Travel Insurance

I didn't see a current discussion of travel insurance. We usually buy Tauck's insurance. I don't usually use a travel agent, but last year I decided to give AmEx travel a go when we were arranging both a river cruise and a Windstar Alaska trip. The agent talked me into purchasing CSA insurance instead. She said it covered everything that the tour company's insurance doesn't cover. I will be reserving the K&T trip way over a year in advance. Lots could happen. How do you all feel about trip insurance? (Incidentally, I was not happy with AmEx travel. The agent I made arrangements with left and I got NO information. I spent so many hours on the phone trying to track down someone who would discuss with me. I have reverted to my "Little Red Hen" manner of booking travel.)


  • Hi CaraBethP. I purchase the insurance through Tauck. I've been told it's more expensive that similar offerings. I used Amex travel insurance once. I needed to make a claim and was suddenly informed about many restrictions. For me it was basically useless. I'll stick with Tauck. I've know of people who had to use it and had no issues whatsoever. I'm willing to pay a Premium for Peace of Mind.I've traveled with Tauck over the past 10 years.

  • I had an auto accident the day before my schedule Spain and Portugal trip last year. I called Tauck after I got out of the ER and they refunded to my credit card immediately. No claim form needed. However, the airfare was covered by some connected insurer and took the usual claim forms, time, and the anxiety of possibly having the claim denied. But, in a couple of months, it all got done.

  • We always use Tauck insurance. It was only when I took a tour with another company and realized how much more expensive the other company’s insurance was because I purchased business class air with them, they charged me extra, so it was $1200 Each. My upcoming trip with yet another company, again because we booked business air with them. (it was considerably cheaper than we could get for the seats) They charge 9% of the total cost of the tour plus air, so that was also way more expensive than Tauck charges. For other times we travel abroad and now we are over 65, we have Emergency Assist plus which will rescue us and get us back to the US for treatment, which is a bit of an overlap. But rather have too much than too little. I always read good things about Tauck insurance on the forum.

  • On our Tauck trip to Peru/Bolivia our bus had an accident. The bus was travelling too fast for the terrible road we were on, hit something on the road. It caused everyone in the bus to be thrown into the air. The people in the back row were **really ** thrown around, hitting the roof. One lady seriously injured her back. We continued to wherever we were going, which was a tiny town with nothing there that could help. The tour guide was extremely solicitous. I have stayed in contact with the person who was injured. She told me that although Tauck helped get her to the closest city, she (and her sister) were on their own. They had to make their arrangements to get out of the country and she eventually had to have big back surgery. She never received any sort of compensation from Tauck even though the accident was caused by the actions of the driver of the vehicle. Now, before anyone jumps in to say that she must not have had insurance. True, but really, really bad. I make sure we have good medical evacuation insurance anytime we are going to a place where we would need evacuation for medical care. .

  • I never buy travel insurance. In mathematical lingo, travel insurance has a negative expected value for the purchaser, as the insurer charges more than the odds of paying out, so they can make a profit. Unlike health insurance, this is not protecting against a potential catastrophic loss by spreading out the risk over a large population. Your loss is limited to your purchase price. If you can afford a Tauck trip, it's likely you can afford the loss, should something happen.

    Another way to look at it: Insurance costs about 10% of the trip price. Do you believe there's greater than a 1 in 10 chance that something will happen and you'll need to collect on the insurance? If you are in poor health, maybe so. Otherwise, doubtful.

    On one of our Tauck trips several years ago, we all had a discussion on this on a long bus ride. Two of us didn't buy the insurance - an actuary and me.

  • @BKMD I don't buy insurance on any trip that I am making for a date within the next 6 months. But, some Tauck (and Windstar) trips have been booked a year (or more) out. For example, when I book the 2021 K&T trip that will be at a cost of $24,000. And I have no idea what the flight will cost. At our age, with some medical issues, there's a real possibility something could happen.

  • edited February 19

    I am normally not a believer in extended warranties and most forms of insurance, but we take the Tauck insurance. As I said in an old thread on the same topic, we had to cancel for a covered situation less than 3 weeks prior to departure. We got every cent back, including air fare that was not purchased through Tauck. Tauck even put our premium, which is not normally refunded, into a "Dream Saver" account. We used it just a few months later. That one time saved us much more than the cost of insurance for all of the 10 trips we have taken since.

  • I don’t know if this is still the case, but some trips require ‘proof of insurance’. I think K&T was one of them. You don’t have to buy Tauck insurance, but you should check to see what the current entry requirements are relative to insurance.

  • Yes Sealord is correct, some trips do indeed need proof of insurance.
    Like Alan, although we never purchase extended warranties, but travel insurance yes. I always quote the following. My father was in a foreign land on vacation, had a heart attack and died at age 74. The insurance paid for his body to be repatriated. I’ve no idea how much that cost, it was a long time ago. My mother would never have been able to afford any cost like that and neither would we all those years ago. You can never predict anything.

  • Indeed. I would have to go back and check my docs, but I do remember a Tauck statement on one of their trips that stated that the Tauck insurance covered the requirement. I’ve told this story before, but when British Airways shut down a couple years ago, we experienced a very nice but very expensive three unexpected days in London when we were supposed to be in Stockholm to board a ship to Russia. Tauck and the insurance covered every penny of expense. Thousands of people were in the same situation, so all the ‘normal’ lodgings and transport were taken. So we had to go for five star hotels in downtown London and limos to get there. Everything was covered quite nicely.

  • As we have gotten older, mid 70s, travel insurance has really increased. We would never leave on a trip without it. Our health is very good but it is not worth the risk to us to be without insurance. We use Tauck and sometimes Allianz.

  • We’ve been traveling with Tauck for the past 12 years or so and always purchase Tauck insurance. In 2015 we had to cancel a trip to Turkey and Greece because 3 days before our departure it was determined I needed surgery. We were refunded every penny without issue. It took a few weeks to get part of the refund from the subcontracted insurer, but the Tauck-covered portion was within days. We never leave home (on a Tauck trip) without it.

  • Like BKMD, I don't usually take trip insurance. Travel insurance is a notoriously high margin commodity, meaning much of what your paying for is insurance company profit. My credit card (Chase Sapphire Reserve) includes $10,000 trip cancellation insurance per person per year and $2500 of emergency medical (granted emergency medical costs can be quite high). The added value of adding additional trip insurance is thereby lessened since I am already partly covered. The only time I took the insurance was when we went to India (based on my wife's concern about medical issues). By not taking insurance over the years, I've saved enough that I could write off the cost of an entire trip and still be ahead.

    However, I recognize that insurance may be desirable based on your health, financial situation, age, where you are travelling to, and most importantly your aversion to risk. I certainly think traveling to the third world is much riskier than traveling to Europe. So if you are more comfortable taking the insurance, that's fine. Travelers to the third world may wish to consider medical evacuation insurance instead of, or in addition to, normal trip insurance.

    I do wish to bring up one additional point. The original poster was concerned about booking a year or more in advance. They said:

    I will be reserving the K&T trip way over a year in advance. Lots could happen.

    To me booking the trip a year or more in advance should not substantially affect your decision. Until you make your final payment, all that is at risk is the deposit. The deposit is typically less than the cost of insurance, so if you cancel before the final payment is made you would be worse off taking the insurance (this ignores airfare, which - if I recall right - is only covered by the Tauck insurance if you book your air with them). So the bulk of the benefit of insurance is for the period after the final payment through the duration of the trip. If something happens prior to that, the small payoff (getting your deposit back) isn't worth that much. Therefore, it shouldn't substantially affect the decision to take insurance.

  • I've only been on 3 trips w/Tauck and have purchased their insurance every time. I used their insurance on my scheduled 4th trip this past September for the Swizterland tour. My father was in poor health and we had scheduled care givers for the time we were away, one being my aunt for the main part of each day, and less than a week before she had a health crisis of her own and could no longer care for my father. We had to cancel our trip and rec'd the land refund w/in a day or 2 and the air portion, booked on my own, took a little longer. We dealt w/AON and sent forms, then they needed additional info (my mistake, not theirs) and rec'd all of my money for the air portion. While we were waiting, and what would have been during the dates of the trip, my father ended up in the hospital so I sent the hospital paperwork, too, to show more reason that we couldn't travel. The air refund was rec'd w/in about 2 months of submitting the claim.

    (Please note this trip was booked over a year in advance when he was in better health and didn't need as much care as he did at the time of the scheduled trip.)

    Also, as AlanS stated, our price for insurance went into a Dream Saver account and will be applied to our re-booked Switzerland tour for this upcoming September.

  • We had to cancel our Tauck tour before we paid the balance. Our deposit was refunded within days and the price for the insurance went into a Dream Savers account. We have a year to apply it to another trip. Our air was booked using miles. We had to pay the fee to have them reinstated.

  • edited February 24

    We had to cancel our Tauck tour before we paid the balance. Our deposit was refunded within days and the price for the insurance went into a Dream Savers account. We have a year to apply it to another trip. Our air was booked using miles. We had to pay the fee to have them reinstated.

    If it was a recent claim and more than budget dust, you might want to call Tauck or Tauck's insurance underwriter (Aon?) directly, because there is an excellent chance the miles reinstatement fee is covered as well.

  • Evacuation is the ‘big’ deal. Particularly in a remote location like the Galapagos for example. A woman on one of our trips had to be evacuated and it was necessary to bring in a jet from Miami with crew and medical personnel. I talked with one Celebrity agent about this because I thought their evacuation coverage was woefully inadequate ... $50,000. She agreed and told me a story of a woman who had to sell her house to pay for her evacuation from a remote site. I frequently buy insurance that will cover one million or more for evacuation.

  • Ken, if one decides to buy travel insurance/protection the pre-existing conditions waiver generally applies only if you purchase the insurance within a short time after the deposit (7-10 days). This would be a reason not to wait until you make your final payment.

  • Taxare-
    You have misinterpreted my comments. I was fully aware of the requirement to purchase insurance at booking and I was not suggesting that they wait to purchase the insurance.

    The original poster's comment was that they don't usually take the Tauck insurance and they were concerned that by booking over a year in advance (as opposed to normally booking closer to the travel date) that this should push them towards buying insurance because so much could happen in a year. My point was that the amount at risk (i.e. the deposit) during the additional time was small and should not substantially affect their decision whether or not to buy the insurance.

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