Rush Limbaugh vs. Saverocity

This post was originally going to have a boring title, like “Buy travel insurance!” But then to my complete delight, Matt from Saverocity blog wrote a piece about things going wrong on his vacation. Not to say, I was delighted by his problems.  LINK In it he mentioned, how he never buys travel insurance and basically considers it a waste.

I have been waiting to challenge him on something, but he is so darn good. Well, carpe diem, baby! It means “seize the day” in Latin.  On top of it, one of my blogger friends recently said I am the “Rush Limbaugh” of this industry, implying I’m ultra conservative and overly cautious( as well as borderline insane). I’m sure he meant it as a compliment, though. 🙂 Anyway, thats how the title was born.

I think it’s important for anyone to consider purchasing travel insurance. For families, like mine though, it’s a must. I’m not talking about relatively cheap road trips, where you can cancel a hotel on a short notice. But when you start talking non-refundable flights and cruises, it is something to strongly consider.

Kids can get sick , hurt themselves and so on. For those, who hold status with an airline , it’s possible to make changes for free, so it’s not as much of a concern. Since we don’t have any status and mostly fly on award tickets, this issue is of significance.

After all, it costs 150 dollars per person and sometimes more in certain programs, to redeposit the miles. That is a lot of money for a family of 4. But there are other reasons: medical coverage and medical evacuation, when you go abroad. Since we live in Florida, we go on a cruise to Caribbean at least once a year, so I always make sure, we get insurance.

When you see someone airlifted off the ship, their credit card gets billed to the tune of 20000 dollars or more. But it really is important  to consider insurance for any trips, not just cruises. I have personally cashed in on it several times. The first one was during our grand tour of Europe, when we were stranded on the island of Santorini. The worst part was, we had a connection in Athens the same day to fly to London on a completely separate airline. So there was absolutely no rebooking help from Aegean Airlines in Santorini.

Since we had to get to London to take our flight back to the States, we booked a flight right there on a spot, on our own dime. When we got back to US, our trip insurance has reimbursed us for those expenses. I remember meeting a couple in Santorini airport, who missed their flights to USA from Athens on a separate airline. They had no trip insurance. I can’t even imagine what it cost them to book those flights. Thats why its extremely important to have a policy in place, if you have separate ticket reservations.

The fun part was hanging out with all the passengers for hours at the airport and getting to know them. We shared our stories about the island and places we stayed at. Naturally I got the best deal on lodging!  I also insisted on airline providing us with food (they are supposed to do that) and then let everyone know about it. So as a result all the passengers got a sandwich and a drink. You should have seen those airline representatives staring at me. If only looks could kill!

The second time I cashed in on insurance was when I had to cancel our trip to St. Lucia because of my pregnancy. We were supposed to use award tickets for that one. The insurance company reimbursed us for the miles redeposit fees. Which brings me to another point: some cover those and some don’t.

You need to call and check for yourself. I suggest, you write down the time of the phone call and the agent’s name (yes, I am a bit paranoid). Even better, try to get a response by email, so you can have proof later, just in case. For buying insurance I recommend a website, called Insuremytrip  because it will show you all the options. Look for “package” policies with broad coverage.

I suggest, you don’t go for the cheapest deal, but check the limits. For example, I would only purchase a policy, that had at least $50,000 medical evacuation limit, and $50,000 medical coverage limit per person if going out of the country. If you have any medical problems, look for “pre-existing condition waiver” option. It usually will cover any issues, as long as you purchase the policy within 14 or 21 days of your first trip payment. Package insurance normally runs around 5 percent of the total cost of the trip, but to me is worth it for the peace of mind.

Certain credit cards do provide some insurance for trip cancellation. I know when I used to have Citi Thank You Premier card, it had a built-in coverage for your tickets, in case of an unforeseen event. But when I checked into it, it did not include cruises.  Plus it’s not really enough anyway. Mostly because there is no medical or evacuation coverage. To me those 2 are the most important of all, if going out of the country.

You probably will never have to use that policy and chances are, everything should be just fine. But you never know, especially with  kids like mine.

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12 thoughts on “Rush Limbaugh vs. Saverocity

  1. I don’t know about this challenging me, I’ll let you have another shot when you find something that really annoys you.

    The arguments here aren’t conclusive enough to prove a point in the challenge, to state that airlines charge $150 to redeposit ignores two important factors, firstly redeposit is only required if you cannot make that trip, many times I have simply moved the dates when something came up and that has no charge.

    Further, you are citing the most expensive issue that could occur on the ship, but realistically you don’t see that, I’ve cruised maybe 500-1000 times and only once was their an airlift required, it was due to a brutally vicious attack. So no sane person is insuring against that occurring, unless they are particularly susceptible to an illness or ill health, but I am an average guy, so the chances of something unusual enough to require an airlift are quite low, and it is those odds that are used when calculating insurance premium cost with coverage.

    Also, saying you need it because you used it isn’t fair, I didn’t need it and didn’t use it, so when I was stranded in South Africa after missing the flight (our fault) I had to pay a total of about $400 including hotel to reticket for the next day.

    Furthermore, my mileage programs are my insurance, my Avios, which can get me to most (though not all) places have no fee, so if I need to re-route a flight I can easily. Otherwise, I’ll just figure it out.

    We have missed flights due to other fault in the past, and we have been rebooked at no fee.

    If you add up the number of trips I have been on, multiply by the average insurance premium required, I’d take that cash all day every day.



  2. Matt, thanks for the comment! You come across as slightly annoyed, but thats OK! Its true, that you can move dates on award tickets, but as I said I was pregnant. I would not go to St. Lucia with a baby just a few months old. So it wasn’t really an option.
    Its true, that just because I cashed in on insurance, doesn’t mean, that everyone will. Thats why its called insurance! Its not a CD, where you expect to earn interest. As far as medical evacuation, I stand by what I said. I think its very important. Obviously, chances are, you won’t need it. But I would rather be safe, than sorry.
    Thats why I am Rush Limbaugh! I think for a middle class family with small kids and little in savings, its very important to at least consider it. But I will challenge you again, you can count on it!


  3. Not annoyed at all, I just don’t think you can make an intelligent argument for insurance by saying ‘what if’ that is what insurance sales(people) have been selling their inferior products on for years. Without even anaylzing the numbers we know that there is a margin for profit built into every premium, so knowing that most of the common expenses can be avoided or adjusted by shifting dates or using miles to connect us changes the dynamic.

    Life insurance and health insurance are different, because I can see those adding up to being quite the cost impact to the household income, but losing a trip, even if you can actually lose a trip, isn’t something to fret over.

    My logic is no different for a middle class family. In fact if I was to make a case for richer folk, I would say they don’t need insurance at all, because if they have enough money in the bank that can be their insurance. But I am not using money here to justify the lack of need, other than that the total cost of replacing a trip is smaller than one might imagine when it is constructed using miles and points.

    I should add, I do have some specific vacation coverage, I have the ‘master’ level plan here since the likelihood of my requiring a medivac to a hyperbolic chamber is of sufficient risk to justify the $40 annual fee.

    Not grumpy, look forward to the next one 🙂


  4. Matt, you didn’t think I would let you have the last word on my own blog, did you? 🙂 I think there is a big difference between a wealthy person needing insurance and a middle class family. Lets say the trip costs 3000 dollars and you have 10000 dollars in savings. That vacation represents 30 percent of your savings. As in if you have 100000 dollars in the bank, it would only be 3 percent. Big difference!
    And yes, my argument is intelligent, because bad things do happen. They can wipe out family’s savings for years to come. Is insurance company likely to be the winner? You bet! They are in it to make a profit and have calculated all the risks ahead of time. Is it worth betting your family welfare on it? Nope!
    Now I didn’t say insurance makes sense for all situations. You have to evaluate each trip individually. For example, when we had that missed connection in Athens, the airline was Easyjet. They don’t rebook, its a low cost carrier.
    Now lets take a cruise. Say one of my kids gets sick, which happens a lot. We can’t make it to the ship. They won’t just put us on the next boat, you know how it works. You lose the entire payment. Anyway, we will agree to disagree on this one. Till our next battle, amigo!


  5. Ramsey, I missed you so much! Where have you been all this time, seriously? Your comment went to spam, sorry. Probably because of the use of fat and idiot, but I approved anyway. No, I don’t want to be likened to Rush Limbaugh. It was a joke! Doesn’t anyone get my humor? I think the man has real issues, not sure why he is so popular. Ramsey, keep commenting!


  6. Did you ask Buzz any question you want in his contest today? I already over did it. You can ask him anything, like when and where did he lose his virginity (and how much it cost) of if he ever farted and blamed it on the dog. Come to think of it, i’ll ask that one.


  7. Ramsey, I really debated whether to approve that one. 🙂 Watch it! Remember, I said, don’ t go too far! Currently I don’t read TBB, for the same reason I debated whether to approve this comment or not. As you can see in my posts, I don’t mind a little wacky. But there is a limit, and TBB crossed it yet again with the last post. I’m sure people will have fun with “no questions off limits” theme. But its not my cup of tea. But I guess there is always hope.


  8. Pingback: Why You Should Be a Tortoise When it Comes to Travel Insurance | Miles For Family

  9. Pingback: The Devil Is in the Details When it Comes to Travel Insurance | Miles For Family

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