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Author: walshcs

Joined: 1/25/2011
Posts: 77
Trips Taken: 3
Countries Visited:

Costa Rica, Ireland, Italy, the Canadian Maritimes incl. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI, Montreal (Quebec), Guatemala, and many USA cities incl. NYC, Chicago, New Orleans, Washington DC, Portland Oregon, the Oregon coast, Maine coast, parts of Florida. I took a 10 day tour to Costa Rica where I was especially thrilled to experience the tropical plants, birds, volcanos, and met the friendly Ticos. I did Ireland in Depth with GCT Oct. 2011 and it was an inspiring, beautiful, and meaningful experience to finally visit the land of my Irish ancestors. Completed the Tuscany & the Amalfi Coast with the pre-trip to Venice April 21, 2012 and it was a travel dream fulfilled. I booked Guatemala with Tikal, Antigua and Atitlan for January 2013 and had a wonderful adventure discovering modern day Maya culture and learning about ancient Maya city states with my visit to Tikal. Very excited that OAT has brought back the trip to Japan and I leave on that tour Nov. 4, 2013 with the pre-trip to Tokyo. Now I finally have the resources to pursue my "bucket list" of foreign travel and the freedom to chart my own life's course. Ask questions that will satisfy your requirements/interests in a travel buddy. Looking forward to meeting you here and maybe in the world. Warm regards, Cate I'll post a photo when I remember to bring one from home. (Only have internet at work for now.)

Traveler Since: 2011

January 19, 2012

Please travel community give me your honest opinion about whether to buy the trip insurance or not.

I have been injured on two past vacations (not with GCT) but was able to finish the trip. I had trip insurance but was distressed to discover that I had to pay out of pocket and file a claim to be reimbursed later. After already paying the preminum up front...I was not pleased to shell out more money for immediate help.

Although the coverage looks comprehensive...it does add significantly to the cost of the trip..money I would prefer to spend on the meals not included and optionals.

Your advice would be much appreciated.

Thanks, Cate

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 889
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

January 19, 2012

Cate,

Instead of looking at the cost of the insurance as a stand-alone expense, consider how much you would be out of pocket if you needed the medical care or evacuation or had to cancel the trip for some reason.  And didn't have any insurance. 

I have always purchased the Trip Mate insurance through GCT and have never had to use it for any purpose while on a trip.  I did have to cancel a trip in 2007 at the last minute because my travel companion had been diagnosed with cancer.  We got back every penny we had paid except for the insurance premium and a small handling fee.

Pauline

Author: nanaandpapa

Joined: 3/30/2011
Posts: 445
Trips Taken: 15
Countries Visited:

Aruba, Austria, Australia, Bermuda, Belgium, Botswana, Canada, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Dominican Rep., Egypt, England, Fiji, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Jordan, Luxembourg, Mexico, Namibia, Nepal, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Africa, Spain, St. Marten (fr), St. Martin (nd), Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, USA, Vatican, Zimbabwe

Traveler Since: 2002

January 19, 2012

Out 12 trips with GCT/OAT, we have had to cancel twice,at the last minute, based on doctors recommendations. We did not take insurance on the first couple of trips, since they were last minute type trips, (and we were younger at the time) and did not not have to cancel on them, but assuming that we took insuarnce on 10 trips, at a cost of about a 10% premium, we would have paid for 1 extra trip, having cancelled and collected twice, we are ahead of the game by 1 trip. This is assuming that all of the trips would have cost approximately the same. Of course there would have been the other option, if we were ununsured, of taking the trip against the doctors' icommendations, which could have been far more expensive if something went wrong.

We have used Tripmate from GCT, but are not saying that this is the best buy, in fact, it is one of the most expensive, but the cancel for any reason clause is not available from everyone.

To determine whether you should buy insurance or not, you have to weigh the chances that you will need it based on your medical condition and the lead time for the trip. The longer the lead time, the greater the chance that conditions will change, You should at least have insurance against a catastophic loss, such as medical evacuation from a place such as sub-Saharan Africa or Antarica.

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 470
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

January 20, 2012

I agree with others, go to insuremytrip, or other sites, and compare. For my Ireland trip I paid about $100 for medical evacuation (insuremytrip) since medical care for minor injuries would be readily available and would cost a lot less than the insurance premium. I wasn't concerned about canceling. For more remote travel I would consider going with GCT/OAT insurance.

If what you're concerned about is having to pay out of pocket and be reimbursed, be sure to read the policies, including GCT's. I remember seeing posts where travelers were not reimbursed because they didn't have the proper documention and GCT or OAT could not help since the insurance is with Trip Mate. I could be wrong, but I have a feeling that you would have to pay and then file a claim and include all receipts to collect.

Another deciding factor for me is that if you make your own flight arrangements and/or take breakaway travel, GCT's coverage is only for the their trip -- while if you take insurance with another company you're covered from the time you leave until you return.

Author: bad758

Joined: 4/28/2010
Posts: 26
Trips Taken: 20
Traveler Since: 2001

January 20, 2012

Try www.squaremouth.com for travel insurance comparisons.  Sometimes I buy the insurance and sometimes I don't, depending on where I am going how far in advance I book the trip.  GCT is very, very expensive.  This fall on a riverboat trip I got very ill and had to go to the emergency room in Antwerp, Belgium.  We did not buy the insurance, but the cost of the emergency room, doctors, and CT scan was about what I would have paid for the insurance for one person, so I feel I was ahead of the game.  For both my husband and me, the insurance would have been well over $500, and the total cost for my visit was 194 euros.

Author: pauline

Joined: 3/9/2010
Posts: 889
Trips Taken: 11
Countries Visited:

England, Scotland, Ireland, France, Belgium, Holland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Finland, Malta, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mexico, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Canada, Russia, Ukraine

Traveler Since: 1999

January 20, 2012

GCT/OAT is not an insurance company.  It is a travel company.  Trip Mate is the insurance company that GCT/OAT works with to offer travel insurance.  And Trip Mate sets its own prices.  It's up to the individual traveler to decide whether or not to purchase insurance and from whom.  People who wait to purchase or want to do a breakaway or just want to do some research on it can do so.

As far as evacuation insurance is concerned, I doubt very much if someone would be left stranded somewhere because they didn't have it.  But then they would be responsible, legally and morally, for reimbursing the provider.  And that would be really big bucks.  Who posted an amount of $50,000 recently?  And someone mentioned a hospital not releasing a patient unless he was accompanied home by a U.S. doctor and a U.S. nurse, both of whose round-trip transportation would have to be paid by someone.  These are extreme examples, but they have happened.

My primary insurer is Medicare which is no good outside the US.  My secondary insurer doesn't seem to cover too much medical, although it's good for prescription drugs and dental and it's quite inexpensive.  That's the plan under my retirement benefits.  So when I travel outside the US, I need to purchase insurance.  Whether it's Trip Mate when I travel with GCT or some other plan when I travel independently, I would never be without it.

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 345
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2002

January 20, 2012

Insure yourself against medical, evacuation, and cancellation contingencies -- please! I, fortuantely, have not had to make use of the medical or evacuation phases, but I have been fully reimbursed for two medical-related cancellations and one air travel delay.

To support the statement that GCT is not the insurer but the broker for the insurance company, I will relate my experience of a few years ago. I had booked a trip and paid the full amount up front, including $900 for insurance. When I found that totally comprable insurance could be obtained for less than half that amount from another source, I called GCT to request a refund of the insurance premium. Such a refund was granted immediately and without question.

For the past several GCT trips I have gone to InsureMyTrip.com and compared several different insurances. For me a policy provided by Nationwide Insurance has been the best option. For you, it might be different. But you owe it to yourself to investigate the possibilities. TripMate is the premium insurance, both in quality and in price. But for me, the others are satisfactory, and it really appears to make no difference to GCT.

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 470
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

January 21, 2012

I think we all know that GCT/OAT is a travel company, not an insurance company. I may be the guilty one by not clearly referring to GCT as the broker. Sorry. I did write later in my post that GCT's insurance carrier is TripMate.

I think medical evacuation is rare, but for an $89 premium, Travel Guard Medical Evacuation covers $50,000 in medical costs, unlimited evacuation costs and will provide a travel companion if medically necessary. I would hate to get the bill for evacuation without having insurance.

We all have to assess our insurance needs, it's not a one size fits all.

Author: singsling

Joined: 6/23/2010
Posts: 217
Trips Taken: 11
Traveler Since: 1995

January 21, 2012

Quite a lot of discussion; this is my second comment.  I agree with all of the posts that trip/travel insurance should be considered.  I had to use it twice; once a doctor in Belgrade came on to river ship as soon as we docked; he gave me an IV for fluids and antibiotic with an exam; diagnosed food poisoning, not from the ship, but probably from the home hosted dinner; my husband did not have everything offered, but I tasted all.  The bill was a mere $200 cash.  In Russia, I was taken to the hospital by ambulance, a team of physicians including cardiologists were called, some tests done,  and my bill was over $1200.00, cash or credit card (quite inexpensive compared toArizona) .  Both times I had to file after getting back to the US and the claim from Trip Mate was completed in a very short time both trips.  When my husband was hospitalized when we lived in Singapore, we had to pay cash up front all the time, they wanted $5000 up front.  Our insurance while living there was back in the US so we had to wait for reimbursement.  Most countries want the cash or credit card.  For this reason I did increase our credit card limit.  If they kept me in a Moscow hospital like they wanted to do, my credit card would have had to be the method of payment and file later.

Someone mentioned Travel Guard.  I just booked flights to Montreal for a 5 day trip; the travel insurance is $109 per person for a $1125 total trip cost for 2 with Travel Guard.  I will book 4 tours, and the Travel Guard insurance is $15.00 under $1000 (not so bad) but it is not medical, just cancellation.  This all sounds inexpensive, but Canada is still outside the US and one or both of us could fall or have a medical emergency.  Compared to a $3695 trip with GCT and a $1125 for 2 plane ride to Canada, $109 is quite a lot for a whole lot less insurance coverage. 

So now that you all have given me some web sites, I will look into them for my next trip. 

Author: walshcs

Joined: 1/25/2011
Posts: 77
Trips Taken: 3
Countries Visited:

Costa Rica, Ireland, Italy, the Canadian Maritimes incl. Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and PEI, Montreal (Quebec), Guatemala, and many USA cities incl. NYC, Chicago, New Orleans, Washington DC, Portland Oregon, the Oregon coast, Maine coast, parts of Florida. I took a 10 day tour to Costa Rica where I was especially thrilled to experience the tropical plants, birds, volcanos, and met the friendly Ticos. I did Ireland in Depth with GCT Oct. 2011 and it was an inspiring, beautiful, and meaningful experience to finally visit the land of my Irish ancestors. Completed the Tuscany & the Amalfi Coast with the pre-trip to Venice April 21, 2012 and it was a travel dream fulfilled. I booked Guatemala with Tikal, Antigua and Atitlan for January 2013 and had a wonderful adventure discovering modern day Maya culture and learning about ancient Maya city states with my visit to Tikal. Very excited that OAT has brought back the trip to Japan and I leave on that tour Nov. 4, 2013 with the pre-trip to Tokyo. Now I finally have the resources to pursue my "bucket list" of foreign travel and the freedom to chart my own life's course. Ask questions that will satisfy your requirements/interests in a travel buddy. Looking forward to meeting you here and maybe in the world. Warm regards, Cate I'll post a photo when I remember to bring one from home. (Only have internet at work for now.)

Traveler Since: 2011

January 23, 2012

Thank you...thank you EVERYONE for taking the time to offer your best advice, good resource tips, and personal experiences with using travel insurance for different purposes. I am very grateful to you and want you to know that I will be purchasing the insurance. I'm glad that I asked the question and that seasoned travelers answered. Safe, healthy, exciting future travel to all of you.

Cate

Author: captainlarry

Joined: 4/24/2010
Posts: 345
Trips Taken: 10
Traveler Since: 2002

January 27, 2012

I just today booked the Northwest National Parks tour. The TripMate insurance was priced at $760. I purchased TruTravel First Class through InsureMyTrip.com for $634. Now that is not a huge savings, but the insurance policies are essentially identical. Were I willing to take a slightly higher degree of risk I could get policies for a couple of hundred bucks cheaper.

Author: luisa

Joined: 3/13/2010
Posts: 470
Trips Taken: 8
Countries Visited:

Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Canada, Mexico, Spain, France, Monoco, Croatia, Switzerland, The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, Morocco, Chile, Argentina, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji

Traveler Since: 2006

January 28, 2012

$126 is not a huge savings, but can be used for something else -- special dinners, excursions, etc. I'd go for it too.

I hope you have a great trip and won't need to make use of the insurance.

 

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