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I want to tell a tale about what happened on our recent cruise. On our first day at sea my wife developed a very bad case of diahrrea. It was very bad and by the time we went to the doctor on the following morning she was dehydrated.


The medical service was very good. They gave her iv fluid to rehydrate and drew blood to make sure that it wasn't norovirus. They gave her antibiotics and anti diahrreal meds. They checked up her, and followed up the next day with a second iv. They even sent a bowl of fruit. 


However, none of this was free, well the fruit was, but the bill for this treatment was over $1600, which we had to lay out. Luckily we had travel insurance through AIG. They collected all of our paperwork, and did some background to my wife's health. They called a couple of days ago to say that they were sending us a check for $1500, covering the cost except for a deductable. 


So my point is it is important to have travel insurance, especially if you are traveling overseas. And get it from a reputable agency.

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Jon, was your AIG policy for the specific trip, or a general one? I've been looking at long-term policies for frequent travelers, and haven't found one available in the U.S...except for one company that told me it would cover us, but only if we also shifted our homeowner's insurance to them!

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

It was for this specific trip. They charge by the cost of the trip, so this one was a little pricey (about $250 each). I am not sure that I would buy insurance for a domestic trip, unless I had bought tickets that I could not change. But for foreign trips I will never travel with it again.

I'm actually looking for what they tell me is called an "annual policy." It covers the medical and evacuation and so forth kinds of contingencies, but only limited coverage for cancellation by me. I'm willing to accept that risk, but want to be covered for the kind of problem you had!

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

Really glad this topic came up! It sent me back to the long-abandoned search. First, I learned that at this point, no one is selling an annual policy in New York State...but I don't know why.

Second, an agent at AIG pointed out to me that for what I'm looking for (not to insure the cost of the trip, but rather to deal with interruption, disaster or medical emergency) it's cheaper to buy for each of my trips than to buy a year.

As it turns out, covering me (age 72) and my wife (65) for our December 16-day trip to Chile costs $86 total...well worth it. 

We weren't interested in covering the trip cost, because it's all in airline miles (which can be redeposited) and reservations (to be paid in-country). For a trip with a big upfront expense, like a cruise, I'd probably think differently. In any case, thanks, Jon!

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

I'm also glad this worked out for you.  I only buy trip cancellation/emergency coverage for expensive trips like when I'm overseas.  I take the small risk domestically and don't get it because I can afford those losses more easily than the cost of overseas airfare, etc.  Besides our own health, my wife and I both have aged parents and most policies cover emergencies relating to them.

Generally a good policy costs about 5% of the value of what you insure.  I usually buy with TravelGuard.  The one time I did make a claim (my wife injured herself and couldn't go) they promptly paid us the $5000.00  we had insured the trip for.  The check arrived within 3 weeks as I recall.

As with all insurance, never buy the cheapest policy.  Anyone will be glad to collect your premiums.  Buy your insurance with a company that has a good reputation of honoring its claims.  Not all of them do.

Twitter: @DrFumblefinger

"We do not take a trip, a trip takes us".  John Steinbeck, from Travels with Charlie

It seems TravelGuard is a good choice, since both of you have used it, and no one I know who has had it has been unhappy. It actually turns out I had a policy when I went to England 20 years ago...completely forgot!

Anyway: Seems fair to say that especially as we (much less any relatives!) get older, it's important from the medical point of view, even if there are no insurable reservations!

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

Years ago American Express had an annual policy for well under $100 for basic coverage.  I renewed it every year until it was discontinued.  Since then I've only had insurance when it was offered at modest cost when purchasing a long-haul flight, as it sometimes is, or when I've bought multi-continent tickets from the consolidator I use (Airtreks), as they include insurance at no additional cost with every purchase. 

In all the years I've traveled I've never had occasion to file a claim, although I realize that could change at any time, especially with looming decrepitude.  But it's yet another reason to spend time in the countries I love most in Asia where medical services are astonishingly cheap, such as a hospital visit I made in Bangkok and received a bill for $28 including 2 prescriptions.

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