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Staying Healthy on the Road Medical info, e.g. malaria, vaccinations, travel medical tips, medical insurance, where to find a doctor.
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  #1  
Old 1 Jan 2008
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Location: On the road in Central America
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Health Insurance Review: Mulitnational Underwriters

Seven weeks ago I had the misfortune to dump my bike and break my leg while riding through Nicaragua. Luckily, I was carrying travel insurance through Multinational Underwriters. Now, with my leg almost back together, I thought I'd post a review of their service.

First off, they knew I was in a motorcycle accident. They knew it was my fault. They still accepted my claim, so they do apparently cover motorcycle accidents. I think this is important to mention because I've read of several other policies that are vague about whether they cover motorcycles or not. Heck, I wasn't 100% sure they'd cover me until they said they would.

Price:
I am a 28 year-old American and I purchased their Atlas travel insurance policy with the Adventure Sports extra coverage rider. With a $100 deductible I paid about $50/month. My father, a 60 year old American purchased the exact same coverage with a much higher deductible and paid nearly $150/month. I guess reasonable is in the eye of the beholder, but I found this quite reasonable for me but less-so for my Dad.

Immediate Post-Accident: Coverage in Nicaragua:
Two things caught me a little by surprise about MNUI while I was in the initial stages of dealing with my newly-broken leg. The first was that they offered no help or advice. I contacted them, as required, to let them know I had an accident. Their response was 'Thank you for letting us know. We've noted it in your record.' That's it. Thankfully I was with my Dad, who could contact the US Embassy and find out what hospital I should go to and could arrange transport there. If I had been on my own MNUI would not have helped me get out of the dilapidated public hospital I was first treated in (and where they wanted to do surgery on me!).
Surprise number two, which maybe shouldn't have been a surprise, was that they only ended up covering expenses that came from official medical providers. This means that, once I returned to the USA, they reimbursed me for all of my expenses from the private hospital I ended up in but that was it. Where I crashed my bike there was no ambulance service so I had to hire a pickup truck to get me to the hospital. MNUI won't cover that because it wasn't an official ambulance.

Once I got back to the USA (on my own dime), MNUI told me that they would cover all expenses related to my accident for six months from the date of the accident, with no restrictions on which doctor I see or what hospital I go to, and so far they're standing by that. I ended up having surgery on my leg. I got to pick my doctor and hospital and MNUI picked up the $31,000+ bill without giving me any trouble. They are also covering a good portion of my physical therapy--again with no restrictions on who I see. Their customer-service has been great. Much to my surprise, I have no complaints about them at all regarding my coverage here in the US.

All told, I am very happy with MNUI and have certainly got my money's worth out of them. That said, if I were traveling alone I would pick up some other suplemental insurance such as MedJet that would be more proactive in helping in a foreign country to go along with the MNUI coverage.

Hopefully, this'll be useful to some of y'all out there and hopefully none of you will have to put your insurance to the test this way.

Matt Pearsall
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Old 8 Feb 2008
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Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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Sorry to hear about your accident Matt, hopefully you're out there riding again soon without any more setbacks. I also wanted to say thanks for taking the time to tell us these details, they will definitely help others.

I've been on the road for over 16 months now (Canadian riding down to Ushuaia and back, currently in Iguazu, Argentina) and just received the surprising news that my provincial health care was cancelled 5 months ago because they say it was only good for a year - but they never notified me. The problem is that the World Nomads insurance policy I have requires me to have provincial healthcare in place or it's not valid. So, it would seem that for the last 5 months I've been riding around down here without ANY coverage. I'm now trying to sort this out or shop for new.

All the best for a speedy recovery (and don't cheat on that physio, it really does work).
Daren
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  #3  
Old 8 Feb 2008
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Location: Philadelphia, US
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Sorry to hear about your accident BUT glad to read your review.

Sometimes in preparing for trips, we do a heckuvalot of research on farkles and not as much on something so important...insurance. I was guilty of this...

Thanks for the quality writeup.
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  #4  
Old 19 Mar 2009
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Location: Edmonton, Alberta
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Alberta Health Insurance

Hey Dmoto,
I'm in Edmonton and Alberta Health Care will extened your provincial health care for 2 years if you are working or travelling out of the country.

Also, according to my info, World Nomads will only cover Canadians for 1 year total.

Anyhoo, PM me if you need any help sorting this out from Edmonton.

fwd
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  #5  
Old 19 Mar 2009
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Location: St Andrews
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Hi People, with my experience of World Nomads (not good)I think it is about time that travelling motorcyclists dump this lot completely as they seem to change the rules to suit the company to to detriment of the rider whenever it suits them. Ride safe.

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Last edited by maja; 19 Mar 2009 at 06:16. Reason: lousy spellling
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  #6  
Old 31 Mar 2009
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Location: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
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World Nomads Experience of an Albertan (Canada)

Not like we haven't heard this before, but our options are fairly limited and very controlled. Ever feel like the whole system is designed to keep us from being unique individuals? Anyway, I'll leave that for another rant.

The real problem here is that Nomads will not cover you unless you also have provincial health care in place (more expense & more rules). I never heard anything about a 1 year limit from Nomads, but since I spent 2 years on the road with their coverage I can attest that it's possible.

As a follow-up to my previous post; shortly after writing it I sorted out the problem with my provincial health care provider. It turns out they normally only allow coverage for a year if you are out of the country, BUT, if you request it they will grant you a maximum of 2. And since I had been continually paying them, and they didn't notify me of the cancellation until 5 months AFTER they had cancelled it, they simply reinstated it when I finally managed to speak to a person with a brain.

But here's the juicy part: I finally managed to get all my bills together and submit a few small claims that I had throughout the trip to Nomads. It turned out to be a real big hassle. It was handled by their affiliate, Mondial Insurance out of Eastern Canada who nickle & dimed me to death until after hours and hours of pissing around with them I finally caved and accepted a payout of roughly 1/2 of what I claimed. All for technicalities. I guess this is nothing new when dealing with insurance companies these days, who seem to try and frustrate you until you give up, but it sure wasn't what I expected from Nomads after being sucked in by their 'simple-talk' website and friendly people who gladly accepted my money.

I believe most of the blame for this belongs to Mondial, and even though my claim was now "settled", I sent my feelings to Nomads head office. I received a very friendly and consolitory email back from the GM of Nomads himself saying that they were looking into the problem & hoped to resolve it for future claims. And even though he was very nice, seemed to have a much better respect for the client's position, and he even sent me a flashlight, I never received any further money. I believe that as long as Nomads uses Mondial, we Canucks will continue to suffer from their stinkin' customer service.

Too bad a "real" traveler doesn't start an insurance company for travelers.
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