We travel for many things. We travel to explore, to improve, to relax, to make new friends, to try ice cream at 2am somewhere in the backstreets of Chiang Mai, and most importantly, we travel to learn.
So no matter what makes you embark on a journey, you’ll come back home a changed person. Even if you travel for work. Especially if you travel for work. And so while we’re out there chasing ambitions, it’s important to have a safety net in case something unpleasant happens.
In this guide to travel insurance, we’ll cover everything you need to know about your safety net; from different insurance providers, to different types of coverage. We’ll also suggest the best-reviewed providers for traditional, and additional types of coverage like Cancel For Any Reason. And we’ll answer the most important question of them all: is travel insurance worth it?
Is Travel Insurance Worth It?
Before we get into the details, let’s take a look at what travel insurance is, and what it is not.
Travel insurance covers:
- Medical expenses
- Trip cancellation, change or interruption (trip protection)
- Stolen, lost or delayed luggage
- Flight accidents
- Accidental death or injury benefit
- Funeral expenses and repatriation
- Other losses
Travel insurance does not cover:
- Pre-existing medical conditions
- Injuries caused by alcohol, drug use or reckless behavior
- Damages caused by war and terrorism
- Natural disasters (e.g. floods)
- Travel to countries that are deemed as high-risk countries by US State Department
There is optional coverage for:
- Rental car coverage
- Cancel For Any Reason travel insurance
- Pre-existing conditions like diabetes
- Dangerous sports (skiing, scuba diving, climbing, etc.)
- Accidental death and dismemberment
- Trip protection (in case of bankruptcy of travel providers, such as Canadian Primera Air)
As you navigate the world of travel insurance, you’ll see that it’s usually possible to get additional coverage (for a fee) for most things. For example, if you’re travelling to see a concert, you can opt for insurance that covers event cancellation, and you’ll be reimbursed in case the concert doesn’t take place.
The best kind of travel insurance coverage is umbrella coverage. This means that you’re insured at all times, for most situations that can occur when you’re travelling. However, this is very rare, so before choosing a travel insurance plan, make a list of activities you’ll engage in.
As a rule of thumb, it’s good to have: medical, trip cancellation insurance, accidents (with benefits in case the worst happens) and repatriation. Fortunately, this coverage comes with most travel insurance plans.
So, Is Travel Insurance Worth It?
Yes. You probably got dizzy just reading the list of things that can happen while you’re on the road (we sure did), so if you can reduce the costs and your stress levels, do it.
Even though serious accidents are very, very rare and shouldn’t discourage you from leaving your house, there are incidents like baggage loss or theft which can be very stressful, although not dangerous. Additionally, if your trip is cancelled, you’d be losing a lot of money without travel insurance. This way, you’ll get reimbursed.
Travel insurance is especially important if you’re travelling with kids. If you’re in a new country where you don’t speak the language, it’s good to have a safety partner who’ll help you take care of things and arrive home safely.
It’s a good idea to be travel insured, as it comes with a lot of benefits. However, the key is choosing the best travel insurance for your needs. And who knows? Maybe you’ve even get it as a part of your credit card terms. Let’s find out what you need to look for!
Selecting the Best Travel Insurance Coverage and Providers
The best travel insurance heavily depends on what kind of trip you’re taking, and what your needs are. We’ll take a look at some of the additional coverage options, and providers who excel at them.
Car Rental Travel Insurance
We’ve covered the basic types of coverage that come with most travel insurances. However, it’s also good to opt for additional coverage like car rental insurance if you’re going to be renting a car. Keep in mind that car rental credit card insurance or travel insurance isn’t the same as the rental insurance they’ll offer you at the car rental company. That’s why it’s good to get on the phone with your agent before renting a car to see what coverage you can expect, and what coverage you should pay for directly when renting a car. Credit cards typically won’t cover injury, but they can cover towing and repairs, and that comes in handy.
Car Rental Coverage: Chase Travel Insurance
When it comes to credit card companies, Chase is among the best at offering their customers exquisite travel benefits. In addition to baggage delay, trip interruption and lost luggage reimbursements, Chase Travel Insurance has a great auto rental collision damage waiver. If you decline the car rental’s collision insurance and charge the rental cost to your card, you can get reimbursement up to the car’s value in case of theft or collision damage. It works just as well in the US as it works abroad, and it’s primary coverage.
"Cancel For Any Reason" Travel Insurance
If you think you might have a different reason than the ones covered by the standard trip cancellation insurance, it pays to invest in "cancel for any reason" travel insurance. It’s usually considered as a fail-safe, and it can also come as an additional policy with your regular plan.
If you think that there’s no way you’d ever willingly cancel a trip for anything other than death or illness, consider the list of things travel insurance usually doesn’t cover.
Travel Insurance Review wrote down a nice anecdote on "cancel for any reason" coverage, talking about a 50-year-old Madeline who’s travelling with her friends to Egypt. Riots break out, making it unsafe for them to travel. But since she has CFAR coverage, Madeline can cancel her trip, and she loses only $250 out of the total trip cost, which was $5,000.
That’s a pretty accurate depiction of this kind of insurance coverage, and it’s a good asset to have when planning a trip. However, not all insurance companies provide it, so make sure you check with yours. If you can have it added to your standard trip cancellation policy, all the better.
"Cancel For Any Reason" Coverage: Travel Insured International
Dependable coverage means you can count on it, even if your reason for cancelling is unusual. And when it comes to "cancel for any reason" coverage, our vote goes to Travel Insured International.
They have 3 plans, and CFAR is included in the Worldwide Trip Protector Plus plan. If you cancel for a reason that’s not any of the standard ones covered by trip cancellation, you’ll receive up to 75% of your money back. In case of trip interruption, being on Worldwide Trip Protector Plus will get you 150% trip cost back.
In addition to the coverage that comes with their plans, Travel Insured also offers upgrades such as:
- Travel Benefits
- Primary Coverage
- Rental Car Damage
- Medical Upgrade
- AD&D (Flight Only)
- Cancel for Work Reasons
Travel Insurance for Dangerous Activities
If you plan on rock climbing or scuba diving, most insurance companies will tell you that they don’t provide coverage for that. They believe that you’re willingly exposing yourself to greater risks (even though it’s fun), and you’ll be stuck with regular coverage that doesn’t apply if you put yourself at risk.
Depending on the insurance company, a variety of activities could be treated as dangerous. Some even consider skiing dangerous, so keep that in mind if you’re going on a ski trip.
If you’re set on adventuring to your heart’s content, it’s best to explore different options and get the coverage you need. Basic travel insurance coverage will keep you safe, but only if you haven’t done anything to endanger yourself.
Dangerous Activities Coverage: World Nomads Travel Insurance
World Nomads insurance has a great plan for everyone who loves adrenaline.
Their standard plan costs about $5.50 per day. However, if you want travel insurance that covers hazardous sports, you need World Nomads’ Explorer Plan.
The Explorer Plan costs a bit more (about $7.64/day) but it’ll cover your medical costs if you get injured while doing outdoor sports (which are also covered by The Standard Plan), and doing dangerous sports (which include bull riding and cliff jumping). While they don’t offer absolute coverage, they did evacuate a happy customer from an altitude of 4400 meters.
Most of us take out insurance when we’re traveling internationally, so insurance companies (or credit card companies) include overseas protection. This keeps you protected if you need overseas medical assistance, including urgent dental services. In addition to that, costs can rack up, so having international medical coverage also helps you reduce them to the minimum. In some cases, you can even expect your trip insurance to cover reunion expenses (such as flying your family in to see you), and provide you with an assistant.
Even though most travel insurance policies don’t cover pre-existing conditions, you can get treatment for chronic diseases such as asthma at no extra cost to you. This may increase the fee you pay before going on the trip, but it’s more than worth it.
International Coverage: Allianz Travel Insurance
When it comes to international medical coverage, Allianz is among the best. If you want basic travel insurance that’ll cover your medical costs, as well as other things usually included in the policies (baggage loss, trip protection), Allianz will have you squared away. They have partners worldwide so you’ll get the assistance you need no matter where in the world you are.
If you’re considering living abroad, the standard travel insurance plan won’t be enough. Fortunately, Allianz offers international health insurance.
Unlike travel insurance, you’re getting medical treatment, check-ups and family-planning assistance with international health insurance. Again, it’s for longer stays only.
According to Allianz Travel Insurance reviews, you should have no problem filing a claim and receiving assistance. The process is straightforward and easy, just the way travelers need it.
All Around Best Travel Insurance
If you have specific needs that you need a special policy for, it’s best to find a custom solution. However, if you don’t plan on rock climbing or renting a car, and you’re traveling to a safe destination, take a look at:
Travel Guard Insurance
When you ask customers about Travel Guard, they frequently say: “The claim filing process was easy and the claim was paid fairly quickly.” Travel Guard has 3 distinct insurance plans, but even the Silver (basic, budget-friendly) plan offers enough coverage for every traveler to feel safe.
Customers who have to cancel a trip or whose trip is interrupted will get 100% of the trip cost back. Additionally, Travel Guard provides reimbursements for other inconveniences such as baggage delay and theft.
In the event of death or accidental sickness, they cover up to $15,000 in repatriation and medical expenses, respectively. It’s a solid plan for the budget-friendly traveler, but it still provides good coverage and a fairly easy assistance process.
With advanced plans or paid upgrades, customers can get:
- Live Travel Emergency Services (roadside assistance, help with rebooking or flight cancellations)
- Concierge Services (personal assistance for dinner and entertainment reservations, and similar)
- Personal Security Assistance
Travel Guard’s insurance plans are easily customizable, and you can get more VIP services than with other insurance plans.
Of course, choosing the best travel insurance depends on what you need, but it’s important to find a policy that adapts to your needs. After all, the only thing you should be worrying about on your trip is having even more fun. Choose the right travel insurance, and let them worry about the rest.