Whether traveling abroad or taking a weekend trip a few hours away, vacationing requires planning and money. However, unforeseen circumstances like injury, illness, or weather can disrupt your travel plans and leave you short on cash. Travel insurance exists to help shield your finances against the unexpected.

6 Types of Travel Insurance

  • Travel Medical Insurance
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation
  • Trip Cancellation & Interruption Coverage
  • Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) Travel Insurance
  • Baggage Loss Insurance
  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance

Traveling is expensive and requires countless hours of planning. The last thing anyone wants is for it to all go to waste due to an unfortunate event that ruins the vacation.

This is why it’s smart to have travel insurance. Many different types of travel insurance can provide peace of mind by insuring you against unforeseen costs that may occur during travel, like medical care expenses, hotel cancellations, baggage loss, and flight delays.

What Is Travel Insurance?

Travel insurance, also called trip insurance, is a type of insurance that helps cover the costs of unexpected occurrences that may happen while traveling. A few examples of events that travel insurance might cover are medical expenses for an injury or illness sustained while traveling, reservation cancellation, delayed flights, and baggage losses.

Some travel credit cards offer travel insurance as a perk. Trip insurance can also be purchased out of pocket through a travel insurance company. 

How does travel insurance work? What are the benefits of travel insurance?

Travel insurance works by charging you a one-time fee for a travel insurance plan. Unlike other types of insurance (like homeowners insurance), travel insurance is purchased only once and has no yearly or monthly premiums. In most cases, your travel insurance company will reimburse you for any expenses covered as part of your travel insurance plan. In other circumstances, a travel insurance business might pay for costs upfront, such as if you require emergency medical care.

Some travel insurance businesses also assist you in difficult situations – for example, by finding you medical care, replacing your passport, or providing an interpreter. Specific benefits and coverage vary depending on your travel insurance provider and plan. 

There are many different types of travel insurance plans available to suit individual needs and budgets. It's important to do your research and pay attention to the fine print before spending cash on a travel insurance policy.

To help you discover which travel insurance is best for you, we've compiled this list of the best travel insurance companies.

Best Travel Insurance Companies

  • Allianz Travel Insurance
  • Travel Insured International
  • Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection
  • Travel Guard
  • International SOS
  • World Nomads Travel Insurance
  • Travelex 

Allianz Travel Insurance

Allianz Travel Insurance is a leading travel insurance provider in the industry. Every year, over 55 million travelers are helped by Allianz. In addition to financial travel insurance coverage, Allianz Travel Insurance offers 24/7 professional assistance to help customers in covered circumstances, like arranging hotel or flight reservations, finding a medical service, or replacing a lost document.

Allianz Travel Insurance has a handful of plans designed to meet the needs of different travelers. They have travel insurance plans designed for just one trip or multiple trips taken throughout the year.

Their most popular plan is OneTrip Prime, which includes trip cancellation coverage (up to $100,000), trip interruption coverage (up to $150,000), emergency medical coverage (up to $50,000), emergency transportation coverage (up to $500,000), baggage loss coverage (up to $1,000), baggage delay (up to $300), and trip delay (up to $800) for a single trip. Concierge and 24/7 assistance services are also included. There is an option to add on rental car coverage or required-to-work coverage in case you need to cancel a trip due to your job. Children 17 and under are covered free of charge, and coverage for pre-existing medical conditions is available.

If you need more coverage than this plan, you can upgrade to OneTrip Premier, which doubles most of the benefit allotments. In addition to more coverage, OneTrip Premier also insures sporting goods loss, sporting equipment rental, sporting event cancellations, and vehicle return in case you are unable to drive your vehicle. With this plan, you can also opt for SmartBenefits to get a fixed $100 payment per day, per insured, in the event of a travel or baggage delay, no receipts required.

In addition to these plans, Allianz also offers more budget-friendly options if you do not need as much coverage. Their OneTrip Basic plan gives you trip cancellation and interruption coverage as well as limited post-departure coverage like medical benefits and baggage loss coverage. The OneTrip Emergency Medical plan only covers medical expenses and travel misfortunes like unprecedented delays and lost luggage, but does not give you trip cancellation coverage.

The most affordable Allianz travel insurance plan is OneTrip Cancellation Plus, which covers trip cancellation and interruption. This travel insurance policy does not include any post-departure benefits.

Allianz's multi-trip plans have the same tiers of benefits: AllTrips Basic, AllTrips Prime, and AllTrips Premier to give you varying degrees of travel insurance coverage for a whole year. There is also the AllTrips Executive Plan, designed for those who travel frequently for work. This plan grants higher limits for trip cancellation or interruption, lost or delayed baggage, and adds on business equipment rental coverage.

Allianz Travel Insurance plans start at only $23. You can get a customized quote on their website.

Travel Insured International

Founded in 1994, Travel Insured International offers travel insurance for both domestic and international trips, as well as 24/7 assistance. The travel insurance business is located in Glastonbury, Connecticut, and has a variety of travel insurance options to suit different travelers' needs.

Travel insurance benefits offered by Travel Insured International vary depending on the customer's state of residence. Typically, coverage includes trip and flight cancellation, medical travel and evacuation, and baggage delay or loss.

You can get a quote and find out additional information about travel insurance coverage in your state through the Travel Insured International website.

Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection

Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection is a trustworthy travel insurance company that aims to simplify the travel insurance process. The company offers the fastest approved claim payments in the industry.

The reputable travel insurance business offers several travel insurance plans to meet the specific needs of its customers. There are three main plan tiers: ExactCare Value, ExactCare, and ExactCare Extra. In addition to these main plans, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection also has specialized plan options for flights, cruises, luxury travelers, and adventure travelers.

The ExactCare Value plan is for budget-conscious travelers. This plan covers trip cancellation (up to 100% of trip cost), trip interruption (up to 100% of trip cost), travel delays (up to $500), medical expenses (up to $15,000), emergency medical evacuation (up to $150,000), lost/damaged/stolen baggage (up to $750), and baggage delays (up to $200). 24/7 assistance is also included.

One step up from this plan is the ExactCare plan, which was made for traveling families. This plan includes everything from the ExactCare Value plan, with higher limits for nearly all of the benefits. You also get missed connection coverage (up to $500) and accidental death and dismemberment coverage (up to $10,000).

The ExactCare Extra plan includes all of the benefits of the previous plan, plus inconvenience payments. So, you get fixed payments for missed connections, baggage loss, and baggage delays instead of being reimbursed up to a certain amount.

You can get a quote for any of these plans through the Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection website.

Travel Guard

Travel Guard was ranked as the best travel insurance company by Forbes. In addition to travel insurance benefits, their plans include 24/7 concierge service.

The travel insurance business offers three main plan types: Essential, Preferred, and Deluxe. You can also purchase a Pre-Existing Medical Conditions waiver for all these plans within 15 days of your initial trip payment.

The Essential Plan offers trip cancellation and interruption coverage (up to 100%), baggage coverage (up to $750), baggage delay (up to $200), and travel medical expense coverage (up to $15,000). You also get Medevac coverage (up to $150,000) and the option to add on car rental coverage. 

The Preferred Plan has all the benefits of the Essential Plan, with boosted limits. It also includes Travel Inconvenience, Trip Saver, and Trip Exchange coverage. You also get the option to add on Cancel For Any Reason, Security Evac, and Lodging Expense coverage.

The Deluxe Plan has everything from the previous tier, with even higher limits. In addition to these benefits, you also get Security Evac included and an option to add on Flight Guard coverage.

Additionally, you can request a quote to find out more information about Travel Guard's customized coverage options.

International SOS

International SOS offers travel insurance benefits along with 24/7 assistance from over 13,000 medical, logistic, and digital experts. The travel insurance company has customizable travel insurance options available for individuals, families, senior citizens, and scholastic travelers.

Travel insurance benefits include travel protection coverage of up to $1 million for emergency medical evacuation, medically supervised repatriation coverage, and repatriation of remains coverage as well as optional coverage of up to $500,000 for emergency illness or accidents.

Specific coverage plans and quotes are available online on the International SOS website.

World Nomads Travel Insurance

World Nomads offers travel insurance for individual travelers and families. In addition to travel insurance coverage, they have 24/7 emergency assistance.

Travel benefits through World Nomads include coverage for trip cancellation, emergency medical expenses, emergency medical transportation, equipment protection, baggage loss, and more. They offer customized plans to meet the needs of every traveler, especially adventure travelers. You have the option to add additional coverage for different categories of activities, such as snow, water, air, land sports, or experiences.

World Nomads also lets you purchase coverage after you have already left for your trip or to add on coverage if you run out while traveling. You can request a quote for a plan that suits your own needs through World Nomads' website.

Travelex

Travelex is a travel insurance company that offers affordable travel insurance plans. 95.9% of claims submitted to Travelex are approved and paid. In addition to travel insurance coverage, Travelex has 24/7 assistance.

There are three travel insurance plan tiers offered by Travelex: Travel Select, Travel Basic, and Travel America.

The Travel Select plan grants emergency medical and dental coverage, trip cancellation coverage, trip assistance, and customizable upgrade options including Cancer For Any Reason, Additional Medical Coverage, Adventure Sports Coverage, Car Rental Collision, and AD&D Common Coverage. Children 17 and under are covered for free and there is a Pre-Existing Medical Waiver option.

Travel Basic is a more economical travel insurance policy that gives you emergency medical and dental coverage, trip cancellation coverage, and travel assistance. There are not as many upgrade options for this plan, and kids are not included for free. There is no Pre-Existing Medical Waiver option, either.

Travel America costs $60 and is a travel insurance policy designed for up to 8 travelers (including children) within the United States. This plan includes emergency medical and dental coverage, trip interruption coverage, roadside assistance, car rental collision coverage, and travel assistance. Benefits are shared by all travelers. There is also a 3-Day Pre-Existing Condition Waiver. For detailed options, you can request a custom quote for the Travel Select or Travel Basic Plan.

How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost?

Many people planning a vacation wonder, "How much does travel insurance cost?" 

The cost of travel insurance depends on a number of factors, including the duration and cost of your trip, your age, the costs of medical care in the region you are visiting, and coverage options. Typically, the cost of travel insurance averages between 4-8% of your total trip cost. Most travel insurance companies can give you an online estimate of how much travel insurance will cost for your trip.

What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

While specific travel insurance coverage varies depending on your travel insurance policy and provider, most travel insurance plans cover trip risks, including trip cancellation, trip interruption, baggage loss or delay, emergency medical care or evacuation, and accidental death and dismemberment. Many plans also give you the option to add on specific benefits like Cancel For Any Reason coverage, Rental Car Collision coverage, or a Pre-Existing Medical Condition Waiver.

What Does Travel Insurance NOT Cover?

 Extreme sports like bungee jumping or rock climbing are not typically covered by travel insurance companies.

Before purchasing a travel insurance policy, you should be aware of what’s not covered by travel insurance. Natural disasters like a named storm are not covered unless you purchased the travel insurance policy before the weather event was named or known about. Likewise, travel insurance will not cover trip cancellations due to pregnancy unless you became pregnant after the policy was purchased. 

Medical tourism is not covered by travel insurance, which is when a person travels for the primary purpose of having a medical procedure. Injuries are not covered if they are caused by the influence of drugs or alcohol. And unless you purchase specific coverage, extreme sports like bungee jumping or rock climbing are not typically covered by travel insurance companies.

There may be other restrictions to your travel insurance policy, like military conflicts or fear of pandemics. It is important to understand all the limitations of a travel insurance plan's coverage before you buy it.

6 Types of Travel Insurance

To help you further understand the types of travel insurance and what they cover, let’s take a closer look at the different types of travel insurance.

Travel Medical Insurance

A common form of travel insurance is travel medical insurance. This type of travel insurance gives you short-term medical coverage for injuries or illnesses that happen while traveling. You may be wondering, is travel insurance the same as health insurance? Do you still need travel medical insurance if you have health insurance?

The answer to these questions is that, while they may share some benefits, travel medical insurance and health insurance are not the same. In most cases, you should still purchase travel health insurance if you will be traveling even if you already have a policy from one of the best health insurance companies. 

Most U.S. health insurance policies end at the border, so if you will be traveling abroad, your medical insurance will protect you. If you are traveling domestically and get injured or sick, you should first file a claim with your regular health insurance provider. Whatever your health insurance policy does not cover, your travel medical insurance will, depending on the limits of your travel insurance policy.

Sometimes, pre-existing medical conditions can exclude you from coverage. If you have a medical condition, you should check whether your travel insurance provider has a Pre-Existing Medical Condition waiver to ensure you get coverage.

Emergency Medical Evacuation

Another common type of travel insurance is emergency medical evacuation, which covers emergency transportation like air evacuation or ambulance services to a medical facility in the event of an injury while traveling. Similarly, repatriation coverage insures transportation if the person dies while traveling.

If you are going to be in rural areas or out in nature during your trip, you should consider this type of travel insurance. However, it is important to note that many travel insurance policies exclude extreme sports or adventure activities, like scuba diving or rock climbing, from this type of coverage. If you will be participating in such activities, you should also purchase specialty travel insurance that specifically covers what you will be doing.

Trip Cancellation & Interruption Coverage

Trip cancellation and interruption coverage is usually included in any comprehensive travel insurance policy. This type of travel insurance reimburses you for travel expenses you have already paid for, such as hotel or flight reservations.

Eligible reasons for trip cancellation or interruption can vary between travel insurance companies. Normally, coverage includes unforeseen weather events, natural disasters, injury, illness, death of a family member, a legal obligation like jury duty, and more.

Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) Travel Insurance

As its name implies, Cancel For Any Reason travel insurance reimburses you for all or a portion of pre-paid travel expenses in case you have to cancel for any reason. Often, there is a timeframe for cancellations that must be adhered to in order for a claim payment to be made. 

Unlike with trip cancellation and interruption coverage, the reason for canceling is irrelevant. CFAR coverage is usually more expensive and sold as an extra add-on option for a travel insurance policy. 

Baggage Loss Insurance

Baggage loss insurance is a type of travel insurance that protects you in the event your baggage is lost or stolen. Your travel insurance provider will reimburse you for lost or stolen personal belongings up to a certain amount defined in your travel insurance policy. 

Some travel insurance companies also include baggage delay coverage, which reimburses you for any expenses you have to spend to replace essential items like clothing or personal hygiene products while waiting for your items to be recovered if your baggage is delayed. Especially if you will be using air travel, you should consider purchasing this kind of travel insurance. 

Accidental Death and Dismemberment Insurance

Accidental death and dismemberment insurance grants coverage to your beneficiaries if you die during an unfortunate accident while traveling. It also pays you money if you lose a limb or eyesight due to an accident that happens on your trip.

Some travel insurance policies only cover accidental death and dismemberment in the event of a plane crash or flight incident.

Is Travel Insurance Worth It?

If you are planning a trip and trying to decide if you should buy travel insurance, you might be wondering if travel insurance is really worth it. The answer depends on your situation. Your destination, whether your reservations are refundable or not, and coverage offered by your credit cards are all factors you should consider before purchasing travel insurance.

The two main things travel insurance covers are your reservations and travel medical expenses. If the flight and hotel reservations you are booking are expensive and nonrefundable, you should definitely look into purchasing trip cancellation insurance. However, if your bookings are cheap or refundable, you may decide that the cost of travel insurance is not worth it to insure your reservations.

Even if you do not need trip cancellation and interruption insurance, you may still want to purchase a travel insurance policy in case of a medical emergency to cover medical costs. This is especially true if you are traveling overseas since U.S. health insurance plans are only valid within the nation's borders. However, if you are only traveling domestically and already have enough health insurance coverage, you might not need extra travel health insurance.

Keep in mind that some travel credit cards include travel insurance as a perk. If your credit cards already give you enough coverage, there may not be a reason for you to purchase an additional travel insurance policy, unless you want specialized coverage that is not already included.

The last thing any traveler wants is for something to go wrong during their vacation. Purchasing travel insurance before a trip is often well worth it. No matter how much planning you do, you can't prepare for everything. Travel insurance can provide the peace of mind that comes from knowing your vacation expenses are covered.