Trip Cancellation Insurance – Part II Insurance products, things to look for.

“Insurance is like marriage. You pay, pay, pay, and you never get anything back.”

 ― Al Bundy, a fictional character and the essential protagonist of the U.S. television series Married…with Children

Al Bundy never rode a tandem.

Hi, it’s Caren. When I worked for a paycheck, I was an actuary. One of the maxims that I learned about insurance is that you should only buy insurance if you cannot afford to self-insure. In other words, don’t get insurance for the small stuff. Moreover, since many credit cards already provide trip protection, why might you still want to consider buying a trip insurance policy?

Trip insurance provides additional protections that could save you a lot of money and trouble. Trip insurance policies often cover medical costs when you are traveling abroad that your US health insurance may not cover – or may not initially cover. In addition, trip insurance may help pay to transport you back to the US where you can have care closer to home. We have seen policies that will cover up to $1,000,000 in medical transport. That sounds a lot like paying to airlift you home or to the right place for care. Hopefully you will never need this coverage, but it is nice to have.

In addition, some travel policies also have a concierge service to help with travel arrangements.

There are websites such as that help you pick policies. We did a simple search to insure our 2017 Loire Valley tour and found premiums ranging from $234 to $1011. The main differences are due to different coverage levels and whether you can cancel the trip for any reason.

Whether to buy a policy that covers a specific trip or one that covers all of your travel for a full year.  If you are only making one trip a year, it might make sense to buy insurance for that trip alone. However, if you are making a few trips in a given year, it may be worthwhile to buy a policy that covers you for a full year.

Mike and I just bought a policy that covers us for all of our travels that are more than 100 miles from our home for a year. The policy covers both of us with a single premium of $450. The policy covers trip cancellation insurance up to $2000, medical costs up to $50,000 and medical transport up to $500,000. There are more expensive options that have higher trip cancellation limits. We figure that since we already have trip cancellation insurance through our credit cards, we don’t need to pay for a higher limit here.

You should review the policy’s existing medical condition language. Most policies exclude existing medical conditions. The policy that we just purchased defines existing medical condition as an illness or injury that you are seeking or receiving treatment in the 120 day period prior to purchasing the policy.

Be sure to understand your policy exclusions. For example, many policies include damage to your bike when it is checked on a flight, but not if it is stolen during the trip.

If you buy a policy, carry the policy information or card with you as you travel. If you become ill or injured and will be making a claim, contact the insurance company as soon as possible. They may have negotiated service rates with the providers.

Buying insurance is one of the few areas where we are happy to spend money and never have to use the service.

We hope that you have found this useful. We promise that our next Newsletter topic will be more fun!

Back to Part I