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No matter how experienced you are as a traveler, there are certain situations where travel insurance makes sense. For example, if you must prepay for an expensive vacation, travel internationally, or book during a pandemic such as COVID-19, travel insurance can significantly lower your financial risk.
However, purchasing travel insurance can add up to 10% to your overall trip cost. For example, if your vacation costs $4,000, expect to pay up to $400 in travel insurance costs. So, if you are already spending time finding the cheapest pricing for flights, hotels, and rental cars, doesn’t it make sense to shop around for the best deal on travel insurance?
While many travelers will choose the single travel insurance option offered on their preferred booking site, savvy travelers look elsewhere for more affordable deals and better coverage. A travel insurance comparison site like TravelInsurance.com can help you compare quotes from multiple providers and even find plans that cover travel complications from COVID-19.
Let’s break down what travel insurance is, the different types you can purchase, and tips for spending less.
What Is Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance, also known as trip insurance, provides coverage for costs and losses associated with your trip. It can be purchased whether you are traveling domestically or abroad.
Coverage is available for a wide variety of scenarios including:
- Trip cancellation
- Trip interruption
- Emergency medical
- Baggage loss and delay
- Emergency medical evacuation
You can purchase one type of coverage or a combo package that includes multiple types. Cost varies on the coverage purchased, the price of your vacation, and the length of your stay.
Coverage often includes 24/7 emergency services such as emergency assistance, replacing passports, and re-booking canceled flights.
Reasons to Purchase Travel Insurance
- Cover pre-paid and non-refundable trip costs
- Cover costs of overseas medical emergencies
- Mitigate risk on adventure or thrill-seeking trips
- Cover potential medical evacuations
- Cover baggage loss and delays
- Cover trip delays and missed connections
- Concerns about contracting COVID-19 or other illnesses
Different Types of Travel Insurance
Trip Cancellation/Interruption/Delay Coverage
Trip cancellation coverage allows you to cancel your trip for covered reasons such as a travel or tour company going out of business or if you cannot go on the trip because of an illness, the illness or death of a family member that is not on the journey with you, natural disasters and more.
Trip interruption coverage covers the cost of the remainder of your vacation in the event it is cut short (for covered reasons).
Trip delay coverage offers payouts to help cover the beginning of your vacation if your flight is canceled or you have difficulty getting to your location (for covered reasons).
When purchasing trip cancellation insurance, it is common to receive trip interruption and trip delay coverage as a bundle.
Travel Medical and Major Medical
Travel medical insurance can provide peace of mind when you are traveling internationally. While it does not cover a routine exam, it does provide coverage if you need immediate medical care. It can also protect you when traveling to a destination for recreational sports such as skiing or riding horses. However, most policies do not cover thrill sports such as skydiving. Adventure sports require a particular add-on policy in most cases.
|Did you know? Most U.S. health insurance plans and Medicare are not valid while you are traveling internationally.|
Emergency Medical Evacuation and Repatriation
If you get sick or injured on a trip and need to be evacuated to another location, you will be glad you purchased emergency medical evacuation coverage. This insurance covers transport to a hospital (evacuation) and flying you to your home country (repatriation).
Accidental Death, Dismemberment and Flight Accident
While accidental death is not a common occurrence, this coverage does offer a type of life insurance while traveling. The policy can pay a lump sum to your beneficiary and, if dismemberment is added, can provide you compensation if you lose a hand, limb, foot, hearing, or eyesight during your trip. However, be sure to read the fine print. Some accidental death policies only pay up if you are in flight during the covered event.
If you already have life insurance or accidental death insurance through your employer, you may not need to purchase this insurance through a travel insurance provider.
Baggage and Personal Effects Loss
Baggage and personal effects loss coverage reimburses your costs for items that are stolen, lost, or damaged while traveling. You may also receive compensation if your baggage is missing for an extended period, such as 24 hours.
Renters and homeowner insurance policies can write this coverage into their policies. Check with your policy provider before purchasing baggage and personal effects loss, so you don’t waste money on a benefit you already have.
Cancel For Any Reason coverage is self-explanatory. If for any reason, you are unable to go on your trip, this coverage can help you get a good portion of your money back (usually up to 75%).
|FYI – Travel insurance does not typically cover worries or fears of epidemics and pandemics. Since COVID-19 is a known event, it is unlikely you will be reimbursed for pandemic complications or fear of travel unless you purchase an optional Cancel For Any Reason upgrade. Most plans will cover you if you contract COVID-19 before or during your trip.|
What Affects the Price of Travel Insurance?
Several factors can increase the cost of travel insurance. Therefore, you should always read the fine print to ensure your travel insurance policy covers everything on your list.
- The cost of your trip
- The length of your trip
- Age (the older you are, the more coverage will cost)
- Pre-existing medical conditions
- The number of travelers on the policy
- Additional coverage (combo coverage)
- Add-ons such as CFAR
Top Booking Sites and Their Preferred Travel Insurance Provider
|Booking.com||Travel insurance partner: RentalCover.com (rental cars)|
|TripAdvisor.com||Travel insurance partner: Allianz Global Assistance|
|Airbnb.com||Travel insurance partner: Currently does not endorse a travel partner|
|Expedia.com||Travel insurance partner: AIG Travel Guard|
|Hotels.com||Travel insurance partner: Transamerica Casualty Insurance Company|
Limitations of Travel Insurance Through Online Booking Websites
Most travel sites offer travel insurance during the booking process. However, it’s important to note that the online travel site will most likely offer a single plan from a single insurer, which severely limits the amount of coverage and could result in a policy premium that is 30-50% higher than a policy you might find on TravelInsurance.com with similar or better coverage.
Although the travel insurance provider has been vetted through the online booking site, the options for coverage may be limited or cover more than you want to pay for. As a result, the cost may be more expensive than getting it on your own and with inferior coverage vs. other plans available in the market. Plus, some online booking sites omit travel insurance altogether or only provide cancellation policies with a myriad of fine print.
Purchasing travel insurance shortly after booking and making a deposit for your trip is ideal, but it can be added to your trip later. Once you have a total for your vacation costs, you can accurately get a price quote for travel insurance. A fully comprehensive travel insurance package may be purchased as late as the day before your trip starts, but it is usually a good idea to buy it as soon as possible after booking so you are covered for trip cancellation for as long as possible.
How to Save Money on Travel Insurance
If you are inexperienced with purchasing travel insurance, it can be overwhelming to research it independently. Using an independent travel partner like TravelInsurance.com can help you compare quotes from multiple travel insurance companies and buy online in just a few minutes, so you get the best price and coverage every time.
Tips to Save Money on Travel Insurance
- Think twice before purchasing a plan with high accidental death, baggage loss, and rental car insurance limits. You may already have coverage for these situations through a life insurance policy, work benefits, or a travel-friendly credit card.
- Look for plans that offer appropriate benefits coverage. Buying a cheap plan may feel adequate, but if you purchase a plan with low medical coverage and it doesn’t cover the cost of your hospital stay, you may be looking at hundreds to thousands of dollars out of pocket.
- Don’t over-purchase travel insurance. For example, if you purchase travel insurance for baggage coverage, don’t buy thousands of dollars of coverage if your belongings only add up to a few hundred.
- Compare your options. You can easily compare quotes online to get you the best coverage and price.
- Compare for every trip. Plans and prices are updated regularly by insurance companies, so it is important to compare travel insurance each time you buy.
Compare and Buy Travel Insurance