Quark Expeditions Travel Insurance - 2021 Review
Quark Expeditions offers unique cruise adventures to the polar regions of the world: the Arctic and Antarctic. They offer their own travel insurance policy with low Medical Insurance, adequate Medical Evacuation, a Pre-existing Medical Condition Waiver and Cancel For Any Reason. It’s not a good value for seniors.
Quark Expeditions Requires Travel Medical Insurance for Embarkation
Quark’s terms and conditions repeatedly and emphatically recommend passengers buy travel insurance. Interestingly, Quark requires that all travelers have “adequate medical coverage prior to embarkation” or the guest will be denied passage. Specifically, they require a minimum of $50,000 Medical Insurance.
Quark Expeditions Travel Insurance Plan: Deluxe and Deluxe Plus
Quark Expeditions offers their own travel insurance policy with two options: Deluxe and Deluxe Plus. The two policies are identical, except Deluxe Plus includes Cancel For Any Reason and costs 50% more than the Deluxe policy.
Both plans include $50,000 Medical Insurance, $500,000 Medical Evacuation and a Pre-existing Medical Condition Waiver. AARDY recommends a minimum of $100,000 Medical Insurance for travelers leaving the United States, so we are surprised to see Quark require such a low amount of medical insurance for polar travel.
The trip insurance policy is underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company, a reputable insurer familiar to AARDY. Many policies offered on Aardy’s website are also underwritten by US Fire. TripMate administers Quark’s cruise insurance.
Travel insurance policies available on the wider market include all travel arrangement costs including cruise fare, airfare, hotels, rentals, excursions and tours.
How to Buy Quark Expeditions Travel Insurance
Although booking a reservation with Quark Expeditions is simple on their website, they do not offer travel insurance at check out. Instead, they refer you to TripMate where you must create a quote yourself and buy online.
Our Cruise: Flying the Drake
We looked at Flying the Drake for January, midsummer in the southern hemisphere. The trip lasts 8 nights and is priced at $24,990 for two travelers sharing a cabin.
Prices for Quark Expeditions Deluxe and Deluxe Plus
As discussed, Quark offers two options for their travel insurance plan: Deluxe and Deluxe Plus. They are identical plans, but unfortunately, Quark charges 50% more for the same insurance just to add Cancel For Any Reason.
For the Flying the Drake trip, Quark’s travel insurance plans cost $2,400 for Deluxe or $3,600 for Deluxe Plus.
Next, we review other options you have for travel insurance on the wider market.
When comparing quotes, AARDY recommends travelers take at least $100,000 Medical Insurance, $250,000 Emergency Medical Evacuation and a Waiver of Pre-existing Medical Conditions when traveling abroad. These benefits ensure you’re covered for any unforeseen medical emergency overseas.
However, since Quark travels to remote polar regions of the world, we recommend at least $500,000 Medical Evacuation, since emergency medical treatment is difficult to reach.
Price and Value
Next, we received a quote from AARDY Travel Insurance Marketplace to see what other options are available.
The least expensive plan with at least $100,000 medical insurance and $500,000 Medical Evacuation coverage is the iTravelInsured Travel SE. It’s priced at $1,449, nearly $1,000 less than Deluxe travel insurance, and $2,100 less than Deluxe Plus.
Then, we found the least expensive Cancel For Any Reason plan which is Travel Insured International Worldwide Trip Protector Plus, priced at $2,610, almost $1,000 less than its counterpart, Quark Deluxe Plus.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of Quark Deluxe/Deluxe Plus, iTravelInsured Travel SE and Travel Insured International Worldwide Trip Protector Plus:
Trip Cancellation pays a 100% refund of all trip costs if you must cancel your trip due to a covered reason named in the travel insurance policy.
Quark’s cruise travel insurance plan includes a healthy list of cancellation reasons:
- Unforeseen injury, illness or death of traveler, family member or business partner
- Traveler’s home or destination uninhabitable due to natural disaster
- Hijacking, quarantine, jury duty, subpoena
- Theft of passport or visa
- Traveler’s place of employment unsuitable for business due to fire, flood, burglary, or natural disaster and required to work as a result
- Permanent transfer of employment of 250 miles or more
- Inclement weather or mechanical breakdown causing 12 hours or more delay of common carrier
- Involved in traffic accident en route to departure point
- Government-mandated shutdown of airport or air traffic control due to natural disaster
- Terrorist incident within 30 days of departure in city listed on itinerary
- Revocation of military leave due to war
- Traveler called to military duty for natural disaster (not war)
- Bankruptcy or default of airline, cruise line, tour operator
- Involuntary termination or layoff
One cancellation reason notably missing from this list is Cancel For Work Reason. If a traveler or family member is required to work and the employer rescinded previously approved time off, both iTravelInsured Travel SE and Travel Insured International Worldwide Trip Protector Plus permit this reason for cancellation.
Both Travel SE and Worldwide Trip Protector include all the reasons above and a few more, such as hurricanes, mandatory evacuation and victim of assault.
Cancel For Any Reason
Quark Deluxe Plus provides an extra layer of peace of mind, allowing you to cancel your trip for ANY reason not otherwise covered by the plan documents and receive reimbursement for 75% of your unused non-refundable prepaid expenses for travel arrangements.
Travel Insured International Worldwide Trip Protector Plus also offers the same benefit, but costs nearly $1,000 less than Deluxe Plus.
Both Deluxe Plus and Worldwide Trip Protector Plus require the following conditions for Cancel For Any Reason:
- Purchase policy within 21 days of the date your initial payment or deposit for your trip is received, and
- Insure 100% of your prepaid trip costs that are subject to cancellation penalties or restrictions, and
- Cancel your trip two (2) days* or more before your scheduled trip departure date.
*Worldwide Trip Protector Plus specifies 48 hours, not 2 days.
Trip Interruption insurance reimburses the unused portion of the trip if you must interrupt travel for a reason listed in the travel insurance policy. You receive up to 100% of the insured trip costs insured, plus up to 50% more for the added transportation costs.
If you had a medical emergency, but were cleared to rejoin your trip, it includes the cost of rejoining the cruise in progress. If you had to leave early for a family medical emergency, you could also receive reimbursement for transportation costs home. The amount reimbursed for travel is limited to the amount stated in the policy.
Interruption for Any Reason
One feature absent from the high-priced Quark trip insurance policy is Interruption For Any Reason.
If you need to curtail your trip for any reason that’s not listed in the policy, Interruption For Any Reason refunds up to 75% of your unused trip costs back in cash.
If you got a message during the trip that your pet was gravely sick or injured and you want to go home to be with them before he or she passed away, Interruption For Any Reason can help. Since sick pets are not a covered Trip Interruption, you can use Interruption for Any Reason to go home immediately and receive reimbursement of some trip costs.
Moreover, Interruption for Any Reason has a few requirements.
- You can interrupt your trip 72 hours or more after your actual departure date
- The policy will pay the lesser of the maximum benefit amount shown in your confirmation of benefits; or 75% of the total amount of coverage you purchased, to reimburse you for unused non-refundable land or water travel arrangements;
It will also cover the lesser of the additional transportation cost paid:
- to join your trip if you must depart after your scheduled departure date or travel via alternate travel arrangements by the most direct route possible to reach your trip destination (airfare limited to the cost of one-way airfare using the same class of fare as the original travel ticket); or
- to rejoin your trip or transport you to your originally scheduled return destination, if you must interrupt your trip after departure, each by the most direct route possible (airfare limited to the cost of one-way airfare using the same class of fare as the original travel ticket)
In the US, many of us are covered for emergency no matter which state we visit. However, most health insurance plans offer poor or no international Medical Insurance.
Before assuming you’re covered, consider that:
- Medicare doesn’t pay outside the US
- Some supplements only cover up to $50,000 emergency treatment
- Americans pay full price at private hospitals because universal health care doesn’t cover Americans
- Hospital stays can cost $3,000-$4,000 per night
- The US State Department does not provide medical insurance or medical evacuation
Quark Expeditions requires that every passenger has at least $50,000 Medical Insurance before embarking. Conveniently, Quark’s travel insurance plan includes exactly $50,000 Medical coverage.
But AARDY recommends each traveler take at least $100,000 Medical Insurance when leaving the US. Any less than $100,000 and you risk wasting your retirement savings paying for hospital bills in a foreign country. Quark’s low $50,000 is a good start, but simply not enough to be reliable in a critical situation.
iTravelInsured Travel SE includes $150,000 Medical Insurance per person, while Travel Insured International Worldwide Trip Protector Plus provides $100,000 per person. These levels are far more helpful.
Emergency Medical Evacuation
When travelers experience a critical illness or injury while overseas, Medical Evacuation transports them to the nearest hospital. Once they’re stable, Medical Evacuation provides transportation home. If the patient requires a medical team to monitor their condition during transportation, it could cost $15,000 to $25,000 per flight hour.
Due to the high cost, AARDY recommends all travelers voyaging outside the US secure at least $250,000 Emergency Medical Evacuation protection or $500,000 for remote destinations like Antarctica.
Interestingly, Quark Expeditions provides $500,000 Medical evacuation with the cost of the cruise, regardless of which travel insurance you buy. They understand how remote travel can make medical treatment difficult, citing the closest medical center is 72 hours away. Quark’s travel insurance includes another $500,000 Medical Evacuation, as does iTravelInsured Travel SE. By the same token, Travel Insured International Worldwide Trip Protector Plus offers $1,000,000 Medical Evacuation coverage, for a total of $1,500,000 protection.
Pre-existing Medical Conditions
We mentioned the Pre-existing Medical Condition Waiver earlier, but what does that really mean?
Travel insurance policies exclude Pre-existing Medical Conditions by default. Many policies include a Waiver that allows the policy to cover Pre-existing Conditions if the policy is purchased within a short period of time after making the Initial Deposit or Payment.
But what is a Pre-existing Condition? Doesn’t everyone have them?
Quark cruise travel insurance defines a Pre-existing condition as:
An illness, disease, or other condition during the 60 day period immediately prior to the date Your coverage is effective for which You or Your Traveling Companion, Business Partner or Family Member scheduled or booked to travel with You:
- Received or received a recommendation for a test, examination, or medical treatment for a condition which first manifested itself, worsened or became acute or had symptoms which would have prompted a reasonable person to seek diagnosis, care or treatment; or
- Took or received a prescription for drugs or medicine.
- Item #2 of this definition does not apply to a condition which is treated or controlled solely through the taking of prescription drugs or medicine and remains treated or controlled without any adjustment or change in the required prescription throughout the 60 day period before coverage is effective under this Plan.
Quark, iTravelInsured and Travel Insured International all have 60 day look back periods (the amount of time the insurance company concerns itself with your medical history before you bought your policy). Shorter look back periods are better for travelers. Some travel insurance plans look back much farther, like 90, 180, or 365 days, making it harder to get a Pre-existing Medical Condition covered.
A Pre-existing Condition Waiver can mean the difference between whether or not a trip insurance policy covers your cancellation or medical treatment. Thus, AARDY recommends travelers, especially seniors, purchase a travel insurance plan that covers pre-existing conditions whenever possible.
Quark Excursions offers policies with low Medical Insurance, and adequate Medical Evacuation, Trip Cancellation and Interruption benefits. But their prices are dreadfully inflated.
If you are planning a polar adventure with Quark Excursions, be sure to shop around and compare your travel insurance options before committing to an overpriced, underperforming policy. While you are looking, remember to seek out policies with at least $100k in Medical Insurance coverage, $250k in Emergency Medical Evacuation ($500k for remote locations), and whenever possible, a Pre-existing Medical Condition Waiver.
Can I Save Money by Buying Directly from the Carrier?
No. You can relax knowing you get the same price at AARDY as you do going to the provider directly.
We guarantee that you will not find a lower price anywhere for the same products found on AARDY.
Whatever the case, visit AARDY first to shop around so you know your options and can make an informed decision and get peace of mind.
Have questions? Stop by and have a chat, send an email or give us a call at 650-492-6298.