Monday, May 20, 2019

Do You Really Need Travel Insurance?

I know we are used to people upselling us on everything and travel insurance easily gets lumped in as something we'll never need.  Kind of like how they tell you never to get the insurance through the rental car company because your regular insurance covers you.  Well, that's not actually the case because it doesn't cover damage due to loss of use.  What the heck does that mean?  It means for as long as that car isn't able to be rented, you will pay the equivalent of the daily rate until they are able to rent it again.  In 2002, our car got hit in our condo parking lot, and we did not get the Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), and it was not something we could've hidden from the company.  We lost a whole day's vacation (half of one day, half of the other) dealing with calls to the insurance company where they explained what could happen and urged us to get the dent out ourselves.  We got an old school plunger in the parking lot of Star Market on Maui, and the Mr was plunging that thing for all it was worth, and it only got it half out.  We had to drive to the other side of the island to Walmart in Kahului and got something else to help with it, and we finally were able to pop it out.  You've never seen three people hold their breath like we did during a rental car drop off and high five on the shuttle to the airport when we got the sign-off.  Never again.  We've always gotten the LDW when we rent, and we got hit again a few years later and called the company, and they were like "eh, you've got the LDW, you could literally roll it ovah one cliff, and we'd give you a new cah."

I love the locals.

Car insurance may be one thing, but you might be asking yourself...

So what about it?  Well, for us it's a matter of how far are we traveling and how much are we spending or more to the point, willing to lose?  For us, $1000 is that number.  Anything over $1000 and we're insuring it, and we've had to use it a few times too.  The first time we got it was the year my FIL's health was failing, and though we tried many times to cancel it, he didn't hear of it.  (I really kind of wish we had but we didn't want him to think we thought he was going to die which is how he read it every time we said we could cancel.)  When it was clear he wasn't going to make it when we were halfway through we called the insurance company.  Because it was due to death, they did everything to reroute us the fastest possible way home and said that by the time we came back from traveling for the funeral, we would have a check for the unused portion of the trip that is covered under "trip interruption."  This didn't include what the travel company refunded us for the accommodations we didn't use on Kauai.

We also had to file a claim a few years ago when our flight got canceled very last minute leaving Kauai.  We were put into a crappy hotel with no way to leave the property but rent a car that they had on site.  We had to stay two extra days which sounds fun, but it was not given the Mr had to be on the phone for almost 7 hours total trying to line up all of our flights back.  Just when we thought they were settled, they weren't, or something was wrong, and we ended up even going to the airport the next night to speak to an actual human because no one else gave a crap.  It took forever to get reimbursed from the airlines for the difference we paid for first class that we didn't get on the way back.  But our travel insurance gave us $1750 which covered the leg of the flight we didn't get what we paid for as well as trip interruption insurance as well as a missed flight fee because that airline is stupid and didn't have their crap together when booking us.   Thank God we got it because I spent that exact amount to fix the compartment syndrome I got for almost a full year afterward with physical therapy, dry needling, and chiropractic care.

We insured our vacation this year, and it basically ends up being the cost of an extra night at a hotel to make sure that you are covered for all kinds of occurrences.  Here's an example of what is covered under our current policy.  (Please note this is an example and may not be the coverage you get should you purchase it.)

Insurance Coverages Provided

Trip Cancellation  $4,000.00
($2,000.00 per person (pp) )

Trip Interruption  $7,000.00
$3500 per person (pp) )

Travel Delay ($300 per person daily limit applies)
$1,000.00 pp

Missed Connection $1,000.00 pp

Baggage Coverage $2,000.00 pp

Baggage Delay $500.00 pp

Sporting Equipment Coverage $2,000.00 pp

Sporting Equipment Delay Coverage $500.00 pp

Medical and Dental Coverage $250,000.00 pp

Emergency Assistance and Transportation ($10,000 limit applies for Companion Hospitality Expenses) $1,000,000.00 pp

Accidental Death and Dismemberment - Travel Accident $50,000.00 pp

Accidental Death and Dismemberment - Air Flight Accident $100,000.00 pp

Obviously, some of those things don't apply since we drove, but it has saved us enough times that it gives us tremendous peace of mind.  The first thing I do after purchasing it is put the claims number in our phone, so we have it if God forbid we need it.  I also print a copy to keep in the carry on so we can reference what is covered and what isn't and what claims we may qualify for in case we are in a power outage situation or our phone is occupied making calls to people.  This kind of insurance is especially needed if you are traveling while someone is ill and you may need to cut your trip short. 

For us, anything over $1000 is worth protecting especially for things that your credit card company and/or airlines do not cover.  It's never been an ongoing feud to get what we were insured for and for that, we're eternally grateful.  Anyone knows if you're in a situation to file a claim, it's already stressful enough.

Do you buy travel insurance?  Have you ever had to file a claim?

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  1. I have not purchased it but it sounds like it would be helpful in certain situations. Thanks for the info!

  2. You really don't think you need it until you either do need it, or until you have been through a situation, like us, where you got it and it saved your butt. So if anything good can come from it then maybe others can use our cautionary tales in their own decision making. I agree with the rule that if you are going to put over $1000 into a trip, you should insure it.

  3. I did buy it for a cruise I went on years ago, and although I can't recall the specifics, I'm sure I did when I went to Europe, considering I was by myself and had no clue about the foreign countries.


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