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FauxNom

Can we talk insurance: trip cancellation, emergency evacuation, etc.?

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We have booked the Explorer for March 2020, Ushuaia to Valparaiso, and now I have to think about travel insurance--something we almost never purchase. Standard travel insurance quotes are not much lower than the Silversea policy because we have to opt for the waiver of a preexisting condition for my husband; that condition is the thing most likely to cause us to cancel. If we don't care about trip cancellation, the only big concern is emergency evacuation (from, literally, the end of the continent!). I'm interested to hear from you all about your approach to insurance. Do you buy the Silversea policy, traditional travel insurance, emergency evacuation coverage, or go commando?

 

If you do medical evacuation only, do you buy an annual membership or the single-trip deal?

 

Relatedly, if we have to cancel due to illness, does Silversea really stick to the percentages stated in the booking documents? Or is there anecdotal evidence that it will hold the amount and apply it toward a later cruise?

 

Thanks for your insights!

Kathy

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2 hours ago, FauxNom said:

We have booked the Explorer for March 2020, Ushuaia to Valparaiso, and now I have to think about travel insurance--something we almost never purchase. Standard travel insurance quotes are not much lower than the Silversea policy because we have to opt for the waiver of a preexisting condition for my husband; that condition is the thing most likely to cause us to cancel. If we don't care about trip cancellation, the only big concern is emergency evacuation (from, literally, the end of the continent!). I'm interested to hear from you all about your approach to insurance. Do you buy the Silversea policy, traditional travel insurance, emergency evacuation coverage, or go commando?

 

If you do medical evacuation only, do you buy an annual membership or the single-trip deal?

 

Relatedly, if we have to cancel due to illness, does Silversea really stick to the percentages stated in the booking documents? Or is there anecdotal evidence that it will hold the amount and apply it toward a later cruise?

 

Thanks for your insights!

Kathy

OK been there and done that...

Down in Ushuaia there is a public hospital and a private hospital. If something happens and you go to the public hospital you will get treated but it may take a few days or longer. If you have evacuation insurance, it does not kick in till you are admitted, seen by a doctor. Then it has to be determined that you would be better off at some other hospital before you get help from your evacuation company. Only exception I saw was when a dislocated elbow was admitted to the only hospital on the Falkland Island, she was flown to Buenos Aires the same day.

 

Two ladies were in the private hospital when I was visiting there from Silversea Cloud and and from the NATGEO ship. Both got excellent care but were required to pay in cash or credit card before they were released. Even to be released to your evacuation company, you need to pay first. One of the bills was over 80k and she did not have that much in any bank and needed to have some family members transfer funds to her bank account. So best thing I can recommenced is have access to a credit card or bank account that has at least 100k. Things will then go smooth and you can request a reimbursement from your insurance company when you get home.  

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26 minutes ago, carefreecruise said:

Two ladies were in the private hospital when I was visiting there from Silversea Cloud and and from the NATGEO ship. Both got excellent care but were required to pay in cash or credit card before they were released. Even to be released to your evacuation company, you need to pay first. One of the bills was over 80k and she did not have that much in any bank and needed to have some family members transfer funds to her bank account. So best thing I can recommenced is have access to a credit card or bank account that has at least 100k. Things will then go smooth and you can request a reimbursement from your insurance company when you get home.  

Wow! Now that's a scary tale. Some evacuation policies would cover the medical costs also, but I haven't priced those yet. Did seeing this situation change the way you approach travel insurance?

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39 minutes ago, FauxNom said:

Wow! Now that's a scary tale. Some evacuation policies would cover the medical costs also, but I haven't priced those yet. Did seeing this situation change the way you approach travel insurance?

The answer is YES.

I do not know of any insurance company that will pay to get you released from the private hospital. They will reimburse you later after you jump through all their requirements. 

Getting insurance to cancel a trip is just a memory and to some it's important and to others they move on to booking a new memory.

 

To us now it's very important to have money available to get you seen by the best specialist in a private hospital and deal with getting reimbursed later. 

Edited by carefreecruise

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My parents were scheduled to go to Antarctica on Silverseas about 2 years ago. They purchased the travel insurance through Silverseas. My dad was unexpectedly hospitalized 2 -3 weeks before their trip and was able to cancel and get fully reimbursed for the entire cost of the trip, including air. The Silverseas agent said it was probably good they had cancelled the trip since he said it would have been very difficult to get medical treatment and the expense to airlift would have been costly  if he had another reoccurrence while on the trip. 

 

He maybe waited a month to get the full reimbursement, maybe more, there is of course paperwork to complete by the doctors, but in the end it was well worth it. 

 

I was impressed with Silverseas travel insurance services after that experience. 

 

Good luck

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If you only care about medical related insurance (and I would recommend being concerned about not only medical but evacuation given where you are sailing) you can look at policies related to this.  

 

Kathy I am assuming you are from the USA based on your CC description.

 

In our case we get evacuation specific insurance.  We get MedJet should evacuation be needed.  We have never used it but we get it.

 

This is one of the few (maybe only) benefits we get from AARP.  With AARP you get a savings off the policy which is far greater than the cost of the AARP members.  MedJet is at:

 

https://medjetassist.com

 

We go to the AARP website and from there to MedJet to get the discount.

 

OK that is evacuation.

 

I am not sure what your own insurance covers but we get medical insurance.  What I have learned is policies offered change and over the years we have used different vendors because either their offerings change or our requirements change.

 

One that would be focused on medical insurance only and not travel related cancellation is GeoBlue.  They are for places outside the USA.

 

https://www.geobluetravelinsurance.com/index.cfm?link_id=92606&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIucHe67DS5AIVjLbICh3jWAA-EAAYAiAAEgIoT_D_BwE

 

I have also used other companies including Travelex Insurance.  If you want Medical only and not trip cancellation you can just insure say $100.00 of your trip and still be able to get something that covers the same medical as if you had insured a far greater amount.  Again this would be focused on medical.  If you wanted to also insure the trip you would insure it for the costs of the trip.  They are at:

 

https://www.travelexinsurance.com

 

There are also many sites that provide an easy we to search various companies by putting in some information.

 

One example is:

 

https://www.travelexinsurance.com

 

Things happen so always wise to be insured for medical.  

 

I've known people who have been hit by a vehicle in port or took a terrible fall. 

 

And there are many other things that can happen no mater what your current health or age.

 

Keith

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19 hours ago, bsrkent said:

The specific coverages and limits we have bought have been based on the recommendations of a real travel insurance Guru

Thanks so much for that advice. It makes sense.

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15 hours ago, bobolz said:

I was impressed with Silverseas travel insurance services after that experience. 

 

That's good to hear! I'm sure they were very pleased they had sprung for the insurance.

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8 hours ago, Keith1010 said:

And there are many other things that can happen no mater what your current health or age.

Keith, so true. Thanks for all the links and info. I'd looked at Medjet, based on an article in Forbes, but didn't know about the AARP discount.  Your post is a good reminder to check our medical coverage to make sure it's adequate.

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The MedJet decision should best be based on the average number of travel days per year, to determine the break even point vs per event coverage. The Guru can help with that analysis as well.

Just for context, we generally pay less than $250 per trip for $1 million foreign medical and evacuation (to hospital of our choice, IE US) coverage.

We self insure all the trip cancellation (fare forfeiture) risks prior to departure... but that is only about a 120 day exposure period, if you think about it.

Safe travels... consult an expert, then do what makes you feel best on this topic, Kathy.

Edited by bsrkent
clarification

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1 hour ago, bsrkent said:

The MedJet decision should best be based on the average number of travel days per year, to determine the break even point vs per event coverage. The Guru can help with that analysis as well.

Just for context, we generally pay less than $250 per trip for $1 million foreign medical and evacuation (to hospital of our choice, IE US) coverage.

We self insure all the trip cancellation (fare forfeiture) risks prior to departure... but that is only about a 120 day exposure period, if you think about it.

Safe travels... consult an expert, then do what makes you feel best on this topic, Kathy.

It really is easy to figure out the breakeven.  If I can do it, anyone can.  :classic_laugh:  In all seriousness, it's very easy to do.

 

Keith

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1 hour ago, FauxNom said:

Keith, so true. Thanks for all the links and info. I'd looked at Medjet, based on an article in Forbes, but didn't know about the AARP discount.  Your post is a good reminder to check our medical coverage to make sure it's adequate.

You are very welcome.

 

Good luck with all of this.

 

Keith

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1 hour ago, bsrkent said:

The MedJet decision should best be based on the average number of travel days per year, to determine the break even point vs per event coverage. 

We are members and have used them. Also been with another person on a trip when they used them. When something happens on a trip and you want to be evacuated, it only going to happen when the MedJet doctor allows it. In two cases after waiting in the hospital for days while they argue. Daily cost in hotels and hospital are running up big bills before Medjet covers one or two Business Class one-way tickets. They could have easily asked the doctor to stabilize the patient and purchased their own one-way tickets home just with the savings in extra hospital costs. Of course if it is real serous Medjet will bring one of their specialized outfitted jets too you.  Down side about rushing home on your own would be you do not get reimbursed for your airline tickets.

 

It's just FYI: when you out of the country and something happens, your not thinking correctly and panic sets in. You catch yourself asking advice from total strangers on what to do... Don't wish it on anyone but its great your thinking about it. It is the hardest thing to leave fellow travelers all alone in a strange country when they get hurt . Ships and or travel groups must continue on with their itinerary...  

Edited by carefreecruise

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1 hour ago, Keith1010 said:

It really is easy to figure out the breakeven.  If I can do it, anyone can.  :classic_laugh:  In all seriousness, it's very easy to do.

 

Keith

Keith,

I may not have expressed my point very well... the analysis is also a comparison of the per event coverage/terms to the MedJet plan(s), that I understand may be different / more strict. Are you familiar with the differences? I am not.

Also having that Guru/advisor back home for claims assistance may be very helpful in time of need.

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9 minutes ago, bsrkent said:

Keith,

I may not have expressed my point very well... the analysis is also a comparison of the per event coverage/terms to the MedJet plan(s), that I understand may be different / more strict. Are you familiar with the differences? I am not.

Also having that Guru/advisor back home for claims assistance may be very helpful in time of need.

The plans from Medjet are very east to understand. Website very easy to use. I’ve been using it for years and the first time was as easy as my most recent time. 

 

Keith

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Yes, I thought Medjet was pretty clear about the differences between membership and per trip coverage. I didn't delve to far in the variations on the extent of coverage. I do understand the difference between evacuation and repatriation, and that could make a large difference in premiums for some insurers.

 

Carefreecruiser, our saving grace is that our super-competent son would gladly help us navigate things so we don't lose our minds if something happens!  We know from experience that having someone sitting at home with good internet access is essential if you need to change plans on the fly.

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The AARP discount for MJA is available if you purchase it through a travel insurance broker such as

www.TripInsuranceStore.com - who are terrific in terms of answering questions about all sorts of insurance issues.

 

We get MJA annual policy, because it covers any trip (for USA based travelers) more than 150 miles from home.  So in addition to any "vacations", we have coverage for business trips and for trips to visit family/friends, or just a weekend of theatre, etc.

 

We get our regular policies through TIS from Travel Insured.

We've just had another reimbursement for a 14 day Med cruise (MIL landed in the ER with heart trouble days before we were supposed to leave, unfortunately).

 

We get coverage within a few days of making the FIRST deposit, although we only need to insure that small amount until we make other non-refundable payments.  That way, we have coverage for any pre-existing conditions. That also speeds up the claims process in some cases, because the insurer doesn't need to check through any old medical records, etc.

 

Third party insurance often provides better coverage than cruise line insurance, and it pays cash back, not any "credit" that might have deadlines to be used.

Some insurers will try to work with the provider to guarantee payment.

 

However, our MAIN concern in any medical emergency would be to get FAST care, and not wait for insurers or such to coordinate.  So high limits on charge cards would be good for starters, but one should have time at that point, once immediate care is started, to contact the insurer.  In a true medical emergency, we'd just want to hand over a good credit card, and say "Charge it please!!"

 

GC

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39 minutes ago, GeezerCouple said:

The AARP discount for MJA is available if you purchase it through a travel insurance broker such as

www.TripInsuranceStore.com - who are terrific in terms of answering questions about all sorts of insurance issues.

 

We get MJA annual policy, because it covers any trip (for USA based travelers) more than 150 miles from home.  So in addition to any "vacations", we have coverage for business trips and for trips to visit family/friends, or just a weekend of theatre, etc.

 

We get our regular policies through TIS from Travel Insured.

We've just had another reimbursement for a 14 day Med cruise (MIL landed in the ER with heart trouble days before we were supposed to leave, unfortunately).

 

We get coverage within a few days of making the FIRST deposit, although we only need to insure that small amount until we make other non-refundable payments.  That way, we have coverage for any pre-existing conditions. That also speeds up the claims process in some cases, because the insurer doesn't need to check through any old medical records, etc.

 

Third party insurance often provides better coverage than cruise line insurance, and it pays cash back, not any "credit" that might have deadlines to be used.

Some insurers will try to work with the provider to guarantee payment.

 

However, our MAIN concern in any medical emergency would be to get FAST care, and not wait for insurers or such to coordinate.  So high limits on charge cards would be good for starters, but one should have time at that point, once immediate care is started, to contact the insurer.  In a true medical emergency, we'd just want to hand over a good credit card, and say "Charge it please!!"

 

GC

Geezer,

Just a point to clarify... www.TripInsuranceStore.com or 'TIS' is Steve Dasseos... the owner. A valuable resource.

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12 minutes ago, bsrkent said:

Geezer,

Just a point to clarify... www.TripInsuranceStore.com or 'TIS' is Steve Dasseos... the owner. A valuable resource.

 

Yes, we know Steve.

 

But he also has several associates who are also extremely helpful, offering the same policies,of course.

As I wrote above:  ""... who are terrific in terms of answering questions about all sorts of insurance issues..."

 

GC

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12 hours ago, GeezerCouple said:

The AARP discount for MJA is available if you purchase it through a travel insurance broker

 

The AARP discount is also available simply by enrolling directly with Medjet.  It is not a requirement to purchase it through a broker.  There is a spot to add your AARP number on the enrollment screen, and the discount is automatically applied.

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11 minutes ago, LoriPhil said:

bsrkent - who do you typically use to provide your coverage?

 

Usually Travel Guard or TripAssure based on my deposit timing and Dasseos' updated advise. All policy terms are not the same and they also continue to add and delete coverage(s)

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Ah - thank you.  I’ll pay more attention to the timing the next time we book overseas!

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On 9/14/2019 at 3:56 PM, carefreecruise said:

OK been there and done that...

Down in Ushuaia there is a public hospital and a private hospital. If something happens and you go to the public hospital you will get treated but it may take a few days or longer. If you have evacuation insurance, it does not kick in till you are admitted, seen by a doctor. Then it has to be determined that you would be better off at some other hospital before you get help from your evacuation company. Only exception I saw was when a dislocated elbow was admitted to the only hospital on the Falkland Island, she was flown to Buenos Aires the same day.

 

 

Your "story"   is inaccurate-   there are NO flights  to Argentina from the Falklands.  ONLY to Chile.     With this,  you have to be careful with any evacuation coverage.   It isn't just about evacuation-  if you have to be evacuated,   then I'd only suggest having a generous medical policy as well,   WITH repatriation.   This isn't just about finding something cheap.  There are no guarantees and no one anticipates having to use this.   

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