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Travel Insurance? Don't!


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#1 The Davy Crockett

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 01:06 PM

I'm putting this in the Amtrak Rail Discussion forum because anyone who has booked Amtrak online knows about the travel insurance option, which many times looks like a stupid idea from the get go.  (Would you like to add travel insurance for something like $9.00 for that $20.00 ticket? :blink: )

 

From the LA Times:

The 114-year-old National Consumers League concluded recently that travel insurance is usually a bad deal because most policies are riddled with exceptions that allow insurance companies to reject claims for payoffs.

Most insurance companies won't disclose their track record for paying out claims, making it nearly impossible to judge whether insurance is worth the money, the league points out.

"The unfortunate reality is that these protection policies bring in big bucks for the airlines each year but offer very little real value for customers," said Sally Greenberg, executive director of the National Consumers League.

The most common exceptions used by insurance companies to reject your payout are illnesses involving a preexisting medical condition, pregnancy or childbirth, losing a job or having a business meeting canceled, according to the league. Some policies won't pay out even if your trip is canceled because of nuclear contamination or terrorist attacks.

The U.S. Travel Insurance Assn. disagreed with the consumer league's conclusion, saying policies that are rife with exceptions are usually less expensive than more comprehensive policies with fewer exceptions.

Still, association spokeswoman Linda Kundell added: "There is no insurance that covers everything under the sun."

 

At least for Amtrak, I hope that this most annoying irritant when buying a ticket online adds some real bucks to the bottom line. :P


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#2 pianocat

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 01:26 PM

For a $20 train ticket, of course it makes no sense to take out a $9 insurance policy.  All I can do is tell my personal experience with buying the insurance, and how it saved me a WHOLE lot of money on my first LD Amtrak trip.   Summer 2011 I was on a Vacations by Rail tour. CHI-SLC on the Zephyr, then motorcoach to Glacier. Then the plan was Amtrak EB back to Chicago.  I bought the insurance [which was the same policy/company that Amtrak uses] because this was NOT an inexpensive trip and I wanted some peace of mind if something 'came up', there'd be some recouping my costs.   We left Chicago in late June, 2011.  Shortly after arrival in Salt Lake City, Amtrak announced that they had to shut down all EB service east of Minot due to the flooding.  Ok, so the tour director scrambles around figuring out what to do with her 65 pax  who were expecting to return to CHI via train in July.  She got it worked out that we'd go west to Seattle on EB, and everyone would have to fly home from there.   Approximately 50% of the pax had bought the insurance, and for us,the  one-way cross country airfare, hotel in Seattle, and meals were covered  by the Allianz insurance.  The pax without the insurance were out of luck, as Amtrak was not giving refunds or vouchers, nor was Vacations by Rail any help, financially either.  Talk about some really mad people........   So, that's why I buy the insurance on the LD trains.  Short jaunts, nope.   Just my 2 cents:)



#3 Blackwolf

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 01:44 PM

I've bought travel insurance in the past, though luckily have had no reason to use it yet.  Generally, I'll look into it when the trip costs exceed $1k or there are multiple companies/hotels/travel modes involved. And international travel especially (usually, that also has the other just-mentioned elements.)  I use an independent company called Travel Safe Vacation Insurance, and though I've not read their fine print in about two years (the last time insurance was bought,) I did read it then with a satisfaction that most cases would be covered.

 

As with most other things these days, YMMV!  Just read the fine print before signing, and buyer beware!


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#4 Guest_Guest_*

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 01:48 PM

The most common exceptions used by insurance companies to reject your payout are illnesses involving a preexisting medical condition, ...


Over in a cruise related website, there is a person who's throwing a tantrum over just this.

Apparently, his wife was dying of cancer. He decided to take her on one last cruise. He booked the cruise and bought travel insurance to cover its cost. Unfortunately, she died before they could go.

The insurance company denied his claim, because of the pre-existing condition clause.

Sorry, I'm with the insurance company on this one, no matter how sad of a story this guys tells. Insurance is suppose to cover the unexpected. In this case, it wasn't all that unexpected. Well, it was unexpected to the insurance company because the guy just happened to forget to mention it when he took out a policy that covers (amongst other things) passengers who can't take a trip due to a major injury or death.

Travel insurance does cover truly legitimate claims.

#5 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 01:58 PM

Travel insurance does cover truly legitimate claims.


Source?

Let's face it, the travel insurance market is full of loopholes that are obvious to them and opaque to us.

Here you are defending them but you can't even bother to do so under a registered account. Color me unimpressed.


I rarely buy insurance for trips involving Amtrak because...

1. I use points on Amtrak, and buying travel insurance for points will not reimburse you in money or points.

2. I've never been able to determine if Amtrak is considered a "common carrier" when buying flight insurance.

Sometimes I buy refundable airline tickets but those often cost twice or even three times as much as non-refundable tickets.

So far as I can tell if you're a traveler who uses points as part of your trip then travel insurance is probably not going to help much.

Even if you don't use points and buy insurance for both the train and the airplane portions of your trip how can you tell who should pay?

So long as you cannot make both an Amtrak purchase and a plane purchase on the same site at the same time the insurance angle is defunct.

Unless your whole trip is on Amtrak, in which case you're probably in college or retired and couldn't care less how long you're delayed.

Edited by Devil's Advocate, 03 December 2013 - 02:02 PM.

I used to be with ‘it,’ but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it,’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary.


#6 Guest_Nathanael_*

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 02:01 PM

I've never seen the point of travel insurance.  (Health insurance for foreign travel is another matter.)  ALWAYS get refundable tickets.



#7 SarahZ

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 02:02 PM

Those are extremely common insurance exclusions. I'm not surprised at all.


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#8 benjibear

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 02:21 PM

With any insurance there are loopholes that the insurance company can use to get out of paying a claim.  I always have the opinion to only buy insurance if you can't cover the cost yourself.  For travel insurance, I figure I am saving to go on vacation and I will take the chance.  Most of my trips are not that expensive.  If I was paying like $20,000+ for a once in a lifetime trip, it probably would be worth it but for a few thousand dollars, it is not worth it to me.  

 

Same with extended warranties.  A few years ago I was buying a toaster for my grandmother that was 9.99 that the cashier asked if I wanted an extended warranty for 12.99! 



#9 MrFSS

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 02:52 PM

For the very first Gathering in Chicago a number of years ago I was going to fly in and out of ORD.  Got a good price on the RT air ticket and they offered insurance for, I think, $28.00.  On a lark I took it.

 

A few days before the Gathering I developed some medical conditions that kept me from attending, per doctor's orders.  A statement from the doctor to the insurance company brought me a check for the full amount within about two weeks.  Best $28 I ever spent.



#10 MrKenFL

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 03:02 PM

As stated by folks before - it all depends on the value (cost) of your trip !
I had a situation 8 years ago where we had bought the travel insurance on a
cruise and my S.O.'s Dad became terminally ill 5 days before the cruise - we got Dr's
statements, cancelled cruise, and got our FULL cruise cost back ($3100) , less of course
the cost of the insurance which was approx. $200 !
Good deal for me !

#11 SarahZ

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 03:09 PM

Part of it comes down to assumed risk. If you know you could go into labor any minute and book a trip, it's kind of ridiculous to assume the insurance company will pay if you have your baby the day before and have to cancel your trip. At some point, the onus is on you.

 

For the most part, though, you do have to weigh the costs versus the benefits. I wouldn't pay for insurance on a $20 trip, but I would if the trip cost $300+ (depending on how much the insurance cost, of course). I always read the terms and conditions before I decide if it's worth it. It's the same way I decide if I want to keep paying for comp/collision on my vehicle or if it's time to switch to liability-only. At some point, the premium is going to be at or near the value of the car if it's totaled, and that's the time to switch to liability-only.


Amtrak Miles: 39,318

 

Amtrak Routes: Blue Water, California Zephyr, Capitol Limited, Carl Sandburg, City of New Orleans, Coast Starlight, Crescent, Empire Builder, Hiawatha, Illinois Zephyr, Lincoln Service, Southwest Chief, Texas Eagle, Wolverine

 

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#12 Ispolkom

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 03:53 PM

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is that many credit cards (including the AGR card, I believe) give you some sort of travel insurance for trips purchased using the card.  This doesn't help me, since most of my long trips are on points or miles.

 

WRT Amtrak, the worst that has happened to me was misdirected luggage (Amtrak paid for the toiletries and other necessities we bought), and a missed connection (Amtrak paid for a day room and meals.).  Not much need for insurance.



#13 CoachSlumber

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 04:00 PM

Financially, I wouldn't mind paying for it if they weren't so slimy about not paying. I recently had a trip booked to Mexico. The airline told me it had discontinued the flight on the day I was to leave, so I couldn't go and lost the hotel portion. The insurance company, Allianz, told me they didn't cover that. An example of , "so just what do you cover?"



#14 CoachSlumber

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 04:03 PM

 

Travel insurance does cover truly legitimate claims.


Source?

Let's face it, the travel insurance market is full of loopholes that are obvious to them and opaque to us.

Here you are defending them but you can't even bother to do so under a registered account. Color me unimpressed.


I rarely buy insurance for trips involving Amtrak because...

1. I use points on Amtrak, and buying travel insurance for points will not reimburse you in money or points.

2. I've never been able to determine if Amtrak is considered a "common carrier" when buying flight insurance.

Sometimes I buy refundable airline tickets but those often cost twice or even three times as much as non-refundable tickets.

So far as I can tell if you're a traveler who uses points as part of your trip then travel insurance is probably not going to help much.

Even if you don't use points and buy insurance for both the train and the airplane portions of your trip how can you tell who should pay?

So long as you cannot make both an Amtrak purchase and a plane purchase on the same site at the same time the insurance angle is defunct.

Unless your whole trip is on Amtrak, in which case you're probably in college or retired and couldn't care less how long you're delayed.

 

Amtrak would be considered a common carrier; and unless you are talking about crash insurance, your policy should apply to the whole trip.



#15 Bob Dylan

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 06:48 PM

 

 

Same with extended warranties.  A few years ago I was buying a toaster for my grandmother that was 9.99 that the cashier asked if I wanted an extended warranty for 12.99! 

:lol: This is called Up Selling and only Insurace, Car and Real Estate Salespersons used to Do It, Now Everyone Does It!

Let the Buyer Beware! ;)


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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#16 AmtrakBlue

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 07:09 PM

I held out for a better deal on the extended warranty at the car dealership when I bought a new car with my husband's life insurance money.  Don't know if I got the best deal, or even needed it, but I consulted with my husband after the 2nd or 3rd offer and he said "get it".  And my husband had worked in this same building though for another dealership, for many years.



#17 tonys96

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 07:50 PM

I looked at the options for insurance on the site. It asked for my state of residence and when I was traveling to calculate a premium and give me options, so I put in leaving on Jan 15, returning on Jan 31. Maximum coverage for cancellation/interruption insurance was only $500...at a cost of $35. Fare to anywhere in a roomette would be far more than the $500.......


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#18 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 09:36 PM

I always read the terms and conditions before I decide if it's worth it. It's the same way I decide if I want to keep paying for comp/collision on my vehicle or if it's time to switch to liability-only. At some point, the premium is going to be at or near the value of the car if it's totaled, and that's the time to switch to liability-only.

 
You always read the insurance contract before purchasing? In my experience the short version can be twenty or more pages and they don't even provide that until after I've bought the insurance. Or at least I couldn't figure out how to find and read it. Then again I don't work for an insurance company so maybe I'm just ignorant of how this is supposed to work. If you'd be willing to post an insurance contract and explain how to evaluate the legally binding terms and conditions to the rest of us I'd be interested in learning how this works.

 

Travel insurance does cover truly legitimate claims.


Source?

Let's face it, the travel insurance market is full of loopholes that are obvious to them and opaque to us.

Here you are defending them but you can't even bother to do so under a registered account. Color me unimpressed.


I rarely buy insurance for trips involving Amtrak because...

1. I use points on Amtrak, and buying travel insurance for points will not reimburse you in money or points.

2. I've never been able to determine if Amtrak is considered a "common carrier" when buying flight insurance.


Amtrak would be considered a common carrier; and unless you are talking about crash insurance, your policy should apply to the whole trip.

 
Source?

Edited by Devil's Advocate, 03 December 2013 - 09:37 PM.

I used to be with ‘it,’ but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it,’ and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary.


#19 lionelhoguy

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Posted 03 December 2013 - 11:40 PM

My trip this January will cost $3000, travel insurance $34.  Why not? 


Trains I have ridden: Empire Builder #7 & #8 (CBS to SEA & CBS to CHI) - Empire Builder #28 (PDX to CBS) - Coast Starlight (RDD to SEA) - City of New Orleans (CHI to NOL), Capital Limited (CHI to WAS) - Silver Service (WAS to SAV), Capital Limited (CHI to WAS) - Silver Service (WAS to CHS)- 30,000 miles and counting! The 261 Capital Express behind the EB and Capital Limited to WAS, Texas Eagle from CHI to FTW and back.
 
 

 
 
 


#20 SP&S

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Posted 04 December 2013 - 12:38 AM

It's a great big "it depends".  How much exposure do you have?  How expensive is the trip?  How expensive is the insurance and - very important - what does it cover?  I have a good friend who was traveling thru Europe when his wife became gravely ill in Gibraltar, seriously disrupting their plans.  He was sure glad he had insurance.

 

It's a gamble, but the more there is to lose the more it's worth considering.  I generally don't buy it but then my trips aren't normally that expensive.


Edited by SP&S, 04 December 2013 - 12:39 AM.





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