Travel Insurance

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I'm planning to sign up soon for a trip with Overseas Adventure Travel. I have traveled with them many times and have always bought their Trip Protection Plan. The one time I had to file a claim, all went smoothly. Lately I've been reading bad things about OAT's travel insurance and difficulty in getting reimbursed for a canceled trip, so I'm thinking to buy insurance independently. I'd love to hear other readers' recommendations on travel insurance. Thank you.

Because we travel so much, we decided to get an annual plan and have declined coverage sold by OAT and cruise lines. After reading a lot of fine print we decided on Allianz Executive Plan, covering my wife and I. We paid $1,238, for $7,500 in trip interruption insurance ($15,000 for the two of us max per year) and lots of other coverages most importantly medical transport. We might be in trouble if we have two trips or more that need cancelation, but we usually only have one fully paid for trip and others just in the deposit mode. We are also back stopped by excellent coverage under our Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card (high annual fee, but the annual rebate, lounge benefits and insurance make the fee a bargain.) Allianz recently paid a claim with no issues, when our flight was delayed by a snowstorm and we had to add an extra night in a hotel, and covered my ski lesson that was cancelled due to me being a no show. Whatever you decide, read the fine print and compare coverages. Allianz customer service answered many questions before we purchased the policy. Also, don't forget to look at the credit card you use to book the trip (or apply for a new card) you might be surprised at what coverages you already have.

Hi Ward,
We used Tavel Guard (by AIG) for several recent trips. Fortuntaely we have not had to file a claim; maybe other readers can comment if they have experience with a claim. Try this number to reach them directly 877-525-2379. They were always professional and helpful, and the rates seem competitive. We purchased the 'Deluxe' and I'm sure you can request the certificate of isurance to review before purchase. We didn't add the 'cancel for any reason' feature, which increases the cost, but might be worth considering. We qualified for the 'pre-existing condition exclusion waiver' because we purchased within 21 days of initial trip payment.
Happy and safe travels,
Ken
Santa Barbara

We have used Travel Guard and have filed 3 claims with them. One was for a total trip cancellation when my husband had an emergency medical problem 2 days before a departure; one was for a hotel room on a pre-trip where we missed the connecting flight through no fault of ours; and was for emergency medical services after my husband was injured on a trip. They paid the entire claim in each instance. Be aware that you will need complete documentation for a successful claim. (For instance, we got a letter from United Airlines that confirmed that their incoming plane was 4 hours late, causing us to miss our connection). In each case, we sent our documents to Travel Guard and were paid in less than a month.

We also successfully used Travel Guard. We had to cancel an OAT trip to Morocco a week before departure April 2018. All expenses were paid within a couple weeks after all travel documents and forms were submitted. I wrote about our experience, as well as the rationale for our decision to use Travel Guard, in Travelers' Intercom, "Travel Guard claim promptly paid," by Wanda Bahde in ITN, pages 32-33, October 2018.

I have written extensively on the OAT web site regarding OAT's travel insurance as well as basic information about travel insurance, in general. I suggest you peruse the OAT web site and review those posts, as my response here will be much abbreviated. OAT's policies( as well as policies brokered by most travel companies ) are "one size fits all," full service policies. that usually results in your being over-insured, as their policy can be sold for any price range of trip the company sells, and if you don't purchase the most expensive trip, you pay for insurance you'll never need. I totally recommend that you use a travel insurance broker. A broker who has been referenced many, many times in the print ITN magazine is The Travel Insurance Center. Dan Drennan is the lead broker, although there are three other brokers( I happen to use Alan Lightbody ). They'll sell you a policy tailored for the trip you want to take with a price to match. the website is: www.travelinsurancecenter.com . Now, many people have already mentioned they use the AIG Company Travelguard. Travelguard is a great company, and is the gold standard of the industry, but it comes with a price; they're pricey. The brokers at the Travel Insurance Center will compare your needs to the packages available and sell you a policy that will cover your needs so you won't be over-insured. That doesn't mean you shouldn't purchase a TravelGuard policy; I have in the past, when the policy with the options I needed gave me the most coverage for the best price. But each trip is different, and the indemnification needs are different. But the brokers will go over that with you. You may not wind up purchasing the cheapest policy available, but you'll purchase the cheapest policy for what you want and need. and if you're old enough( and even if you aren't ) they'll discuss the Betty James Strategy with you, which is a strategy that can minimize your costs if you don't require a pre-departure full service policy. If some of. my terms are new to you, then you certainly need to have them explained, and the Travel Insurance Center is the place to go for that. As I said, they've been quoted and referenced any number of times in the print ITN, so you can take that to the bank. also, annual policies sold by a few companies( Allianz is one of the largest ) are generally not a good deal because the indemnification limits are low and frequently will not even cover the total cost of a relatively inexpensive trip and should you need to use it, you've already recovered your limit and the policy cannot be used for future trips ). However, it may work; it's never worked for me because we take more trips at greater cost than the indemnifications of annual policies require. But again a broker can explain all this to you in detail.