How to Find the Best Travel Insurance

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I am going to tell you what you need to know about travel insurance.

If you buy travel insurance, you may not need it. But if you do, then it is good because it covers the significant, expensive risks that could happen to you. So if your trip is costly or dangerous (or during the COVID-era), then get travel insurance.

There are many different travel insurance policies, and it depends on your particular situation. Follow along as we take a look at the most common needs. Then we’ll figure out what factors affect the cost. Finally, we’ll talk about different products and how to get covered.

What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

Travel Health Coverage

Suppose you get sick or hurt while on a trip, your regular health insurance plan might not cover it. That’s why it’s good to have an emergency medical plan for that.

Emergency Evacuation and Repatriation

When you are hurt or sick, you can go to the nearest hospital and be taken there.

Trip Cancellation, Interruption, and Delay

If you get sick and can’t go on a trip, the airline will give your money back. In addition, if there is a delay in the airline or some other company’s service, they will also reimburse you for any costs.

Cancel For Any Reason

The company will refund your money if you cancel a reservation for any reason.

Baggage and Personal Belongings

If your baggage is lost, stolen, or damaged, the insurance covers the cost.

24-hour Assistance Services

It isn’t easy to find the best hospital or lawyer in a new city, even when that place does not speak a language you understand.

Car Rental Collision Insurance

When you rent a car, the rental company will require you to pay damages in case of an incident.

Travel insurance reimburses you should something go wrong on your trip. There is even coverage for the worst-case scenario: if you die while traveling, accidental death coverage pays in that case.

You may not know the detailed differences between different travel insurance policies. Still, it would be best if you took a little time to make sure your policy covers coronavirus-related emergencies before going on vacation. If this is of cause for concern, your best bet would be to purchase the more comprehensive plan, as it will cost less in the long run.

What Factors Affect Travel Insurance Cost

  • The longer a trip and the more costly, the higher insurance rates may be.
  • Local health care costs can make your trip insurance more expensive.
  • Travel insurance is more expensive if you have medical conditions.
  • The more risks the policy covers, the more it will cost.
  • The older you are, the higher your price.
  • Optional insurance policies like Cancel For Any Reason, Interrupt For Any Reason, and more.

Types of Travel Insurance

When you buy travel insurance, you will see many plans to choose from. Sometimes it is a package that includes many things. You can also decide what coverage you want by customizing your plan and adding it to your package with other things.

Travel medical insurance

Some vacationers purchase travel health insurance to protect against the possibility of medical expenses while away from home. Although these policies are similar to traditional domestic medical plans, you generally cannot use them for routine medical events such as a routine checkup, usually not covered under this policy. Furthermore, these policies often include limitations on coverage and exclusions for pre-existing medical conditions.

You may want to purchase a special policy designed for extreme sports when traveling overseas.

International travel insurance

International travel medical insurance is necessary if you plan to leave the United States for more than a few days.

Learn More: A Guide To Travel Medical Insurance

Trip cancellation, interruption, and delay

If you have to cancel your trip, this insurance covers the expense. You will get your money back.

Scenarios include:

  • You get sick.
  • The death or illness of a family member
  • Natural disaster

Trip interruption insurance is a policy in place to cover the nonrefundable cost of the unused portion of your trip if you have to abandon the trip.

Trip delay coverage reimburses for expenses such as lodging and meals if your trip is delayed.

Some companies offer extra coverage that may be worth the cost. For example, “Cancel for Any Reason” coverage will reimburse a large part of the trip no matter what your reason is, and some companies even offer to cover medical conditions when you cancel other plans because of illness.

Learn More: A Guide to Trip Cancellation, Interruption, and Delay Insurance

Baggage and personal belongings

You are covered for damages to your luggage and personal belongings as well as extra expenses if you experience a delay of more than 12 hours.

Your renters or homeowners insurance may cover personal contents while traveling. Check your homeowner’s policy to determine what level of coverage you have.

Emergency medical assistance, evacuation, and repatriation

Medical coverage pays for transporting you to the nearest hospital and flying you back home when necessary.

24-hour assistance

When you purchase package deals that include travel insurance with your trip, this service is often included. For example, the insurer might offer a 24-hour hotline that travelers call when they need help, like booking a missed connection flight or locating lost luggage.

Accidental death and dismemberment insurance

If you have an accident on a trip, this coverage will pay your beneficiary (perhaps a family member) a lump sum of money.

Some people have life insurance to cover expenses after death from illness or accident, but accidental death and dismemberment insurance through work may provide coverage for the same situation.

Rental car coverage

Rental car insurance pays for any damage to the rental vehicle after a wreck, natural disaster, or vandalism. This coverage does not include liability insurance which pays victims of an accident if you caused it and are responsible for damages.

How to get travel insurance

As a credit cardholder, you might have protection against trip cancellation and interruption whether or not you choose to buy travel insurance.

If you decide what type and level of coverage you need, first check to see if your credit card includes it.

Below, we summarize four methods to purchase travel insurance and the positives and negatives of each option.

Credit cards

Some credit cards offer trip cancellation and rental car insurance if you use the card to book the trip or car.

Travel agents and travel websites

You can buy travel insurance when you book your itinerary through a travel agency or travel website.

Travel insurance companies

You can purchase travel insurance directly from an insurer. This is typically the cheaper route.

Travel insurance comparison websites

Compare different travel insurance policies and quotes with the trip search criteria.

Tips for buying travel insurance

  • Travelers should take a look at the financial risks they can bear on their own, and for what period of time.
  • If you are pursuing travel insurance, it is essential that to ask the following questions: Will your credit card cover you in all locations where you’re traveling? Are there any other existing insurance policies such as homeowners or renters which may cover lost items while overseas? What is the deductible?
  • Get trip insurance quotes online from carriers with similar coverage packages.
  • Having a full understanding of which services are covered and which are not, as well as the limitations on coverage is key to selecting the right life insurance policy.

Frequently asked questions

Is travel insurance worth getting?

Yes, whether you purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy or have travel insurance from your credit card. Traveling should not be without protection in the event of emergencies ranging from lost luggage to medical events that require hospitalization.

What is the best travel insurance company?

When purchasing travel insurance, each individual must find the coverage that best fits their needs.

Can I purchase travel insurance after booking?

Yes, you can purchase travel insurance after purchasing a flight. However, it’s better to buy the policy sooner rather than later because the benefits begin as soon as you buy the policy.

What does my travel insurance cover?

Many travel insurance plans offer trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical and dental, medical evacuation, trip delay, and lost luggage coverage. If you are traveling during COVID times (you’ll want to check), make sure that the policy you choose has this coverage. Some plans also have Cancel For Any Reason travel insurance.

Does my credit card cover travel insurance?

Credit cards typically afford travelers with less coverage because the insurance is bundled together. Therefore, when considering a credit card, be sure to review the coverage details and compare them to those of a separate plan.

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

I’m a licensed financial professional focusing on annuities and insurance for more than a decade. My former role was training financial advisors, including for a Fortune Global 500 insurance company. I’ve been featured in Time Magazine, Yahoo! Finance, MSN, SmartAsset, Entrepreneur, Bloomberg, The Simple Dollar, U.S. News and World Report, and Women’s Health Magazine.

The Annuity Expert is an online insurance agency servicing consumers across the United States. My goal is to help you take the guesswork out of retirement planning or find the best insurance coverage at the cheapest rates for you. 

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