Catastrophic Insurance

Solitude

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Feb 28, 2012
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The thread on sat phones refreshed my thoughts on looking into some sort of catastrophic trip/health insurance for if I break a leg, take a fall, get chomped by a hungry predator during my backcountry expeditions.

Let's say you hit the SOS button on your PLB, SPOT, phone, etc, my understanding is typical health and homeowners insurance will not cover the bills for the rescue effort involved?

Does anyone know if there is a trip insurance offered or purchased a plan before? I am thinking the rescue, helicopter, ambulance, hospital etc could be astronomical.

I have also thought about when I would hit the SOS given the above. If it's non life-threatening, say double broken arms but you can still walk out, would I hit the button given the possible costs that could follow. If I had a supplemental plan then bingo, I am going on a helicopter ride.

Any input?
 

Trout bum

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For SPOT devices you can add a GEOS member rescue benefit that reimburses individuals up to $100k for SAR expenses incurred. In Colorado there is a SAR fund that is not insurance but rather reimburses SAR operators (municipalities, etc.) to prevent billing to individuals rescued. It is part of the total cost of every hunting and fishing license purchased. Not sure about other states. They may have something similar to our SAR fund.
 

dotman

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I believe the rescue costs are free in some states unless it is a prank being played on s&r. I'm not 100% on this so worth checking out more, I know in Colorado you pay $0.25 towards s&r when you buy your hunting licenses.

I think Delorme also has a partnership with GEOS that you have to pay extra for above the monthly service fee.

I don't see why any hospital costs wouldn't fall under your current health insurance as long as your in the USA. From personal experience our health insurance doesn't cover anything in Canada and they only give free insurance to their citizens. Broken jaws are expensive for Americans in Canada, I would think this also applies to most other countries.
 
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Solitude

Solitude

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Looks like the proper name for this is SAR Insurance.

Www.geosalliance.com/SAR/
Seems inexpensive for what it covers especially at $2.25/day for short trips if it covers what is required.

Www.globalrescue.com
Costs more, but seems pretty darn solid.

I see SPOT has coverage as well. different provider the way I read it.

Any others out there you guys have considered or used?
 

Racethesunset

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Can you elaborate or provide references on which insurers do not cover rescue costs? That almost doesn't sound ethical.
 

Becca

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Maybe we got lucky with our carrier, but In my limited experience the "medical" transport parts are billable to insurance, and (at least in my one time experience) were paid by my health insurance company without any hassles at all. When I was injured on Kodiak, the USCG extracted me from the field after a request for help from the Alaska State Troopers (whom we called after I got hurt)...it's my understanding that its up to the discretion of the SAR agency whether to bill you for the rescue or not, usually based upon whether they deemed it a legitimate emergency. My rescue was performed at no cost to me, but I tell ya in that instance we would have paid any price they asked, no matter how many years of payments it took us :)

The fine flight team from the CG delivered me to the airbase where an ambulance was waiting to transfer me to the local (and fairly small) community hospital. I was seen in the ER, and later transferred by fixed wing medivac plane to a larger hospital that was able to preform the surgery I needed to save my leg.

My regular health insurance company paid for the ambulance, medivac, and all hospital bills without batting an eyelash. They did call me to inquire if my injury was the result of an auto accident, or occurred on the job (to ensure it wasnt billable to an auto ins or workers comp i think), but when i said no they paid the bill in full pretty quickly. As I recall the medivac portion of the bill alone was around $20K....
 

shanevg

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Here in WA, patients are never charged for SAR expenses including the helicopter ride unless it is actually the hospital helicopter that comes and gets you. I am on Mountain Rescue and it is 100% volunteer and a free service. Usually the helicopter will only come of loss of life or limb is at stake and usually it is the Navy or Border patrol helicopter (at least in Whatcom County). They treat it as a training run and do not charge the patient. I can remember one time where the ER helicopter came and I believe they charged the patient's insurance just like an ambulance ride.
 

Bighorse

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One huge advantage to being an adventurer in Alaska is the excellent SAR resources available up here. We just lost a Helo up north with Troopers all three perished. Brave men and women litter this landscape ready and willing to help. It's amazing! I've never seen a situation where someone is lost or injured go unnoticed. The resources and support up here are to be admired for sure!

There is very little jurisdictional garbage. If your in trouble resources are out there. I LOVE the USCG! In SE Alaska they are like angles on the wing looking over all the crazies roaming the ocean and land.

I'm so glad they got you out Becca and your fully recovered and rockin the hills again. Best of luck in your 2013 DCUA hunt!
 

Becca

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One huge advantage to being an adventurer in Alaska is the excellent SAR resources available up here. We just lost a Helo up north with Troopers all three perished. Brave men and women litter this landscape ready and willing to help. It's amazing! I've never seen a situation where someone is lost or injured go unnoticed. The resources and support up here are to be admired for sure!

There is very little jurisdictional garbage. If your in trouble resources are out there. I LOVE the USCG! In SE Alaska they are like angles on the wing looking over all the crazies roaming the ocean and land.

I'm so glad they got you out Becca and your fully recovered and rockin the hills again. Best of luck in your 2013 DCUA hunt!

Thanks Chris! You know I can't say enough good about the fine "angels" in the sky, and while I hope we never require their help again, it's so incredible knowing they are there if we or someone we care about needs them!
 

2rocky

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Not to be macabre but does "save a bullet for yourself" count?

We always donate to S&R when we apply in Wyoming. Teton County S&R are top notch.

FYI be sure the phone # for S&R is taped to the Sat phone. I don't think 911 works...

I am going to have to ask what my coverage is with my Health ins.

Good thread. I'd definitely buy additional coverage if I went to Africa or Russia.
 

Becca

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FYI be sure the phone # for S&R is taped to the Sat phone. I don't think 911 works...

Great advice! We learned this lesson the hard way, sat phones don't call 911 or 800 numbers. We now keep a list of emergency numbers with our phone, including Alaska State Troopers for the office nearest where we will be, as well as the flight service (if applicable). I also try to keep an emergency contact list for both of our sets of family on my person...sad truth is in this day of cell phones I don't always have numbers memorized anymore, and most don't publish their cell number in the phone book. In an emergency it's easy to forget info you would know off the top of your head during an emergency.
 
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