Travel insurance can save the day if your reservation is lost, flight is missed or your plans are botched due to a natural disaster. Without travel insurance, there is little guarantee of compensation for your ruined vacation plans, and all you can do is complain to the airline, hotel or travel agent.
Control what you can, and protect your itinerary with travel insurance. Get started now with our review of the best travel insurance.
Best Travel Insurance:
- Best Overall: Travelex
- Best Travel Insurance App: Allianz
- Cheapest Travel Insurance: Amex
- Best for Families: Generali Global
What is Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is designed to financially protect your travel plans in a variety of ways.
Events that could hinder your travel plans can vary. You may have to:
- Cancel your trip due to an immediate emergency
- Miss a connecting flight
- The weather event causes damage to your destination.
- Track lost or delayed baggage.
- Miss events due to illness during your trip
- Acquire new required ID such as your ID or passport.
Without protection, you could be out the entire cost of your vacation or completely stranded. Travel insurance is affordable, and a policy could save you when the unexpected happens.
Average Cost of Travel Insurance
Travel insurance is not a 1-size-fits-all. Many factors will determine the cost of your policy, including:
The age of those traveling. Age is the most crucial factor in determining the cost of your travel insurance policy. Those over the age of 65 pay more, while minors can often be included at no additional cost. This varies by company.
How many will be traveling? The more people covered, the greater the cost of your insurance.
How long is your trip? Risk is the reason insurance exists. A longer trip poses more risk to the insurance company and will require a higher premium.
Type of coverage selected. Optional benefits increase your premium. You pick and choose your policy coverage based on your needs and how much you are willing to pay for protection.
Based on a single traveler up to age 30, the average cost of travel insurance for an individual for a basic, no-frills policy is $105. A multi-tier comprehensive policy can cost up to $164.
After age 30, the price tends to increase about $20 up to the age of 60. Beyond 60, a basic policy can cost up to $160 to $200.
Average Cost of Travel Insurance for a Family
Your travel insurance cost will increase as you add family members to your travel insurance policy. It’s wise to budget between 5% to 7% of your total trip cost.
If your trip costs $5,000, expect your insurance to cost around $250. This figure will vary by insurance carrier. It is essential to shop around for the best policy.
What Does Travel Insurance Cover?
Travel insurance policies vary in coverage. But most basic policies include the following perils:
Trip cancellation. You’ll find that when you book a vacation package, a portion of that deposit that is non-refundable. Even if you have a valid excuse for having to cancel your trip, you lose that portion, which can sometimes be substantial.
With travel insurance, you can recuperate some or all of that prepaid, non-refundable deposit. Insurers may also offer a “cancel for any reason” upgrade to a standard policy if it is purchased well enough in advance of your trip. This benefit will cost extra but can help should you have to cancel at the last minute.
Trip interruption. There are times when you need to cancel your trip before you board a plane or cast out from port. There are other times that you do make it to your destination, only to have an emergency back home cut your trip short. Travel insurance will help pay the expenses needed to return your home to deal with your emergency.
Emergency medical expenses. No one likes to think about being sick during a week away from home. But if illness or injury does happen, travel insurance provides the necessary funds to seek medical treatment.
A health insurance policy may not cover you if you are in another country. If it does, the coinsurance is often higher and brings additional out-of-pocket expenses. Travel insurance can help bridge that gap.
Emergency medical evacuation. This benefit provides the funds for you to seek medical treatment and goes a step further. It also pays for transportation to the nearest medical facility that provides adequate medical care.
There is a benefit called repatriation for the unfortunate event of a death on your trip that would pay the expenses to send your remains back home.
Accidental death and dismemberment. This coverage applies if you pass away or lose limbs in an accident during your trip.
Baggage. Luggage loss and delay does happen, you may have to go shopping to replace your wardrobe. Travel insurance usually covers:
- Lost checked-in luggage
- Baggage delays
- Expenses incurred due to lost luggage
- Pay for reimbursement of lost items
Other benefits. Other benefits will vary by policy and company. These can include emergency cash transfer, ID theft protection, rental car coverage or flight accident.
What it Doesn’t Cover
There are some circumstances not covered by a travel insurance policy. Common exclusions are:
Traveler neglect. Leaving your luggage unattended or your valuables lying around your hotel room or another unsecured location could result in a denied claim.
Unapproved medical condition. Just as with a life insurance policy, if you were to file a claim due to an unreported illness or are waiting for test results, your claim will most likely be turned down.
Reckless behavior. A claim can be rejected for engaging in reckless behavior, including:
- Excessive drinking
- Taking recreational drugs
- Engaging in high-risk sports or activities
- Disobeying traffic laws
Unapproved travel. A travel policy can be void if you visit an area the local government discourages for travel.
Changing your mind. There are circumstances that may cause you to cancel your trip. Simply changing your mind about travel is not a covered cause of cancellation. Neither is neglecting the appropriate paperwork or identification, such as a passport, within the proper time.
Best Travel Insurance Companies
Many insurance companies offer travel insurance. Some are life insurance companies while others specialize in the travel industry. It is wise to do your homework when it comes to trusting your trip to a company.
Travelex travel insurance provides protection for travelers on most types of trips, from weekend getaways to the luxury ski vacations.
The Travel Basic plan provides the essentials for your travels, while the Travel Select plan allows you to customize your coverage. The Flight Insurance options are also available for those who want flight-specific protection.
A 42-year-old male traveling internationally for a week at a trip cost of $2,500 pays $110 for Travel Basic. The Travel Select runs $153.
Travel Select includes children in its pricing. Travelex also offers coverage upgrades like car rental collision, additional medical coverage and more.
2. Allianz Global Assistance
Allianz is the largest travel insurance company. It’s owned by Allianz SE, the world’s largest diversified insurance company.
The provider services worldwide and partners with thousands of travel agencies, airlines, resorts, websites and credit card companies. Founded in 1983, Allianz has an Insurer’s Better Business Bureau rating of A+ and is trusted by more than 35 million travelers each year.
Allianz plans include policies designed for domestic and international travel. For a 42-year-old male traveling internationally for a week on a trip cost of $2,500, a basic policy will cost $96. This plan covers most circumstances. The premier plan is $176 with greater coverage.
A family of 4 traveling internationally for a week on a $5,000 trip would pay $158 for a prime policy and $214 for a premier policy. Note that Allianz Prime family policy is less expensive than its basic policy at $204. Allianz offers special packages for certain customer classes.
3. Amex Assurance
Amex gets its name from its parent company American Express. But you don’t have to be a cardmember to purchase travel insurance from Amex Assurance.
It offers 4 plans: Basic, Silver, Gold and Platinum. The same 42-year-old male traveling internationally for a week on a $2,500 trip pats $59 for the Basic and $224 for the Platinum policy. The Basic is less expensive than Allianz, but the coverage is not as extensive.
A family of 4 traveling internationally for a week on a $5,000 trip can expect to pay $236 for a Basic policy and $631 for a Platinum policy. The Platinum policy can offer a payout of up o 150% of the trip cost for a trip interruption claim.
The medical protection offers up to $100,000 on the platinum policy, while the Allianz Premier offers only $50,000.
4. Generali Global Assistance
Generali Global Assistance has been active since 1991 and has a presence in over 60 countries around the world.
It offers 3 plans: Standard, Preferred and Premium. For the 42-year-old male, traveling internationally at trip cost of $2,500, a Standard policy runs $86. The Premium plan costs $115. It’s by far the least expensive of the options for top-tier policy.
Coverage is also comprehensive. For instance, trip interruption on the premium policy is 175% of the trip cost, compared to only 150% from other providers.
For a family with the same criteria as in our previous examples, the Standard is $180, and the Premium policy is $243. If baggage is your concern, Generali only provides $2,000 on its premier package when others offer more.
Find Your Travel Insurance Today
Read all policy statements in full, and be aware of coverage amounts, limitations and exclusions before you choose a travel insurance policy. This is crucial when you are comparison shopping. There are reasons why a company is less expensive, and the reasons often lie in the limitations.
Travel insurance can be purchased for a single trip, multiple trips or annually. If you are a frequent flyer, an annual policy can be the most cost-effective route.
And travel insurance is not just for vacationers. Perhaps your job requires business travel, or you’re a student who travels home for the holidays. A multi-trip or annual policy can provide coverage, and most insurance companies have special riders that focus on the needs of frequent travelers.
Another recommendation when you travel is to register your trip with the State Department’s Travel Registry website. In the event of a family emergency or another type of crisis, they can contact the traveler if he or she is registered.
Preparation is key. Control what you can, and travel with confidence and coverage. Find your travel insurance policy today.