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Travel Insurance Recommendations?

Jess W.

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (May/June 2019)
#1
Hey all,
In just over a month I'm going to be booking plane tickets for my upcoming Camino, and I've heard that one should purchase travel insurance at the same time. I'm planning to, but I have no idea where to buy the insurance from or even where to start looking. Can anybody offer up some recommendations on which companies are the best/easiest to work with? I'm not anticipating having issues on my Camino, but then again, nobody ever thinks they'll have a problem. If it makes a difference, I'm very healthy and in my early 20's.
Thanks in advance!
Jess
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#4
From consumer reviews, the travel insurance sold by your airline company is not very good. They spend their entire time trying to avoid payoffs. I have used Allianz, but have not had any claims. They might be just as bad.
Lots of times the travel insurance sold by the airline is Allianz. You definitely have to carefully read the policy, as the insurance industry in general does what it can to avoid paying claims.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Pamplona to Santiago (2013)
Le Puy to Pamplona in segments (2013 - 2016)
Pamplona to León
#5
Your credit card may cover airline ticket cancellations as well as hotel reservations which you have paid for. But you need a serious reason, not an elected change in your plans, to obtain a refund. Things like a serious injury or illness, death of a close relative, etc. So, you'll have to start examining closely the fine print in whatever coverages you wish to evaluate. The less exclusions, the more the coverage will cost. I'd start with looking at the benefits of your credit card. Those benefits may be free with one of your credit cards.

I think I am in the minority on this forum, but I do not buy supplemental health insurance. Both my medical coverage and that of my wife offer reimbursements of moderate medical costs when incurred overseas. However, medical evacuation and coverage for something catastrophic like a long hospitalization and/or surgeries are not covered. So I go with the odds...that nothing catastrophic is going to occur. Especially on a long hike at your age. Your highest risk, IMO, is when you'll be taking a cab or bus. Not when you're walking.

Good luck. And although I have a legal background, I hate looking at the fine print. ;)

Tom
 

J Willhaus

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
24 May- 14 July (2016)CF
Hospitalera, Zamora Dec 15-31, (2017), Hospitalera Grañón Dec 15-31 (2018)
#6
One year I did not buy travel insurance through the airline and ended up paying several hundred extra for an additional policy. Although we have never had to use our insurance, I generally buy it for the evacuation coverage. I understand that I will usually pay for treatment out of pocket and then file for reimbursement. Some useful features are names of clinics and hospitals in a database where you can be treated in various Spanish communities if needed.
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF Spring 2016
CF Autumn 2017
VDLP Spring 2020
#7
I have used Allianz for two Camino trips and several trips to Asia. I bought insurance to cover the trip as well as medical. I have filed a claim, and have nothing but outstanding things to say about Allianz - good customer service. I highly recommend Allianz. I am in the U.S. and bought my coverage through AAA.
Buen Camino,
--jim--
 

Cayou

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
2015 Villafranca to Santiago
2016 St Jean to Los Arcos
2018 24-Sept Leon to Finnisterre
#8
World Nomads is excellent and covers sporting activities ... and Aliianz works well, too. I've used both and had claims on both due to my wife .... Maybe better her than Me!
Do a trail on their websits to see cost and coverages.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances - Pamplona to Finisterre 2015
Via de la Plata Seville - Astorga April 2017
#10
I've used Allianz and was pleasantly surprised how easy it was to file a claim and how quickly they reimbursed me. I had a mixed bag of expenses - both travel related and medical expenses not covered by my health insurance plan. They didn't cover everything, but my out of pocket was minimal and reimbursements far exceeded the premium I paid.
 

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Camino(s) past & future
C. Frances
SJPP - Finisterre - Muxia, May 2016
C. Frances, Sept 2017
Via de La Plata (spring, 2019)
#11
I got Allianz through American Airlines, that I used to fly to Spain. I think many airlines offer travel insurance.
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#12
There is some very good information above. My personal solution is to carry insurance at home that is also useable overseas, stacked on top of (or vice versa) with airline health trip insurance.

In my case, Blue Cross - Blue Shield has a lash-up with Allianz to provide health care out of the US. They have an online directory of doctors, specialists, and hospitals that accept the BC/BS insurance.

You have to search for the website it, but it is there... The web location varies from BC/BS home site to homesite. So, I am not going to provide a link. What works for me, may not work for you.

I also buy airline trip insurance, after reading the fine print. IN GENERAL, this coverage provides emergency medical car, AND covers medical evacuation back to my home.

NOTE: These policies cover routine activities while you are in a foreign country, like walking. They do not cover extreme activities, like base jumping, bungee cord jumps, or mountaineering. But anything a pilgrim would normally do is likely covered. Pilgrims are walking.

Most of the airline insurance covers only cover trip interruption relating to airline issues. However, MANY cover you airport to airport, during the entire time you are on the ground in the foreign location. THAT is what you need to determine when you read the fine print.

In my experience and observation, the really important thing to cover is life-saving trauma treatment, and medical air evacuation back home. One you are medically stabilized and certified ok for travel home, you can use the medical evacuation provisions. That is the really expensive part.

If you are European, your insurance cover from your home country should cover you in Spain or Portugal. If you are not an EU / European national, either your home insurance will provide SOME cover, or you can pay in cash or plastic (generally, I have found outpatient procedures to be very inexpensive in Europe).

All said, there ARE several really good separate insurance cover companies that specialize in foreign travel, providing limited time coverage. Some of these are mentioned above, or can be found elsewhere in this forum by using the search function for "medical insurance" or "travel insurance."

Hope this helps.
 
Last edited:
Camino(s) past & future
First one planned for May 2019: Camino Francés
#13
If you are European, your insurance cover from your home country should cover you in Spain or Portugal. If you are not an EU / European national, either your home insurance will provide SOME cover, or you can pay in cash or plastic (generally, I have found outpatient procedures to be very inexpensive in Europe).
That's not quite true. Health systems and the financial coverage in case of illness vary throughout the different european countries as well as the countries in the EU. So one needs to check what's in case of accident oder sickness covered beforehand too.

In my country for example the costs which arise due to sickness or accident during a stay in another european country is only covered up to the amount they'd pay at home too. If the treatment costs in the foreign country would be more expensive than at home I'd have to pay the difference.

So I need an insurance to finance that gap too. Also transport back home / medical evacuation has to be payed out of ones own pocket, if a longer stay in a hospital for instance is necessary and one wants to be treated at home. These costs will only be covered if I have an additional health insurance for foreign countries.

Since such an additional insurance is quite cheap, usually about 6 to 10 Euros for up to 42 days, one should definitely get that insurance.
 

J F Gregory

Portugal Central - October 2019
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (March-April,2016) finished, (October 2019) Portuguese Central Route.
#14
Hey all,
In just over a month I'm going to be booking plane tickets for my upcoming Camino, and I've heard that one should purchase travel insurance at the same time. I'm planning to, but I have no idea where to buy the insurance from or even where to start looking. Can anybody offer up some recommendations on which companies are the best/easiest to work with? I'm not anticipating having issues on my Camino, but then again, nobody ever thinks they'll have a problem. If it makes a difference, I'm very healthy and in my early 20's.
Thanks in advance!
Jess
Contact your local insurance carrier for suggestions.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept 2016
Camino Portuguse Oct (2018)
#15
If you are a veteran, or one of your parents was a veteran, you might be eligible to join USAA. They have excellent travel insurance. And because the cost of your trip is so low, essentially just the plane fair, the premium for coverage is very low. Mine cost less than $80 for my 50 days on the Camino.

BTW, the health care in Spain is great. We unfortunately had to use it. My buddy caught the Camino Flu. The care he was given was very good and it was at NO cost. Language can be a problem, so bring your google translator with you.

Buen Camino
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Francis, Fall 2016
#16
Hey all,
In just over a month I'm going to be booking plane tickets for my upcoming Camino, and I've heard that one should purchase travel insurance at the same time. I'm planning to, but I have no idea where to buy the insurance from or even where to start looking. Can anybody offer up some recommendations on which companies are the best/easiest to work with? I'm not anticipating having issues on my Camino, but then again, nobody ever thinks they'll have a problem. If it makes a difference, I'm very healthy and in my early 20's.
Thanks in advance!
Jess


Allianz and Travel Guard are two very good companies, both highly rated. solid. I have used them on numerous occasions.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Arles Route (2013/2014 onwards)
#18
Do you have comparison websites in the US? I've found them useful here but before I buy I Google reviews of that company to see how they handle complaints and claims.
Ultreïa!
 
Camino(s) past & future
C/F: 2013, 2014
C/M: 2016
C/P: 2015, 2017
C/I: 2018
Voluntario: 2014 to 2018
#20
That's not quite true. Health systems and the financial coverage in case of illness vary throughout the different european countries as well as the countries in the EU. So one needs to check what's in case of accident oder sickness covered beforehand too.

In my country for example the costs which arise due to sickness or accident during a stay in another european country is only covered up to the amount they'd pay at home too. If the treatment costs in the foreign country would be more expensive than at home I'd have to pay the difference.

So I need an insurance to finance that gap too. Also transport back home / medical evacuation has to be payed out of ones own pocket, if a longer stay in a hospital for instance is necessary and one wants to be treated at home. These costs will only be covered if I have an additional health insurance for foreign countries.

Since such an additional insurance is quite cheap, usually about 6 to 10 Euros for up to 42 days, one should definitely get that insurance.
I used the conditional “should cover,” not a declarative “will cover.” Having lived in Europe for several years, I am aware that not all insurance schemes are the same.

Health insurance, globally, comes with a big “caveat emptor” provision.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Ingles (2016) Camino Portuguese (2017) Considering Invierno 2019
#21
Jess, I see from your profile you are US based.
Most people in Europe buy Insurance for travel to North America because of the high cost of medical treatment. In Spain if you require medical treatment, you will find that it is free at the point of use and you will not be turned away. Apart from prescriptions, It is quite difficult to pay for treatment directly in Spain. The bill for treatment will eventually be forwarded to your home address.

Most people choose to take out Insurance to cover either medical treatment or cancelled/Curtailed trips and loss/theft. I know nothing of the US Travel Insurance industry, so you will need to take advise locally. In the UK annual travel insurance actually works out cheaper than single trip travel insurance.

Good luck
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPDP-Finisterre X 2, El Norte incompleto
#22
In Spain if you require medical treatment, you will find that it is free at the point of use and you will not be turned away.
Not exactly true. I went to the hospital in Santiago this summer. They would not acepta payment from me at the hospital, but they did take my name, address, passport information, etc. I just received a bill via email a couple of weeks ago for 361€, which I had to pay by bank transfer, which cost me an additional $35.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2002/3 and 2004/5)
Camino Ingles. (2008)
Camino Portuguese. (2009)
Camino del Norte (2008 and 2014)
Ruta de la Plata (2004)
Camino Primitivo. (2015)
Camino Mozarabe (2007)
"Tunnel" route (2016)
Camino del Salvador (projected: 2017)
#23
Jess, if you are from U.S. this will not be v helpful, I’m afraid.
But, on the matter of travel insurance, for those from U.K., the EHIC card is, I suggest, a prerequisite: it affords reciprocal health care in Spain.
Further, certain bank accounts (e.g. Nationwide and Co-op) include worldwide travel insurance as an “added feature” (plus premiums for declared medical conditions). Well worth exploring.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Portugues March 2019
#25
Not exactly true. I went to the hospital in Santiago this summer. They would not acepta payment from me at the hospital, but they did take my name, address, passport information, etc. I just received a bill via email a couple of weeks ago for 361€, which I had to pay by bank transfer, which cost me an additional $35.
And if this had happened here in the U.S., you would have been charged more like $3,000 euros at least! My daughter in law who was visiting from Poland had an infection that required an antibiotic. She had to be seen in the ER to get it as no clinics or Dr. offices would see her. Her bill was $750!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
#26
Lots of good advice above.

Though recommending travel insurance is rather like recommending a place to eat. Experiences and expectations will vary considerably I think.

As a young healthy person I would imagine your premiums will not be too bad.

It's worth reading the fine print though and checking what is covered.

I use my normal travel insurance that I have for business travel, but............ they considered walking 800 kms at my age (60) an additional risk and imposed a small additional premium. They didn't merely consider it as going 'walking'.

On the flip side, looking at the World Nomads suggested above, my only reservation would be that they cover all kinds of extreme sports and remote locations. In my mind that means they are covering a much higher risk profile than people walking a Camino, and therefore their premiums might be higher than just regular travel insurance....
 

Gwyn

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
SJPdP to Burgos 2018
SJPdP to Santiago 2019
#28
Here in Australia if you book your flights with a "platinum card" credit or debit you automatically get travel insurance. Worried me but a friend just had car accident in US and the bank paid up! Check with your bank and which card you have! Will be back in April and will use my "free" insurance! 👍✌😎
 

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