Having invested a considerable sum in your European rail tickets you may want to consider buying insurance. A rail protection plan covers loss or theft of your European rail ticket, or in the unlikely event that you cannot complete your trip due to sickness or other family emergency, it gives you a refund. The cost of the insurance is fairly nominal and does give peace of mind. However it must be bought at the same time as purchasing your European train tickets.
The downside of the rail protection plan insurance is:
- Pre-existing conditions are not covered
- The fee is non-refundable and non-transferable
Cost for insurance ranges from $16 for a single-person, single country pass to about $20 for a single-person Eurail Global or Select pass.
Whether you choose to take insurance or not, your Europe rail tickets and passes should be kept secure, preferably in a money-belt.
If Something Goes Wrong…
In rare circumstances a refund for validated or partly used passes may be given even if you have not purchased insurance. You need to get a European railway official to certify in writing that the pass was not used after a certain date – not easy if there is a sudden emergency involving hospitalization, for example. This rule only applies in the case of death, injury, illness, or a rail strike.
If your pass is lost or stolen, without insurance there is no claim for a refund against the unused period. Actually, even if you do have insurance your lost rail pass is not replaced. You will have to purchase a replacement. This is not easy as you are no longer in your home country – one of the requirements of buying a Eurail pass.
Conditions for making a claim include:
- You must file a report with the local police within 24 hours of losing your pass.
- You will have to buy a new rail pass to continue your trip.
- Filing a claim for compensation within 30 days of arriving home
Rail Europe processes all claims. They will refund the unused portion of the pass or the cost of the replacement ticket.
In the case of aborting a trip due to illness, injury or death of the traveler or their immediate family, the claim must include:
- A letter from a doctor or a copy of the death certificate
- Filing a claim for compensation within 30 days or arriving home
Normally 85-100% of unvalidated Europe rail tickets will be refunded. Insurance also covers the unused portion of any validated ticket and refunds other fees such as reservations.
We all hope the worst does not occur but if it does the rail pass insurance can soften the blow.