Hi, I was wondering if anybody else out there has bought travelers' insurance. I'm planning a trip with my daughter (just over $6,000) (2 weeks sampler) and the insurance Untours has recommended seems very high ($554). Thanks much,
Hi Chris: I personally never take the travel insurance; I guess I have just been very lucky so far. I am going to the Netherlands in June and a friend that is traveling with me has opted to take the insurance. I kind of look at it like insurance that you buy on appliances...that they are not worth warranting the insurance. It is a very personal decision. Kathy
Thank you, Kathy - that's the direction I'm leaning in -- esp. since it is so expensive! Gads. It's hard enough to save up the money for the trip. Speaking of which, we're going to the Netherlands as well! A week in Leiden and a week on the Rhine. We're really looking forward to it.
I would buy Medical insurance at least. If you get seriously sick and have to get home via medical evacuation, it could cost you a bundle. That almost happened to us. Below is a segment of a blog I posted on Untours Cafe which deals with this problem. Shortly after that we found Untours, and have purchased trip cancellation/medical insurance ever since. For our 2010 Paris Untour we made sure to get travel insurance. We learned our lesson from our close call back in 2001.
Episode (5) It must be a brain tumor
The month of October was spent making final preparations for our trip to Switzerland. Since the delirium of winning the Grand Prize, our enthusiasm had dampened. We weren't looking forward to a grueling tour bus marathon of 12 cities in 7 days. The only thing that appealed to us about the trip was flying business first class. So as our departure date of November 12th approached, our mood was more a sense of dread than anticipation. Our flight was scheduled to depart Newark International Airport at 5:15pm. We had made arrangements for a limo to pick us up at 1:00pm. Our bags were all packed and ready.
Monday, November 12, 2001
During the night, I made a trip to the bathroom. I felt dizzy, and had to hold onto things to make it back to bed. When I took my shower at 7:00am, the dizziness returned, accompanied by a feeling of nausea and the beginnings of sweats. I crawled back into bed, and told Eleanor I wasn't feeling well. Our doctor told Eleanor to bring me into the office to be examined. In the meantime, reports of an airplane crash in Queens, New York came in over the news. Terrorism was a possibility. Newark Airport was closed as a precaution. Not long after that the limo service called and cancelled our ride to the airport.
To get to the doctor's office, Eleanor had to get me dressed and out to the car. I had to move in very slow motion to prevent a wave of dizziness from overwhelming me. Once in the car, I had to recline the seat and put my baseball cap over my face. It didn't take long for the doctor to announce that I had "labyrinthitis", a viral infection of the inner ear. She gave me a prescription for Dimenhydrinate (also known as Dramamine) and sent me home. She said that labyrinthitis usually runs its course over a few weeks. In the meantime, I was to keep still and rest. Furthermore I was to avoid sudden position changes as well as bright lights. She also advised me not to do any reading. Those instructions were easy to follow. The only time I felt halfway better was when I stayed in bed in a certain position.
Eleanor called the travel agent and told her what happened. She was informed that this was a special arranged trip. If the airports reopenned for business, and the trip has not been rescheduled, that's it. We lost the trip! For the next 4 days, I remained in bed with no improvement. The anti-dizziness medication had absolutely no effect at all. I became convinced that the doctor made the wrong diagnosis. I thought to myself, "It must be a brain tumor. I'm going to die!"
Episode (6) Life is good!
Well it turns out that the doctor's diagnosis was the correct one. I didn't have a brain tumor. On the fifth day of my forced bed rest, I found out something about recovering from Labyrinthitis. It is not a gradual recovery, but a step-by-step improvement interrupted by several days of no change. One day I was depressed with no recovery in sight. The next day I suddenly felt better. From then on I would suddenly get a little better after a few days of no change. I was first able to move from the bed to the recliner, but had to remain in a reclined position in order to watch any television. It took five weeks before I was able to drive again.
Every Sunday the first section I read in the papers is the Travel Section. I believe it was there that I first saw the word "Untours", probably in an Arthur Frommer article. I looked up the website and registered. I also signed up for notification of any "specials". In mid-December I received an email from Untours about a winter special. For $999 per person we could spend two weeks at a chalet in Switzerland at a place called Sachseln. It even included air fare and a rail pass. This special was good for as late as March 31, 2002. But we had to make our reservation by December 31st. I told Eleanor that we lost Switzerland, and now it was being given back to us. I made the call, and requested a two week period for as late in March as possible. The person at the other end of the line had a pretty name, "Francy". She became our 'lucky lady" that day in December. She told us about an interesting restaurant called "Blindekuh". She made reservations for March 12-26, 2002. When we stepped off the train at Sachseln March 13th, we had on our winter coats. But the temperature that day was 70 degrees Fahrenheit. How lucky could we get! Our luck just got better and better. The two people waiting for us at the train station were Berit and Albert Greutert.
I believe in fate. Because the Grand Prize trip to Switzerland was free, we had not purchased Trip Cancellation/Medical insurance. I can't imagine what would have happened if I had come down with Labyrinthitis while we were in Switzerland. We later found out that in addition to the marathon bus tour and seven different hotels we were scheduled to endure, the month that the trip was scheduled for, November, is the worst month to visit Switzerland. So getting sick and losing the Grand Prize trip to Switzerland was the luckiest thing that ever happened to us.
Thank you, Bill. Thank goodness everything worked out for you!! I have good medical insurance, but I'm still thinking about the trip cancellation business. Did you purchase the insurance through the agency untours recommends? Or go through another agency?
The site list 17 companies offering various degrees of coverage. You are able to compare coverages and price. We purchased a package policy called "Worldwide Trip Protector" through Travel Insured International.
Once you find the coverage you want, you can then generate a quoted price.
We have purchased insurance for all of our trips and collected twice. Once for a stolen camera and once for damage to a rental car. Also, at our ages, we're always concerned about health issues cropping up at the last minute. Three years ago we had a Greek Untours planned for the spring. In December my husband had a cardiac arrest. He was lucky to be one of the 5% who survive this; neverthless, he couldn't drive for 6 months. Untours agreed that we could change the time of the trip and we went to Greece in Sept. Even though we didn't have to use the trip insurance in this instance it certainly brought home the idea of possible health issues coming out of nowhere. Like Kathy we never buy new appliance coverage, but somehow the trip insurance seems different.
You will never regret not buying travel insurance UNTIL you need it!!! You never know when that will be. This past spring we had planned a trip to Amsterdam for about 10 days (not through Untours -all their spots were booked for the tulip season- we just booked a nice B and B, and our own air). I developed a nasty upper respiratory infection days before we were to leave- visits to the Dr. and no rx helped--the cough was constant. I felt miserable and would have been furious if someone in my condition had sat next to me on a plane!!! We had insurance through Travel Guard, and tearfully cancelled the night before our scheduled departure. After filing a claim (most of which was done on line), we were issued a full refund and had a check within 30 days. I don't feel that the 10% fee (of the total cost of the trip) excessive. Be aware that it also covers immediate family members and traveling companions whose covered medical conditions could prevent you from traveling. Though you and your daughter are hopefully very healthy, what if Grandma has a stroke and dies the day before your planned departure?. If purchased within 14 days of your initial deposit, it also covers pre-existing conditions on most plans
Though this is the first time we have used it, we figured it paid for itself based on previous trips for which we had purchased it and thankfully never had to use it.
We prefer the plans that allow one to select the type of coverage you want-as in not paying for coverage for a car rental if you know you will not be renting a car-and offering a choice of medical coverage limits, etc.
Only you can make the decision of what is best for your needs, but given the cost of travel these days, we figure it into the cost of our trip, and would never travel without it.
Hi Chris: You will appreciate having it if you need it! We bought insurance for two trips last year and had to invike them when Betty fell and broke some ribs. Unpredictable, but possible. It/ was certainly nice to get the money refunded!!
As your previous responder commented and like all insurance, it is great to have it if needed and provides important medical coverage. We had to cancel our 2007 trip within three days of leaving. They were easy to deal with. We did learn something though. At least that year with United Air Lines we were told that the airline is required to refund the flight costs on international flights. One customer rep in India said definitely not and sent us an email to use in claiming the refund from Travelers. Travelers sent the full refund. I still sent the claim to United who did in fact refund our money (which of course I sent to Travelers instead of collecting twice). Don't know if this airline refund is always true, but something to check out. Bill Hill