Apr 18 2010

Travel insurance: Worth it?

by in Central America, Costa Rica

Despite visiting some places that average person might consider “sketchy”, I rarely purchase travel insurance. In fact, the first time I ever purchased travel insurance was for my April 2009 trip to Costa Rica. I figured that since I would be spending most of my time surfing, the additional medical insurance might be worthwhile if I was injured. I was required to purchase travel insurance for my September 2009 trip to North Korea, in case I stumbled across a landmine or was injured on a roller coaster and needed to be evacuated out of the country. Thankfully, I never had to use that policy.

I did, however, finally get the chance to put my travel insurance policy to work this past February, when I went to Costa Rica. The night before I was scheduled to fly to Costa Rica, American Airlines canceled my February 13th flight and notified me that they could not get me to Costa Rica until February 15th. They had also scheduled me for a 13 hour overnight layover at the Miami airport. As you could imagine, I was rather pissed off, but a quick call to TravelGuard confirmed that my $70 policy covered trip delays and interruptions, so I could expect to get some of my hotel and food expenses covered.

Still, I’m a bit distrustful of insurance companies, so I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to get reimbursed. As soon as I returned to the U.S. from Costa Rica, I called TravelGuard and filed a claim with one of their excellent customer service representatives. They asked me to send them several documents (trip itinerary, reason for flight cancellation, etc) and receipts. A few weeks later I received a check for $477.71, which covered my hotel and food expenses in DC and Miami as well as the two days of pre-paid lodging and surf lessons that I missed due to American Airlines’ inability to get me to Costa Rica on time. Again, I was pleasantly surprised because this was a higher amount than I was told to expect and I received the check several weeks earlier than I thought I would.

Overall, I was very pleased with TravelGuard and would definitely recommend them if you are thinking about insuring your travels.

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