Tuesday, March 5, 2013

One of These Things Is Not Like the Other

Trip Insurance & Travel Medical Insurance - Ain't It All the Same?

Oh, come on.  I know your 6th grade English teacher is tut-tut-tutting with disapproval after asking such a question.  Not that she's an insurance expert, but at your persistent use of the word that ain't a word.  So, the most asked question when I'm out meeting people is usually, "do they know you're out?", but coming in a close second is a tie between "what's the difference between the insurance the cruise line sells?" and "good grief man, don't you own a mirror, or a breath mint?".  I cannot understand this mirror obsession people have - narcissists.  Anyway, trip insurance, or more precisely trip cancellation insurance, generally has a much greater emphasis toward providing protection against the losses an insured traveler may face in the event they are unable to go on their trip because they become too ill to travel, carrier default (check your fine print here - not every airline/cruise line is eligible - who'd have thought Hooters Airlines wouldn't make it anyway?) and other deposits and payments which have already been incurred.  There are a number of different companies offering plans in this market and some offer coverage for medical expenses, however the maximum benefits are often smaller than those of the famed Beacon Series travel medical plan, not Herve Villechaize's baby-slippers-after-they've been-left-in-the-dryer-too-long small, but most are in the $10,000 - $25,000 maximum benefit range.  In stark flashbulb-in-the-eyes-in-the-middle-of-the-night contrast (okay, no more hyphens.  Finding the right key on the keyboard is a pain anyway) the Beacon Series ← (PDF file on the link. I'd skip & click the pic, but I'm lazy) If you read this blog regularly, you may need your therapist on speed dial, but you would also know that now I'm just being redundant.  Again. Too. Once more. As per usual.  

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The Beacon Series starts at $60,000 of health insurance benefit and hits the ionosphere (ha! they bet me I couldn't work that word into my post, 35 cents, you're mine all mine!) with $2 million in benefits if you're younger than 70 and traveling outside the US/Canada. If you are 70+ you can still get coverage, it's just with lower maximum benefit limits, but still more coverage and less stress than Kim Kardashian's bathing suit undergoes (people don't believe I'm working - it took a lot of looking for that picture). Plus it includes a ton of other benefits, including Emergency Evacuation,  Terrorism, Personal Liability, Travel Assistance and a whole lot more that I don't have room to list here.Well, maybe I have room, but I've got that lazy thing going on...  Okay, so now you know your grapefruit from your radishes, but what makes the most sense to buy?  (I affect a bad Asian accent) Ahh, Grasshopper, knowing one's purpose marks the beginning of a journey to span a thousand lifetimes.  (Accent off) Not a thousand lifetimes, but this is a journey for your lifetime and you will need to think carefully about what is important to accomplish.  Now I'm a teensy bit biased insofar that I'd like to protect myself for expenses associated with accidents & unforeseeable illnesses while I travel and since I know that if I call the hotel/airline/cruise line or personalized snack delivery service (okay, so I made that one up, but Cheetos on Call has a nice ring to my ears) and let them know that I've had a little sumptin' sumptin' happen that made my travel plans change, that they will usually take steps to keep me a happy customer, or at least get me off the phone.  I may have to pay a change or rescheduling fee here or there, but my (rapidly fading) boyish charm might even save me a couple of these expenses.  However, if I'm traveling and get stuck in a freak avalanche while tracking a Yeti while trekking through the mountains of Tibet (okay, a little unlikely since this is clearly outside Cheetos on Call's delivery area) need an emergency medical evacuation or just have a bad case of frostbite on one of my orange stained paws, I want to know I can get covered care and get it from people who know what to do, how to do it and through an insurer who has been around and paying claims about a hundred years before George Washington was in wooden diapers, or however that story goes.   Your mileage may vary, but unless you are planning a trip that you wouldn't be able to take at a later date, maybe a tour group or seeing the Eagles Farewell concert (scratch that, there's always another one of those) you very well may be best served by travel medical insurance.  That, and maybe Cheetos delivery.