Companies offer variety of medical insurance for travelers -- leaving the country


Q: Could you list companies that cover medical expenses for travelers going out of the country?

A: Here are some companies that offer medical insurance -- sometimes available only in combination with other kinds of coverage, such as trip cancellation. Bear in mind that most companies will not cover pre-existing medical problems, and their definition of such problems varies. Rates are for two weeks of coverage; longer-term coverage is also available. Some of the policies have a deductible for each claim.

* Access America, 6600 W. Broad St., Richmond, Va. 23230; (800) 284-8300, a subsidiary of Blue Cross-Blue Shield. Basic medical insurance for an individual with coverage up to $10,000 for nine to 14 days is $49 a person; for a family, it is $97, with $20,000 in coverage.

* Health Care Abroad, P.O. Box 480, Middleburg, Va. 22117; (800) 237-6615, charges $3 a day for $100,000 medical coverage.

* Tele-Trip, Mutual of Omaha, 3201 Farnam St., Omaha, Neb. 68131; (800) 228-9792, offers Travel Assure at three levels. The basic level of coverage, $31 for an individual for nine to 15 days, provides $100,000 in flight insurance, $300 baggage insurance, $100 in baggage delay coverage, $2,500 in accidental medical and $50 a day sickness expense coverage. Family coverage, $50, provides $200,000 in flight insurance, up to $600 in baggage insurance, $100 for baggage delay expenses, $5,000 in accidental medical coverage and $50 a day for non-hospital sickness expenses. Two other levels of coverage -- standard, which is $60 for an individual and $105 for a family, and deluxe, $103 for an individual and $195 for a family -- provide more coverage plus trip cancellation and delay insurance.

* Travel Assistance International, 1133 15th St. N.W., Suite 400, Washington 20005; (800) 821-2828, sells $15,000 in medical insurance coverage for $50 for an individual and $75 for a family; $30,000 in coverage is $56 for an individual and $118 for a family; $60,000 coverage is $94 and $197, and $90,000 is $123 and $275. All levels include unlimited medical evacuation.

* Travel Guard International, 1145 Clark St., Stevens Point, Wis. 54481; (800) 782-5151, charges $39 a person for two weeks, with $15,000 in medical coverage, $20,000 for emergency assistance and $25,000 for accidental death and dismemberment.

* Wallach & Co., 107 W. Federal St., Suite 13, P.O. Box 480, Middleburg, Va. 22117; (800) 237-6615, offers Health Care Abroad, which provides accident and sickness coverage plus medical evacuation up to $100,000 total for $3 a day with a 10-day minimum.

Q: I would like to take a driving trip in the West in my 1966 Oldsmobile. Will I be able to find leaded gas?

A: Most cars built before 1975 and most light trucks built before 1984 use leaded gasoline, and there are still more than 20 million older cars and trucks designed for leaded gasoline on the road, according to the American Automobile Association.

The association periodically surveys 5,000 gas stations nationwide to determine gas prices. If the survey finds no more than five stations selling leaded gas in a state, no price for it is listed, as leaded gas is felt to be difficult to find there. In the most recent survey, in April, leaded gas was hardest to find in the East, the survey found, and more common in the Midwest and the West. Here are the states for which the association listed no price for leaded gas:

Arkansas, Alabama, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Hampshire, New York, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington and West Virginia.

The association recommends seeking out independent stations, as they are more likely to sell unleaded fuel than major oil companies' stations.

Lead in gasoline was used to lubricate engine valves to reduce wear; you might consider using a lead substitute or lead additive. However, the AAA says, automakers report that most older engines, especially those with high mileage, will not be harmed by unleaded gas. Unleaded gas is not recommended in older vehicles used to pull heavy loads or operated at high speeds for prolonged periods. Those who do use unleaded fuel in their leaded-only engines should use mid-grade or premium to prevent engine pinging, the association says.

Q: Are there trains from Munich to Budapest? How long is the trip?

A: There are two direct trains daily from Munich to Budapest, one of them overnight. The daytime trip leaves the Hauptbahnhof, or main train station, in Munich at 9:25 a.m. and arrives at Keleti Station in Budapest at 5:38 p.m. The overnight train leaves Munich at 11:10 p.m., arriving in Budapest at 8:08 the next morning. Ticket prices for both trains are $107 in first class and $69 in second class. A sleeping compartment is $36 a person for a double compartment and $83 for a single. Tickets are available from travel agents or from Rail Europe, 226 Westchester Ave., White Plains, N.Y. 10604; (914) 682-5172.

Q: I have heard of a ceremony that takes place in Hyde Park in London in which owners bring their horses to be blessed. Do you have any details on it?

A.: The ceremony, called Hyde Park Horseman's Sunday, takes place at noon on the next-to-last Sunday in September -- Sept. 20 this year -- outside St. John's Church at Hyde Park Crescent.

The blessing is preceded by a cavalcade of about 100 horses setting out from Southwick Place, led by the vicar of the church, Canon Thaddeus Birchard, himself astride a horse. Behind them is a group of Morris dancers, who perform on arriving at the church. Canon Birchard, still on horseback, then conducts a 30-minute service. Usually several

horse-drawn carriages of various styles are in attendance. After the ceremony is a small horse show in the Paddock, off the Bayswater Road opposite the Bayswater Road Underground station. Some of the horses who were just blessed take part.

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