Paris Hotels Articles

August 9, 2010

Why travel insurance is important

It seems obvious that those who enjoy adventurous trips should have travel insurance. Adventurous trips would include all those going to Africa on safaris, skiing and snowboarding in Aspen or Switzerland, white water rafting in Colorado and bunjee jumping in Jamaica. You get the picture. However, those of you who enjoy a more sedentary type of vacation should also consider travel insurance.

Why? You might ask.

My parents, in their early seventies and very healthy, have been traveling to France for the past ten years. Basically, their vacation consists of drinking wine and eating well. They rent a small house boat and travel along the canals at approximately five miles per hour.

Last year, after renting a boat and cruising the canal du Midi, they stayed for a couple of days in a hotel in Paris. One morning while walking down the hotel’s spiral staircase, my mother missed a step and broke her ankle bone. She was taken to the American Hospital in Paris. Several bones in her ankle were badly broken and surgery seemed necessary. However, after checking the x-rays, the doctor decided not to operate but to place her leg in a cast, keep her in the hospital for a few days under observation and, if a second x-ray showed that everything was in place, she could stay a few more days at a nearby hotel until ready to take a plane back home.

My parents followed the doctor’s advice. They had to change their plane tickets and pay for a few extra days at a nearby hotel plus pay for the hospital stay. Once back home my parents tried to get their health insurance company to reimburse them. After reviewing their case the insurance company declined to reimburse most of the medical expenses because they did not consider her hospital stay necessary. Even a letter from the doctor in Paris explaining her condition was useless.

My mother went to see an orthopedist to follow up her case and was told she needed surgery. She had a severe fracture that was not going to heal with a cast. Her doctor at home thought she should have been operated on in Paris. This was not a simple broken ankle that would heal on its own. Still, the insurance company refused to pay.

This story is an example of why travel insurance is necessary for everyone. If my parents had purchased travel insurance they would have been covered for the emergency room visit and hospital stay. Instead, they have had to hire a medical claims lawyer to help them negotiate with their insurance company.

Purchasing travel insurance is fairly easy. There are many companies online to choose from. You can also choose the extent of your coverage. For example, choose to have all medical expenses like emergency room visits and hospital stays covered or choose to have hotel and airplane expenses covered in case of a cancellation.

Had my parents had travel insurance they would have paid around $100 for two persons for two months of travel which would have covered the hospital stay instead of the $12,000 they owe now.

Needless to say, this year my parents purchased travel insurance for their trip to France. They even made me purchase insurance for my 10 day trip to visit them. Guess we all learned our lesson.

Bon Voyage!

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