Costco Travel Insurance - 2021 Review
Costco Travel insurance is a take-it or leave-it plan underwritten by AIG Travel Guard. Travel Guard is one of the most reliable travel insurance carriers in the country. However, the policy Costco Travel set up has restrictive limits and lacks many features that Travel Guard’s retail plans offer. There’s no room to customize your coverage.
Costco Travel insurance provides a short list of cancellation reasons similar to a basic policy. It neglects Cancel For Work Reasons and resembles AIG Travel Guard Essential.
On the other hand, AIG Travel Guard Preferred has the same level of Medical Insurance as Costco’s plan, $50,000. Preferred offers Cancel For Work Reasons and bankruptcy protection that Costco Travel does not.
Also, Costco Travel insurance does not offer Cancel For Any Reason or any other optional upgrades.
On the positive side, we are happy to see Costco Travel offer 150% Covered Trip Interruption protection, adequate Medical Evacuation coverage, and a Pre-existing Medical Condition Waiver.
It’s curious that a company like Costco, who has a reputation for excellent value, promotes such a deficient insurance plan. The high cost for senior travelers, coupled with minimal coverage, means it offers little value for the price.
Costco Travel insurance is not available in every state, nor to residents of Puerto Rico. Plus, Costco Travel insurance does not apply to Adventures by Disney, Trafalgar, Luxury Gold, Contiki, Brendan Vacations, Costsaver, Disneyland Resort vacation packages, or Lion World Travel. Note: Travel Guard (and all other plans) purchased through AARDY covers the above travel providers.
How to Get Costco Travel Insurance
Costco Travel insurance restricts use to Costco members only. Also, you must book your trip through Costco Travel.
Costco Travel does not make travel insurance a priority for their customers since their website does not offer travel insurance at checkout.
To buy Costco Travel insurance, you would call Travel Guard directly and set it up over the phone. Alternatively, you can buy Costco Travel insurance on Travel Guard’s website.
The website checkout is stark and does not teach you much about the coverage it offers. Setting up a quote is relatively easy. But, the website is unclear about what you’re buying unless you find a policy certificate.
Our Costco Travel Vacation
Our Costco Travel trip is to the Koro Sun Resort in Fiji. The $3,469 per person price includes seven nights, three meals per day, airfare, a massage, lei greeting, and wifi access. Our example travelers are ages 55 and 60. This is the information used to generate travel insurance quotes.
What Does Costco Travel Insurance Cover?
Costco Travel insurance is a comprehensive policy that includes Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Medical Insurance, Medical Evacuation, Pre-existing Medical Condition Waiver, Baggage Insurance, Baggage Delay, Trip Delay, Missed Connection, and Travel Assistance.
We recommend that you review the certificate because Costco Travel insurance has limitations and exclusions.
In the chart below, we compare Costco Travel insurance’s benefits along with two plans from AARDY. We consistently recommend travelers buy at least $100,000 Medical Insurance, $250,000 Medical Evacuation, and a Pre-existing Medical Condition Waiver when traveling abroad.
First, we show Trawick First Class. It is the least expensive plan that met our minimum recommendation for Medical Insurance, Evacuation, and Pre-existing Conditions.
Costco Travel Insurance Plan
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
$250/day, max $1,000
Cover Pre-existing Condition
Yes, if purchased within 21 days of Initial Trip Payment
Yes, if purchased within 14 days of Initial Trip Payment
Yes, if purchased within 20 days of Initial Trip Payment
Cancel For Work Reason
Cancel For Any Reason
Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation
Accidental Death & Dismemberment
Cost of Policy for
Cost of Policy for
Cost of Policy for
How Much Does Costco Travel Insurance Cost?
In the chart above, the Costco Travel insurance costs a total of $305.80 for travelers 55 and 60 years old. Their price is competitive compared to Trawick First class, costing $310.31.
However, they do not have equal footing. Costco Travel Medical Insurance is a problem. It only covers $50,000 for hospitalization and medical treatment. By contrast, Trawick First Class includes $150,000 Medical Insurance for about $4.50 more. In terms of value, Trawick First Class soars. It offers three-times as much Medical coverage over Costco Travel insurance.
Price and Value
Besides low Medical Insurance, another shortcoming with Costco Travel insurance is that prices increase exponentially with age.
Travelers in their 70s will find Costco’s price higher without providing extra benefits.
Although the price difference between Costco Travel insurance and Trawick First class is only $29.02, that’s a 600% increase from the first bracket.
Costco Travel insurance penalizes active senior travelers in their 80s. While Trawick First Class charges $774.62, Costco Travel insurance makes you pay $1,307.61—nearly double. Most troubling is that for $114.81 less than Costco’s, you could get a policy with Cancel For Any Reason, the highest level of protection.
We can only recommend Costco Travel insurance for younger travelers who travel domestically. The Medical Insurance is too low for adequate international travel and prices spike up for senior travelers.
Overall, Costco Travel insurance is a disappointment because it does not perform well for senior or international travelers. Equally troubling is that Costco Travel customers assume it’s a high-performing plan based solely on Costco’s reputation. Unfortunately, Costco profits from selling a singular, restrictive policy instead of helping their customer find the best plan for their needs.
Costco Travel insurance includes a Trip Cancellation benefit. If you must cancel your trip for any of the reasons listed in the policy, it refunds you 100% of the total trip cost.
- Sickness, injury or death of the insured, family member, traveling companion or business partner
- Hijacking, quarantine, jury duty, subpoena, witness appearance
- Called to military duty or leave is revoked or reassigned
- Involuntary termination of employment
- Employer-initiated transfer
- Residents uninhabitable or inaccessible by fire, flood, vandalism, burglary, or natural disaster
- Named hurricane making residence or destination uninhabitable or inaccessible
- Traffic accident en route to the destination
- Inclement weather
Costco Travel insurance provides a minimal list of covered cancellation circumstances that lacks several familiar situations.
First, Costco Travel insurance fails to protect you against terrorism. Typically, travel insurance plans allow you to cancel in full if there is a terrorist act at your destination within 30 days of departure. All plans available at AARDY include terrorism coverage.
Second, Costco Travel insurance leaves you exposed if your carrier (airline, cruise line, etc.) goes into bankruptcy or default.
We are puzzled why Costco Travel chose not to include this cancellation reason. AIG Travel Guard Essential, AIG Preferred, AIG Deluxe, and AIG Plus plans all cover it, and they are issued by the same insurance company Costco Travel uses.
Likewise, all plans at AARDY protect you against loss from financial default. However, to activate it, some require that you purchase the policy shortly after paying your initial deposit or payment.
Third, Costco Travel insurance chose not to include a crucial Cancel For Work Reason protection: if your employer cancels or rescinds your vacation.
Anyone who has ever scheduled a vacation into a busy work-week can appreciate this security. Although Trawick First class does not include Trip Cancellation due to rescinded vacation, several policies at AARDY do.
Cancel For Any Reason
If you cancel for a reason not covered by the policy, it cannot pay the claim. Our age 55 and 60 travelers would be out of luck if they needed Costco Travel Cancel For Any Reason insurance.
Cancel For Any Reason plans allow you to cancel the trip for circumstances not named in the policy. It’s the highest level of coverage you can get on a travel insurance policy.
AARDY offers several options to buy a Cancel For Any Reason policy. Typically, this feature increases the cost by 40-50%.
Cancel For Any Reason plans have a couple of requirements:
- Buy the policy within 10-21 days of your initial trip deposit or payment.
- Insure 100% of all prepaid, non-refundable trip costs.
- Cancel with at least two days notice before your scheduled departure date.
- Be fit to travel at the time you purchase the policy.
If all conditions are met, the policy refunds 75% of trip costs in cash.
Costco Travel insurance includes Trip Interruption. It shares a list of covered reasons with Trip Cancellation.
If you have a family emergency during the trip and must return home, the policy refunds the unused portion of the trip costs. Plus, it also includes the additional cost to return home, up to 150% of the total trip costs.
Trip Interruption can also reimburse you for the unused portion of the trip if you have a covered injury or illness while traveling.
Trawick First Class and Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice with CFAR also cover up to 150% refund for covered Trip Interruptions.
Although most people focus on the financial loss if they must cancel the trip unexpectedly, they often overlook the importance of Medical Insurance.
Travel Medical Insurance pays the doctor and hospital if you have an unforeseen medical emergency.
Don’t assume your health insurance plan will cover outside the US. Few do. Even Medicare does not pay health care providers outside the US.
You cannot count on the US State Department to help you either. They only assist with diplomatic and legal issues, not medical emergencies.
Americans must seek treatment at private hospitals, even in countries with universal health care. Consequently, you would end up paying everything out of pocket unless you have travel Medical Insurance. Just one night of inpatient hospitalization can cost $3,000 to $4,000 before you add testing, treatments, medications, or surgeries.
Therefore, AARDY recommends each traveler take at least $100,000 Medical Insurance when leaving the US. Any less than $100,000, and you could waste your retirement savings paying for medical treatment in a foreign country.
Costco Travel insurance falls short of this guideline. It only provides $50,000 Medical Insurance per person. On the other hand, Trawick First Class offers $150,000 Medical Insurance, and Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice with CFAR includes $100,000.
Emergency Medical Evacuation
Emergency Medical Evacuation coverage gets you to a hospital for treatment and then returns you home once you’re stable. Also, it can pay for the repatriation of remains if a traveler passes overseas.
Medical Evacuations can be extremely costly. If you require a private medical jet to return you home from Europe, they will charge you $15,000 to $25,000 per flight hour. That sure adds up fast.
As a result, AARDY urges all travelers leaving the US to buy at least $250,000 Emergency Medical Evacuation protection.
You might be surprised to know that Medical Evacuation insurance costs very little. On the other hand, cancellation protection heavily influences the cost of travel insurance.
Costco Travel insurance includes $1,000,000 for Emergency Medical Evacuation. This tremendous amount is helpful, but a bit overkill. The policy would be more useful if it doubled it’s Medical Insurance, and halved its Evacuation amount.
Trawick First Class also provides $1 million for Evacuation, and Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice with CFAR includes $500,000.
Pre-existing Medical Conditions
Finally, Costco Travel insurance includes a Pre-existing Condition Waiver.
This Waiver allows the policy to cover Trip Cancellation, Interruption, and Medical treatment related to a Pre-existing Condition. The program requires that you buy the plan within 21 days of your initial trip deposit and cover 100% of all prepaid, non-refundable trip costs.
We always recommend all travelers, especially seniors, buy a policy with a Pre-existing Condition Waiver whenever possible.
If you wait to buy the policy a few months after paying the initial deposit, you no longer have access to the Waiver. Instead, the policy enforces a 180-day Look Back Period on any medically-related claim. Look Back means that if in the 180 days before purchasing travel insurance, you received treatment, test, medication change, new medication, or received a recommendation for treatment or test you haven’t done yet, the policy would not cover it.
A 180-day Look Back period is quite long. Most people cannot remember their medical history for the past six months. Most policies at AARDY offer a Waiver or 60-day Look Back period. Shorter is better. Trawick and Seven Corners both provide a Waiver if you buy the plan within 14-20 days of your initial deposit.
Overall, Costco Travel insurance is a low-benefit plan, underwritten by a reliable partner, AIG Travel Guard.
We love Travel Guard, but the program Costco Travel designed for its customers is not worth the cost. It has weak Medical Insurance for international travel and lacks many common cancellation reasons, including the bankruptcy of a carrier.
The prices are reasonable for travelers under age 60 but increase exponentially for seniors.
In the past, Costco Travel insurance offered a Cancel For Any Reason option, but they removed it. Therefore, Costco Travel customers have minimal coverage, no opportunity to customize it, and only one insurance option. One-size does not fit all when it comes to travel insurance.
You could shop for quotes with each travel insurance carrier, but it would take hours. Plus, it’s difficult to compare the plans, since each has different coverages. With AARDY, you can compare the nation’s top carriers in one place in 60 seconds. We offer the same price as the carrier! You won’t find a lower price anywhere else.
Visit AARDY first to shop around before committing to the first travel insurance policy someone offers you.