Travel insurance helps you protect the financial investment you made in your vacation, whether you booked a tropical cruise or a sightseeing trip to a far-flung island.
Though purchasing travel insurance coverage is optional, it does help you avoid losing money on prepaid travel expenses if your travel plans go awry.
Travel insurance can also help reimburse you for unplanned expenses, such as clothing or toiletries you may need to buy if your luggage is lost or delayed, or for an overnight hotel stay if your flight is canceled.
After the chaos of the holiday travel season, with weather issues and staff shortages disrupting air travel across much of the U.S. and some of the world, purchasing travel insurance coverage for any upcoming 2023 trips or vacations can be a wise move.
To determine the Best Travel Insurance Companies, U.S. News evaluated ratings and scores of more than 50 travel insurance companies from insurance websites like Squaremouth, InsureMyTrip and AM Best, in addition to reviews and top recommendations from travel industry sources and consumers.
Find more information on the methodology for the Best Travel Insurance Companies here.
The Best Travel Insurance Companies:
Allianz Travel Insurance: Best Overall
Travelex Insurance Services: Best for Customizable Upgrade Options
World Nomads Travel Insurance: Best for Adventure Travelers
AIG Travel: Best for Cruise Insurance
Seven Corners: Best for 24/7 Support When Traveling
HTH Travel Insurance: Best for Groups
Generali Global Assistance: Best for Emergency Situations
IMG Travel Insurance: Best for Retired Travelers
AXA Assistance USA: Best for Coverage of Luggage and Personal Items
Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection: Best for Flight Insurance
Nationwide Insurance: Best for Last-Minute Travel Insurance
Keep in mind coverage limits and availability may vary by state. Also note: Coverage for trip cancellation or interruption due to COVID-19 varies by provider, so you’ll want to consult each travel insurance website for further details.
Read on to see the pros and cons of each travel insurance provider, hear from everyday travelers who have found travel insurance useful, learn tips from travel insurance experts and determine what travel insurance policy will work best for you.
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Allianz Travel Insurance
Pro: Annual and multitrip policies are available
Con: Distinguishing between the company’s 10 travel insurance plans can be confusing
Allianz Travel Insurance provides a selection of 10 travel insurance plans intended to suit different traveler needs. You can purchase coverage for a specific trip, but you can also purchase an annual travel insurance plan if you travel often and want to avoid buying a new travel insurance policy each time.
When it comes to purchasing travel insurance for a specific trip, Allianz offers several levels of coverage. While each plan comes with its own inclusions and coverage limits, its most popular single-trip option is the OneTrip Prime plan.
With OneTrip Prime, you can receive trip cancellation coverage up to $100,000, trip interruption coverage up to $150,000, emergency medical coverage for $50,000, up to $1,000 in baggage loss, theft or damage, and up to $800 in travel delay coverage, among other benefits.
The OneTrip Prime plan also covers children ages 17 and younger for free when traveling with a parent or grandparent, and you can customize with additional coverage for rental cars or preexisting conditions.
Allianz also lets you apply for a travel insurance quote, file a claim, manage your policy or follow up on a claim online. Plus, the company offers a smartphone app that lets you manage your plan from your preferred mobile device. Customers can also receive 24-hour hotline assistance in case any issues arise.
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Travelex Insurance Services
Pro: Customizable upgrades are available, including car rental coverage, additional medical insurance and adventure sports coverage
Con: Adventure sport and additional medical coverage plan upgrades are not available with the Travel Basic plan
Travelex offers two main travel insurance plans – Travel Basic and Travel Select. The company offers a U.S.-specific Travel America plan as well. Plus, Travelex also lets you tailor your policy to meet your unique needs with optional add-ons.
If you’re looking for an affordable plan, you should consider the company’s Travel Basic plan. This plan covers 100% of the insured trip cost for cancellations and interruptions and up to $500 for trip delays. It also offers up to $100,000 in emergency medical evacuation and repatriation coverage, $15,000 in emergency medical and dental coverage, and up to $500 in coverage for lost, damaged or stolen baggage and personal effects. Plus, you have access to primary coverage with no deductibles. The company recommends this plan for short, domestic vacations.
If you’re traveling internationally, you should consider the Travel Select plan. Limits are high with this plan: You will get up to $500,000 in emergency medical evacuation and repatriation coverage, $50,000 in emergency medical and dental coverage, and up to $1,000 in coverage for lost, damaged or stolen baggage and personal effects. What’s more, children ages 17 and younger who are traveling with an insured adult are covered at no additional cost.
Travelex also offers custom upgrades you can add to your plans, including car rental coverage and accidental death and dismemberment insurance. The Travel Select plan allows you to add a preexisting condition waiver, provided you purchase travel insurance within 15 days of your initial trip deposit. You can also supplement the Travel Select plan with special coverage for adventure sports like mountain climbing, skiing or scuba diving. Travelex also lets you purchase a policy, request documents for your policy and file a claim online.
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World Nomads Travel Insurance
Pro: Adventure sports are covered at no additional cost
Con: Standard plan only promises up to $2,500 in trip protection
World Nomads sells customizable travel insurance policies that vary in terms of coverage and price based on your needs. Its policy inclusions are broad, and in contrast to other travel insurance companies, it covers adventure sports, such as scuba diving, mountain biking, bungee jumping and skiing, in its standard policy.
Generally speaking, you’ll have the choice between two travel insurance plans – a Standard Plan or an Explorer Plan – when you apply for a free quote from World Nomads. The Standard Plan provides a lower level of coverage for a more affordable upfront cost, whereas the Explorer Plan offers more robust coverage for a higher premium.
For example, the Standard Plan only offers $2,500 in trip protection coverage, while the Explorer Plan promises $10,000. Both plans provide $100,000 in emergency medical coverage, but the Standard Plan assures $300,000 in emergency evacuation coverage, whereas the Explorer Plan offers $500,000 worth of coverage.
Other types of coverage you receive with both plans (with varying limits) include trip cancellation, trip interruption, loss or damage of baggage and personal effects, rental car coverage, accidental death and dismemberment, and more.
World Nomads lets you apply for a quote online with ease, and you can also file a travel insurance claim online.
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Pro: Travel insurance policy coverage is tailored to your specific trip
Con: Information about policy coverage inclusions is not readily available without first obtaining a quote
AIG Travel offers three types of travel insurance plans: the Annual plan for all trips in a one-year span, the Pack N’ Go plan for last-minute trips and the single-trip plan (of which there are three levels). Single trips can be insured with Essential, Preferred or Deluxe level coverage depending on the cost of your trip and the amount of reimbursement you want to be guaranteed.
The amount of coverage and the limits in your plan can vary depending on your trip details. This variability makes it essential to obtain a quote through the AIG Travel search engine to verify the coverage levels you can qualify for.
AIG Travel insurance plans generally cover kids 17 and younger. With a mid-tier Preferred plan, you may qualify for trip cancellation coverage for up to 100% of your trip’s cost (maximum of $150,000) and trip interruption coverage for up to 150% of your trip’s cost (maximum of $225,000). Medical expense coverage can be worth up to $50,000 depending on your trip details, and trip delay coverage worth up to $800 can be included as well.
While AIG Travel offers limited details on its plans prior to requesting a quote, it does make it easy for customers to file a claim or check the status of a travel insurance claim online.
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Pro: Coverage for preexisting conditions
Con: Cancel for any reason coverage costs extra
Seven Corners offers travel insurance plans for U.S. residents, but it also offers travel insurance with medical coverage for visitors traveling to the U.S. Travel medical coverage plans can be purchased with up to $5 million in coverage, but you can also purchase travel insurance for students, group travel insurance plans and annual travel insurance plans for frequent travelers.
Seven Corners’ featured travel insurance plan is its RoundTrip Trip Cancellation Travel Insurance, which is the type of policy you might be inclined to buy to cover a single vacation you have planned for the year. This coverage is for U.S. residents and is available in two tiers – economy or elite.
The following are a few of the main benefits of the basic RoundTrip Economy plan:
Trip cancellation coverage up to $20,000
Trip interruption coverage good for up to 100% of the cost of the trip
Trip delay coverage worth $250
Missed connection coverage worth $250
Emergency medical coverage worth up to $10,000
Emergency dental coverage up to $750
Emergency evacuation and repatriation coverage up to $100,000
Lost, stolen or damaged baggage coverage up to $500
This level of coverage can include any preexisting conditions, provided you purchase your plan within 20 days of your initial trip deposit and meet other conditions.
Also note that when you buy a plan from Seven Corners, you can customize it with add-ons like rental car coverage, flight accident coverage or cancel for any reason coverage.
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HTH Travel Insurance
Pro: Generous coverage at the mid-tier level
Con: Preexisting conditions coverage is only available at mid- and high-tier plans
With HTH Travel Insurance, consumers have a wide range of options that can fit different goals. You can buy medical-only coverage for single trips or multiple trips, standalone trip cancellation coverage and more.
In addition to coverage for specific components of your trip, HTH Travel Insurance also offers comprehensive travel insurance coverage. Plans come in three tiers: Economy, Classic and Preferred.
The middle-of-the-road Classic plan comes with up to $25,000 in coverage for trip cancellation, 150% of the trip cost in coverage for trip interruption, up to $1,000 in coverage for baggage and personal effects, $200 in baggage delay coverage, up to $1,000 in coverage for trip delays, up to $250,000 in coverage per person for sickness and accidents, and $1 million in medical transportation coverage, among other benefits. The Preferred plan comes with even higher limits for those seeking more coverage, including up to $50,000 for trip cancellation, 200% of your trip’s cost for trip interruption, $500,000 in medical for illness and injury, and more.
With low coverage limits in some categories, the Economy plan is probably best for less expensive trips closer to home.
The Classic and Preferred plans also let you add coverage for preexisting conditions, provided you purchase your policy within 14 days (Classic) or 21 days (Preferred) of your initial trip deposit.
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Generali Global Assistance
Pro: Sporting equipment coverage is included in the company’s mid-tier plan
Con: Coverage for those with preexisting conditions is only available on the Premium plan
Generali Global Assistance offers three travel insurance plans you can customize according to your needs – a Standard plan, a Preferred plan and a Premium plan. Its Standard plan provides the lowest level of coverage, whereas the Premium plan offers more coverage and higher limits for an increased upfront cost.
The Preferred plan promises expanded coverage compared to the Standard plan, plus special coverages for sporting equipment and sporting equipment delays. That makes this plan a valuable option if you are traveling for a golf tournament or a ski trip.
Meanwhile, the Premium plan offers the most robust coverage for pricier trips, including tours and cruises. This enhanced plan promises 100% reimbursement for trip cancellation, 175% reimbursement for trip interruption, $2,000 in coverage for loss of baggage per person and $250,000 in medical and dental coverage per person, among other benefits.
Generali Global Assistance makes it easy to obtain a free quote, and you can file travel insurance claims online or via phone.
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IMG Travel Insurance
Pro: A plan specifically designed for retired travelers ages 65 and older is available
Con: The company’s iTravelInsured Travel Lite plan does not include primary coverage
IMG Travel Insurance focuses on three main types of coverage – travel medical insurance, international health insurance and traditional travel insurance. This company also offers a GlobeHopper Senior plan suited for retired travelers ages 65 and older, as well as plans geared specifically toward expats, students, business travelers and government workers.
IMG’s three main travel insurance plans for families or business travelers include iTravelInsured Travel Lite, iTravelInsured Travel SE and iTravelInsured Travel LX.
Its mid-tier iTravelInsured Travel SE plan is a family-friendly travel insurance plan that works for both domestic and international trips. Among the benefits you will receive if you buy this plan are:
Trip cancellation coverage worth up to 100% of the trip cost
Trip interruption coverage worth up to 150% of the cost of the trip
Travel delay coverage up to $2,000 (maximum of $125 per day)
Emergency medical evacuation coverage up to $500,000
Up to $150 in change fee reimbursement
You can purchase this plan as late as one day before your trip departs. Interestingly, the trip delay coverage can include a wide range of charges, such as additional kennel charges for a pet or costs associated with family internet usage. You also have the option to add on rental car damage protection worth up to $40,000.
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AXA Assistance USA
Pro: All plans include missed connection coverage
Con: Only the highest-tier plan allows travelers to add cancel for any reason coverage
AXA Assistance USA has three tiers of travel insurance (Silver, Gold and Platinum) for customers who want to pay more (or less) to get the right amount of coverage. The Gold Plan is AXA’s mid-tier option with 100% coverage for trip cancellation, 150% in coverage for trip interruption, $200 per day in coverage for trip delays ($1,000 maximum), $1,000 in missed connection coverage, $500,000 in coverage for emergency medical evacuation, and $100,000 in accident and sickness coverage. The Gold Plan also includes $300 in coverage for baggage delays and $1,500 in coverage for baggage and personal effects.
However, you can pay for more coverage and higher coverage limits with the Platinum Plan or opt for the more cost-effective Silver Plan. The Platinum Plan even comes with specialized coverage relevant to active travelers, such as coverage for lost ski days ($25 per day), $500 in coverage for lost golf rounds and $1,000 in coverage for sports equipment rentals. What’s more, this level of coverage is also the only AXA plan that lets you add a cancel for any reason rider to your policy, where you can get 75% of your trip costs back if you decide to cancel your trip. (Note: Cancel for any reason coverage must be purchased within 14 days of your initial trip deposit for it to apply.)
Additionally, AXA Assistance USA plans come with a 10-day money-back guarantee. This means you can purchase a plan, change your mind and get your premiums back provided you have not started your trip or filed a claim.
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Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection
Pro: All plans include 24/7 travel assistance that can aid in finding or replacing lost luggage and assist with lost or stolen wallets, tickets and passports
Con: Missed connections and accidental death and dismemberment coverage are not part of the most basic plan
Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection lets you choose from a selection of travel insurance plans and receive a free online quote in minutes. Not only does the company offer travel insurance specifically for flights or cruises, but it also offers three tiers of coverage you can purchase for your vacation – ExactCare Value, ExactCare and ExactCare Extra. The company also offers specialized plans for adventure travel, road trips, cruise travel and more.
Berkshire Hathaway’s mid-tier ExactCare plan is best for families, and it includes:
Trip cancellation coverage worth up to 100% of the trip cost
Trip interruption coverage worth up to 150% of the trip cost
Trip delay coverage worth up to $1,000
Medical coverage worth up to $25,000
Emergency medical evacuation worth up to $500,000
Missed connection coverage worth up to $500
Note that all Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection plans for individual trips include worldwide travel assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week. This can be a huge help if your wallet is lost or stolen, you need emergency translation services, you lose your passport while overseas or any other travel mishaps occur.
Berkshire Hathaway makes it easy to file a claim online using its online portal, and you can also view your policy and manage its details online. Berkshire Hathaway also touts that it pays claims five times faster than the industry average, which is worth considering if you are worried about delayed claims and reimbursement times.
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Pro: Variety of plans to choose from
Con: Cancel for any reason addition is only available on the premium plan
A household name in the insurance world, Nationwide Insurance offers a few different types of travel insurance to suit various traveler needs: cruise insurance, annual trip insurance and single-trip insurance. Nationwide’s single-trip insurance offers two plans: Essential and Prime.
The standard Essential Plan covers trip cancellation up to $10,000, up to $250,000 in emergency medical evacuation, up to $150 per day reimbursement for travel delays of six hours or more and coverage for delayed or lost baggage.
With higher limits and the ability to add a cancel for any reason policy, the Prime Plan offers more robust coverage. Nationwide’s Prime Plan coverage includes:
Trip cancellation coverage up to $30,000
Trip interruption coverage worth up to 200% of the trip cost (maximum of $60,000)
Missed connection and itinerary change coverage of $500 each
$250 per day for trip delays (six hours or more)
Up to $1 million in coverage for emergency medical evacuation
Cancel for any reason coverage up to 75% of your trip cost. (Cancel for any reason coverage must be purchased for an additional fee within 21 days of your initial trip payment for it to apply.)
Nationwide Insurance’s plans are available for purchase up to a day before your trip departure. To file a claim, consumers must call the claims department and organize the receipt of various forms to document everything that will be submitted with the claim. The information must then be submitted via mail, email or fax. Nationwide says it takes about 15 business days to review before a representative will get in touch with more information or ask for additional documentation.
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Types of Travel Insurance
There are several types of travel insurance you’ll want to evaluate before choosing the policy that’s right for you. A few of the most popular types of travel insurance include:
COVID travel insurance:
Select insurance plans offer some or a combination of the following COVID-19-related protections: coverage for rapid or PCR testing; accommodations if you’re required to quarantine during your trip if you test positive for coronavirus; health care; and trip cancellations. You can compare coverages and pricing for COVID-19 travel insurance here.
Cancel for any reason insurance: Cancel for any reason travel insurance works exactly how it sounds. This type of travel insurance lets you cancel your trip for any reason you want – even if your reason is that you simply decide you no longer want to go. Cancel for any reason travel insurance is typically an add-on you can purchase to go along with other types of travel insurance. For that reason, you will pay more to have this kind of coverage added to your policy.
Also, note that this type of coverage typically only reimburses 50% to 75% of your nonrefundable prepaid travel expenses. You’ll want to make sure you know exactly how much reimbursement you could qualify for before you invest in this type of policy. Compare the best cancel for any reason travel insurance options here.
International travel insurance: Travel insurance is especially useful when traveling internationally, as it can provide medical coverage for emergencies (in some cases for COVID-19) when you’re far from home. Depending which international travel insurance plan you choose, this type of travel insurance can also cover lost or delayed luggage, rental cars, travel interruptions or cancellations, and more.
Cheap travel insurance: If you want travel insurance but don’t want to spend a lot of money, there are plenty of cheap travel insurance options that will offer at least some protections (and peace of mind). Many travel insurance companies allow you to customize your coverage, spending as little or as much as you want. Explore your options for cheap travel insurance here.
Trip cancellation, interruption and delay insurance: Trip cancellation coverage can help you get reimbursement for prepaid travel expenses, such as your airfare and cruise fare, if your trip is ultimately canceled for a covered reason. Trip interruption insurance, on the other hand, kicks in to reimburse you if your trip is derailed after it starts. For instance, if you arrived at your destination and became gravely ill, it would cover the cost if you had to cut your trip short.
Trip delay insurance can help you qualify for reimbursement of any unexpected expenses you incur (think: lodging, transportation and food) in the event your trip is delayed for reasons beyond your control, such as your flight being canceled and rebooked for the next day. You will want to save your receipts to substantiate your claim if you have this coverage.
Lost bags or personal belongings: Coverage for lost or stolen bags can come in handy if your luggage is lost by your airline or your luggage is delayed so long that you have to buy clothing and toiletries for your trip. This type of coverage can kick in to cover the cost to replace lost or stolen items you brought on your trip. It can also provide coverage for the baggage itself. It’s even possible that your travel insurance policy will pay for your flight home if damages are caused to your residence and your belongings while you’re away, forcing you to return home immediately.
Travel medical insurance: If you find yourself sick or injured while you are on vacation, emergency medical coverage can pay for your medical expenses. With that in mind, however, you will need to find out whether the travel medical insurance you buy is primary or secondary. Where a primary policy can be used right away to cover medical bills incurred while you travel, secondary coverage only provides reimbursement after you have exhausted other medical policies you have.
You will also need to know how travel medical coverage you purchase deals with any preexisting conditions you have, including whether you will have any coverage for preexisting conditions at all.
Evacuation insurance: Imagine you break your leg while on the side of a mountain in some far-flung land without quality health care. Not only would you need travel medical insurance coverage in that case, but you would also need coverage for the exorbitant expense involved in getting you off the side of a mountain and flying you home where you can receive appropriate medical care.
Evacuation coverage can come in handy if you need it, but you will want to make sure any coverage you buy comes with incredibly high limits. According to Squaremouth, an emergency evacuation can easily cost $25,000 in North America and up to $50,000 in Europe, so the site typically suggests customers buy policies with $50,000 to $100,000 in emergency evacuation coverage.
Cruise insurance: Travel delays, missed connections, tours or excursions, and cruise ship disablement (when a ship encounters a mechanical issue and is unable to continue on in the journey) are just a few examples why cruise insurance can be a useful protection if you’ve booked a cruise vacation. Learn more about the top cruise insurance plans here.
Credit card travel insurance: It is not uncommon to find credit cards that include trip cancellation and interruption coverage, trip delay insurance, lost or delayed baggage coverage, travel accident insurance and more. Cards that offer this coverage include popular options like the Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card, the Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card and The Platinum Card from American Express.
Note that owning a credit card with travel insurance protection is not enough for your coverage to count: To take advantage of credit card travel insurance, you must pay for prepaid travel expenses like your airfare, hotel stay or cruise with that specific credit card. Also, note that credit cards with travel insurance have their own list of exclusions to watch out for. Many also require cardholders to pay an annual fee.
What Travel Insurance Experts are Saying
Before you put down a large sum of money on a family trip, a couples getaway, a solo adventure or a dream vacation you’ve been planning for years, consider buying a travel insurance policy that can reimburse you if your plans fall apart. “You don’t know what can go wrong, and a lot can go wrong, whether that’s airline strikes or mechanical breakdowns of carriers or weather quite frankly,” says Stan Sandberg, co-founder of TravelInsurance.com. “If you saved money all year or earmarked your savings for a fabulous trip and you’ve [put] down that money, generally the trip costs are nonrefundable, especially in hotels and tours packages, [and] you want to purchase insurance on that because it’s just a really smart way to protect that investment.”
You can purchase robust policies that cover an array of potential issues – and even policies that let you cancel your trip for any reason at all. You can also buy basic travel insurance policies that cover your trip’s main components like your airfare or cruise fare for a low overall cost. As your departure date draws near, consider the companies that can help protect you from financial losses if your trip is canceled or interrupted for reasons beyond your control.
The best travel insurance companies will reimburse you for medical expenses, baggage loss, evacuation to your home country and more. “If you are traveling internationally, you need medical coverage,” says Angela Borden, product strategist at Seven Corners. “We see all the time where people get sick or hurt while they’re abroad, and in many cases your domestic health insurance won’t follow you. The only way to know is to ask your health insurance provider. If you happen to be somewhere where they can’t provide you with good medical care, emergency medical evacuation will move you somewhere you can get that care.”
What Travelers Are Saying
With lost luggage, flight delays and cancellations, and numerous illnesses circulating the globe, more of today’s travelers are investing in travel insurance to protect their trips. Here are a few people U.S. News spoke with and their experiences with travel insurance:
“Having worked at Seven Corners for almost 15 years and just hearing stories, I don’t travel without it and I absolutely wouldn’t leave the country without it. Trip insurance is usually 5% to 10% of the cost of the trip. To me, that’s a small percentage of what you’re spending to make sure you’re covered and protected if things go wrong.” – Angela Borden, product strategist at Seven Corners
“I was visiting friends in another state, and one of the days that we had planned to go out, I developed a severe sinus infection. My doctor prescribed antibiotics and I was unable to take part in the activities that had been planned. I was understandably frustrated, and when I returned home, I decided to submit a claim with my travel insurance company, knowing that I had purchased coverage that included medical expenses. I used World Nomads, and purchased [the] Standard Plan. With this plan, I was able to recoup the costs of my medical prescription and the lost day of activities. It was incredibly easy to submit a claim, and even easier when I received reimbursement. I had my claim processed within two weeks, and my reimbursement was in my account shortly after that. The customer service was great, and I was kept up to date on the progress of my claim. It was a relief to know that I would be reimbursed for my medical costs, and even better to know that I had purchased travel insurance that covered me for those costs.” – Luke Xavier, founder of usarover.com, a travel website
“My family had been traveling in Italy, scheduled to fly home on a day that one of the hurricanes rolled through New York and shut down airports for three to four days. … [We] ended up being able to fly to Chicago and stayed two to three nights in Chicago and then caught a flight back to New York – and that whole extended part of the trip was covered under our trip interruption policy.” – Stan Sandberg, co-founder of TravelInsurance.com, an insurance comparison website
“I always advise travelers to factor travel insurance with a ‘cancel for any reason’ option into their budgets. This coverage greatly decreases the likelihood that you’ll be on the hook for the full cost of your trip if you must cancel it. [Recently], I purchased travel insurance for myself and it totally paid off. At the last minute I had to cancel my trip due to work reasons, and I was able to get refunds for my flight and hotel, which likely wouldn’t have happened had I not had the insurance since my cancellation was so last minute.” – Andy Kalmon, CEO of Benny, a benefits and financial wellness website
Frequently Asked Questions
What is travel insurance?
Travel insurance works similarly to other types of insurance, except that travel insurance intends to cover unforeseeable events. In most cases, you will pay a flat fee for a policy that covers an individual trip and all its components – like airfare, your accommodations and any prepaid excursions. However, if you travel more than a few times per year, and especially if your trips are on the pricey side, you can also buy an annual travel insurance policy.
Benefits vary among travel insurance providers and policies, meaning some travel insurance plans cover more scenarios than others, and some offer higher coverage limits as well. For example, some travel insurance policies might only offer trip cancellation coverage worth up to $2,500 per traveler, while others offer the same benefit worth up to $100,000.
With this in mind, travel insurance works like other insurance plans in the sense that you can buy a basic level of coverage or full coverage that will reimburse you up to incredibly high limits. The choice is up to you, and you should decide based on how much coverage you think you need to feel secure.
However, you should keep in mind that travel insurance cannot cover every potential situation you encounter before or during a trip. Many travel insurance policies list an array of exclusions you should know about, like war or preexisting circumstances. Several policies also offer named peril coverage that only covers the situations specifically outlined in your policy.
How much is travel insurance?
Travel insurance may cost anywhere from $50 to $1,500 or more. The cost of travel insurance varies depending on the age of the travelers in your group, the total cost of your trip and other factors. Older people will typically have to pay more for a travel insurance policy since these travelers are more susceptible to health issues as they age. The total cost of your trip will also help determine the cost of your travel insurance plan since more expensive trips require higher coverage limits.
Interestingly enough, the length of your trip and the destination you are visiting will not typically affect the cost of travel insurance coverage. Further, your health may not be part of the equation either, and travel insurance companies even refrain from asking health questions when you apply for a travel insurance quote. This doesn’t mean that preexisting conditions will be covered, however, so you’ll want to check the details.
As an example, a few sample trip insurance quotes for a married couple who are both 40 and live in New York City are below:
Travel insurance for an eight-day trip to Florida with a purchase price of $3,500 might run about $85 to $385.
Travel insurance for an eight-day trip to Mexico with a purchase price of $5,000 could cost anywhere from $120 to $415.
Travel insurance for an eight-day trip to the United Kingdom with a purchase price of $7,500 may cost around $185 to $575.
The price of the plan you select will depend on how much coverage you want. Keep in mind, there are plenty of companies that offer affordable travel insurance plans if your main priority is getting a policy at a budget-friendly price. See the U.S. News list of the Cheapest Travel Insurance Companies.
What does travel insurance cover?
Travel insurance was created to cover unforeseen events – as in, events that interrupt or doom your trip that you could not possibly plan for. However, the exact inclusions of travel insurance policies can vary widely, so you will want to read over any policy you are considering to understand the types of coverage you have.
With that in mind, travel insurance typically covers situations such as:
Trip cancellation for unforeseen events like a death in the family or severe weather that prevents you from reaching your destination
Emergency medical situations
Emergency medical transportation and evacuation
Costs incurred as the result of trip delays
Lost or stolen luggage
Canceled travel due to terrorist attacks
As mentioned previously, you can buy different levels of travel insurance that provide more coverage or less coverage in any of these categories. In most cases, you will want to tweak the amount of coverage you buy based on how much you paid for your trip.
For example, if you are planning a once-in-a-lifetime dream vacation that costs $30,000 and lasts three weeks, you would want to purchase a more robust travel insurance policy. That way, you could apply for reimbursement for some components of your vacation if various situations play out that might ruin your trip or prevent it from moving forward in the first place.
Does travel insurance cover COVID-19?
Some travel insurance providers offer plans that cover issues that may come up if you test positive for COVID-19, such as coverage for testing, quarantine and more. See the best COVID-19 travel insurance options here.
When should I buy travel insurance?
Many times, you are given the option to purchase travel insurance when you book your airfare, accommodations, or vacation package. Travel insurance and travel protection are frequently offered as add-ons for your trip, meaning you can pay for your vacation and some level of travel insurance at the same time.
However, many people choose to wait to buy travel insurance until after their entire vacation is booked and paid for. This helps travelers tally up all the underlying costs associated with a trip, and then choose their travel insurance provider and the level of coverage they want.
The best time to buy travel insurance is normally within a few weeks of booking your trip since you may qualify for lower pricing if you book early. Keep in mind, some travel insurance providers allow you to purchase plans until the day before you depart.
Where do I buy travel insurance?
Figuring out where to buy travel insurance may be confusing but you can easily research and purchase travel insurance online these days. Some consumers prefer to shop around with a specific provider, such as Allianz or World Nomads, but you can also shop and compare policies with a travel insurance platform like Squaremouth or InsureMyTrip.
With Squaremouth, you can enter your trip details and compare more than 90 travel insurance plans from 20-plus providers.
InsureMyTrip works similarly, letting you shop around and compare plans from more than 20 travel insurance providers in one place. InsureMyTrip also offers several guarantees, including a Best Price Guarantee, a Best Plan Guarantee and a Money-Back Guarantee that promises a full refund if you decide you no longer need the plan you purchased.
Protect your trip: Search, compare and buy the best travel insurance plans for the lowest price. Get a quote.
How do I file a travel insurance claim?
When you need to file a travel insurance claim, you should plan on explaining to your provider what happened to your trip and why you think your policy applies. If you planned to go on a Caribbean cruise, but your husband fell gravely ill the night before you were set to depart, you would need to explain that situation to your travel insurance company. Information you should share with your provider includes the details of why you’re making a claim, who was involved and the exact circumstances of your loss.
Documentation is important, and your travel insurance provider will ask for proof of what happened. Required documentation for travel insurance typically includes any proof of a delay, receipts, copies of medical bills and more.
Most travel insurance companies let you file a claim using an online form, but some also allow you to file a claim by phone or via fax. Some travel insurance providers, such as Allianz and Travel Insured International, offer their own mobile apps you can use to buy policies and upload information or documents that substantiate your claim. In any case, you will need to provide the company with proof of your claim and the circumstances that caused it.
If your claim is initially denied, you may also need to answer some questions or submit some additional information that can highlight why you do, in fact, qualify.
Whatever you do, be honest and forthcoming with all the information in your claim. Also, be willing to provide more information or answer any questions when asked.
How long do travel insurance claims take to process?
Travel insurance claims typically take four to six weeks to process once you file with your insurance company. However, with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, pilot shortages and various flight delays and cancellations, more travelers have begun purchasing travel insurance, encountering trip issues and having to submit claims. The higher volume of claims submitted has resulted in slower turnaround times at some insurance companies. Reports from the New York Times have said travel insurance claims are taking closer to two to five months to be paid.
The longer you take to file your travel insurance claim after a loss, the longer you will be waiting for reimbursement. Also note that, with many travel insurance providers, there is a time limit on how long you can submit claims after a trip. For example, with Allianz Travel Insurance, World Nomads Travel Insurance and Travelex Insurance Services, you have 90 days from the date of your loss to file a claim.
You may be able to expedite the claim if you provide all the required information upfront, whereas the process could drag on longer than it needs to if you delay filing a claim or the company has to follow up with you to get more information.
Is travel insurance worth it?
Paying a premium for travel insurance might feel like setting money on fire if you never file a claim, but travel insurance could easily save you tens of thousands of dollars if the worst-case scenario plays out. Only you can decide if travel insurance is worth the additional cost, but for many, the peace of mind they have in return is well worth the price alone.
Before you buy travel insurance, make sure to tally up the total amount of money you spent on the trip in question. That way, you can decide whether insuring your trip will be worth the financial cost. Also, check whether any cancellation policies apply and if it may be possible to get some of your money back from providers if you need to cancel your trip ahead of time. If you booked an Airbnb that lets you cancel without a penalty up to 24 hours before check-in, for example, then you may not need travel insurance. The same is true if you booked airfare with a generous cancellation and rebooking policy that lets you swap your flight at the last minute. If your entire trip is nonrefundable, on the other hand, then the likelihood of you needing a policy is higher.
Also, ask yourself whether you feel at risk in terms of your trip being delayed or interrupted, and whether you feel losing your luggage or any items you plan to bring along on your vacation would create financial or emotional hardship.
If you are taking a quick road trip a few states away, it is possible travel insurance isn’t worth the money. But if you are flying to a remote destination and spending considerable sums of money on a dream trip, you will probably want some protection.
What doesn’t travel insurance cover?
Different travel insurance companies list different exclusions for their policies, so this is another situation where you will want to read all the fine print. Most travel insurance policies refrain from covering preexisting conditions of any kind. If you are sick with a terminal illness when you purchase a travel insurance policy, for example, you cannot use that illness as a basis to cancel your trip. The same is true if you wait to buy travel insurance until a named hurricane is careening toward your destination.
In addition to situations you know about ahead of time, travel insurance also typically excludes some foreseen and unforeseen events altogether. Most travel insurance won’t cover:
War in your destination
Civil disorder or civil unrest
Participation in high-risk sports, such as skydiving, bungee jumping and heli-skiing
Government restrictions on travel
Pollution that threatens to harm your travel plans
Learning to fly an aircraft
Do I need insurance to travel?
Only you can decide if you need travel insurance, but this type of coverage is essential if you want to protect the financial investment you made by booking a trip. Without travel insurance, you will likely be in a position where you never receive any sort of refund on prepaid travel plans, including airfare, vacation rentals and prepaid tours. It is up to you to decide whether taking this chance is worth it – and whether the investment you made in your trip is worthy of paying for a travel insurance policy.
Before you pay for insurance that covers travel arrangements, it can help to tally up all the money you spent on your trip. Consider: Is this money you are willing to lose if you cannot ultimately take your vacation, or if an unforeseen event knocks your plans off track?
Travel insurance is never required, but buying a policy can make the trip-planning experience worry-free and fun, and it can put your mind at ease while you’re on vacation. You hope you won’t need to use your travel insurance policy, but in the worst-case scenario, you will be glad you have one.
Why Trust U.S. News Travel
Holly Johnson is an award-winning content creator who has been writing about travel insurance and travel for more than a decade. She has researched travel insurance options for her own vacations and family trips to more than 50 countries around the world, and has experience navigating the claims and reimbursement process. In fact, she has successfully filed several travel insurance claims for trip delays and trip cancellations over the years. Johnson also works alongside her husband Greg, who has been licensed to sell travel insurance in 50 states, in their family media business.
Erin Evans is the Managing Editor of Travel at U.S. News & World Report. She has become an expert in travel insurance since the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the travel industry, reading through fine print and details, and trying to summarize the information to make things more digestible for the everyday traveler. If you need an easy explainer on understanding how it works and why it’s beneficial (including cancel for any reason coverage), she’s your gal.