Disney World Trip Insurance - Is It Worth It?
Ah, travel insurance. Yes or no?
At the end of the day, it’s a gamble, and can factor in such things as existing health insurance, protection from your own credit card companies or banks, and your own overall tolerance of risk.
My wife and I are both travel agents, and are also both former first responders. Our tolerance of risk is tempered by some rather unfortunate experiences, both firsthand and as witnesses to the aftermath of somebody’s gamble, usually on the losing side. This past February, we opted to reduce our risk and bought trip insurance for Toni’s participation in the Disney Princess Half-Marathon and for a few days at the park afterwards. You know – just in case.
Our just in case happened on the third day at about 2:30 AM.
Oh, don’t worry – Toni was fine. She ran the 13.1 miles & then shut down the Magic Kingdom that same day. No problems there.
At some point on our third day, despite obsessive hand-washing and plentiful use of anti-bacterial sanitizer, I ingested a microbe or a bacteria or virus or tiny alien parasite that rendered me making-deals-with-God sick a few hours after dinner. The exact diagnosis remains undetermined by the ER doc. Personally, I don’t care if it was norovirus, gastroenteritis, food poisoning or a miniscule xenomorph – I was ready for it to end after about the fourth hour. Like most men, I will resist seeing a doctor for anything less than major trauma, but I knew I was already badly dehydrated and heading down an unrecoverable path if I tried to gut it out any further. Also my paramedic wife lost patience with my unending denial (“I’m fine” isn’t convincingly delivered at certain times) and called 911, so there’s that.
As there is no Magical Express Shuttle to the Celebration Hospital, the transportation is handled by the merry men of the Reedy Creek Fire Department utilizing a far less magical but much more brightly lit transportation system. The one upside is that you can lie down the entire time, and you don’t need a Fast Pass for the stretcher ride.
Could this have been prevented? Apparently not – I was one of several patents in the ER with similar symptoms. Kids, adults - we all got it, somehow, from something at least relatively unforeseeable. Illness respects none of us. I’m a pretty big guy, in fairly good shape, and overall pretty healthy. I got dropped like a bag of dirt, and I couldn’t see it coming or stop it.
A few hours and several doses of prescription medication later, I was released to back to our resort, where I recovered for the next 36 hours or so. All I wanted was crackers, apple juice and apple slices for three days afterwards.
All that to say this: something I couldn’t prevent came out of the blue and made me go to the hospital during our trip to Disney. All told, it cost $1660.00 to patch me back up, and that’s negotiated down from close to $3K.
Or it would have, if I didn’t spend $155 for both of to have trip insurance before we left. Our trip insurance covered it all – the only out-of-pocket was for the prescription medications I was on for days afterwards, and we were reimbursed for that as well.
I also need to give major props to Disney for taking excellent care of me and my wife during that time. They extended every possible courtesy to us during that time, going over and above every possible courtesy we could imagine.
I don’t do any kind of a hard sell, ever. Moreover, I’ll be completely honest and tell you that while (as travel agents) we do get a small commission on travel insurance, it’s never, ever enough to try to persuade anybody into buying if they’re just not interested.
I have purchased trip insurance to hedge my bet for the past three trips to Disney. I always figured if I’m in it for a few thousand, what’s another $155 to make sure the money we spent on the trip stays safe?
I CAN tell you that my risk-related gamble paid off this last trip. Once again, I paid $155 for trip insurance for two people, anticipating that somebody else might need it. Ultimately, I was the one that found myself unexpectedly taking advantage of it. For us, it paid off big time, this time.
Be sure to bear this in mind before your next trip, OK? Do what’s best for your friends, family and self.
About the Author - Ian Scott: All of our agents have a solid commitment to researching the Disney Destinations and are always trying new restaurants and experiences so that we can give first-hand information to our clients but only Ian has been willing to test the Disney World trip insurance by becoming violently ill on vacation. Don't you want someone with that level of dedication working on your vacation?
Disney Trip Insurance - Toni's Side of the Story
Nothing prepared us for Ian getting sick on vacation since we primarily purchased the trip insurance just in case I fell and broke something during my first half-marathon. Monday night came at a total surprise, and around hour 4, I called the front desk to see if they had any medical personal or a nurse on staff. They did not, and they called 911 on my behalf and provided directions up to our room, which was on the second floor in the Casitas buildings. The wait time was not long at all – maybe under 10 minutes, which gave me time to get Ian and myself ready and to grab our IDs, Magic Bands and the print-out of the travel insurance brochure. I was greeted at our door by not only the two paramedics, but by the nighttime resort manager as well. He gave me his number to call when we needed to be picked up to return to the resort, which, unbeknownst to me until then, was covered by the resort.
When Ian was getting treated in his cubicle in the ER, I spoke with the business office in a separate area. The clerk presented me with the initial (sans doctor’s and pathology fees) bill. I gave them our basic information and the insurance company claim/group number. The clerk called the insurance line, spoke with them, and then handed me the phone to verify information. The insurance representative told me I was supposed to pay everything in full there (he even told me I should “call my family and friends back home to borrow the money”) then they would reimburse me. Maybe I just got a guy on the phone that just did not want to do his job – I do not believe in any way that this was a normal response to calls and NOTHING about this was on the claims procedures. I reminded him of this and proceeded to read from their form verbatim on their claims process. The representative then advised me to just send them the bills. The hospital billing clerk was extremely helpful, gave me the paperwork I needed as the ER was discharging Ian for us to return to our resort via taxi provided by the resort. I spoke with a different insurance representative later that day and she told me that we only needed to mail them the bills with the form they were sending us and they would take care of the rest! The cast members at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort were incredible. The next on-duty manager walked me through how to order Ian’s prescription medications which were delivered to the resort and those fees were added to our room charges. Ian’s fever broke about 12:00 or 1:00am that next night so we never needed to cut our trip short; we just needed to take it slow.
It took about 4 weeks to receive all of the bills that were sent to us, along with the Travelex insurance claim form had to be filled out and hard copies of all bills mailed in. Once Travelex received everything, the claim was taken care of within about two weeks. The hospital, ER doctor, and pathology bills were paid and we were reimbursed for our expense for the prescription.
We are definitely continuing to purchase trip insurance for all of our trips, and I am encouraging others to do so as well. When you do, print out the brochure we send you. Pack it first.
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