Backroads Travel Insurance - 2023 Review
Backroads Travel Insurance
- Pre-existing Medical Condition Waiver
- Reputable insurance partner
- High Cost
- No Cancel For Any Reason option
- Only one insurance plan choice
- Low Medical Insurance and Medical Evacuation
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Backroads Tours operates worldwide biking and hiking vacations for active travelers.
Backroads Tours sells travel insurance as a part of the buying process. Some of their trips permit online booking, while for others you must call and speak with a sales rep. Either way, they offer trip insurance when you pay the initial deposit. Unfortunately, they only provide a take-it or leave-it insurance option with limited benefits.
We’ll review the details of Backroads Tours' travel protection plan and then compare it with policies available in the broader travel insurance marketplace.
Sample Trip: Backroads Vermont & Quebec Biking Tour
Our sample couple, aged 62, are taking the 5-night Vermont & Quebec Bike Tour from July 30 – Aug 4 for $8,998.
The tour begins in Burlington, Vermont, and travels through Vermont before crossing into Canada and ending in Montreal, Quebec Canada.
Upon finalizing the trip, before payment, we’re asked if we’d like to purchase travel insurance. The insurance has a tier structure based on the age of the traveler at the time of purchase:
For our travelers, the cost of insurance is $359.92 per traveler for a total of $719.84.
The travel insurance provided by RoamRight. The policy provides $50,000 of medical coverage and $100,000 of medical evacuation coverage as well as trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage.
The policy does not automatically provide Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) coverage, but Backroads recently begun providing a CFAR add-on option to the insurance for an extra $100 per traveler:
By adding the Cancel For Any Reason option to the insurance, our travelers would pay a total of $919.84 for insurance.
Before we look at quotes in the open marketplace to see what is offered, let’s review what key benefits travel insurance should provide to travelers.
Trip Cancellation Insurance Refunds Your Money
Like all comprehensive travel insurance plans, Backroads Tours' insurance reimburses 100% of your trip costs for covered Trip Cancellation reasons.
The most common covered reason people cancel their trip is an unforeseen illness, injury, death of a traveler, a traveling companion, or an immediate family member.
Other covered cancellations for Backroads Tours insurance include:
- Inclement weather
- Traffic accident en route to the destination
- Hijacking, quarantine, jury duty, strike
- Fire, flood, burglary, or natural disaster at your home or destination
- Permanent transfer of employment, planned vacation revoked by employer, involuntary layoff
- Felonious assault
- School year extended
- Normal pregnancy
- Change of military leave or assignment
- Bankruptcy or Default of airline, cruise line, tour operator
- Theft of passports or visas
- Mandatory Evacuation due to adverse weather or natural disasters
- Called to military service due to natural disaster
Backroads Trip Insurance only protects the dates you tour with them. If you plan additional travels, before or after your tour, you must buy a second policy to cover those activities.
By comparison, travel insurance in the open marketplace through sites like TravelDefenders will cover you from when you leave your house to when you walk in the door. If you plan a pre-tour or post-tour stay, all TravelDefenders policies can cover the entire trip.
Trip Interruption Pays You Back for Unused Trip Costs
When unforeseen events like injury, sickness, or a family emergency back home disrupt your trip, travel insurance makes you whole for your loss.
As with trip cancellation, the most common covered reasons that interrupt a trip are the unforeseen illness, injury, or death of a traveler, traveling companion, or an immediate family member.
Backroads Tours' Trip Interruption insurance shares the same list of covered reasons as their cancellation benefit. It reimburses up to 150% of your trip costs to cover the unused portion of the prepaid, non-refundable trip costs. The additional amount above 100% helps pay for the extra cost of transportation to return home.
Trip Interruption insurance is incredibly helpful if something happens early on into your trip.
- You are on a hiking tour and sprain your ankle on the trail on your first full day
- You cannot continue to hike due to your injury
- You must buy new plane tickets to get home and receive a refund of the unused portion of your trip
- Your family member suddenly passes away
- A fire, flood, or natural disaster at your home
- Employer notifies you while on vacation that you were downsized
- A traveling companion's family member unexpectedly becomes gravely ill
Medical Insurance Pays for Treatment and Hospitalization
Imagine you had a bicycle accident while riding on your tour. You injured your wrist, neck, and back and need X-rays and treatment.
Do you have medical insurance protection outside of the United States? Most insurers, including Medicare, have limited or no coverage abroad. You'd be responsible for paying the full cost of medical treatment.
Some Medicare supplements provide a lifetime limit of $50,000 for life-threatening medical treatment outside the US. However, you must pay a copay, deductible, and 20% coinsurance. You could be on the hook for over $10,000 even when Medicare pays. However, if you have a severe illness or injury, treatment could cost more than $50,000. In that case, you must pay ALL of the excess costs out-of-pocket.
You cannot count on the US State Department to help you, either. Their role is to help you with legal and political circumstances, not medical emergencies. In fact, the State Department recommends all US residents traveling abroad take travel medical insurance.
Countries with universal healthcare do not extend those services to tourists and visitors. The citizens pay for the right to access comprehensive public health care. On the other hand, Americans receive treatment from private hospitals and pay full price. Hospital costs for a single night could be thousands of dollars with a severe event. One example is a heart attack, which could run up a bill into the tens of thousands.
In summary, adequate medical insurance provides peace of mind for you and your trip. Fortunately, it is not expensive.
We recommend all travelers, especially seniors, have at least $100,000 in Medical Insurance coverage whenever traveling outside of the United States.
Travel Medical Insurance safeguards your retirement savings from catastrophic loss. If you experience a medical emergency while traveling, you can rest easy because insurance protects your nest egg. Your accounts and finances are there for living expenses, not to pay for hospital bills.
Unfortunately, Backroads Travel Insurance only accommodates $50,000 in medical insurance in its policy. While it is better than nothing, this low benefit could leave you financially exposed to a medical emergency abroad.
Emergency Medical Evacuation Brings You Home
Medical emergencies rarely happen at convenient times or places. Emergency Medical Evacuation costs can be just as financially damaging, if not more so, than the health care expenses themselves.
We recommend that travelers buy at least $250,000 in Medical Evacuation coverage whenever you travel outside of the United States.
If you have a critical illness or injury that requires medical evacuation, even take a short ride in an air ambulance could cost $25,000-$75,000. Similarly, a private jet outfitted as a flying ICU taking you back to the United States may cost up to $250,000-$500,000.
Like medical insurance, medical evacuation charges can drain your retirement savings and leave you financially ruined.
Medical evacuation could include:
- Transportation to the nearest hospital to stabilize your condition
- Transportation from the nearest hospital to a more suitable hospital for treatment
- Transportation a hospital near your home for recovery
Unfortunately, Backroads' Travel Insurance only provides you with $100,000 for Medical Evacuation, which is a fraction of what TravelDefenders recommends. That is adequate for domestic travel but not for international.
Pre-existing Medical Conditions
A pre-existing medical condition is an injury, illness, or disease of the insured, traveling companion, business partner, or family member that occurs within 60-180 days before the policy's effective date.
If it occurred within 60-180 days before buying the policy, pre-existing medical conditions includes:
- New conditions first presented or treated
- Worsened conditions, new symptoms, required acute treatment
- New or changed medications
- Test or treatment is given or recommended by a physician
Like many other plans, Backroads insurance covers conditions older than 60-180 days if they are stable and controlled with medication.
We are pleased to see Backroads Tours trip insurance offer a waiver of pre-existing medical conditions. The waiver allows the policy to strike out the 60-180 day exclusion and cover all pre-existing conditions, even if they were diagnosed yesterday.
Backroads Tours travel insurance includes the Pre-existing Condition Waiver when:
- You buy the plan before or on the same day of your final payment; and
- You are medically fit for travel at the time you purchase your plan.
Fortunately, many TravelDefenders policies also offer Pre-existing Medical Condition Waivers.
Cancel Your Trip For Any Reason
Life can throw many unexpected situations our way, which is truer of travel now than it ever was. Travelers recognize there are times standard cancellation insurance is not enough. Consequently, you may want travel insurance with Cancel For Any Reason benefits included.
Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) policies allow you to cancel for any reason whatsoever and still receive a partial refund of your trip costs – either 50% or 75% depending on the policy chosen.
CFAR plans have a few requirements to enjoy the coverage. The policy will reimburse a portion of the trip cost if you:
- Purchase the plan within 10-21 days of Initial Trip Payment
- Insure 100% of prepaid and non-refundable trip costs
- Are medically fit to travel when you buy the policy
- Cancel 2 days or more before your departure date
Now that we know what important benefits to look for in travel insurance policies, let’s see what we can find in the open marketplace through TravelDefenders.
TravelDefenders Offers Affordable Alternatives to Backroads Trip Insurance
TravelDefenders is a travel insurance marketplace. We work with leading travel insurers to provide quotes based on the trip details entered and present them to you in an easy-to-read and compare format.
As mentioned above, we recommend travelers, particularly seniors, heading overseas take a plan with at least:
- $100,000 Medical Insurance
- $250,000 Emergency Evacuation
- A Pre-existing Medical Condition Waiver if needed
Inputting our trip details into the TravelDefenders quoting system, we have 27 plans to choose from. The least expensive plan that meets our minimum medical and medical evacuation coverage is the Trawick First Class for $492.80, which is the total cost for both travelers combined.
The policy provides $150,000 of medical coverage and $1 million of medical evacuation coverage as well as a waiver to cover any pre-existing medical conditions if we purchase the policy within 14 days of the initial trip payment or deposit date.
Unfortunately, Backroads' travel insurance only provides you with $50,000 for medical coverage and $100,000 for Medical Evacuation. That is adequate for domestic travel to supplement your Medicare or other US health insurance, but not adequate for international.
Comparing the Trawick policy to the Backroads’ policy, we’re paying $227 LESS for the Trawick policy and getting much higher medical and medical evacuation coverage!
If we cancel for a reason listed in the policy, such as illness or injury, we’ll get a 100% refund of our non-refundable trip costs back. However, if we want maximum cancellation flexibility, we’ll need to look at our options from TravelDefenders for Cancel For Any Reason policies.
TravelDefenders – Cancel For Any Reason Policies
As the name suggests, Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) policies allow you to cancel for any reason whatsoever and receive a partial refund of trip costs – either 50% or 75% depending on the policy purchased. These policies allow maximum cancellation flexibility.
Looking at the quote from TravelDefenders, the least expensive CFAR policy with adequate coverage for our trip is the AIG TravelGuard Plus (CFAR 50%) for $715.04, which is the total cost for both travelers combined.
The policy provides $100,000 of medical coverage and $1million of medical evacuation coverage as well as provides a waiver to cover pre-existing medical conditions if the policy is purchased within 21 days of the initial trip payment or deposit date.
Comparing the AIG policy with the CFAR option added to the BackRoads’ policy, the AIG policy is $204 LESS AND has more coverage for medical and medical evacuation.
If we cancel for a reason such as illness or injury, we’ll get a 100% refund of our trip costs but if we use a non-listed reason, we’ll get a 50% refund.
If we want a policy that provides the maximum 75% refund, our least expensive option is the Trawick First Class (CFAR 75%) for $837.76.
The policy provides the same benefits of the standard Trawick First Class policy but adds the Cancel For Any Reason benefit if the policy is purchased within 14 days of the deposit or initial trip payment date. This policy is $82 LESS than the RoamRight policy with the CFAR benefit included and has better medical and medical evacuation coverage.
If we cancel for a reason such as illness or injury, we’ll get a 100% refund of our trip costs but if we use a non-listed reason, we’ll get a 75% refund.
Unfortunately, Backroads Tours travel insurance does not provide travelers with good value for their money The travel insurance provided through Backroads Tours is only suitable for trips in the United States where you can count on your personal health insurance or Medicare to help you out.
First, Backroads Tours travel insurance costs hundreds of dollars more than a similar and better plan like the Trawick First Class.
Backroads Travel Insurance only provides $50,000 in medical insurance in its policy. While it is better than nothing, this low benefit could leave you financially exposed to a medical emergency abroad.
Second, as mentioned previously, Backroads' Travel Insurance only provides you with $100,000 for medical evacuation, which is inadequate for international travel.
We were pleased to see Backroads Tours trip insurance offer a waiver of pre-existing medical conditions. The Waiver allows the policy to remove the 60-180 day exclusion and cover all pre-existing medical conditions, even if they were diagnosed yesterday.
To get the best value for your money, visit TravelDefenders first to shop around before committing to the first travel insurance policy you find. Please stop by and chat, send an email, or give us a call at +1(786) 321 3723.
This article has been written for review purposes only and does not suggest sponsorship or endorsement of AARDY by the trademark owner.
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