Aurora Expeditions Travel Insurance - 2020 Review
Aurora Expeditions is an Australian cruise line with a passion for adventure travel. Greg Mortimer, world-renowned explorer and mountain climber, founded Aurora Expeditions to share incredible experiences with others. Cruises visit exotic and remote places like Antarctica, the Arctic, Greenland, Scotland, Iceland, Patagonia, Panama, Costa Rica, and Nepal.
Regardless of where you buy travel insurance, Aurora Expeditions requires all travelers going to the Arctic or Antarctic own travel insurance, especially Medical Evacuation. You must provide the details about your travel insurance plan before embarkation. Aurora Expeditions offers a single “take-it or leave-it” option and refers US customers to a third-party insurer.
Although Aurora Expeditions’ travel insurance plan offers adequate Medical Insurance, Medical Evacuation, and the option to add extra benefits to their plan, it comes with a high price tag. Bottom line: it’s a poor value for your money.
Aurora Expeditions Travel Insurance Plan
Although you can book your Aurora Expeditions cruise on their website, you cannot buy trip insurance directly from them. Rather, they refer you to a third-party travel insurance website, Ripcord Rescue. Fortunately, their website is user-friendly.
Aurora Expeditions travel insurance is not your typical cruise insurance plan. It’s a mashup of different companies offering evacuation services and travel insurance. It is a comprehensive plan that emphasizes Emergency Evacuation.
First, the Redpoint Resolutions membership service provides Medical Evacuation. However, it is not a one-time purchase; it automatically renews each year. Consequently, you must cancel Redpoint before it renews on the anniversary of your purchase. Worth noting, Evacuation membership is not an insurance benefit in this policy.
Second, Redpoint excludes all other benefits except Evacuation. So, State National Insurance Company underwrites the medical insurance, cancellation, interruption, and baggage portions of the plan. They are “A” rated for financial strength by AM Best, an independent insurance rating organization.
Third, Aurora Expeditions cruise insurance offers an optional Cancel For Any Reason and Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation benefits.
Cancel For Any Reason gives you more cancellation flexibility than the limited reasons listed in the policy. Non-Medical Evacuation transports you somewhere safe in an emergency, not caused by a medical condition.
Examples of Non-Medical Evacuation include natural disaster, military, civil, or political unrest, or being declared an expelled/persona non-grata.
In this insurance review, we include Cancel For Any Reason and Non-Medical Evacuation in the price because similar policies include them.
Our Cruise: Costa Rica and the Panama Canal
Our example cruise begins in Costa Rica and travels south along the Pacific coast to the Panama Canal, into the Caribbean Sea, ending in Cartagena, Colombia.
This 12-day expedition costs $14,400 for 2 travelers, ages 55 and 60, staying in a balcony stateroom.
Price of Aurora Expeditions Travel Insurance
Aurora Expeditions offers a single travel insurance option with two elective benefits. In our review, we include Non-Medical Evacuation and Cancel For Any Reason because they come standard with several policies available at AARDY.
Altogether, Aurora Expeditions travel insurance costs a whopping $2,448 for 2 travelers. Without Cancel For Any Reason and Non-Medical Evacuation, the price of Aurora Expeditions cruise insurance is $1,432. That would be a reasonable price if it included Cancel For Any Reason and Non-Medical Evacuation, but it’s distressing that Aurora Expeditions’ travel insurance charges an additional $1,000 for only two extra benefits.
Alternatives to Aurora Expeditions Travel Insurance
Now, we compare Aurora Expeditions cruise insurance to other trip insurance programs available on the wider market.
AARDY recommends travelers buy at least $100,000 Medical Insurance, $250,000 Medical Evacuation, and a Pre-existing Condition Waiver for trips outside the US. However, since Aurora Expeditions frequently travels to remote areas, we recommend $500,000 Medical Evacuation for those places.
Notice that iTravelInsured costs 75% less than Aurora Expeditions cruise insurance.
Next, the least expensive plan that includes Cancel For Any Reason is iTravelInsured Travel LX. It costs $1,285 for two people, which is about half the price of Aurora Expeditions trip insurance.
Let’s look at all three plans, side-by-side.
If you cancel your trip for a reason named in the policy, Trip Cancellation pays you back 100% of the trip costs.
Aurora Expeditions cruise insurance offers a generous list of covered cancellation reasons:
- Accidental injury, sickness, or death of a traveler, your traveling companion, your family member, or your business partner
- The death or hospitalization of the person you are staying with during your trip
- Inclement weather, natural disaster, or terrorist attack which results in the complete cessation of services for at least 24 hours
- A mandatory evacuation due to hurricane or other natural disaster
- Named hurricane causing your destination to be uninhabitable for 4 days or 50% of your trip
- Natural disaster or documented man-made disaster that makes your destination uninhabitable
- Strike that causes complete cessation of services of your common carrier for at least 24 hours
- Mechanical breakdown of your common carrier
- A transfer by your employer that requires you to relocate
- You are terminated or laid off from your place of work
- Your company is involved in a merger, and you are directly involved in the merger
- Within 30 days before you leave, a politically motivated terrorist attack occurs within 100 miles to any place you are visiting
- A bankruptcy and/or default of your travel supplier occurs 14+ days after you buy the plan
- A documented theft of passports or visas
- Your equipment is delayed by a common carrier/customs, and that keeps you from being able to do a scheduled hunting, fishing, or sport expedition
- You and/or a traveling companion are hijacked; quarantined; required to serve jury duty; subpoenaed; required to appear as a witness; the victim of a felonious assault; have a fire, flood, or other natural disaster in your home; or burglary of your home within 10 days of your departure date
- Traffic accident on the way to the airport or cruise port substantiated by a police report
- You, a traveling companion, or family member (who are military personnel) are called to emergency duty due to a natural disaster other than war, military due within 30 days of departure, or your leave is revoked, or you are redeployed
- The US government or authorities prohibit the activities you were planning to do
- A trip cancellation if a travel delay causes you to lose more than 50% of your trip
Notably, Aurora Expedition trip insurance excludes Cancel For Work Reason. If your boss granted you or your traveling companion time off but later required you to work due to a job emergency, both iTravelInsured policies refund the cost of the trip.
Worth noting, both iTravelInsured plans include Cancel For Work Reason when you purchase the plan within 20 days of your Initial Trip Payment. To make a claim, submit a written statement from an unrelated company official or HR department that confirms the change.
Also, both Travel SE and Travel LX reimburse your trip cost if the NOAA National Hurricane Center issues a hurricane warning for your destination. Unfortunately, Aurora Expeditions travel insurance does not cover cancellation unless a hurricane makes your destination uninhabitable.
If you must return home early from your trip, Trip Interruption reimburses you for the unused portion of your trip. You can see which Trip Interruptions the policy covers by checking the list of Cancellation reasons.
For example, if you are injured and you can’t finish the rest of your trip, Trip Interruption helps you recover the prepaid travel arrangements you would otherwise lose. You receive full reimbursement for your insured trip cost plus the added cost of coming home early.
Private health insurance covers medical emergencies within the US, but health insurance provides little or no help while outside of the US. A medical emergency that occurs overseas can cost you a lot of money.
Senior travelers worry about Medical treatment while outside the US. Before you travel abroad, consider that Medicare does not pay non-US providers. Also, supplemental plans limit Medical Insurance to a $50,000 lifetime limit in an emergency.
Universal healthcare in other countries typically does not cover Americans. US travelers must pay full price at a private hospital. Therefore, we suggest you travel with enough Medical Insurance in case something happens.
Aardy always recommends traveling with a minimum of $100,000 in Medical Insurance when heading outside the US. If you travel with lower limits, you risk paying out of pocket for medical bills.
With $100,000 Medical Insurance, the Aurora Expeditions travel insurance plan satisfies this recommendation. Of course, both iTravelInsured plans exceed the minimum recommended amount. Travel SE has $150,000 Medical Insurance, and the Travel LX has $500,000 Medical Insurance.
Overall, you find more value with the iTravelInsured plans than Aurora Expeditions’ cruise travel insurance.
Emergency Medical Evacuation
If you have an injury or become ill while traveling, Medical Evacuation transports you to the nearest medical facility that can treat your condition. Once the doctor certifies you are stable for travel, Medical Evacuation transports you home for further treatment.
For less serious medical conditions, Medical Evacuation might be as simple as a commercial flight home. If you have a traumatic injury or critical illness, like a heart attack or stroke, the doctor might order a medical jet to fly you home.
Medical Evacuation on a private medical jet costs between $15,000-$25,000 per hour. That is why AARDY urges travelers to protect themselves with at least $250,000 Medical Evacuation insurance. However, if you travel to a remote part of the world where medical treatment is far away, it’s wise to buy at least $500,000 Medical Evacuation insurance.
With a generous $750,000 benefit, Aurora’s trip insurance provides great Medical Evacuation coverage. However, Travel SE has a robust $500,000 benefit for a fraction of the cost. Moreover, Travel LX has a massive $1,000,000 in Medical Evacuation coverage at half the price of Aurora Expeditions trip insurance. In sum, all three plans have ample Medical Evacuation insurance for remote destinations.
Pre-existing Medical Conditions
Sometimes medical emergencies arise unexpectedly and spoil travel plans. Because travel insurance does not pay claims for Trip Cancellations or Medical treatment resulting from Pre-existing Medical Conditions, we recommend senior travelers purchase a policy that has a Waiver of Pre-Existing Conditions.
Without a Waiver of Pre-existing Conditions, the insurer looks at your medical history for 60-180 days before you bought the policy. If the condition appears on your medical history for that timeframe for treatment, test, new prescription, change of medication, or recommended a test or treatment not yet completed, the policy excludes it.
Of course, if your medical condition is older than 60-180 days, like high blood pressure, and you haven’t seen the doctor, had a change in prescriptions or worsening of condition during that time, the policy covers it.
A Pre-Existing Condition Waiver remedies the situation. The Waiver brings coverage for Pre-Existing Conditions back into the policy. Therefore, if you purchase the policy within 14-21 days after paying your first trip deposit, then your policy covers Pre-Existing Conditions. Note, not all policies offer a Waiver.
Aurora Expedition trip insurance covers Pre-existing Conditions when you purchase the plan within 14 days of your Initial Trip Deposit. Similarly, Travel SE and Travel LX give you up to 20 days, so you have more time to purchase the policy and qualify for the Pre-Existing Condition Waiver.
Optional Cancel For Any Reason and Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation Benefits
Cancel For Any Reason lets you cancel and receive a partial refund for any cancellation reason other than those listed in the policy.
Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation transports you for an emergency evacuation other than a medical emergency, such as a natural disaster, military, civil, or political unrest, or being declared an expelled/persona non-grata.
By default, iTravelInsured Travel LX includes Cancel For Any Reason and Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation, but Aurora Expeditions costs $1,163 more than Travel LX for the same thing.
To use Cancel For Any Reason in iTravelInsured Travel LX, you must:
- Purchase the policy within 20 days of your Initial Trip Payment Date,
- Insure the full cost of your trip, and
- Cancel your trip 2 days or more before your scheduled departure date.
Interruption For Any Reason
Fortunately, all plans offer Trip Interruption insurance, so you have peace of mind knowing you are covered if you must cut your trip short or experience delays. But what happens if you go home early for a reason not listed?
In that case, iTravelInsured Travel LX permits Interruption For Any Reason. You can end your trip 48 hours or more after your scheduled departure for any reason not listed as a covered cancellation on the policy.
For example, if during your trip, your dog sitter emails you that your pet is very sick, you may want to go home early to be with your dog. Travel insurance covers an unexpected illness of a non-traveling family member but does not consider pets family members, although many of us disagree.
If this happens, Interruption For Any Reason reimburses up to 75% of your unused trip cost. That’s much better than losing the remainder of the unused portion of your trip.
Unfortunately, even though Aurora Expeditions offers Cancel For Any Reason, it fails to include Interrupt For Any Reason.
Aurora Expeditions travel insurance offers adequate Medical Insurance and good Medical Emergency Evacuation. Compared to similar plans available on the market, Aurora Expeditions travel insurance is too expensive. It costs two and a half times the price of the iTravelInsured Travel SE, and $1,100 more than Travel LX, both of which sell in the wider travel insurance marketplace.
Plus, Aurora Expeditions cruise insurance comes with a Medical Evacuation membership that is unnecessary, especially for a cruise to Costa Rica and the Panama Canal.
If you are considering booking a trip with Aurora Expeditions, compare other travel insurance plans, so you get the best value for your money.
When shopping around, look for policies that include at least $100,000 Medical Insurance, $250,000 Emergency Medical Evacuation, and whenever possible, a Pre-Existing Medical Exclusion Waiver.
Can I Find a Better Deal with the Insurer Directly?
No. Many people don’t realize that they won’t find the same trip insurance plans available at a better price. Prices are the same everywhere because of US anti-discriminatory laws.
When travelers want the best insurance, they shop on comparison websites like AARDY. We provide quotes through multiple insurers, so you can pick the most appropriate coverage, and have the peace of mind that you have proper protection.
In short, a trip insurance quote from AARDY is the same price you see from the insurance carrier directly. We do not compete on price for insurance products -- no one does. You can count on getting the best value from us.