Is Backroads Travel Insurance Worth Buying? - 2021 Review
Backroads Tours operates worldwide biking and hiking vacations for active travelers.
Backroads Tours sells travel insurance as a part of the buying process. Some of their trips permit online booking, while others you must speak with a sales rep on the phone. Either way, they offer trip insurance when you pay the Initial Deposit. Regrettably, they only provide a take-it or leave-it insurance option with limited benefits.
The Backroads insurance plan has minimal Medical Insurance, Medical Evacuation, and no option to add Cancel For Any Reason. Unfortunately, it also comes with a high price tag: 9% of the trip cost.
United States Fire Insurance Company underwrites the program, while TripMate administers and processes the claims. United States Fire Insurance Company is a reputable underwriter and backs several policies available at AARDY.
In this review, we look into the details of Backroads Tours' travel protection plan. Then, we compare it with policies available in the broader travel insurance marketplace.
Sample Trip: Backroads Baltic Sea Ocean Cruise Bike Tour
Our sample couple, ages 55 and 60, are taking the 7-night Baltic Sea Ocean Cruise Bike Tour for $19,798.
At 9% of the trip cost, the price of Backroads Tours Trip Insurance is a hefty $1,781.82.
Comparison: Other Travel Insurance Quotes
Our comparison begins with the Backroads Tour Insurance, and we compare it with two plans available at AARDY.
We recommend travelers, particularly seniors, heading overseas take the least expensive trip insurance plan with at least:
- $100,000 Medical Insurance
- $250,000 Emergency Evacuation
- A Pre-existing Medical Condition Waiver
The least expensive plan that meets these minimums is the Trawick First Class for $1,051.82.
Below, discover how Backroads Trip Insurance measures up against the most affordable AARDY policies.
Backroads Tours Travel Insurance
Trawick First Class
Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice CFAR 75%
100% Trip Cost
100% Trip Cost
100% Trip Cost
150% Trip Cost
150% Trip Cost
150% Trip Cost
Cover Pre-existing Condition
Yes, if purchased before Final Trip Payment date
Yes, if purchased within 14 days of Initial Trip Payment
Yes, if purchased within 20 days of Initial Trip Payment
Cancel For Any Reason
Yes, 75% cash refund
Accidental Death & Dismemberment
Cost of Policy
Does Backroads Tours Insurance Offer Good Value?
Unfortunately, Backroads Tours travel insurance does not provide travelers with much value for their money.
First, Backroads Tours travel insurance costs hundreds of dollars more than a similar and better plan like Trawick First Class.
Even more troubling, Backroads Tours' plan without CFAR costs $104.62 more than Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice with Cancel For Any Reason.
Second, Backroads Tours trip insurance does not provide adequate Medical Insurance or Evacuation protection. On the other hand, Trawick First Class covers 300% more Medical Insurance and 1000% more Medical Evacuation than Backroads Tours at a fraction of the cost.
Overall, you end up paying way too much money for travel insurance with Backroads Tours. You cannot get robust travel insurance protection for the same price unless you buy a policy through the marketplace.
Trip Cancellation Insurance Refunds Your Money
Like all comprehensive travel insurance plans, Backroads Tours' reimburses 100% of your trip costs for covered Trip Cancellation reasons.
The most common covered reason people cancel their trip is an unforeseen illness, injury, death of a traveler, a traveling companion, or an immediate family member.
Other covered cancellations for Backroads Tours insurance include:
- Inclement weather
- Traffic accident en route to the destination
- Hijacking, quarantine, jury duty, strike
- Fire, flood, burglary, or natural disaster at your home or destination
- Permanent transfer of employment, planned vacation revoked by employer, involuntary layoff
- Felonious assault
- School year extended
- Normal pregnancy
- Change of military leave or assignment
- Bankruptcy or Default of airline, cruise line, tour operator
- Theft of passports or visas
- Mandatory Evacuation due to adverse weather or natural disasters
- Called to military service due to natural disaster
Backroads Trip Insurance only protects the dates you tour with them. If you plan additional travels, before or after your tour, you must buy a second policy to cover those activities.
By comparison, Trawick First Class and Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice CFAR 75% cover you from when you leave your house to when you walk in the door. If you plan a pre-tour or post-tour stay, all AARDY policies will cover the entire trip.
Trip Interruption Pays You Back for Unused Trip Costs
When unforeseen events like injury, sickness, or a family emergency back home disrupt your trip, Travel Insurance makes you whole for your loss.
As with Trip Cancellation, the most common covered reasons that interrupt a trip are the unforeseen illness, injury, or death of a traveler, traveling companion, or an immediate family member.
Backroads Tours' Trip Interruption insurance shares the same list of covered reasons as their Cancellation Benefit. It reimburses up to 150% of your trip costs to cover the unused portion of the prepaid, non-refundable trip costs. The additional amount above 100% helps pay for the extra cost of transportation to return home.
Similarly, Trawick First Class and Seven Corners RoundTrip CFAR 75% reimburse up to 150% of trip costs for Interruption.
Trip Interruption insurance is incredibly helpful if something happens early on into your trip.
- You are on a hiking tour and sprain your ankle on the trail on your first full day
- You cannot continue to hike due to your injury
- You must buy new plane tickets to get home and receive a refund of the unused portion of your trip
- Your family member suddenly passes away
- A fire, flood, or natural disaster at your home
- Employer notifies you while on vacation that you were downsized
- A traveling companion's family member unexpectedly becomes gravely ill
Medical Insurance Pays for Treatment and Hospitalization
Imagine you had a bicycle accident while riding forest trails in Northern Europe. You injured your wrist, neck, and back and need X-rays and treatment.
Do you have Medical Insurance protection outside of the United States? Most insurers, including Medicare, have limited or no coverage abroad. You'd be responsible for paying the full cost of medical treatment.
Some Medicare supplements provide a lifetime limit of $50,000 for life-threatening medical treatment outside the US. However, you must pay a copay, deductible, and 20% coinsurance. You could be on the hook for over $10,000 even when Medicare pays. However, if you have a severe illness or injury, treatment could cost more than $50,000. In that case, you must pay all of the excess costs out-of-pocket.
You cannot count on the US State Department to help you, either. Their role is to help you with legal and political circumstances, not medical emergencies. In fact, the State Department recommends all US residents traveling abroad take travel Medical Insurance.
Countries with universal healthcare do not extend services to tourists and visitors. The citizens pay for the right to access comprehensive public health care. On the other hand, Americans receive treatment from private hospitals and pay full price. Hospital costs for a single night could be thousands of dollars with a severe event. One example is a heart attack, which could run up a bill into the tens of thousands.
In summary, adequate Medical Insurance provides peace of mind for you and your trip. Fortunately, it is not expensive.
We recommend all travelers, especially seniors, have at least $100,000 in Medical Insurance coverage whenever traveling outside of the United States.
Travel Medical Insurance safeguards your retirement savings from catastrophic loss. If you experience a medical emergency while traveling, you can rest easy because insurance protects your nest egg. Your accounts and finances are there for living expenses, not to pay for hospital bills.
Unfortunately, Backroads Travel Insurance only accommodates $50,000 in Medical Insurance in its policy. While it is better than nothing, this low benefit could leave you financially exposed to a medical emergency abroad.
Trawick First Class includes $150,000 in Medical Insurance, while Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice CFAR 75% furnishes $100,000.
Emergency Medical Evacuation Brings You Home
Medical emergencies rarely happen at convenient times or places. Emergency Medical Evacuation costs can be just as financially damaging, if not more so, than the health care expenses themselves.
We recommend that travelers buy at least $250,000 in Medical Evacuation coverage whenever you travel outside of the United States.
If you have a critical illness or injury that requires Medical Evacuation, even take a short ride in an air ambulance could cost $25,000-$75,000. Similarly, a private jet outfitted as a flying ICU taking you back to the United States may cost up to $250,000-$500,000.
Like Medical Insurance, Medical Evacuation charges can drain your retirement savings and leave you financially ruined.
Medical Evacuation could include:
- Transportation to the nearest hospital to stabilize your condition
- Transportation from the nearest hospital to a more suitable hospital for treatment
- Transportation a hospital near your home for recovery
Unfortunately, Backroads' Travel Insurance only provides you with $100,000 for Medical Evacuation. That is adequate for domestic travel but not for international.
They only give you a fraction of the protection AARDY recommends ($250,000) when traveling abroad. Simply put, Backroads Tours Medical Evacuation is inadequate and unnecessarily low.
Compared to Backroads, Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice CFAR 75% offers a generous $500,000 in Medical Evacuation, and Trawick First Class provides a robust $1,000,000.
Pre-existing Medical Conditions
A Pre-existing Medical Condition is an injury, illness, or disease of the insured, traveling companion, business partner, or family member that occurs within 60-180 days before the policy's effective date.
If it occurred within 60-180 days before buying the policy, Pre-existing Medical Conditions includes:
- New conditions first presented or treated
- Worsened conditions, new symptoms, required acute treatment
- New or changed medications
- Test or treatment is given or recommended by a physician
Like many other plans, Backroads travel insurance covers conditions older than 60-180 days if they are stable and controlled with medication.
We are pleased to see Backroads Tours trip insurance offer a Waiver of Pre-existing Medical Conditions. The Waiver allows the policy to strike out the 60-180 day exclusion and cover all Pre-existing Conditions, even if they were diagnosed yesterday.
Backroads Tours travel insurance includes the Pre-existing Condition Waiver when:
- You buy the plan before or on the same day of your final payment; and
- You are medically fit for travel at the time you purchase your plan.
Fortunately, many AARDY policies also offer Pre-existing Medical Condition Waivers.
Trawick First Class automatically furnishes a Waiver when you buy the program within 14 days of the initial deposit. You must cover all prepaid, non-refundable trip costs and be fit to travel at purchase.
Likewise, Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice activates the Waiver when you buy within 20 days of the initial deposit. Also, it requires that all insured parties are fit to travel at the time of insurance purchase and cover 100% of prepaid, non-refundable trip costs.
Even if you do not qualify for a Waiver, all AARDY plans cover Pre-existing Conditions if they are stable, controlled, and medications are unchanged in that 60-180 day window.
Cancel Your Trip For Any Reason
Life can throw many unexpected situations our way, which is more true of travel now than it ever was. Travelers recognize there are times standard cancellation insurance is not enough. Consequently, you want travel insurance with Cancel For Any Reason.
Regrettably, Backroads does not offer Cancel For Any Reason travel insurance to their customers.
AARDY has several CFAR plans available if you start looking shortly after paying your initial deposit. For this article, the Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice CFAR 75% plan was the least expensive of all CFAR plans.
CFAR plans have a few requirements to enjoy the coverage. The policy will reimburse 75% of the trip cost if you:
- Purchase the plan within 10-21 days of Initial Trip Payment
- Insure 100% of prepaid and non-refundable trip costs
- Are medically fit to travel when you buy the policy
- Cancel 2 days or more before your departure date
We are always disappointed with cruise lines and tour operators that do not offer the option for Cancel For Any Reason. Some suppliers only compensate travelers with future credit, but all policies at AARDY provide a cash CFAR refund.
AARDY Offers Affordable Alternatives to Backroads Trip Insurance
Travel Insurance through Backroads Tours is not great insurance. It is only suitable for trips in the United States where you can count on your personal health insurance or Medicare to help you out.
For travel abroad, Backroads' Trip Insurance falls short of protecting your finances in the event of a medical emergency.
While it has good Cancel For Work Reason provisions, it fails to offer Cancel For Any Reason. CFAR has become a necessity for many adventurers facing travel uncertainty.
Finally, Backroads Tours only gives you a single take-it or leave-it option. Unlike AARDY, you cannot choose the plan that fits you best.
No matter which trip you consider with Backroads, you can run a comparison quote with AARDY to see how much money you can save on a comparable or better policy. There is no obligation to buy if you run a quote, so why not check us before you book your trip?
When you work with AARDY:
- We can guarantee you won't find the same policy at a lower price
- You can compare and contrast Travel Insurance policies and value
- We list the plans from lowest to highest cost with clear benefit summaries
- We can recommend a policy to fit your needs and concerns.
Safe travels!### **Recent AARDY Travel Insurance Customer Reviews**