If you’re anything like me, you’re not in the habit of buying travel insurance. When you plan a trip, there are so many expenses anyway. Depending on where you’re going and what you hope to do while away, you’ll most likely be forking over plenty of cash for at least some of these things: accommodations, airfare, meals, vehicle rental, other forms of transportation, activities, special clothing/gear, beauty (you may want to have your hair or nails done, etc.) pet care (if you’re leaving your pet with a sitter), taxes, fees, parking, and shopping. So when you consider that additional expense of insurance, you may very well decide to take your chances. After all, you’re in generally good health, and if something goes wrong, you’ll just pay a little more. Right? Well…not always.
Last week, my family embarked on a cruise from Boston to Bermuda (and back). It was a special vacation for us, as it included a number of relatives and friends, including my mom and mother-in-law. All told, there were eighteen people in our party, which was the largest group I’ve traveled with since college. Everyone was excited about getting away together and spending time with people we don’t see nearly enough. And, since the trip included three days in Bermuda, we decided to do some shore excursions there. All the ones we considered seemed safe for our crowd, and we certainly didn’t anticipate anything bad happening. When my husband and I were offered travel insurance for our family of four, we said no.
But you can already see where this post is going. One of the things we did on the island—with our entire party of eighteen—was go out on a small boat, and on the journey back to the cruise ship, my poor mom fell and ended up fracturing her hip. I won’t go into detail here, but you can imagine that it was a pretty grim situation. And although the fracture wasn’t particularly serious, Mom would clearly need surgery and rehab, and the orthopedic surgeon who treated her in Bermuda recommended that both of those be done in Boston. And, in her condition, she’d need to be transported on a flying ambulance.
I was afraid to even ask the cost of such a thing when Mom mentioned that she’d purchased travel insurance. Now, one thing many people don’t realize—I had no idea—is that travel insurance usually covers the cost of medical evacuation. Long story short, my mom was Lear-jetted back to Boston, where my brothers met her and assisted with her care and surgery. She’s now on her way to rehab, and shouldn’t have to pay a cent of the $25,000 flight fee.
So that’s my friendly advice for today. Will we go back to Bermuda with Mom soon? We all hope so. But not without travel insurance. Never again.