Home > Travel Insurance Reviews > Should You Buy Grand Circle Travel Insurance? - 2021 Review

Should You Buy Grand Circle Travel Insurance? - 2021 Review

Grand Circle Travel Insurance

Grand Circle Travel Insurance
7
Insurance Partner
8/10
Coverage Options
6/10
Price
4/10

Strengths

  • Strong insurance partner
  • Adequate Medical Evacuation limit
  • Pre-Existing Medical Condition Waiver

Weaknesses

  • Low Medical Insurance limit
  • One travel insurance option
  • Pre-existing Condition Waiver has odd limits
  • High cost

Grand Circle Travel supplies small ship river and ocean cruises and land tours.

Grand Circle Cruise Line and Grand Circle Tours offer one travel insurance program to protect your trip investment. You will receive a quote choice during checkout on Grand Circle's website. They automatically add the insurance program unless you opt-out.

grand-circle-cruise-boat

It is a mid-range plan with good Medical Evacuation but inadequate Medical Insurance. It also has a very limited Pre-existing Condition Waiver. We have never seen a program like that before. Although it touts a Cancel For Any Reason feature, it only compensates you with vouchers that expire after a year.

Unfortunately, it does not offer any optional features to customize the plan.

BCS/Jefferson Insurance underwrites the plan administered by Allianz. They are strong insurance partners but do not sponsor the Trip Cancellation benefit. Instead, Grand Circle itself provides refunds or future credit under the Trip Cancellation coverage.

Grand Circle travel insurance does not extend coverage for costs associated with other travel services not directly set up by Grand Circle Travel. Thus, you need additional travel insurance to cover any extra prepaid and non-refundable arrangements.

When shopping for international travel insurance, we recommend buying a policy with at least $100,000 Medical Insurance, $250,000 in Medical Evacuation coverage, and a Pre-existing Medical Condition Waiver.

AARDY provides an easy online insurance quoting and purchasing experience. All of AARDY's policies can incorporate the prepaid and non-refundable amounts for your trip costs, such as airfare, cruise fare, accommodations, and excursions.

Sample Cruise: 13-Day Cruising Burgundy and Provence to the Cote d'Azur

Our example trip costs $11,390 for two senior travelers, ages 55 and 60.

Grand Circle insurance does not factor age into the premium. They charge a flat rate based on the trip cost.

For trips between up to $1,500 per person, Grand Circle travel insurance charges $199 per person. The premium increases by $50 for every $500 trip cost. For this trip, Grand Circle travel insurance costs $1,298 for both travelers.

Grand Circle Map

Comparison Quotes

When shopping for travel insurance, AARDY always recommends you buy at least:

  • $100,000 in Medical Insurance per person
  • $250,000 in Medical Evacuation per person
  • Waiver for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

You do not want to be caught overseas, figuring out how to pay for unexpected medical care. We urge travelers to buy this level of coverage based on our staff's catastrophic experiences.

For this trip, Trawick First Class is the least expensive plan that meets the minimum coverage. For two travelers, it costs $649.11.

If you want the highest protection level, you can opt for a Cancel For Any Reason plan. In this case, the least expensive Cancel For Any Reason plan is Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice (CFAR 75%) at $1,027.60 for both travelers.

Both options from AARDY are significantly less expensive than Grand Circle travel insurance.

Benefit

Grand Circle Cruises Travel Insurance

Trawick Intl First Class

Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice (CFAR 75%)

Trip Cancellation

100% of Trip Cost

100% Trip Cost

100% Trip Cost

Trip Interruption

100% of Trip Cost

150% Trip Cost

150% Trip Cost

Medical Insurance

$50,000

$150,000

$100,000

Medical Evacuation

$500,000

$1,000,000

$500,000

Baggage Loss/Damage

$2,000

$2,000

$1,500

Baggage Delay

$600, after 24 hour delay

$400, after 12 hour delay

$300, after 12 hour delay

Travel Delay

$300/day, after 24 hour delay

$1,500 max

$200/day, after 12 hour delay

$1,000 max

$300/day, after 6 hour delay

$600 max

Missed Connection

$1,500

$1,000, 3 hour delay

$1,000, 3 hour delay

Cover Pre-existing Condition

Yes, if purchased within 14 days of initial deposit

Yes, if purchased within 14 days of initial deposit

Yes, if purchased within 20 days of initial deposit

Cancel For Any Reason

Future credit only

No

Yes, 75% cash refund

Accidental Death & Dismemberment

$25,000 anytime

$10,000 anytime

$25,000 common carrier

$10,000 anytime

Cost of Policy

$1,298

$649.11

$1,027.60

Price and Value of Grand Circle Cruise Insurance

Above, we see that Trawick First Class offers higher Medical benefits levels than Grand Circle travel insurance for half the cost. Trawick First Class also includes Pre-existing Medical Conditions when you buy the policy within 2 weeks of your first deposit.

We are troubled by the low Medical Insurance protection Grand Circle sells. It is half the amount we recommend for anyone traveling abroad.

You would imagine that a $1,298 policy would offer spectacular benefits, like $500,000 Medical Insurance and $1,000,000 Evacuation, but it does not. It incorporates Cancel For Any Reason, which is acceptable. But Grand Circle only compensates you with future credit that expires after 12 months, not cash.

Ultimately, Grand Circle travel insurance does not offer much value for the high price.

Grand Circle Travel Has Trip Cancellation

Grand Circle Cruises offers two types of Trip Cancellation benefits: covered reasons and cancel for any reason.

If you cancel your Grand Circle cruise for any of these covered reasons, the policy refunds you 100% of your money:

  • Sickness, injury, or death of the traveler, traveling companion, or family member
  • Quarantine, jury duty, court order to appear as a witness for traveler or traveling companion
  • Traveler or traveling companion's place of employment damaged due to natural disaster, requiring traveler or traveling companion to remain at work
  • Documented theft or loss of passport or visa
  • Job transfer
  • Documented traffic accident causing a missed trip departure
  • Organized labor strike, bad weather, or mechanical breakdown of aircraft for 24 hours or more
  • Shutdown of airport or air traffic control system for 6 hours or more preventing trip departure
  • Emergency military duty resulting from natural disaster for traveler or travel companion
  • Previously granted military leave revoked for traveler or traveling companion
  • Job termination or layoff with employer

When you buy the Grand Circle policy within 10 days of the initial deposit, it includes Pre-existing illnesses and injuries for a cash refund. However, if you enroll more than 10 days after paying the deposit, Grand Circle gives you future credit for Pre-existing Condition cancellations.

Likewise, if you cancel for any reason not named in the policy, Grand Circle issues future credit for the full value of the trip. Grand Circle honors this benefit until the day of departure. Note, cancellation protection is backed by Grand Circle Cruises/Tours, not the travel insurance policy they sell. It's not uncommon for cruise lines to underwrite their own cancellation waivers.

Worth noting, if you bought airfare or other arrangements from another supplier, Grand Circle cruise insurance would not cover them. You would buy a separate policy to cover additional travel plans.

Grand Circle Medical Benefits Cover Hospitalization and Evacuation

Imagine on Day 3 of the trip you head to the Welcome dinner in Paris. As you stroll down the street admiring the lights, you trip on a stone curb. You fall and hit your shoulder and head. After an ER visit, the doctor advises you to return home as soon as possible to see a neurologist and orthopedic surgeon.

Occasionally, disastrous trips happen. No one wants to think about it, but this is why travel insurance exists. If this happened to you, the policy's Medical benefits would cover your ambulance rides, hospitalization, tests, and treatment. Plus, it would reimburse you for the unused part of your trip.

Medical Insurance is a critical benefit when outside the US. Even in countries with lower-cost health care, you pay out of pocket. In a life-threatening situation, you could face significant bills.

As a result, AARDY urges you to take adequate medical insurance on travels abroad. We recommend a minimum of $100,000 Medical Insurance and $250,000 Medical Evacuation. Whenever possible, AARDY advises you also get a policy with a Pre-existing Condition Waiver that closes coverage gaps.

Health insurance and Medicare do not pay outside the US. Some Medigap policies include $50,000 for international emergencies. However, you must be on the verge of death and pay out-of-pocket expenses like copays, deductibles, and coinsurance of at least 20%. Only travel insurance includes Medical Evacuation to return you home.

Grand Circle travel insurance provides only $50,000 Medical Insurance. It's just not enough protection, particularly for seniors. On the other hand, Trawick First Class includes $150,000 for medical bills and costs half the price.

Similarly, Grand Circle travel insurance offers a reliable $500,000 Medical Evacuation benefit, which exceeds our recommended coverage. That is plenty to cover a medical jet ride home, if medically necessary, so you can return home for further treatment.

grand-circle-nice-france

Grand Circle Trip Interruption Reimburses You

After a long flight to Paris, suppose you check your phone and hear a message that a family member suddenly passed away. You just started your trip, but must return immediately.

Trip Interruption insurance reimburses you for the unused prepaid portion of your trip and the extra cost to return home if your situation is listed in the policy:

  • Traveler, traveling companion, or a family member suffers an illness, injury, or death
  • Quarantine, court appearance, hijacking, terrorist event
  • Your residence or destination is uninhabitable
  • Involved in a traffic accident
  • Travel delay of 24 hours or more due to natural disaster, severe weather, strike
  • Military reassigns or revokes leave of a traveler
  • Mandatory evacuation at destination

This Trip Interruption list is different from the Trip Cancellation reasons. They are different because Grand Circle underwrites the cancellation coverage, but the insurer makes you whole for the interruption.

Like Trip Cancellation, Interruption is an essential benefit in a comprehensive travel insurance policy. Grand Circle reimburses up to 100% of your trip costs. However, if your return transportation exceeds that amount, you pay for it yourself.

Most policies at AARDY pay up to a 150% Trip Interruption benefit. The extra 50% helps cover the cost to return home early. Trawick First Class and Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice CFAR 75% plans provide a 150% Trip Interruption benefit.

Grand Circle Cruises and Pre-existing Medical Conditions

Grand Circle travel insurance covers Pre-existing Conditions – sort of.

The policy includes a Waiver of Pre-existing Medical Conditions, a feature AARDY always recommends. The Waiver allows the policy to cover new or recently worsened Pre-existing Conditions. Typically, travel insurance excludes them unless they are older and under control with medication.

The policy automatically activates the Waiver when you buy the plan within 14 days of your initial deposit. However, Grand Circle added a very peculiar term: They only allow you to cancel (and receive a refund) if you buy the policy within 10 days of the initial deposit.

That is just strange. Why is there a 4-day window in which you can cover Pre-existing Conditions, but not for Trip Cancellation? Otherwise, the Pre-existing Condition Waiver only applies to Trip Interruption and Medical Insurance.

If you buy the plan after that 14-day window expires, you would be subject to the policy's look back period. For Grand Circle travel insurance, the look back is 120 days. In other words, it excludes any condition for which a treatment, test, medicine change, or new prescription was added within the 120 days before buying the policy.

If the last 120 days are clear, then you are covered for Trip Interruption and Medical benefits. Unfortunately, it still does not mean you are eligible for a full cash refund for Trip Cancellation. The only time Grand Circle pays a cash refund for Trip Cancellation is when you buy the plan within 10 days of enrollment. In all other cases, they offer future credit vouchers.

Every day, AARDY receives inquiries about the Waiver for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions. We recommend all travelers take out a policy with a Waiver. It closes a significant coverage gap.

Trawick First Class and Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice CFAR 75% include Pre-existing Condition Waivers when you buy within 14-20 days of initial deposit. Both pay a cash refund for a Trip Cancellation triggered by a Pre-existing Condition.

grand-circle-river2

Grand Circle Cancel for Any Reason Does Not Pay Cash

As discussed earlier, Grand Circle cruise insurance offers a Cancel For Any Reason provision, but it only gives you a voucher. In most cases, people prefer to receive cash money instead of future credit. You have more flexibility to spend it on things you need, particularly if you have a financial emergency.

Grand Circle Cruises has a few rules for vouchers:

  • Valid for travel within 12 months of the issue date
  • Cannot be used later than 15 months from the cancellation date
  • Non-refundable, non-transferable, not redeemable for cash
  • Must be issued in the name of the traveler
  • Cannot be used toward future initial deposit or for another insurance plan

Although Grand Circle offers you slightly more flexibility with this feature, it is hardly worth the plan's high price.

Alternatively, Seven Corners RoundTrip Choice CFAR 75% pays a cash benefit up to 75% of your trip cost. It costs quite a bit less than Grand Circle trip insurance but offers more robust features, like Medical Insurance.

With Cancel For Any Reason plans, you must:

  • Buy within 10-21 days of the initial deposit
  • Cover all prepaid travel plans and top off the policy with travel arrangements booked later
  • Be fit to travel when buying the policy

Most people do not need this high level of coverage, and the standard Trip Cancellation reasons suffice.

It is always helpful to research plan options before incurring unnecessary costs for added coverage you may not require.

Grand Circle Travel Insurance Is Not So Grand

Although Grand Circle Cruises offers outstanding travel experiences, you should hesitate before buying their travel insurance.

Unfortunately, they offer only one insurance option to meet the varied needs of their travelers. Even though Great Circle Travel works with a reputable insurance partner, it lacks adequate Medical Insurance and Pre-existing Condition coverage.

AARDY can offer you many options that provide higher limits for Medical Insurance and similar Medical Evacuation for a lower cost.

Can I Save Money Buying Directly from the Insurer?

No. Travel insurance is highly regulated, so you will find identical prices whether you buy the plan from the insurer or us. The advantages you gain by working with AARDY is great. We have licensed agents to answer your questions and someone to advocate on your behalf if something is not right.

If you value finding the right coverage for your needs, AARDY can educate you about your available insurance options. Review and compare over 30 policy options at your fingertips.

Please stop by and chat with us, send an email, or give us a call at 650-492-6298.

Safe travels!

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