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Israeli credit card with real travel insurance?

Israeli credit card with real travel insurance?

Old Jan 4, 18, 3:06 pm
  #1  
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Israeli credit card with real travel insurance?

Does the El Al Fly credit card, or for that matter any other credit card in Israel, offer real travel insurance?

By that I mean insurance where you do not have to notify the credit card company before your trip and one that fully covers medical treatment when you are out of the country.

I currently have a Gold Mastercard from Deutsche Bank and the only reason that I keep that account open is the health insurance policy that comes with it. (I never keep much money in the account.)

As long as I am not seeking reimbursement for a problem which was diagnosed before my trip, the card will cover any medical expenses I have overseas for 45 days after my trip begins. As far as I know, my regular MasterCard from Israel gives me only minimal health insurance and I have to call them to notify them that I will be traveling -- at which point they tell me that the coverage is really crap and if I want better coverage I have to buy additional insurance from them.

I would like to dump the Deutsche Bank card (and close the account) but only if I can get an equivalent card in Israel.
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Old Jan 5, 18, 7:27 am
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A reform came into effect in September which now gives cardholders 5 days of full, comprehensive coverage for free. No more of the hard sells on being underinsured. You should look into your benefits again - my Fly Card Premium (Leumi Card Visa Platinum) offers the deal. Truly free, very high coverages, including ancillary coverages like lost luggage, delays, etc.
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Old Jan 5, 18, 8:12 am
  #3  
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Originally Posted by moe8555 View Post
A reform came into effect in September which now gives cardholders 5 days of full, comprehensive coverage for free. No more of the hard sells on being underinsured. You should look into your benefits again - my Fly Card Premium (Leumi Card Visa Platinum) offers the deal. Truly free, very high coverages, including ancillary coverages like lost luggage, delays, etc.
Until now, I have kept most of my money in the US. I had a MasterCard via my kibbutz, but no Israeli bank account. I recently opened an account at Bank Ben Leumi, where I will be making a 90,000 NIS deposit next week. (I had no choice, for legal reasons it could not be deposited in the kibbutz or outside of the country.) Will I be qualified for the Fly Card Premium with it? Also, what happens after the 5th day? (All my trips to Europe are for at least one week and to the US for two weeks.)
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Old Jan 6, 18, 12:04 am
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Originally Posted by Dovster View Post
Until now, I have kept most of my money in the US. I had a MasterCard via my kibbutz, but no Israeli bank account. I recently opened an account at Bank Ben Leumi, where I will be making a 90,000 NIS deposit next week. (I had no choice, for legal reasons it could not be deposited in the kibbutz or outside of the country.) Will I be qualified for the Fly Card Premium with it? Also, what happens after the 5th day? (All my trips to Europe are for at least one week and to the US for two weeks.)

It isn't just the FC Premium that offers it. Basically any card that offers travel insurance now gives you the first 5 days of full comprehensive coverage absolutely free. The only difference, I believe, may be between card "prestige" (i e. Gold vs. Platinum). The FC Premium is a Platinum, so it offers the highest level of coverage - but any Visa Platinum product should offer the same.

To be eligible for the card, you either need to be Silver+ with El Al, or commit to putting at least 10K ILS spend a month on the card.

As for what happens after 5 days: first 5 days remain free and you pay anything beyond that.
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Old Jan 6, 18, 11:22 pm
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Originally Posted by moe8555 View Post
A reform came into effect in September which now gives cardholders 5 days of full, comprehensive coverage for free. No more of the hard sells on being underinsured. You should look into your benefits again - my Fly Card Premium (Leumi Card Visa Platinum) offers the deal. Truly free, very high coverages, including ancillary coverages like lost luggage, delays, etc.
Who's covered? just the card holder or all passengers booked using the card?
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Old Jan 6, 18, 11:54 pm
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When it comes to the free insurance, you still must call to activate it. OP, there is no free travel insurance like in the USA where it's automatic. You must notify. Also, it only covers the cardholder, no others.
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Old Jan 14, 18, 11:26 pm
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One needs to understand that every insurance company, no matter which you pick, will always attempt to fly you back to Israel. Business class. With an attending doctor and/or nurse. That is because once you land in Israel, the insurance company hands you off to your Kupat Cholim for continuation of your health care. Only in cases where you cannot be flown will the insurance company pay out. And they are not happy and will at the very first instance arrange to fly you home. It is in their financial interest to fly you even first class and spend $15K on the whole deal rather than rack up bills of $15K/day at some foreign hospital.
Your problem is that when you are hospitalized and cannot be moved, the insurance companies will tell you to lay out the money and they will pay you back based on receipts. Bills can go into the tens of thousands of dollars and not everyone can lay out that kind of money.
There is the insurance company Passportcard, which has become quite popular in Israel, which issues to you a debit card with no money in it. When you get injured, you call them from abroad and indicate the type of injury and the country you are in and they load the debit card with the appropriate amount of money which you can then use to pay, without having to lay out any money. If the card runs out of money, you call them and they load the card with more money.
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Old Jan 14, 18, 11:35 pm
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Originally Posted by joshwex90 View Post
When it comes to the free insurance, you still must call to activate it. OP, there is no free travel insurance like in the USA where it's automatic. You must notify. Also, it only covers the cardholder, no others.
US travel insurance via your US credit card is not so great either. In the US, travel insurance is split among the various insurers. I'll explain. Suppose you insure via AIG, have Blue Cross as your local medical insurance in the US and are over 65 and have Medicare.
AIG will only cover $5K and then everything over $5K will pass onward to your next primary coverer. Blue Cross will only cover up to $10K when you travel abroad and the rest you have to collect from Medicare.
Each company has slightly different rules and numbers but the general concept is the same. After you lay out the money you have to claim the money from multiple insurers. And then comes the nickel and dime.
For example, if you need to see a private doctor in Israel for 500NIS, Blue Cross will only cover $72 of the cost.
The list goes on and on.
Best to closely examine your travel insurance. Cheapest is not always the best.
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Old Jan 15, 18, 9:03 am
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Originally Posted by hnussbacher View Post
One needs to understand that every insurance company, no matter which you pick, will always attempt to fly you back to Israel. Business class. With an attending doctor and/or nurse. That is because once you land in Israel, the insurance company hands you off to your Kupat Cholim for continuation of your health care. Only in cases where you cannot be flown will the insurance company pay out. And they are not happy and will at the very first instance arrange to fly you home. It is in their financial interest to fly you even first class and spend $15K on the whole deal rather than rack up bills of $15K/day at some foreign hospital.
Your problem is that when you are hospitalized and cannot be moved, the insurance companies will tell you to lay out the money and they will pay you back based on receipts. Bills can go into the tens of thousands of dollars and not everyone can lay out that kind of money.
There is the insurance company Passportcard, which has become quite popular in Israel, which issues to you a debit card with no money in it. When you get injured, you call them from abroad and indicate the type of injury and the country you are in and they load the debit card with the appropriate amount of money which you can then use to pay, without having to lay out any money. If the card runs out of money, you call them and they load the card with more money.
I have never heard of an Israeli-based travel insurance (including, but not limited to, Phoenix (which covers Passportcard), Harel, Clal, Shirbit, AIG, and Migdal) who make you pay out the expenses in advance for a hospital. They all tell you to call them (they have a toll-free 24/7 phone number, some have other options as well such Skype for Phoenix) and they will arrange for advance payment. Hospitals generally don't even take payment on site; as it is, it takes time, at which point, you may be back in Israel. The insurance company takes care of direct payment to the hospital.

While economically it may make sense to fly someone back, in practice, I generally haven't seen that done. Once in a while, but certainly not always or even often.

Once back in Israel, they can't always just toss the case to kupat cholim. That's why they provide a certain level of coverage once back in Israel.

BTW, if you look at the Living Financially Smarter in Israel Facebook group, you'll see that PassportCard isn't always as great as they claim to be. First off, the prepaid CC aspect only applies to medical. Anything else requires receipts. Second, they have a notorious reputation when it comes to people with pre-existing conditions, even if the person paid the additional cost (which cannot be purchased online) and the medical issue doesn't relate. Also, they are extremely expensive (over $7/day if you have a pre-existing condition) and when I flew with my daughter, they wanted an additional $900 for a 12 day trip to the USA.

Originally Posted by hnussbacher View Post
US travel insurance via your US credit card is not so great either. In the US, travel insurance is split among the various insurers. I'll explain. Suppose you insure via AIG, have Blue Cross as your local medical insurance in the US and are over 65 and have Medicare.
AIG will only cover $5K and then everything over $5K will pass onward to your next primary coverer. Blue Cross will only cover up to $10K when you travel abroad and the rest you have to collect from Medicare.
Each company has slightly different rules and numbers but the general concept is the same. After you lay out the money you have to claim the money from multiple insurers. And then comes the nickel and dime.
For example, if you need to see a private doctor in Israel for 500NIS, Blue Cross will only cover $72 of the cost.
The list goes on and on.
Best to closely examine your travel insurance. Cheapest is not always the best.
It may not be great, but it's the means of comparison for what the OP asked. Also, Medicaire will never cover outside the USA.
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Old Jan 15, 18, 10:27 am
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Originally Posted by joshwex90 View Post
I have never heard of an Israeli-based travel insurance (including, but not limited to, Phoenix (which covers Passportcard), Harel, Clal, Shirbit, AIG, and Migdal) who make you pay out the expenses in advance for a hospital. They all tell you to call them (they have a toll-free 24/7 phone number, some have other options as well such Skype for Phoenix) and they will arrange for advance payment. Hospitals generally don't even take payment on site; as it is, it takes time, at which point, you may be back in Israel. The insurance company takes care of direct payment to the hospital.
I have written proof that Shirbit demands that the customer pay the hospital directly. Only via complaints to the Ministry of Finance - Insurance Dept were we able to get them to partially pay the hospitals directly.
Originally Posted by joshwex90 View Post
Once back in Israel, they can't always just toss the case to kupat cholim. That's why they provide a certain level of coverage once back in Israel.
Shirbit policy states ambiguously (see clause 7.2) that they will return the patient to Israel for "continuation of service". Only once you try to claim will you find out that their interpretation is they dump you at the airport for you to fend for yourself via your kupa. I have that in writing as well as recorded.

Passportcard spells it out very clearly in section 2.5 that after they fly you back, you are on your own via your kupat cholim.

Harel states clearly in clause 3.5 of their policy that they will only cover you once back in Israel for only up to $10,000.

The information I am providing is based on actual first hand knowledge and events.
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Old Jan 17, 18, 4:54 am
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PassportCard has awful service. I had an annual policy with them whereby I paid for a full year of travel insurance and as long as I wasn't out of the country for more than 30 days at a time I could travel abroad as much as I wanted for no extra cost ( I think there was some provision about calling them for more days to extend). Given the travel I do, it was better than buying an individual travel policy every trip. My annual policy expired every year at the end of Feburary. One time, I realized that it was about to expire when I was already away (in Spain) so I called to renew it. They told me they'd give me a 1 week extension (for a charge) to get back to Israel but wouldn't take me as a customer for the following year because I had accidentally let it expire! I called AIG Israel from Spain and bought a new policy. Much better service.
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Old Jan 18, 18, 12:18 am
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Apparently, getting an annual policy in general is no longer policy as of the reform from September 1. My agent and I hope they come back the market, but not clear when. I've had an annual policy with Phoenix and I'm still on it until May 1. Really hope they come back because getting a new policy every time I fly is PIA.
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