I’ve written before that I’m a great believer in travel insurance I personally have cashed in on it twice. Of course, you shouldn’t look at travel insurance as a CD or some sort of investment because most likely you won’t come out ahead if you end up insuring each and every trip. Just like in casino, the house always (well, usually) wins.
Still, I strongly recommend you consider it, especially if you are a family with limited savings. You are buying a peace of mind, and that’s worth something, right? You have probably heard that certain credit cards come with travel protection benefits. Some of them are Chase Sapphire Preferred and Citi Thank You Premier card.
In fact, I recently used the latter to pay for my taxes on award tickets to Jamaica (read yesterday’s post). So we were all set, right? This is a tricky subject because you may or may not be covered.
According to this post on View From the Wing, travel insurance will only cover you up to the amount you paid in award taxes. However, there is a special benefit you can purchase when flying on this type of ticket, and it will reimburse your return air expenses.
Update: Read comment by Holly who had a good success with Chase Ink Plus covering extra 2 days of hotel when her flight was delayed.
Let’s take a look at what the terms for Citi Thank You Premier card say:
Sounds great, right? Be aware that cruise usually doesn’t count because it doesn’t fall under “transportation” category in “trip cancellation/interruption” coverage. Notice what else is missing: Emergency evacuation and medical coverage.
Those benefits should be your primary concern, especially when going to a foreign country with poor medical facilities. If you have to be flown to a nearby country with better medical care, it can potentially cost you tens of thousands of dollars. Sure, your health insurance may cover it, but it may not.
That’s why I decided to get a quote form InsureMyTrip. Since my out-of-pocket cost was minimal (we were traveling on award tickets), I decided to opt for only medical policy. The great thing about Rapid Rewards is that you can cancel and redeposit your points with no penalty.
That’s why I didn’t feel that package insurance with broad coverage was necessary in our case, especially since we had Citi benefit to fall back on. Here is the quote for 4 people for a 3-day trip to Jamaica:
I wanted to see more details, and it included a medical coverage for up to $50,000 per person, plus evacuation benefit of $500,000. I decided to go with $0 deductible, and it increased the quote by $6.
So, basically, for only $16 we had this very important coverage for an entire family and almost ended up using it. I doubt that this amount will bankrupt anyone, but paying for emergency medical evacuation probably will.
I realize that many times I come off as too conservative and cautious. I hardly do any M/S, I try to stick to official credit card offers etc. I am the tortoise of this hobby and not the hare, and that’s OK by me.
Oh, that reminds me of a “Scrubs” episode where dr. Cox was talking to a chief of medicine. I had to look it up and here is the cleaned-up version. No hidden meaning, I promise:
“You know, Bob, I’ve been thinking about all the times that you’ve manipulated me and toyed with me, and, well, I can’t help but recall that children’s fable about the race between the tortoise and the pain-in-the-butt chief of medicine that everybody hates.
You see, Bob, the pain-in-the-butt chief of medicine that everybody hates kept running out in front of the tortoise and taunting him; but right at the end, I’m sure you remember what happened.
Bob, the tortoise bit clean-through the chief of medicine’s calf muscle, dragged him to the ground, where he and all the other turtles devoured him alive, right there on the racetrack. It’s a… disturbing children’s book, Bob, I know, but it’s one that stuck with me, nonetheless.”
It’s dark, no? Maybe a little too dark for a family blog. But then again, this is not your typical “momma” site, is it?
Readers, do you buy travel insurance?
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.
We have our first trip to Mexico witht the kids planned for January. We may have to look into this.
@Cheapblackdad I hope you do! I’m a Cheap White Momma myself, but won’t skip on travel insurance. It’s a non-recurring cost. If a family takes one or two major vacations per year, extra expense is marginal. Of course, I don’t insure local road trips or anything like that. Hopefully, you won’t have to use insurance after all, but it’s nice to have it.
I assume the insurance you’re talking about covers medical costs? That would be my main worry. Of course if you spend a lot of money in hotels and tickets I’d be bummed but paying for an emergency surgery, for example, that would be devastating.
@ Leticia Yes, this was strictly medical policy. We were traveling on points, so I didn’t feel like investing in a major coverage. Plus, we did pay with Citi Thank You Premier card, so I assume it would come through if we needed to fly home earlier.
I do recommend you invest in this type of coverage. You are right, major surgery and medical evacuation are huge potential costs. We almost ended up taking my son to the hospital in Jamaica. I was very glad I paid $15 for insurance.
In fact, you may consider getting package insurance that covers everything. Sometimes, the hotel will charge you one or two nights penalty (cash, not points) if you don’t show up. If you have package insurance, it should reimburse those costs. Overall, I do think it’s better to over-insure than under-insure.
Once I paid for my airfare taxes with a Chase Ink card (around $150) and got reimbursed for $580 for two nights at a hotel after our flights home were cancelled for two days. They never said anything about the benefit being limited to what I paid in taxes so that part isn’t true at all.
I always get travel insurance for a cruise and it comes to around $120 for our family of 5. On our recent trip to Hawaii I did not get travel insurance because air and hotels were all on points and refundable if we had to cancel before we left. Also, since Hawaii was in the U.S., we could still use our regular health insurance. It did make me a little nervous going on a trip that big without travel insurance, though!
@Shoesinks I absolutely think insurance is a must for cruises when it comes to family on a budget. Unlike with airlines, they won’t put you on the next cruise. You would be sunk, pun intended.
I can understand why would skip on package insurance for Hawaii. I still recommend you at least consider getting medical policy next time. You never know what kind of restrictions your health insurance has. It’s nice to have a buffer, and for $20-$40 or so for a family it’s not a huge thing especially when you are talking about such a major vacation. BTW, I saw your video of the trip. Loved it!!!
Holly, thanks for the data point! I’ll update the post and mention your comment. Travel insurance is a bit confusing. I think the policy varies by each credit card issuer, and a benefit you buy on your own is a separate beast altogether. I have heard about Chase cards having superior benefits, but I still wouldn’t rely on them completely. Like I said in the post, the biggest problem is lack of medical and evacuation coverage.
I’m glad it has paid off so nicely for you. Well done!
Holly, forgot to mention! Here is an excerpt from that post on VFTW: “The cost of hotel nights or incidentals on the road due to delays, or modest clothes and other expenses incurred when bags aren’t delivered, is the sort of thing that premium cards often bundle.”
I wonder how the flights would have been handled? I’m assuming you didn’t have to pay any change fees and it was the airline who caused the delay? This subject is very confusing, no doubt. I may need to do more research for our future trips.