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Camino Essential: Travel Insurance

Discussion in 'Medical Problems' started by Desert Rain, Jan 14, 2012.

  1. Desert Rain

    Desert Rain New Member

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    Although it has been mentioned in passing, I want to emphasize the importance of travel medical insurance, especially for those from the U.S. and other non-E.U. countries. Let me share my cautionary tail....

    Last March, I was starting my 4th day of the camino via mountain bike – on the trail rather than the paved road. Less than five minutes after leaving the albergue in Logroño, my rear tire lost traction on the rain-slicked cobble stones in the center of the city. My foot hit the pavement, and as I fell to the ground, I saw that my knee was completely dislocated. To make a long (and painful!) story short, I had torn every ligament in my knee – ACL, LCL, PCL and MCL!

    Within 12 hours, I would learn how very fortunate I was in two ways....

    First, absolutely EVERYONE with whom I came into contact during the accident and subsequent hospitalization was amazingly kind, caring and generous. From the municipal police and ambulance drivers to the nurses and social worker at the hospital to the airport staff in Madrid, I was so very impressed and moved by the care they showed. The police even took my bike back to the police station where they disassembled it, and packed it up for my plane flight home to the U.S. In terms of the medical care, I do not think I could not have received better care anywhere in the world.

    Second, purchasing travel medical insurance turned out to be one of the best decisions of my life. Although my normal health insurance at home would have eventually reimbursed me for most of the hospitalization, I would have had to pay out of pocket. More importantly, no home insurance would have paid for the many non-medical costs or helped me with the logistics of getting home in a hip-to-toe cast. My $80 investment in the travel insurance saved me more than $10,000 in expenses. Upon giving the nurse my insurance information in the emergency room, I had absolutely no further paperwork or out of pocket costs. My medical travel insurance both paid for and helped me arrange the following:

    • 100% of the cost of hospitalization for 3 days.
    • 100% of the cost of the ambulance ride to the hospital.
    • 100% of the cost of a four-hour ambulance ride from Logroño to the airport in Madrid.
    • 100% of the cost of a Business Class flight from Madrid to my home in Arizona purchased the day before the flight. (With my cast, I couldn't even fit into a coach seat and this plane ticket alone would have cost me $4000!)

    More than just paying for these things, the insurance company worked directly with the hospital social worker to make all of the arrangements for my return journey. Imagine trying to arrange for a 4-hour ambulance ride without this help: not only would the logistics be a nightmare (even if you speak spanish fluently), but you would have to arrange for payment.... all from your hospital bed while drugged out on pain meds! Instead, all I had to do was concentrate on getting better.

    Please, please, please.... spend the small amount of money needed to obtain travel medical insurance. If nothing else, it will give you peace of mind. That alone, is worth $3 per day!

    HAPPY ENDING.... After two surgeries, two months lying in bed, and four months of physical therapy, I am planning on returning to Logroño where I will continue my Camino exactly one year after my accident. This time, I will be walking....

    Will I have insurance? You can count on it!
     
  2. zzotte

    zzotte Member

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    Well first I hope you are doing well considering what happened, I think is a great idea to have insurance when traveling the problem I find is finding a good insurance company so maybe you could send me a PM with the name of company? That would be great.

    Zo
     
  3. Desert Rain

    Desert Rain New Member

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    I found my travel insurance through a basic on-line search. I used Frontier Medex: http://www.medexassist.com. I am sure that there are other equally good companies out there, but I cannot provide any first-hand feedback on them. In my case, Medex was affordable and very, very helpful when the ALMOST worst-case scenario came to pass.
     
  4. zzotte

    zzotte Member

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    Thank you Desert Rain, wow a search for "international travel insurance" yields tons of companies thanks for the info at least is a starting point.

    Zo
     
  5. heyjude

    heyjude Member

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    Thank you for this post. We will definitely buy travel medical insurance, but what is your advice on trip cancellation insurance? It sounds like that didn't come into play in your case, but did you have that, too?
     
  6. cherylpatton

    cherylpatton New Member

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    Thank you so much for this information! It's exactly what I need.
    Cheryl
     
  7. RooHoo

    RooHoo Guest

    Hello, and thank you for sharing your story. Your post was from 2012, did you go back in 2013? And, if so, how was the walk? We are walking in May of 2014 and I will get travel medical insurance. What company did you use? Thank you.
     
  8. heyjude

    heyjude Member

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    We bought travel medical insurance through our bank (CIBC). Medical was about $300 for both of us and trip cancellation about $700.
     
  9. heyjude

    heyjude Member

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    No, wasn't able to go back this year. We used our bank - CIBC - for our medical insurance, as well as trip cancellation insurance.

    Great trip to look forward to.
     
  10. Ofelia

    Ofelia Guest

    Thank you so much DesertRain for the information about medical ins. I'm a newbbiee at this and learning so much for people like you.
     
  11. dee7one

    dee7one Member

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    Hi Desert Rain,

    Can you tell what insurance you purchased, and where I can find it? Thanks much!



     
  12. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    Hi Dee

    This is quite an old thread, so while awaiting a response from Desert Rain, I thought I would chip in.



    I had a look at your profile page and couldn’t see which country you come from, if you are from Europe then I get my own travel insurance through https://www.truetraveller.com – This small company is run by a couple of ex backpackers, so it is quite refreshing to have a real conversation from people who actually now about travelling when you ring up for a quote.



    Also, if you are from an EEC member country then getting an E111 is very useful, when I had some knee problems on my last Camino I went to see the local doctor and was very impressed with the service I was given – It was also FREE :)



    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
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  13. dee7one

    dee7one Member

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    Hi Rob,

    Thanks so much for your quick response! I'm from the US so can't take advantage of your EEC benefits! I did find a recommendation a bit further down in the thread, so will check that out -- even though like you I'd rather talk to some backpackers!

    Thanks again, Rob,
    Dee
     
  14. RJS

    RJS Well-Known Member

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    No problem Dee and sorry I could be of more help.



    When I aren’t walking Camino’s, I am often trekking in Nepal and a travel insurance company that is often highly recommended is World Nomad’s - https://www.worldnomads.com/ and although I have no direct experience with them myself, if they offer good enough cover for people to trek to Everest Base camp, they should be good enough for walking Camino’s, so might be worth looking at.



    Good Luck and Buen Camino

    Rob
     
  15. dee7one

    dee7one Member

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    Thanks again, Rob. I'll check them out!

    Wow, Nepal, huh? That's something I'd love to do someday!

    Dee
     
  16. UnkleHammy

    UnkleHammy Well-Known Member

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    Hi

    I went to my local auto club (AAA, here in California it is CSAA) and got what I needed from them. They have a very helpful travel department.
     
  17. dee7one

    dee7one Member

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    Thanks UnkleHammy! I went ahead and signed up with MEDEX but I appreciate your response!
     
  18. Snowwhite

    Snowwhite Member

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    Hi

    I already have travel insurance through my bank (normally) unfortunately my Camino days won't be covered as they have a time limit of 30 days I believe and I'll go beyond that. If any one is doing a short camino it might be worth checking.

    I'll get a specific travel insurance for this trip and I also have the European health insurance card.
     
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