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Don't buy IMG Travel Insurance!!!


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Thorn Tree Refugee
Posts: 2
Joined: January 11th, 2010

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Tags: IMG insurance
  • Added on: February 25th, 2011
My wife and I completed a 15-month around the world journey. We had IMG’s Patriot Travel Medical Insurance Plan which we dutifully paid out for the entire way. As luck would have it, after filing not a single claim with IMG the entire trip – even when my wife got hit by a motorcycle in Laos! – I became very sick with GI symptoms in month 14 while we were in rural Vietnam. I treated myself with over the counter medications and then, when symptoms kept getting worse, with Cipro. I had the meds in my first aid kit – all purchased in the US before I left after going to a travel medicine clinic. The policy allowed coverage for any treatment for six months after travel was completed if treatment had begun during the policy period – and “medications” was specifically listed as something that met the definition of treatment. I returned to the US and my stomach symptoms continued and worsened. I went to the doctor who ordered a full round of blood, urine, and fecal testing to figure out what was going on – costing over a thousand dollars.

I filed my claim with IMG. I spent the first six months getting the serious run around. They asked me for photocopies of my passport stamps twice – they asked me for an itinerary of my travels through India (which had nothing to do with my claim) – they tried to insist that I had another form of insurance when I saw the doctor in the United States (completely untrue and they eventually backed down). It was clear insurance company stall tactics. Then the kicker. If I could show proof that I received treatment in Vietnam, they would cover my expenses. I explained that I was ill in rural Vietnam where the possibility of finding adequate medical care was nil. I explained that even if I had obtained treatment there, the likelihood of being given any kind of receipt was also next to nil. But of course, having consulted with a travel doc before I left the country, I was traveling with a well-stocked first aid kit, had been given advice on how to use the meds by a medical professional before I left, had a travel medical guide with me that I also consulted, and took the medication as indicated by all suggestions. They insisted that I provide some form of evidence that I had taken the medication when I claimed I did. I explained that there is no form of evidence that I could provide that would prove I had taken medication I was traveling with and that if they needed such proof they should not have simply listed "medication" as a form of treatment in their policy. (In retrospect I regret not having taken any photos of the results of my symptoms which I would have joyfully shared with these people for proof of something.)

With that said, they denied my claim, closed my case, refused to re-open the case without the proof, and refused to allow me to speak with anyone but their front-line customer care people. I am utterly and completely aghast. I am out the whole $1000 plus, with no recourse. Honestly, it is stuff like this that gives insurance companies such a bad name. It is always the bottom line that matters most – and any excuse to avoid paying out is a good one.

I hope none of you have an experience like this. I can’t tell you which company you should choose – but I can say that you should definitely avoid IMG.


Holds PhD in Packing
Posts: 154
Joined: August 16th, 2006
Location: San Leandro, CA, USA

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  • Added on: March 16th, 2011
Hey there Ive,

I'm sorry to hear about your experience and as someone who works in the insurance industry (though not travel insurance) myself, I can understand the frustrations invovled in trying to get an insurance company to pay out a claim.

In your case it is clearly a case of them having a poorly worded policy which has come back to bite them. I think in this case, they are obligated to pay out, since they issued the policy as worded.

The only recourse I can think of is reporting them to the Better Business Bureau (if they are a US based company) or reporting them to the Dept. of Insurance (of the state that they are licensed in). I encourage you to try both and see where it goes. Don't give up!
"What the hell is wrong with you C3-PO? We're here to see Europe not some crappy statue" (Eurotrip)


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Thorn Tree Refugee
Posts: 2
Joined: January 11th, 2010

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  • Added on: March 22nd, 2011
Well, now that my checks from IMG have cleared, just wanted to provide any readers of this post with some final advice -- something I learned while out on the roads of this world -- the power of Lonely Planet! I considered the advice to pursue a legal remedy -- but decided that my first step would be to launch an assault on IMG in the best way we as consumers can -- go after their customer base. Just befoe I posted this message on Bootsnall I drafted a similar letter to Lonely Planet and cc-d copies of it to every employee I had interacted with at IMG. (I also emailed them a copy of what I wrote here and told them I would continue to post it on every backpcker message board I could find!) Wouldn't you know it, two-days later I received a letter from IMG's Senior Counsel stating that he was looking into the matter and two days after that I received notice that they would be paying for my expenses after all. My wife and I NEVER abused this when we were trveling -- but we did find in the one or two times that we felt screwed over by a hostel or tour operator that he simple words, "You have left me no choice but to write to Lonely Planet and tell them how we were treated here," quickly resulted in an about-face. Good to know the same holds true for the powerful inurance companies! Now, the fact that Lonely Planet wields such power is a scary, dangerous thing in and of itself, but that is a post for another day. Just wanted to let all of you know that us little guys do have ways to successfully fight back! Don't let these insurance companies push you around. Let them know you will not go away and you will do everything you can to make them miserable until they pay up -- and they just may pay up.


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Armchair Traveler
Posts: 27
Joined: July 26th, 2010
Location: UAE

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  • Added on: March 22nd, 2011
its a sad fact that insurance companies and hotels try to take advantage of travelrs' conditions once they know that the traveler is out and can do nothing. however, with web access from pratically every where from the world and the power of web and word of mounth, things have improved a lot, i am happy that you are being paid for the trouble you had and you had the guts to stand up and fight as many people do not even raise a voice against all this.. good going..
I love traveling. I am currently working on two websites Dubai Fun Holidays and SwissFunHolidays.com

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