Costco Travel Insurance – Company Review
Costco Travel Insurance ought to be the best possible value Travel Insurance in the USA. But, it’s not, which is a shame.
There are two approaches that member organizations can take when it comes to the provision of Travel Insurance. The first, taken by people like AARP, is to offer extensive guidance as to the benefits of shopping the market for Travel Insurance.
The second, which we see with people like AAA, is to partner up with a single Travel Insurance Carrier, and offer single-carrier plans to its customer base.
Costco Travel Insurance has taken this second pathway, which seems strange. However, to its credit Costco Travel has partnered with one of the strongest Travel Insurance Carriers in the USA, AIG Travel Guard.
Costco Travel Insurance from Travel Guard
We know Travel Guard as part of the AIG Travel organization. It is, without question, one of the world’s leading Travel Insurance Carriers. So, if you buy Costco Travel Insurance you are going to be in good hands. You should expect excellent customer service, before and during your trip. In the event that you need to rely upon an Emergency Assistance service, then Travel Guard will support you. It has a great reputation.
But, so do all of the leading Travel Insurance Carriers in the USA. It makes no sense at all to get prices from just one of them. If Geico, State Farm, and All State were offering to insure your car, but one of them was half the price, you would happily go with the cheapest. That just makes sense. So, why wouldn’t you do the same for Travel Insurance? Shop around and get best value.
AardvarkCompare – Travel Insurance Marketplace
AardvarkCompare is the World’s Leading Travel Insurance Marketplace. We have pulled together the leading Travel Insurance Carriers in the USA, and placed them into a single screen. This means that you can compare and save, quickly. We only work with Travel Insurance Carriers who hold at least an ‘A’ rating from A.M. Best. But, we also will only work with those who have a reputation for excellent customer service.
Travel Guard is one of our carriers, and we are always happy to include it in the mix of Trip Insurance products that we offer to our customers. But we would never wish to only offer one Insurance Carrier.
Let’s see why we take this approach as we review Costco Travel Insurance and Travel Guard.
Costco Travel Insurance – Quote Process
Sometimes it is nice to reminisce about the past. Rarely is that the case when we think about internet forms from 10 or 20 years ago. Yet, if you wanted to blast back and see what things were like in the days of AOL Dial-Up and 56k modems, then you could do no worse than check out the monstrosity that is the Costco Travel Insurance quote screen. Old and clunky are too kind.
Anyway, once you have figured out how to make the data entry process work, you are on your way to getting a quote.
For the purposes of this exercise, we initially looked at a retired couple, spending $4,000 on a trip to London.
This is a pretty typical vacation that we see from our customers, so we wanted to see how Costco Travel Insurance compared to the rest of the market.
Here’s the Costco Travel Insurance Quote
So, we see a base price of $172 for our two travelers. We need to spend an additional $363 if we wish to add Cancel for Any Reason Trip Insurance Protection.
Now, this does make an assessment a little tricky, when we cannot get to the ‘Buy’ screen. Costco Travel Insurance repeatedly crashed during our quote process.
But, let’s take a look at the benefits on offer.
Costco Travel Insurance Benefits
- 100% Trip Cost Trip Cancellation and 150% Trip Cost Trip Interruption
Reimburses nonrefundable, unused payments or deposits if you must cancel or interrupt your trip due to an illness, injury, or death of you, a family member, traveling companion or business partner or other covered reasons.
- $1,000 Trip Interruption – Return Air Only
Reimburses the additional airline transportation expenses incurred by you to reach the return destination for trip interruptions due to one of the Unforeseen events shown in the Trip Interruption section.
- $1,000 Trip Delay
Reimburses up to $200 per day for reasonable additional expenses until travel becomes possible if your trip is delayed for more than 12 hours due to covered reasons.
- $1,000 Missed Connection
Reimburses you if Inclement Weather or Common Carrier causes cancellation or a delay of regularly scheduled airline flights for three or more hours to your point of departure.
- $1,000 Baggage and Personal Effects
Reimburses you if your luggage is lost, damaged, or stolen while on your trip.
- $200 Baggage Delay
Reimburses you for the purchase of necessary personal effects if your bags are delayed for more than 12 hours.
- $50,000 Accident Sickness Medical Expense
Pays for medical expenses incurred while on a trip.
- $1,000,000 Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation of Remains
Covers evacuation expenses as directed by a physician to the adequate medical facility of your choice or home in the event of death or if medically required.
- $50,000 Accidental Death and Dismemberment
Pays for loss of life and limb if it occurs within 365 days of an accident during your trip.
(When cover is purchased within 21 days of Initial Trip Payment)
- Pre-Existing Medical Condition Exclusion Waiver (Limitations apply)
Costco Travel Insurance Cover Review
At first glance, the levels of protection on offer from Costco Travel Insurance are strong. There are elements that we wish were better, but, on the whole, this is a good policy for Domestic travel.
For International travel, not so good.
Travel Health Insurance
When traveling within the USA, most of us do not really need very strong Travel Medical Insurance. We tend to all have reasonable health insurance from our home state, that travels with us for emergency use. Where Travel Health Insurance can help us is if we have high co-pays or deductibles.
Traveling overseas is a completely different problem. Invariably our personal health insurance will not travel with us. Both the State Department and CDC have offered strong guidance to all US citizens and residents to take robust Travel Health Insurance with them when they travel. The US State Department will not offer financial support in the event that a US citizen is left with crippling health costs from a stay in a foreign hospital.
To that end, we recommend when traveling overseas that a US citizen take no less than $100k of Travel Medical Insurance. Any less leaves us feeling quite uncomfortable. International private hospitals can charge day rates of $3k to $4k, so our $100k cover level seems prudent.
Costco Travel Insurance only provides $50k of cover. Given the choice, on an international trip, we simply wouldn’t feel comfortable with this level of cover. It’s fine for a domestic trip, but just not enough when heading overseas.
Pre-Existing Medical Condition Exclusion Waiver
Pre-Existing Medical Conditions, relating to Travel Insurance, can be confusing.
The Travel Insurance Carrier does not consider your medical condition to be ‘Pre-Existing’ unless within the ‘Look-Back Period’ it is:
- a New Condition
- a Change of Symptoms of an Old Condition
- an Old Condition Recommended for Treatment
- a Change of Medication to an Old Condition
The ‘Look-Back Period’ is a period of days that is defined by the Travel Insurance Carrier. The shorter the Look-Back Period, the better. The best that we see is only 60 days. The worst that we come across is 180 days. That is simply too long a period of time, in our opinion, to expect a traveler to remember every single illness or change in medication.
Unfortunately, Costco Travel Insurance incorporates a 180-day Look-Back Period. A shame, as this can be very difficult for many travelers.
The solution to both the Look-Back and having a Pre-Existing Condition is to be granted a waiver. A waiver to the Exclusion of your Pre-Existing Medical Condition will bring the condition back into cover. A little confusing, but very helpful.
This waiver is known as a Time-Sensitive Benefit. In the case of Costco Travel Insurance you need to have bought Trip Insurance within 21 days of your initial trip deposit in order to qualify for the waiver.
Medical Evacuation Cover
Sometimes, the local hospitals where we are on vacation are just not good enough to support us, in the event of serious illness or accident. Medical Evacuations can be some of the most expensive costs that a Travel Insurance will ever have to support. A specially equipped private jet, with an on-board medical team, should have a cover budget of $100k, if close to the USA. Should the traveler be on vacation in a more remote part of the world, then a Medical Evacuation budget of $250k would be far more appropriate.
Costco Travel Insurance offers $1m of Medical Evacuation cover. This is excellent.
Basic Trip Cancellation Cover
Costco Travel Insurance provides standard levels of Trip Cancellation Protection in the event that sickness or death of travelers or family members prevents the traveler from taking the trip. There is nothing in the contractual language that Costco Trip Insurance provides that causes us concern.
Cancel for Work Reasons Trip Cancellation Cover
There does appear to be a gap in cover when compared with other Trip Insurance Policies that we review. Most comprehensive travel insurance cover will include protection in the event that a traveler had been laid off, through no fault of their own. Moreover, the best Travel Insurance plans will support a traveler who has had his previously agreed work vacation cancelled by his boss. We really appreciate this type of Cancel for Work Reasons Travel Insurance.
Unfortunately, Costco Travel Insurance has no Cancel for Work Reasons benefits or provisions. That’s a shame, because many people rely upon this type of protection. If you are still working, and need this cover, please look elsewhere. Costco Trip Insurance is not going to help here.
Cancel for Any Reason Trip Cancellation Cover
The most comprehensive Trip Cancellation Cover is known as Cancel for Any Reason Travel Insurance. It is one of our favorite elements of a Travel Protection Policy for those who want the ultimate booking flexibility.
It allows, with a few conditions, for the traveler to cancel their trip, without needing any reason at all, and receive a 75% refund.
The traveler will need to adhere to these conditions in order to receive the 75% refund when cancelling:
- Insure the full trip amount (non-refundable costs)
- Pay the travel insurance premium within 21 days of the initial trip deposit
- Cancel with at least 48 hours’ notice
So, a very powerful benefit, but also an expensive benefit when bought through Costco Travel Insurance. In our quote, we saw that the cost of Trip Insurance was tripled when Cancel for Any Reason cover was added. This is unusual, and we would certainly recommend shopping around.
Costco Travel Insurance – Conclusion
Costco Travel Insurance has taken the unusual step of promoting its own brand-name Travel Insurance in conjunction with Travel Guard. Travel Guard is an excellent Travel Insurance Carrier.
Costco Trip Insurance has excellent benefits for Domestic Travel.
However, Costco Trip Insurance does not provide sufficient medical insurance protection for overseas travel.
Basic Cancellation protection is very good.
Work Cancellation protection from Costco is non-existent.
Cancel for Any Reason cover is excellent, but very expensive.
So, a mixed group of results.
By all means, include Costco Travel Insurance into your range of quotes when you are looking to buy Travel Insurance. But do not rely upon it as your only option. Note the strengths and weaknesses of the policy options, then buy the best travel insurance for your trip.
We are always on hand to offer alternative travel insurance options from the USA’s leading Travel Insurance Carriers.
Recent AardvarkCompare Travel Insurance Customer Reviews
I Panicked When I Discovered
I panicked when I discovered the Travel Insurance I had through Expedia had expired when I changed my flight reservation.
When I went to renew I was told I couldn’t.
I discovered Aardvark on my AARP site and I was excited I could purchase an even better travel plan with cover starting with my trip departure, at a cost I could afford.
I was confused with the initial site and Mr. Breeze reached out to me for clarification.
He explained the policy more thoroughly and addressed all my concerns, can’t get any better than that!
Thank You Aardvark and thank you Jonathan for your assistance.
I can go on my trip now knowing I’ll be covered for medical emergencies and then some.
Good Choices, Well Explained
I liked the way insurance was explained. I had read an article your company had written explaining Expedia trip cover versus other choices.
I used this advice to make the best choice for me and my traveling companions. That choice was to take a policy that provided much better medical and evacuation primary care.
Your site allowed comparisons, and I think I got the best value for my money. I don’t like constant follow up emails, though. You could back off a bit!!