing more adventurous activities (hiking, diving, driving motorcycles)? Are you visiting Europe or more remote places?


Retire-Canada

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2018, 10:18:58 AM »
I'm curious what the primary activities on vacation are for those who are buying travel insurance. $200 for a 2-week trip seems pretty steep yes, I know that evacuation can be $$,$$$. Still I've never even thought about purchasing it before. Are you doing more adventurous activities (hiking, diving, driving motorcycles)? Are you visiting Europe or more remote places?

Medical travel insurance covers a set of typical activities. They don't charge extra for sky diving or base jumping...they'll just exclude those activities in the policy.

Jouer

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2018, 10:25:09 AM »
I never get it when I travel but I have pretty comprehensive coverage though my credit card and even better through my work plan (Canada). And I've never been asked to prove insurance for daytrip tours.

therethere

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #12 on: July 10, 2018, 10:53:57 AM »
I'm curious what the primary activities on vacation are for those who are buying travel insurance. $200 for a 2-week trip seems pretty steep yes, I know that evacuation can be $$,$$$. Still I've never even thought about purchasing it before. Are you doing more adventurous activities (hiking, diving, driving motorcycles)? Are you visiting Europe or more remote places?

Medical travel insurance covers a set of typical activities. They don't charge extra for sky diving or base jumping...they'll just exclude those activities in the policy.

Yes, I understand that. But a 1 week trip to London doing tourist activities has a very different risk profile than a 4 week backpacking trip with side excursions in SE Asia. A 2 week trip to a fairly standard place like Paris, unless I had pre-existing medical conditions, I would not bother to buy it. But I might consider if I was visiting Peru and multi-day trekking Machu Picchu or something similar.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #13 on: July 10, 2018, 11:09:43 AM »
Yes, I understand that. But a 1 week trip to London doing tourist activities has a very different risk profile than a 4 week backpacking trip with side excursions in SE Asia. A 2 week trip to a fairly standard place like Paris, unless I had pre-existing medical conditions, I would not bother to buy it. But I might consider if I was visiting Peru and multi-day trekking Machu Picchu or something similar.

If you had pre-existing medical conditions they probably wouldn't cover you anyways. I do lots of adventure sports and I think a week in LA is just as dangerous as a week mountain biking in Moab. Driving in a vehicle is the most likely cause for a serious injury that would require medical evacuation in my mind. Next up would be slips and falls in the bathroom/kitchen. We ignore these risks since they are everyday activities, but if you go to a hospital ICU that's why most of those folks are there.

MNBen

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #14 on: July 10, 2018, 11:19:35 AM »
Rather than tell you if you should or not, here is a website I've frequently seen on this site and others:

https://www.worldnomads.com/

You can get a free price quote (without getting on a mailing list) and then you can decide if that cost is worth it or not.

Note:  I am not affiliated or know much about them.  I have, however, purchased through this site once for a trip.


merula

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #15 on: July 10, 2018, 11:55:09 AM »
I spent 5 years writing insurance coverage for US companies whose employees travel overseas.

There's almost no reason that you would need a med-evac out of Paris. They only do med-evac when the care you need is available in your home country but not the country you're currently in. Frankly, the quality of care you're likely to get in Paris probably exceeds that at home.

Worst-case scenario is that you are severely injured in Paris. You would be treated in local hospitals (European ones don't typically require up-front payment the way some developing countries do, but if somehow they did, they'd take credit cards), and then your health insurance will reimburse you (usually out-of-network). You'd miss your original flight home and need to rebook something else. If your injuries were such that you couldn't fit into a regular seat but could fit into a coach bulkhead seat (like if you broke your leg), you'd be able to get that bulkhead seat for free. If your injuries were such that you required a lay-flat first class seat, you may have to pay for that seat, or you may be able to talk the airline into giving it to you as a medical accomodation.

I've never bought travel insurance for any travel I've ever taken, and my husband has a lot of health issues. My analysis of the risk is, there's a less than 1% chance of an issue costing me $10,000, so I shouldn't pay more than $100 for coverage. Since I've never found anything even close to that, I've opted to self-insure.

Retire-Canada

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #16 on: July 10, 2018, 12:04:05 PM »
There's almost no reason that you would need a med-evac out of Paris. They only do med-evac when the care you need is available in your home country but not the country you're currently in. Frankly, the quality of care you're likely to get in Paris probably exceeds that at home.

My GF works in health care and often the issue is that the patient is alone in say Paris and can't take a regular commercial flight for months due to their condition. Their family/friends can't support them in Paris and they can't get home. That puts a lot of stress on both sides of the equation.

If you are willing to self-insure then none of this ^^ matters, but the problem with health care issues is the risk is low, but the potential cost is life altering. I wouldn't travel without extended health insurance and I am [in general] not a risk adverse person and I don't insure my home/car to the max.

SimpleCycle

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #17 on: July 10, 2018, 12:09:00 PM »
Our health insurance covers emergency medical care abroad, and we never purchase emergency evacuation insurance because as merula stated, in almost all scenarios you'd be treated in-country and fly home commercial.  And we have substantial assets and actually can self-insure for something catastrophic, because the catastrophe we're talking about would be very unlikely and big enough that I wouldn't be worrying about my FIRE goal at that point.  Medical evacuations are in the $25k to $200k range, so we're not talking about an unlimited amount of financial liability like you are with health insurance or disability insurance.

deborah

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2018, 12:11:21 PM »
Last year I met someone who, while visiting the US had a heart attack (he was a marathon runner and 43, so no one expected it) while being a tourist in New York. The $120,000 costs were all reimbursed by his travel insurance.

merula

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2018, 12:18:08 PM »
My GF works in health care and often the issue is that the patient is alone in say Paris and can't take a regular commercial flight for months due to their condition. Their family/friends can't support them in Paris and they can't get home. That puts a lot of stress on both sides of the equation.

This is true, but there are very few instances where a previously healthy person suddenly couldn't fly commercial, particularly with lay-flat seats that are now available on most transatlantic flights. In the 5 years I was in that job, I handled policies covering literally millions of overseas trips and saw exactly one med-evac. ($20k from Cabo San Lucas to San Diego due to a broken leg at a conference.) Frankly, I saw more overseas deaths, and the cost of repatriating human remains is about on par with that.

I did know someone who broke a hip while on a business trip within the US (Midwest to Northeast), and had to stay for months. She actually would have been able to fly back in a lay-flat seat, but those don't fly 2.5 hour flights.

madgeylou

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #20 on: July 10, 2018, 12:24:39 PM »
Sometimes a credit card will include some travel insurance. For instance my Chase Sapphire Reserve reimburses for trip interruption due to sickness, and emergency medical expenses up to $2500. Might be worth checking the benefits of the cards you have used to book the trip.

jlcnuke

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #21 on: July 10, 2018, 12:36:11 PM »
I'm curious what the primary activities on vacation are for those who are buying travel insurance. $200 for a 2-week trip seems pretty steep yes, I know that evacuation can be $$,$$$. Still I've never even thought about purchasing it before. Are you doing more adventurous activities (hiking, diving, driving motorcycles)? Are you visiting Europe or more remote places?

My travel insurance was more than $200 (~$300) but it covers every trip made throughout the year (over 100 miles from home), not just a single trip.  Since most of my trips are to non-1st world countries and generally involve diving, sometimes with high-risk of trip cancellation (like my diving trip to the Bahamas in September... during hurricane season), I find the cost vs risk of needing insurance to be well worth it even if I hope to never use it.

Hirondelle

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Re: Do I need travel insurance?
« Reply #22 on: July 10, 2018, 01:10:56 PM »
I always carry travel insurance and it's usually quite a low cost as I travel a lot and I'm in a family package with my parents that also includes all their other insurances and therefore has some huge discount.

However, I see most here only talk about medical emergencies but my insurance covers a lot more that I consider more useful:
- Theft or loss of posessions. Great to be reimbursed when the airline loses your luggage or when you get robbed.
- If your airline is delayed, you'll get back the money of "vacation time" and activities you missed out on. So even though the airline has to pay you for costs made when you were stuck (like hotel and food) the travel insurance will refund you for the hotel night and the booked tours you missed on your destination. <-- this has been the best part for me personally!
- They cover your flight home if  you have to fly back for a family emergency. So even though you might be safe during your 2 week Europe trip, someone important to you might suddenly get sick or pass away. Small chance, but I've met several people who've been through this and had to go home unexpectedly. The first next flight from a non-convenient city isn't that cheap usually...