Is Travel Insurance Worth It? As Always, Buyer Beware

Thousands of people travel every year and are always asked to buy travel insurance. But, is travel insurance worth it?

According to Philly, it depends on what kind of travel insurance you buy. Take the case of Adam Creighton, a contractor from Cottage Grove, OR. Creighton traveled to Colombia to build homes for a non-profit organization. While there, a ring valued at $250 was stolen. He filed a police report and received a copy. He took the copy of the report and attached a receipt for the ring, which was in Korean, and filed a claim. The insurance company translated the receipt, calculated the value of the ring, and cut Creighton a check for that value. In this case, a comprehensive travel insurance was a good idea.

Now, take the case of Anne and Ron Krivicich. The couple booked a cruise on the Ruby Princess, leaving Fort Lauderdale, Florida, working its way to Cape Horn in South Africa, then back around to Los Angeles, in total a 49-day cruise. The Krivicichs’ never got to take the cruise, as Ron had a pre-existing back issue that required surgery. When the Krivichchs’ filed a claim to get their money back, the travel insurance they purchased, which was through the cruise company, said pre-existing conditions do not qualify for refunds, a charge Anne Krivicich denies. Krivicich claims when she bought the travel insurance, she was told differently.

WPRI 12 is reporting that another traveler, Dale Cody, incurred a mysterious infection while rock climbing in Thailand. “I was in serious trouble. I had a huge fever, chills, freezing cold, then boiling hot,” he recalled.

Cody was taken to a small private clinic. Having purchased comprehensive health insurance, the insurance assigned a health advocate to his case, which was getting worse. “Behind the scenes, the insurance company worked to arrange a stay at Bangkok Hospital, which is a world-class hospital,” Cody said. It turns out that regular health insurance, most times, doesn’t cover usage outside the United States.

As with all insurance purchases, the customer is better served shopping around, and not just for a cheap price. Comprehensive travel insurance can cover things like time lost on a tarmac, lost passports, missed connections, legal advice, and interrupting, delaying or sometimes cancelling a trip.

Credit card companies do offer travel insurance, but their coverage is oftentimes extremely limited. Travel agencies, cruise lines, and other travel services offer travel insurance, but again, that could be limited, as well.

Linda Kundell of the U.S. Travel Insurance Association said, “Travel insurance is really better for those trips that you cannot afford to lose the value of, for example – a $10,000 cruise.”

Consider Dale Cody’s case, where the insurance covered all services, including the transfer to the hospital, the stays, and all other services. Cody’s comprehensive travel insurance cost him an additional $360. Compared to what he could have paid, his travel insurance saved him in more ways than one.

[Image couirtesy of Travelanthropist]