Expedia AARP Travel Insurance - 2020 Review
Expedia AARP Travel Center is a great tool to offer AARP members discounts and best rates from Expedia. However, Expedia AARP Travel Insurance offers very poor cover for travelers heading overseas.
We selected a Norwegian Cruise Line Southern Caribbean Cruise from Miami in October. The cost of our trip on board the Norwegian Jade was $999 per person.
Note that this price does not include taxes and fees, which will be added a little later in the check-out process.
These account for an additional $117 per traveler. So, do bear this in mind when booking your AARP Expedia Cruise – there will certainly be extra fees later during your booking.
Expedia AARP Travel Insurance – Check Out
When we got to check-out we were offered to protect our trip with Expedia AARP Travel Insurance.
Expedia recommends its own trip insurance policy for AARP members. The hard sell that is presented refers to the fact the Expedia AARP Travel Insurance is not available after booking.
We really do not like this type of approach when selecting any insurance product. Customers should always have the time to review their options, and decide which policy is best for them. Even trip insurance policies that incorporate time-sensitive benefits will typically have at least two weeks for a traveler to buy travel insurance after an initial trip payment.
Please do not let Expedia bully you into buying its single-choice travel insurance. Take the time to shop around in order to get best cover to suit your needs, and your budget.
Here is the cover that you will receive if you buy Expedia AARP Travel Insurance for your cruise.
Cancel before you cruise: insurer reimburses up to
- 100% of your cruise cost if you cancel due to illness, injury or other covered reasons
Catch up to your cruise:
- If your flight is delayed, we help you catch up to your cruise
- Get reimbursed up to $1,300 for change fees and meals
Protection during your cruise: insurer reimburses up to
- 100% of your cruise cost if you cut your cruise short due to illness or injury
- $1,500 for lost, stolen or damaged baggage
- $10,000 for eligible medical expenses
- Plus 24/7 worldwide emergency hotline
Over the years, we have reviewed travel insurance options from different travel insurers, travel companies, and airlines. Yet, time and time again, Expedia Travel Insurance comes out as having some of the worst level of protection benefits for an international traveler.
At AardvarkCompare, the minimum levels of cover that we recommend are as follows:
- Travel Medical Insurance - $100k per person
- Emergency Evacuation Insurance - $250k per person ($100k if traveling near-shore)
Our preference is that a policy includes a Pre-Existing Medical Condition Exclusion Waiver.
Cruise companies offer weak travel insurance.
We don’t know why, but cruise companies offer weak levels of cover that are far less than the levels we recommend.
Here is what we saw when we reviewed the major cruise line travel insurance packages:
- Carnival Cruise Travel Insurance – $10k
- Norwegian Cruise Travel Insurance – Platinum – $20k
- Norwegian Cruise Travel Insurance – Standard – $10k
- Princess Cruise Travel Insurance – Platinum – $20k
- Princess Cruise Travel Insurance – Standard – $10k
- Disney Cruise Travel Insurance – $10k
These are desperately poor levels of trip insurance cover, and Expedia AARP Travel Insurance offers the same level of ultra-low medical benefit as the worst policies that we see from cruise companies.
A quick note should be made that Expedia CruiseShipCenters – another Expedia booking platform – offers Travel Medical Insurance cover of $50,000 in its plan. Now, this is still not enough for us to recommend to an AARP Cruise Traveler, but it is an awful lot better than the $10k of medical cover that is presented via Expedia AARP Travel Center.
Why Expedia has such a range of single-cover plans depending on the internet site that a customer uses is quite beyond us.
Expedia AARP Travel Insurance – Provided by AIG Travel Guard
The travel insurance carrier that supports the Expedia AARP Travel Insurance program is AIG Travel Guard. AIG is one of the leading names in travel insurance here in the USA. It offers excellent policies, and wonderful customer support. Indeed, we are very proud that we were able to secure AIG Travel Guard as one of our original travel insurance partners in 2015 when we first launched AardvarkCompare.
But, the AIG Travel Insurance policy offered to Expedia AARP customers just is not strong enough to be worthy of consideration in any policy review.
SCHEDULE OF BENEFITS Maximum Limit Per Person
- Trip Cancellation - Trip Cost up to a maximum of $100,000
- Trip Interruption - up to 100% of Trip Cost up to a maximum of $100,000
- Bedside Companion - Daily Benefit - $100
- Trip Delay - $1,300
- Baggage & Personal Effects - $1,500
- Baggage Delay - $500
- Accident Medical Expense - $10,000
- Sickness Medical Expense - $10,000
- Emergency Evacuation & Repatriation of Remains - $25,000
Note that there is no Pre-Existing Medical Condition Exclusion Waiver. So, any recent medical condition that an AARP Traveler had encountered would be excluded from medical cover. Strong travel insurance policies will tend to have a medical waiver built in, so as to bring recent medical conditions back into cover. Not so with this Expedia AARP Travel Insurance from AIG.
Finally, when we look at the level of Medical Evacuation cover we are bewildered. $25,000 is a woeful amount of cover for such an event. We would never recommend less than $100k of cover, and prefer $250k for medical evacuation protection.
Let us try to explain our cover concerns in greater detail.
Travel Medical Insurance - $100k of Cover Required
One of the challenges that we all face when buying travel insurance is determining how much cover is appropriate. Buying too much can lead to unnecessary insurance costs. Too little can have significant financial repercussions in the event of event of a substantial claim.
With Travel Medical insurance we are guided by our experience, and that of our major travel insurers. We know that international private hospitals can charge as much as $3k-$4k per day. In the event of a serious illness or accident, it is likely that a multi-day stay will be required, as well as periods of convalescence.
We add this together and give ourselves a recommended minimum level of travel medical insurance of $100k when heading overseas.
Then we check to see what our travel insurers are offering, and what policy they sell most of. The most popular policy we sell from Travel Insured International has $100k of Medical Cover. The trip insurance plan we sell most frequently from iTravelInsured has $150k of medical cover.
So, we think that $100k is a good idea, our travel insurers think it is a good idea, and our customers buy policies with that level of cover most of the time.
In other words, the $10k of medical insurance cover that Expedia AARP Travel is offering its international cruise customers is simply not sufficient.
Medical Evacuation Cover - $250k of Cover
Travel Medical Evacuation cover is another area where experience and comparison guide us. We look at a worst-case scenario of needing to helicopter a patient off a cruise ship, and then transfer them to a long-range private jet. We need the jet to be specially equipped with medical equipment and staffed with an on-board medical team. The cost of these trips can be enormous. We prefer to see at least $100k of Medical Evacuation insurance in place to handle such an eventuality.
However, as travelers move further away from shore, or travel to more remote locations, our recommended level of medical evacuation cover increases to $250k.
Again, when we look at policies provided by our diverse group of travel insurance carriers at AardvarkCompare, we see a minimum level of cover of $100k. Many of the policies have $250k of cover, several offer $500k and a larger number offer $1m in medical evacuation benefit. This gives incredible peace of mind when venturing further afield.
Again, this is a case where our belief about minimum cover is matched by the levels that are available in the wider travel insurance market. Yet, Expedia AARP Travel Insurance offers only $25k of protection. That is totally insufficient for us to recommend.
Pre-Existing Medical Condition Exclusion Waiver
We have written at length about the importance of including a Pre-Existing Medical Condition Exclusion Waiver in every travel insurance policy. We feel that this is particularly important for AARP Travel Insurance customers.
We only ever recommend a policy that includes such a Medical Waiver, and almost every policy that we have offers such protection.
Recent medical conditions (new or changed in the last 60 days) are typically excluded from cover.
Older medical conditions that have had recent changes to medication (new or changed levels in the last 60 days) are also typically excluded from cover with all travel insurance plans.
However, provided the policy is bought promptly after an initial trip deposit or payment (normally around 14–20 days), a waiver will be included that removes the exclusion.
As such a pre-existing medical condition that would ordinarily be excluded from cover is now brought back into protection again. Such waivers can be a life-line for travelers who have had recent injuries or illness, but still wish to travel with medical protection.
Yet again, Expedia AARP Travel Insurance customers are let down – a Medical Waiver is not included in the policy that Expedia provides. AARP members can and should do better.
Expedia AARP Travel Insurance – Value for Money
We began this article by looking at trip insurance from Expedia for AARP Travel customers.
You may recall that the trip cost was $999 per person, with an additional $117 each in taxes and expenses. A total of $1,116 per person, or $2,232 for our traveling couple.
Expedia AARP Travel Insurance was quoted at $82 per person, or $164 in total.
Let’s look at the cost of travel insurance when we compare a selection of the USA’s top travel insurers. At AardvarkCompare, our job is simple. We work with a group of leading travel insurers so that our customers can compare and contrast trip insurance cover and price.
We show the least expensive trip insurance policies first, and recommend the least expensive policy that will meet our minimum recommended cover levels.
Our customers are assured of best value. We do not ever mark up the price of a policy – that is illegal. We can guarantee that the policies that you see on our site cannot be beaten in price – you will not find the same policy at a lower price.
When we run the exact same quote through our system, our 65-year-old couple is able to get a world-class plan from Travel Insured International for only $150.
There are numerous plans to choose from, but we will take the Travel Insured International Worldwide Trip Protector.
It is one of our most popular plans for AARP travelers heading overseas.
Travel Insured International Worldwide Trip Protector
Travel Insured International Worldwide Trip Protector - $150 policy cost
- Medical Insurance Cover - $100k
- Medical Evacuation Cover - $1m
- Pre-Existing Medical Condition Exclusion Waiver – Yes
Let's compare this against the Expedia Policy.
Expedia AARP Travel Insurance - $164 policy cost
- Medical Insurance Cover - $10k
- Medical Evacuation Cover - $25k
- Pre-Existing Medical Condition Exclusion Waiver – No
There is no contest. Please take the time to shop around for travel insurance next time you book your trip. AARP Travel Insurance customers should choose from the entire market, and then take the time to compare policies, just as AARP recommends. Please buy trip insurance that offers appropriate cover for you and your family. Compare prices so as to ensure best value. And, if possible, book early enough so as to gain the benefit of a medical waiver on your trip insurance.
**Please Note: AARP do not provide sponsorship or endorsement of travel insurance brokers. No such endorsement or sponsorship of AardvarkCompare exists and none is implied. At AardvarkCompare we strive bring world-class travel insurance to our customers, so they can compare and contrast mulitple insurance plans to find the right plan for their travel needs, and travel with confidence.