Exploring the World of Travel Insurance

Toot Too--oops!
i don’t know why, but lately i’ve really been considering travel insurance. i guess i count myself as pretty lucky for never having had any mishaps through all these years of traveling (except for a couple of lost cell phones, blech), but i figure my luck will run out one of these days.

travel insurance

after lots of hemming and hawing i did indeed end up getting a travel insurance policy for my upcoming trip (thanks to squaremouth, which lets you compare prices and policies), eventually choosing csa, which has the following coverages. their ratings seemed decent and the price was right (~$86), so we’ll see.

well, no, i hope i won’t need to invoke anything and we’ll never see. but i kinda do want to see because i’m a cheapskate and want to get my money’s worth.

Trip Cancellation 100% of the trip cost ($2,500)
Trip Interruption 150% of the trip cost ($3,750)
Hurricane & Weather Mandatory Evacuation conditionally covered, Covered for Inclement Weather, Accommodation at destination made uninhabitable, Must be purchased before storm is named
Terrorism Covered for foreign and domestic
Financial Default No coverage
Employment Layoff Covered, If employed for 1 continuous year
Cancel For Work Reasons No coverage
Cancel For Any Reason No coverage
Emergency Medical $50,000 policy limit, Secondary coverage
Pre-Existing Condition No coverage, Pre-existing look-back period 180 days
Medical Deductible No Medical Deductible
Medical Evacuation & Repatriation $250,000 policy limit
Travel Delay $1,000 per person, $150 daily limit, Covered after 6 hour delay
Baggage Delay $200 per person, $2,000 policy limit, Covered after 24 hour delay
Baggage & Personal Items Loss $1,000 per person
Missed Connection $500 per person, $5,000 policy limit, Covered after 3 hour delay, Cruise and tour only
Life Insurance – Air Flight Accident $50,000 per person, $100,000 policy limit
Rental Car Damage No coverage
Money Back Guarantee Up to 10 days after purchase
24 Hour Assistance Service 24 hour assistance provided
Identity Theft Covered for 180 days after departure

car rental coverage and amex

the only thing missing is car rental insurance. i’ve got a car for 24 hours, and sixt‘s LDW is $31.54 for a car rental that costs $48.58. ridiculous, no? i’ve driven in europe many times (including my damn speeding ticket in spain, shhh), but now i’m spooked that i might scratch the car or something. i checked one third-party insurer, travel guard, and their policy costs $21 ($9/day + $3 service fee) since it looks like you have to buy by the day, and my rental period spans 2 days. i dunno, doesn’t sound worth it.

i’ve always known that credit cards often provide rental car coverage and in the back of my head always just relied on that but never knew what it covered. so i finally called. the american express agent was really helpful (even with my n00b questions) and they have a pretty nice description of coverages on their website. she sent me an email with a summary of coverage (quoted below) and a copy of the PDF that’s accessible via that web page.

• Use your eligible American Express Card to reserve and pay for the entire rental
• Decline the car rental company’s Collision Damage Waiver and Theft Protection
• There is no liability coverage provided with your American Express Card
• American Express provides Excess coverage to all other insurance policies
• There is no coverage provided for vehicles rented in Australia, New Zealand, Italy, Ireland, Israel and Jamaica
• Coverage is provided for vehicles rented for 30 consecutive days or less
• The Card member must be the primary renter of the vehicle
• All additional drivers must be listed on the rental agreement
• Cargo Vans, Custom Vans, Pick-up Trucks and moving vans such as U-hauls are not covered
• Compact Sport Utility vehicles are covered, however, there is no coverage provided for full size sport utility vehicles such as a Ford Expedition

sounds like it’s just what i need, and i get it for freeee, even with my low-end card! i think this may end up being my primary coverage since i also checked with geico (my regular auto insurance company) and they do not cover rentals outside the US, canada, and US possessions. hooray!

the moral of the story

i guess when it comes to travel insurance, do your research, buy what you think you will need but don’t buy what you are already paying for. i still have time to cancel my travel insurance policy (or buy a car rental policy), so if anyone has any remarks, speak now or forever hold your peace.

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