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Insurance advice: WN or ihi direct?

Posted by raymie on 26/7/2013 at 17:51


First off, I apologize as my question is probably off-topic and not related to this site's theme of catering to travel in SEA.

Actually, I am based in US and my parents will be visiting for a few weeks. Considering high medical costs in US, I want to buy travel insurance for them. I have been searching online for some time now about which is the best policy. Quite a few US based providers exist, but they seem questionable operations (getting policy is easy and cheap, but getting claims paid if something happens is next to impossible). I don't mind paying a little more, if I have the peace of mind that my folks are covered if something happens.

Through LonelyPlanet, I landed on WorldNomads and IHI-Bupa sites. Searching reviews on WN and bupa lead me here on this forum.
It appears to me that lot of people are satisfied with ihi (and WN). And, I have few questions:

- When I check policy rates on WN and sites there's a vast difference in rates for very similar policies. Am I missing something here?
- Are their any advantages to taking policy through ihi-bupa directly vs. through WN?
- The annual rate on ihi-bupa seems to be about $100 less than that for 4 week trip. This was little strange for me. Why would this be?
- Are their any other insurance companies that I should consider? My parents are below 65 and aren't likely to indulge in adventure sports.
- Does anyone have any experience with ihi/WN here in US, particularly with claims?

I'll really appreciate if the folks on the forums, the experienced travelers, can give some advice.

Thanks in advance.

#1 raymie has been a member since 26/7/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by goonistik on 26/7/2013 at 21:32

I suspect one of the reason WN might cost more is that they provide coverage for sports and leisure activities such as water skiing, etc. The ihi policy might be more restrictive.

#2 goonistik has been a member since 7/1/2010. Location: Philippines. Posts: 562
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Posted by raymie on 31/7/2013 at 05:36

Thanks for your response.

Actually, the ihi policy happens to be more expensive than WN. Does that mean WN policy is more restrictive?

Also, on ihi site the annual travel policy is less expensive than single travel policy (for less than 1 month). I don't understand why it should be so!

#3 raymie has been a member since 26/7/2013. Posts: 2

Posted by SBE on 1/8/2013 at 04:36

I can think of a couple of reasons why buying World Nomad's insurance direct from their underwriter might cost more.

-Does ihi allow you to opt out of cover for the US and Canada? WN didn't use to have this option but they do now and it helps bring down the price a bit.

-Do ihi pay out the full amount when you make a claim? Again, WN used to cover everything and pay out 100% of your costs but they now impose a very hefty excess fee on every claim (except life threatening emergencies and death I think). The excess fee depends on where your home country is but it's in the region of $100 so it's not worth putting in a claim for anything less than that. Medical care in SE Asia is relatively cheap and I bet the vast majority of their claims in the past were for less than $100. They're probably saving themselves a ruddy fortune by not covering the most probable illnesses and accidents any more....things like traveller's diarrhea, cuts and bruises requiring a few stitches, infected wounds, rashes and skin infections, earache, coughs and colds, getting a tooth filling etc.

I don't know why the yearly insurance is so much cheaper than single trip insurance but the one month limit away makes it more suitable for people on business trips and package holidays than backpackers....maybe their risk of having an accident or falling ill abroad is much lower?

#4 SBE has been a member since 14/4/2008. Location: Global Village. Posts: 2,037
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