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Why Trip Insurance
editorial by Catherine Ohl

I admit that before heading off to Italy, even I had not read all the information I had sent out concerning trip insurance. Since, as a trip leader, I don't always pay for a trip with dollars, I figured I didn't need the insurance. Boy, was I WRONG!

Unfortunately, two members had skiing accidents while in Italy. Both broke a leg, both had their surgery performed in Italy, both were fitted with pins or plates (and no cast), both started their physical therapy in Italy, both were able to return home with the group leaving after the extension, and both are recovering nicely at home. The only difference being that one had trip insurance and the other didn't.

The insurance covered the cost of the air-vac ride off the mountain, ambulances, surgery, hospital stay, physical therapy, the change of flight, and upgrade to first class for the injured and a care taker. In addition, the insurance took care of making all the arrangements for her. Upon her arrival in LA, she was met by customs, cleared without having to go through the usual merry-go-round and taken directly to an ambulance.

On the other hand, the broken leg without trip insurance had to fend for himself. His medical insurance back home covered expenses such as the surgery, hospital stay and physical therapy. They did not cover his wife's hotel stay for the extra days or her transportation back and forth to visit him. He debated with his insurance company for many months as to who paying for the ambulance rides. Read John's own story of why you should buy trip insurance.

Furthermore, he lost their money on the extension but lucked out with the air since they were able to return on the flight for which they already had tickets. He was unable to get upgraded to first class but a few hours into the flight was finally able to "persuade" the head steward to allow him to at least recline in first class. Unfortunately, his wife had to remain in coach.

My advice to anyone planning to travel, especially if you plan to do anything with the inherent risks of skiing or boarding, is to read the information on trip insurance that's offered with your package. If it's not good enough, there are many other trip insurance plans available. Buy one and as they say -- "Don't leave home without it."

One more piece of advice. Just as you would carry your medical insurance card with you, you should also carry the trip insurance information -- the phone number to call in case of accident and the group id number.

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