CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums

CruiseMates Cruise Community and Forums (
-   All Things Cruising (
-   -   Not having travel insurance (

Trip August 2nd, 2013 05:44 PM

Not having travel insurance
then needing it, could drain your pocketbook...:(

We at Cruisemates always advise everybody to take out travel insurance,and I know firsthand, how it helped us, when we were disembarked in St Thomas, and, my husband had to spend 4 days in hospital, have to cancel and reschedule flights, and more..

I was wondering if anyone has any first hand information, they are willing to share, about not having insurance, having an issue,and how it was handled, and the outcome.. August 2nd, 2013 06:29 PM

I am one who always suggests travel insurance! It's important for all trips, but it's especially important if you're traveling during Winter (snow storms), hurricane season, tornado season, traveling with small children, traveling with seniors, or traveling overseas.

Remember when purchasing travel insurance, check everything carefully. Often, the best rate is not the best deal, so NEVER just buy a policy based on price - it may cost you alot of money in the end. All policies are different, they cover different items, and have different limits. Definitely look at those limits, because there can be a huge difference between policies. And always remember that big name does not mean best policy.

Almost always, independent policies are much better than those offered by the cruise line. And do not buy the policy offered for your airfare by itself. The limits are much lower and some do not include coverage for independent airfare. Make sure to get your policy to include all of your non-refundable travel costs.

And warning; make sure you're purchasing travel insurance and not travel protection! There's a huge difference and it can cost you big time!!

Talk with your travel agent - they can be an invaluable resource on this issue. We use to sell policies from 5 different companies, but fired 3 of them because of their lousy customer service and two of these were the biggest names in the industry!

Now, as for firsthand experience; we always purchase travel insurance whenever we travel, but luckily we've never needed it. As I tell all my clients, you hope that buying it is a waste of your money because if you need it, it's usually not for a good reason. But it's like the saying goes, you'd rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it!

We were scheduled to leave for 2 weeks to Europe, which included a one week trip to see some of the Christmas markets in Amsterdam, Belgium, and Lichtenstein, followed by a week-long river cruise stopping at various cities on the Rhine to see more Christmas markets.

I had just stepped off the ice after refereeing an adult hockey game. We were in the locker room enjoying our usual after-game libation at about 1:00am when my phone rang. It was my wife telling me our son, who was 28 at the time and living with us, was having chest pains. The rink is only a mile away, so I rushed home, got him, and took him to the hospital. They ran all sorts of tests and finally, after 4 hours, figured out it was his gallbladder! They scheduled him for surgery, so needless to say, we had to cancel our trip. After all was said and one, we got 100% of our $4000 vacation refunded.

I could tell you alot of stories from my clients who have needed their insurance, like the one who flew from Dulles to New Orleans to go on a cruise. They flew in the morning the ship was scheduled to depart. On the way from the airport to the pier, she developed a bad pain in her side. The taxi driver diverted to the hospital where she had to undergo immediate surgery for a burst appendix!

But the worst case scenario happened to a couple who were clients of a friend of mine. Long story short, while on a Panama Canal cruise, the husband had a heart attack. They flew him off the ship to a hospital in one of the foreign countries down there (can't remember which one), where he went into a coma. Four days later, he died. The insurance company was wonderful and helped the wife with all the arrangements, hotels, transportation, bringing the body back home, etc. Total cost; over $100,000!! Total cost to the wife; zero!

Now, before purchasing travel insurance, take a look at your health insurance plan. You may or may not need to have this as a part of your travel insurance. Some health insurance companies handle international claims better than others. Some don't cover anything.

Some credit card companies may include travel insurance or travel protection if you charge your travel. Again, make sure you know exactly what you're getting and what it covers.

While some policies can be purchased up till a couple of days prior to your departure, most companies require you to either purchase the coverage at the time you bought the trip or before the final payment due date in order to be covered for some items, such as pre-existing conditions, financial solvency, or acts of terrorism, among others.

With that in mind, don't purchase the insurance too early. If you're taking a cruise, as an example, and you cancel before final payment due date, you're going to get 100% of your money returned, so there's no reason to get the insurance before then. However, if you're getting a non-refundable airfare, cruise, or vacation, then you'll want to get the insurance sooner.

And lastly, make sure to ask alot of questions; it's very important that you get the right coverage based on your specific situation. Everybody is different and what is good for one may not be good for another.

Obviously, there are alot of questions and misconceptions about travel insurance, so it's extremely imperative you talk to your agent and let them help you to make sure you get what's best for you.

But my best advice is to always get the travel insurance because you'll never know when you'll need it. Hopefully, you never will.


Donna August 2nd, 2013 06:35 PM

Every time I have booked a cruise, I have always received written info on travel insurance along with the travel agent mentioning purchasing it.

I think there is a false sense of security, when passengers think their regular health insurance will cover things, but while it may cover the actual medical part, it does NOT, however cover the cost of having to be taken off a ship in the middle of the ocean to seek medical attention. That is super expensive and worth the dollars to have that covered.

Mike M August 2nd, 2013 06:52 PM

Always purchase travel insurance. It is not the cost of the trip that will be the financial hardship. The worst part of that is that you can't go on your cruise and won't be able to enjoy what you have already paid for. That leaves a bad feeling but it won't destroy the family fortune.

What will destroy the family fortune is a severe illness or accident outside of the country. A heart attack, stroke, severe accident, etc. can set you back six figures in hospital, doctors, emergency evacuation and repatriation (getting your butt back home). These bills often exceed $100,000. This will change your retirement or the kids college funds.

When buying travel insurance You REALLY NEED TO READ THE TERMS AND CONDITIONS Make sure you are covered for pre-exisiting conditions, the policy limits, where you are covered and where you are not covered. Also make sure you know how to file a claim and the hot line number to call if trouble occurs. Many foreign hospitals require an immediate deposit of cash before you will be treated. Remember, you aren't in America anymore and our rules don't apply.

Also, pay attention to what your existing insurance covers. Most private medical insurance does not cover you overseas. Medicare definitely does not but your medicare supplement, Cost plan or Advantage plan might.

Also read the fine print of credit card insurance. Even American Express Platinum travel insurance is not that great. You are not covered for ANY pre-existing condition. Also their car rental insurance only covers the costs to the rental vehicle. It does not cover liability. A friend found this out the hard way while traveling in Germany. He had to fork over $8,000 for repairs to the vehicle that hit him.

My recommendation is: Figure out what travel insurance you have and if it covers you overseas. If not get a good travel insurance policy and make sure it covers pre-existing conditions (usually do if purchased within 7 - 14 days of initial travel purchase) at least $100,000 medical and, at least, $100,000 emergency evacuation/repatriation.

Take care and buy the insurance.

Dave Beers August 2nd, 2013 07:53 PM

Mike, you said exactly what I think when I book a trip and buy travel insurance. It isn't losing the comparatively small cost of the cruise, it is the other stuff such as an air ambulance from Costa Rica to Huntsville, Alabama. Paying a hospital bill in Oslo where they say 'we don't take Blue Cross.'

I always get the insurance and make sure I get a policy that includes a lot of medical coverage and emergency evacuation.

Lakers Fan August 2nd, 2013 09:07 PM

Travel Insurance
Even though my secondary insurance carrier covers me anywhere on the planet I always buy travel insurance and urge everyone else to do so.

Manuel August 2nd, 2013 09:36 PM

Travel Insurance

Don't leave home without it.


Trip August 2nd, 2013 10:16 PM

So most of us have had no insurance stories...good thing ! Donna didn't you have a scooter accident, and used your insurance, or is my memory off? Was it easy, or a pia?

Donna August 3rd, 2013 06:45 AM

Yes, we had a scooter accident and glad to have the insurance. While it did take some time, eventually everything was covered. Another time, we had a death in the family and had to leave a cruise early, that too was covered.

Lakers Fan August 3rd, 2013 10:29 AM

I had an emergency hospitalization followed by surgery a month before a planned 3 week land cruise .Thankfully I had travel insurance .
I realize it can be costly but its a must.

seadog2 August 3rd, 2013 01:18 PM

We always buy travel Insurance fortunately we have never had to use it. Better to have it and not need it than it is to not have it and need it.

iuki August 6th, 2013 11:00 AM

Considering how much time it takes to research various travel insurance policies, it appears that the research should be done BEFORE you book a cruise? :confused:

Is it okay to ask posters which travel insurance companies they use and why? Or is that a no-no?

I thought of purchasing Good Sam's coverage which covers medical emergencies out of the country and then a travel protection with the cruise line. Any advice with this?

Thanks in advance.

Trip August 6th, 2013 12:40 PM

No problem askingf that,go to and plug in your pertinent data,and you can get a side by side particular attention to the medical/medivac's, is very important to be well protected.

Also, speak with your travel agency and see what they suggest, then you can see on this site, how they line up with other options.. travelex is one big company..

Mike M August 6th, 2013 01:20 PM


Originally Posted by iuki (Post 1481468)
Considering how much time it takes to research various travel insurance policies, it appears that the research should be done BEFORE you book a cruise? :confused:

Is it okay to ask posters which travel insurance companies they use and why? Or is that a no-no?

I thought of purchasing Good Sam's coverage which covers medical emergencies out of the country and then a travel protection with the cruise line. Any advice with this?

Thanks in advance.

I have used Allianz Global Assistance Classic. It has a the coverage I need and they will waive the pre-existing conditions clause if you purchase the travel insurance within 14 days of initial deposit or payment of you trip. So once you make your deposit on your cruise, buy your airline and hotel and then get the insurance but do it within 14 days. The pre-existing condition waiver is VERY important for someone like me who has chronic health issues.

For a younger person with no pre-existing conditions it may not be so important.

The good, but also bad, part is that I have never had to use travel insurance. Hopefully I will never need to but I will always have it when I travel.

Trip gave you good advice in regard to insuremytrip. Make sure you look at the rating of the insurance company and it is also a good idea to purchase travel insurance where the travel insurance is the PRIMARY coverage. It saves time and hassle when filing a claim.

Take care,
Mike August 6th, 2013 01:34 PM

As Trip has mentioned, alot of people use as a site to show travel insurance.

However, I warn you, be VERY careful when looking at the companies. Yes, you definitely want to compare coverages, but as I mentioned earlier; best price is not always the best deal. And biggest name is not always the best company.

For example, our company, Cruise Planners (which has over 900 agents nationwide), had 5 insurance companies we did business with years ago. It did not take long before we fired 3 of them because their customer service was lousy. (I won't mention specifics, but these were some of the biggest names in the industry.) Just because they have a big name and sell a good product is one thing, but it's the service they provide if you need to file a claim that is the biggest measure of how good a company is.

So my best advice, after selling travel insurance for over 11 years, is to work with your agent. They usually have companies they use, know, and respect. Their knowledge and experience can be invaluable when it comes to travel insurance. Plus, it gives you someone to personal deal with should you have any questions or problems. As we all know, dealing with large corporations, such as insurance companies, is not one of our greatest pleasures in life!

And I know I've said this before, but because of its importance, it requires repeating; make absolutely sure you are getting travel insurance and not travel protection. There is a huge difference between the two, the main one being that travel protection is not regulated by your State's Insurance Commission.


Trip August 6th, 2013 02:15 PM

I agree, and, often the more well known carrier does not give you what you need. Also consider On Call International....In the scheme of things the cost is minimal..and the peace of mind is priceless. August 6th, 2013 08:49 PM

Funny we should be talking about this. I just an email from a travel agent friend of mine about his client.


Here's one for the memory books!

My clients are on Sapphire Princess in Alaska this week. 2nd day out the husband collapses. Major conduction defect, no ventricular activity. The Princess medical staff does external pacing for 7 hours while ship hauls tail to land. A big zodiac boat with flight medics and a doctor take him off the ship to a waiting medical Lear jet. They flew back to Anchorage and took him to the hospital. They installed an internal pacemaker/defibrillator in his heart via the femoral artery. He was then released from the hospital with a clean bill of health. Princess set them up with a flight from Anchorage to Juneau and they are re-boarding the ship in the morning. The guy almost dies and he is back in the game two days later. Amazing! When that doctor on the ship sees him coming back aboard he will probably run for his life. This guy was in such bad shape they closed the clinic because the whole staff was working on him. Go figure!!! They had nothing but praise for Princess and Allianz insurance because everything taken care of.

Moiraine August 6th, 2013 09:00 PM

On my first cruise I met a young man in the elevator the first evening. He was very upset. He explained to me that his wife had just come from sick bay and they had $900.00 worth of medical bills and they had not bought insurance. Her problem:they thought she had eaten something that had given her a rash. Instead of going and buying some benedryl, they'd gone to have it seen about. We were close enough to Miami that the doc had "consulted" with a doc in Miami and had come to the conclusion that it was an allergic reaction and gave her an antihistamine. :rolleyes: If you ask me they were foolish twice. August 7th, 2013 01:34 AM

I once had a severe ear ache while on a Disney cruise and I went to the medical facility onboard. The doctor diagnosed it as an ear infection and prescribed erythromycin. Total cost for the doctor's visit was $90 and for the prescription was $110. Total amount my onboard account was charged was $200.

I submitted the paid receipts to my health insurance company and they reimbursed me for my expenses.

But $900 for some antihistamine sounds a little extreme.

Then again, if the ship's doctor had to 'consult' with another doctor, what does that tell you about his credentials???


iuki August 7th, 2013 09:45 AM

Thanks for the OP that started this thread. Didn't mean to hi-jack it, :oops: but I do feel so much more enlightened by all those posts regarding how to choose travel insurance. I have cut and pasted your responses for my travel folder for future info. THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! :D

Trip August 7th, 2013 02:57 PM

Iuki....we are so glad to help, and glad we gave you some information, that will help you down the road....

Manuel August 7th, 2013 06:00 PM

I have been using the Travel Ins. that my TA recommends.

We have used it twice and it came true for us both times.


Haute Momma September 4th, 2013 08:46 PM

Hi I wanted to weigh in about my experience with Allianz Travel Insurance. We booked two trips through Hotwire in June. Hotwire is notorious for great prices but they do not give refunds so I was surely going to insure our stays. The trip was for myself, husband and two kids.

About a month before the trip, my father had had open heart surgery (he was not going on the trip) A few days before we were to leave, he had a complication. My mom was going to meet us on the trip and a neighbor and a friend were planning on checking in on dad. Because of his complication, we decided that we would stay with dad and just let mom go. When I called Hotwire, they were gracious enough to tell me that they DO refund due to medical conditions and are very specific about family members being ill. But, since I purchased insurance thru Allianz, that I was to call them directly for my refund.

After a month of preparing paperwork, bothering my father's cardiologist and staff for paperwork and letters on their letterhead etc. I got a ruling that, since my father had a "preexisting condition" I was not able to collect on the two policies. I explained that my father was never traveling in the first place and that his complication not a direct result of the surgery itself (which is neither here nor there since he wasnt traveling anyway_ and the woman just kept reading her script over and over. She was kind enough to hand me over to a manager who told me that if you know of anyone, you, or anyone else, with any kind of preexisting condition, the policy is null and void. I think everyone on this earth knows of someone who has something. This was the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of. Next, I asked if I could get a refund on the policies themselves ($18) and they told me that, since it had been over 10 days that I purchased them (it takes at least 10 days to get any response whatsoever) that I could not get a refund.

There are several other options out there for travel insurance and I would say that Allianz is the absolute worst there is. Hotwire ended up refunding my money since it was due to a medical emergency - but I am still out $18 from Allianz~ September 4th, 2013 11:29 PM

Had you booked your vacation with an agent and not with Hotwire, they would have told you about the pre-existing conditions. We have over 800 agents around the country and have been using Allianz for years. They are very good and we have had very few problems while selling tens of thousands of policies.

Based on your comments, it is clear to me that Hotwire definitely did not give you all the information in the first place and did not explain how travel insurance works. This exact same outcome would have happened with just about any of the travel insurance companies, not just one.

Pre-exisiting conditions of you or anyone in your immediate family, whether they are traveling with you or not, is covered provided you purchase the insurance at certain times in the process. This I know for a fact after selling it for more than 11 years.

However, with all that said, some of the bigger players in the game have negotiated special policies for their clients and obviously some policies are better than others. It's quiet possible that the policy purchased through Hotwire is a special policy that is cheaper because it does not offer specific coverages better policies will cover. That is not the insurance company, but Hotwire. Again, it is Hotwire that should have explained all the nuances of the policy so you can make an informed decision as to whether it would cover you in your specific situation or not. If the policy does not cover what you wanted it to cover, that is the fault of the seller for not explaining that to you, not the fault of the insurance company.

For example; some cruise lines sell a travel insurance policy that provides credit towards another cruise should you have to cancel instead of providing a refund. If you want a refund if you have to cancel, then you don't buy the insurance offered by the cruise line - you purchase independent travel insurance. But if you purchase the insurance offered by the cruise line and have to cancel, you can't complain about the insurance company for not giving you a refund. It's the fault of the cruise line for not explaining it to you and it's your fault for not understanding the policy. This is why it's so important to work with an agent who has your best interest in mind.

We've dealt with alot of travel insurance companies and Allianz is definitely one of the better ones to work with. You just have to know the policy you're buying as they offer several different kinds of policies.


Mike M September 5th, 2013 01:45 AM

The policy clearly states that if you or anyone in your immediate family has a pre-existing condition.

This is from my current Allianz travel insurance policy:

"You aren’t covered for any loss that results directly or indirectly from any of the following general
exclusions, unless they’re included in Section 2,

What this policy includes.
The following things if they affect you, a traveling companion or a family member, whether the family member is traveling with you or not:Unless you have an existing medical condition (unless you have existing medical condition coverage)

An immediate family member who's illness causes you to miss the trip would fall under the "pre-existing" conditions clause, if you knew about this condition at the time of booking or they had been treated for that conditions within the previous six months.

If you or immediate family (mother, father, brother, sister, child or sibling) have a medical issue that may impact your trip it is ALWAYS wise to purchase the pre-existing condition waiver. You usually have to purchase the insurance within 7 to 14 days of initial deposit or initial payment of your trip.

Sorry this happened but that's the policy and it really isn't in "fine print".

I hope things go well with your father.

Take care,

felix_the_cat September 5th, 2013 05:24 PM

Never leave home without it - Four years ago we were suppose to cruise to Alaska. Three weeks prior, DH had a massive heart attack. Insurance refunded everything.

Last year broke my wrist on the Radiance. I don't know what it cost cause RCL ate it as they really were at fault.

January 2012 we took a group of 10. One member did not want to buy insurance. Because of his age, the policy was a bit pricey. At least by Canadian standards. After husband and wife arguing for a couple of weeks, wife called me and said buy it. Being very much on her side I bought it for them. Onboard the Reflection he had heart issues. He was airlifted to San Juan where he spent 2 days in a U.S. hospital then flown home regular air.

Cost onboard $3,000. Airlift n/c thanks to the U.S. Coast Guard, the balance was reimbursed by the insurance company. I did not ask that amount.

I never ever sell a vacation without trying very hard to talk everyone into buying insurance. If they don't, they must sign a waiver saying they refuse.

As far as pre-existing, RBC has a 90 day stable rule and 1 year overnight hospital rule.

OHIP will pay out of province/country the same amount they would locally however that isn't very much by U.S. standards.

I'm going to be on the hunt next year as DH had cancer surgery in April and is undergoing chemo. That means most expensive (which I don't begrudge for him) but also means unless I can find another company, we can't go anywhere before the end of next April.

Which does remind me of a question for my American friends - do your insurance policies had have regulations about hospital stays prior to buying insurance? September 5th, 2013 06:15 PM

I'm the same way, Felix. I always suggest it to my clients. As I tell them, you hope it's a waste of your money because if you need it, it's usually not for a good reason. But if you need it, you're damn glad you've got it!

We've been lucky in that in our 46 cruises we've only needed it once. The day we were leaving for a 2-week European vacation, which included a 7-night river cruise, our son, who was 28 at the time, developed chest pains and we had to rush him to the hospital. Turned out to be his gall bladder and it had to be removed. Needless to say, we cancelled our trip and got 100% of our $4000 back from the insurance company (Allianz). We were really glad we had the travel insurance on that one!

But over the many years we've been doing this, we've had some strange things happen with our clients. Had a group of 20 family members who flew into New Orleans and on the way to the pier, one of the young ladies started having bad side pain. They diverted to the hospital where they had to perform an emergency appendectomy. All 20 cancelled, all 20 had insurance, and all 20 got a full refund.

The biggest one a friend of mine had; her clients,both seniors, were doing a Panama Canal cruise and the husband had a massive heart attack. They had to fly him off the ship to a hospital where he went into a coma for a week before passing away. The insurance company (Allianz) was helping her every step of the way including helping her to find a hotel, then working with local authorities to get the body flown back home. Total cost was around $100,000! The insurance company covered 100%!!

I firmly believe in that tag line; don't leave home without it!

And the other one; I'd rather have it and not need it, than need it and not have it!


Haute Momma September 6th, 2013 02:22 PM

Pete-Hotiwire refunded my money and, told me that Allianz does this ALL THE TIME September 6th, 2013 03:04 PM

Glad you got a refund from Hotwire, but they're wrong about Allianz. What they tell you and what the truth is are often very different.

Larger agencies, like ours, often have a negotiated policy that's different from every other policy the same company sells. And those policies are not available to anyone except those who book through that particular agency. So it's quite possible Hotwire has their own policy with Allianz and that policy would be different than other policies.


Haute Momma September 6th, 2013 05:31 PM

With all due respect, I believe that Allianz is nothing but a money maker for the travel industry. Id like to add that each time I called about the claim (stopped counting after 6 phone calls) I was met with a customer service person who sounded like they were just woken up from a nap, and hated me instantly without getting past hello. Their service and phone manners are horrific. Some were barely audible. It was like I was talking to a comatose accident victim.

Today I heard back from my credit card comapny and all charges from Allianz have been refunded.

All times are GMT -4. The time now is 05:48 PM.

Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.6.1