Travel Insurance: How It Works, The Types, Pros, and Cons

Shawn Plummer

CEO, The Annuity Expert

When you’re planning a vacation, the last thing you want to worry about is getting sick or injured and having to spend your hard-earned money on medical bills. That’s where travel insurance comes in. Travel insurance is a type of insurance that covers you while you are traveling. It can help protect you from unexpected costs if something goes wrong while you’re away from home. In this guide, we will discuss what travel insurance is and how it works. We will also take a look at the different types of travel insurance policies available so that you can choose the one that best meets your needs.

How to Choose the Right Travel Insurance Policy for Your Needs

No one knows when the unexpected will happen on your next trip because of today’s uncertain times. That’s why it’s important to have travel insurance for every kind of trip. Whether you’re taking a family vacation, destination weddings, or going on a business trip, insurance can help protect you from unforeseen events. In this guide, we’ll discuss the nine different types of plans, and recommend the best trip insurance policy. So whether you’re planning a leisurely getaway or “adrenaline junky” adventure sports, we’ve got you covered! Now let’s compare travel insurance plans.

What Is Travel Insurance?

What does travel insurance cover? Travel insurance protects an upcoming trip against interruptions, cancellations, flight delays, baggage delay, lost luggage, and medical coverage. The cost of travel insured is based on the state of residence, the full cost of the trip, age, departure date, return date, and the initial deposit. Travel plans can cost as little as a few dollars a day.

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How Does Travel Insurance Work?

Travel insurance works by reimbursing you for expenses incurred as a result of an interruption in your trip, such as missed flights, lost luggage, or medical emergencies. It can also provide coverage for trip cancellations and delays.

Which Insurance For Traveling Is Best For Me?

There are several different types of travel insurance policies available, each with its own set of benefits. Some common types of travel insurance and international travel health insurance include comprehensive, emergency medical, and trip cancellation/interruption insurance. These travel insurance products are the best plans for :

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The Benefits Of Having Travel Insurance

It can be overwhelming to shop for travel insurance policies. Travel insurance benefits include:

  • Travel Protection including Trip Cancellations, Travel Delay Benefits, and Interruption Coverage
  • Missed Connections Due to Travel Delays
  • Change Fees
  • Reimbursement of Miles or Reward Points
  • Delayed Baggage or Lost Baggage Insurance and Personal Property
  • Pre-Existing Condition Waivers
  • Accident and Sickness Medical Bills (COVID coverage)
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation Coverage
  • Comprehensive Coverage for Emergency Medical Care
  • Common Carrier Accidental Death & Dismemberment (Flight Accident Insurance)
  • Search and Rescues
  • Sports Equipment Renters and Rental Car Insurance
  • Cancel for Any Reason Coverage (best plan if you want to cancel a trip with limited termination provisions)
  • Travel Advisory Protection

How Much Does A Travel Insurance Cost?

Travel insurance costs can vary on several factors, and the rates change constantly. A typical trip investment can range from as little as $4.31 per person per week and go upwards of over $100 for a short trip. Always compare prices. The premium amounts are based on trip details including:

  • Trip Length (weekly, monthly, and annual plan)
  • Traveler Ages
  • Traveler’s Gender
  • Total Trip Cost
  • Deductible Amount
  • Coverage Levels
  • Medical Coverage Amount
  • Rental Car Coverage
  • Adventure activities (bungee jumping, sky diving, scuba diving)

Travel Coverage Types

There are two primary types of travel insurance policies:

  • Trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage (Domestic Trips)
  • Travel medical insurance: Travel medical insurance is health insurance for international trips. This is the right plan for anyone traveling internationally.

Typical Insurance Services Provided

A comprehensive travel insurance plan typically offers emergency travel assistance services and concierge services to you while on your trip 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, which include:

  • Emergency travel arrangements to the nearest hospital
  • Emergency medical coverage
  • Emergency evacuation coverage
  • Car rental coverage
  • Trip cancellation coverage
  • Emergency assistance including lost passports and travel documents
  • 24-hour health care monitoring
  • Lost luggage and personal belongings assistance
  • Emergency cash transfer
  • Embassy or consulate referrals
  • Legal professional referrals
  • Emergency message relay service
  • Emergency translations
  • Emergency prescription drugs replacement
  • Natural disasters

Loopholes And Fine Print To Look For

Costly Medical Expenses While Traveling Internationally

Not all policies provide the same benefits and provide coverage for different types of travel. Some loopholes in the fine print with traditional travel coverage (i.e., credit cards or financial institutions) are the medical insurance coverage when stepping outside your home country. Domestic health plans do not provide benefits abroad, and this is particularly important with Covid-19. Usually, the financial institution provides some health coverage or medical assistance, but minimal at best. International hospitals have been known to dramatically increase medical expense prices for tourists, especially when they’re seeking emergency care, and expect to be paid in full with cash, not credit. Traditional insurance for traveling doesn’t cover it.

Travelers will need a comprehensive health insurance plan, along with global assistance as well. The bottom line is making sure there are sufficient medical benefits available when traveling abroad, including border countries.

Why You Need An International Health Plan

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Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

Most travel insurance plans do not cover existing medical conditions, pregnancy, high-risk activities, or travel to high-risk destinations, so be sure to pay attention to the fine print. Existing medical conditions are defined as an illness or injury seeking or receiving medical treatment within the past 120 days.

This timeframe for these pre-existing conditions varies by travel insurance provider’s policies. Read the fine print to determine any non-refundable trip expenses.

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The Best Travel Insurance Companies

Allianz, IMG Global, and GeoBlue are the best travel insurance companies based on customer reviews and financial strength having an above than average rating. Conduct a travel insurance comparison to determine what the policy covers and the best price for your next trip. When buying travel insurance be sure to compare plans to understand any additional coverage (adventure travel) needed to complete your policy.

Allianz Travel Insurance
Allianz Travel Insurance
Patriot Platinum Travel Medical Insurance
IMG Global
Geoblue Voyager Travel Medical Insurance
GeoBlue

Tip: Travelex insurance services, World Nomads, AXA Assistance USA, John Hancock, and Travel Guard are solid options too. Instead of using a comparison engine to find travel insurance policies, focus on these three companies. The quote process is straightforward.

Conclusion

So now that you understand the different types of travel insurance policies, it’s time to choose the best one for your needs. Use our travel insurance marketplace to find the policy that offers the most specific coverage for your budget. And don’t forget, buying insurance is always a better option than risking a financial loss on an expensive trip with no protection at all. The Annuity Expert offers a wide array of products. Compare travel insurance plans now!

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Need help finding the best plan for your upcoming trip? No worries. Contact us below for a free quote.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How Much Does A Travel Insurance Cost?

The cost of travel insurance varies depending on the type of policy you choose, the length of your trip, and other factors such as your age and health. In general, policies start at around $30 for a short-term trip.

When Does Coverage Begin?

Typically coverage begins on the scheduled departure date as long as the insurance payments have been made and end on your return trip date.

Does A Travel Insurance Policy Cover Weather?

It’s important to purchase a comprehensive plan with several benefits included to meet your travel needs. Let’s say you travel to the Caribbean during Hurricane Season because you got a killer discount on travel accommodations, and the weather prohibits you from going to or coming back home due to severe weather? The insurance typically covers trip cancellation or trip delay coverage. Cancel For Any Reason can also be purchased to cover a traveler in any situation regardless of a covered reason or not.

How do I find the best deals?

One way to save money when you buy travel insurance is by buying coverage as a group. The entire group may be able to buy travel insurance in a single group policy at a discounted lower rate than you’d pay for individual policies.

Is travel insurance worth it?

Whether or not travel insurance is worth it depends on your individual needs and the type of trip you are taking. For example, if you are going on an expensive or dangerous vacation, then travel insurance may be a good idea. However, if you are taking a short trip to a safe destination, then you may not need it. Ultimately, the decision is up to you.

what does travel insurance policies cover?

Travel insurance can cover a variety of things, including missed flights, lost luggage, medical emergencies, trip cancellations, and delays. It depends on the policy you choose as to what exactly is covered.

What isn’t covered by travel insurance?

There are some things that are not typically covered by travel insurance policies, such as preexisting medical conditions, financial default of a travel provider, and intentional damage. Again, it depends on the policy you choose as to what is and is not covered.

How do I purchase travel insurance?

You can buy travel insurance through a variety of channels, including online, through a travel agent, or directly from a travel insurance company.

How do I make a claim on my travel insurance?

If you need to make a claim on your travel insurance, you will first need to contact your insurer. They will then provide you with a claim form, which you will need to fill out and submit along with any supporting documentation. Once your claim is approved, you will be reimbursed for your expenses.

What should I do if I have a problem while on my trip?

If you have a problem while on your trip, the first thing you should do is contact your travel insurance company. They will be able to help you resolve the issue and get you the assistance you need.

What are the best travel insurance companies?

Some of the best travel insurance companies include Allianz, World Nomads, and Travel Guard. It really depends on your individual needs as to which company is best for you. You should compare different policies and quotes from multiple companies before making a decision.

How much is travel insurance to Costa Rica?

The cost of travel insurance to Costa Rica varies depending on the length of your trip, the type of policy you choose, and other factors such as your age and health. In general, policies start at around $30 for a short-term trip. However, it is always best to compare quotes from multiple companies before making a decision.

Which type of travel insurance plans cover covid?

There is no one definitive answer to this question as policies vary by company. However, many travel insurance policies do cover medical emergencies, which may include covid-19. It is always best to check with the specific company you are considering to see what their policy covers.

How do I make a claim on my travel insurance?

If you need to make a claim on your travel insurance, you will first need to contact your insurer. They will then provide you with a claim form, which you will need to fill out and submit along with any supporting documentation. Once your claim is approved, you will be reimbursed for your expenses.

What should I do if I have a problem while on my trip?

If you have a problem while on your trip, the first thing you should do is contact your travel insurance company. They will be able to help you resolve the issue and get you the assistance you need.

When to buy travel insurance?

The best time to buy travel insurance is when you book your trip. This way, you’ll be covered in case anything happens between the time you book your trip and the time you leave for your trip. For example, if you need to cancel your trip due to an illness or injury, travel insurance can reimburse you for the cost of your trip.

Which type of travel insurance plan cover covid?

There is no one definitive answer to this question as policies vary by company. However, many travel insurance policies do cover medical emergencies, which may include covid-19. It is always best to check with the specific company you are considering to see what their policy covers.

Which travel insurance is best when living abroad?

International health insurance plans are the best type of travel insurance when living abroad. These plans provide you with comprehensive coverage for your health, including emergency medical evacuation and repatriation.

What is total trip cost?

Total trip cost is the amount of money you would spend on your trip if everything went according to plan. This includes the cost of your flight, hotel, and other activities. If something unexpected happens and you have to cancel your trip, travel insurance can reimburse you for the cost of your flight and hotel. It can also cover other expenses, such as meals and transportation.

Does your credit card give you travel insurance?

Some credit cards offer travel insurance as a benefit, but it is important to read the fine print to see what is covered. Generally, credit card travel insurance only covers you for delays, lost baggage, and cancellations. It does not cover medical expenses or evacuation.

Do I need travel insurance if I have health insurance?

If you have health insurance, you may not need travel insurance. However, it is always a good idea to check with your health insurance provider to see what type of coverage they offer while you are traveling. Travel insurance can help cover things that your health insurance may not, such as lost baggage or cancellations.

What is cancel for any reason travel insurance?

Cancel for any reason travel insurance is a type of insurance that allows you to cancel your trip for any reason. This type of insurance is usually more expensive than other types of travel insurance, but it gives you the flexibility to cancel your trip for any reason.

Does travel insurance cover you for cancellation?

Most travel insurance policies will cover you for cancellation, but it is important to check the details of your policy before you buy it. Some policies will only cover you if you cancel your trip due to an unexpected event, such as illness or injury. Other policies may also cover you if you have to cancel your trip because of a work commitment or family emergency.

It is also worth noting that some travel insurance policies will only cover you for a certain amount of money. For example, if you have to cancel your trip because of an illness or injury, the policy may only pay out a certain percentage of the cost of your trip. Therefore, it is important to check the details of your policy before you buy it.

Does travel insurance allow you to change your mind?

No, travel insurance does not cover you if you change your mind. Travel insurance is designed to protect you from unexpected events that may occur before or during your trip. It is not intended to cover voluntary changes to your plans. If you need to cancel or interrupt your trip for any reason, you should contact your travel insurance provider as soon as possible to find out if you are covered.

Do travel insurance companies check medical records?

Most insurance companies will not check your medical records when you buy travel insurance coverage. However, it is important to note that some pre-existing conditions are not covered by travel insurance. Be sure to read the fine print of your policy carefully to see if there are any exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

If you have a pre-existing medical condition, you may still be able to buy travel insurance. Some policies will cover pre-existing conditions if you purchase the policy within a certain time frame of your trip (usually 21 days). Be sure to read the fine print of your policy carefully to see if there are any exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

If you have any questions about whether or not your pre-existing medical condition will be covered by travel insurance, be sure to contact the insurance company directly. They will be able to provide you with more specific information about what is and is not covered by your policy.

Do travel insurance policies cover lost luggage?

Most travel insurance policies will cover lost luggage, but there may be some restrictions. For example, some policies will only cover lost luggage if it is lost while in transit. Other policies may have a limit on the amount of coverage for lost luggage. Be sure to read the policy carefully to see what is covered and what is not.

If you need to file a claim for lost luggage, you will need to provide proof of purchase for the items that were lost. You will also need to file a police report if your luggage was stolen. The travel insurance company will then reimburse you for the cost of the lost items, up to the limit of your policy.

What does protecting your flight mean?

When you buy travel insurance, you are usually given the option to add protection for your flight. This means that if your flight is canceled or delayed, you will be reimbursed for any non-refundable expenses, such as hotel reservations or rental car bookings. You may also be entitled to compensation for lost wages if you have to miss work due to a delayed or canceled flight.

Does travel insurance offer cancellation protection due to civil unrest?

Most travel insurance policies will not cover cancellation due to civil unrest. Civil unrest is usually classified as a political event, and most policies have an exclusion for political events. If you are concerned about civil unrest affecting your trip, you should purchase a policy that has a specific exclusion for civil unrest. Some policies may offer coverage for trip interruption or delays due to civil unrest, but this is typically limited to a certain number of days.

Is it too late to purchase travel insurance?

No, it’s not too late to buy travel insurance coverage. In fact, you can get travel insurance up until the day of your departure. However, keep in mind that the sooner you buy travel insurance, the better coverage you’ll have. For example, if you get travel insurance and then have to cancel your trip due to an illness, you’ll be covered. But if you wait until the day of your departure and then have to cancel, you likely won’t be covered.

Can I add trip insurance after I book on Expedia?

Yes. If you booked your trip on Expedia and did not purchase travel insurance at the time of booking, you can still add it to your itinerary up until the day before departure. To do so, simply login to your account and go to “My Trips.” Then, select the trip you’re interested in adding insurance to and click “Add/Edit Insurance.” From there, you can select the type and amount of coverage you want and complete your purchase.

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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