What are three types of travel insurance?

There’s never been a better time to add travel insurance to your trip plans. Whether you’re spending money on a long-awaited trip or a spur-of-the-moment getaway, travel insurance can save you money, time and frustration if things go wrong.

We evaluated 46 plans to find the best travel insurance.

What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

Comprehensive travel insurance policies package together a number of valuable benefits. You can also buy policies that cover only trip cancellation or only medical expenses. With the wide variety of plans available, you can find coverage levels that will fit your budget and trip needs.

Look for these top coverage options in a comprehensive plan.

Trip cancellation insurance

You don’t book a trip with the intention of canceling it, but unexpected illness, injury, family member sickness, jury duty and more could derail plans. Trip cancellation insurance reimburses you 100% for money you lose in pre-paid, non-refundable deposits if you have to cancel for a reason listed in the policy.

If Covid is a concern, you can find travel insurance policies that cover Covid-related trip cancellation if you contract the virus right before the trip.

A good strategy is to insure the total amount you have put into non-refundable and pre-paid deposits. Don’t insure refundable amounts, like refundable plane tickets, because you can’t make an insurance claim for that.

Travel medical insurance

Travel medical insurance pays for ambulance service, X-rays, lab work, medicine, doctor and hospital bills, and other medical expenses during your trip. This is important coverage for travelers going abroad, where your U.S. health plan may have limited global coverage or no coverage. You can find generous coverage limits of up to $500,000 per person with some travel insurance policies, but you may decide that lower levels of coverage are adequate for your needs.

The best travel insurance for seniors includes travel medical insurance because Medicare does not pay for health care outside the U.S., except in very limited circumstances.

Many travel insurance policies cover Covid-related medical expenses just like any other illness—but not all do—so be sure to confirm that Covid is covered by your travel insurance policy if you contract the virus during your trip.

Emergency medical evacuation coverage

This is also important coverage for those traveling abroad, especially if you’re going to a remote area where quality medical care might be hard to find. Emergency medical evacuation insurance pays to get you to the nearest adequate medical facility. You can find ample coverage of $1 million per person.

“Cancel for any reason” coverage

If you want the freedom to cancel your trip no matter what, look for travel insurance that allows you to upgrade your trip cancellation insurance to “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) travel insurance. Having CFAR allows you to cancel your trip for any reason that’s not listed in your base policy. For example, you could cancel the trip because you simply don’t feel like going anymore, as long as you do so at least 48 hours before your departure time.

Reimbursement under a CFAR claim is 75% or 50% of your trip costs, not the 100% that’s available under the base trip cancellation coverage. CFAR adds an average of about 50% to an insurance plan’s cost. Not all travel insurance companies offer a CFAR upgrade.

Travel delay insurance

Travel delay insurance reimburses you for expenses if you’re stuck somewhere due to a holdup in your itinerary that’s covered by your travel insurance plan. For example, if you’re stuck in an airport all day because bad weather delays your flight, travel delay insurance can reimburse you for necessities like food and toiletries.

If you have a long delay, travel delay benefits could pay for an Uber, a night in a hotel and meals. Travel delay insurance has a specified waiting period before benefits apply—for example, six or 12 hours—and also a per day maximum limit and a total maximum per person.

Trip interruption insurance

If you have to cut your trip short because of a reason listed in the policy, trip interruption insurance is a valuable coverage to have. It can reimburse you for the non-refundable parts of your trip that you miss, such as a resort stay or pre-paid scuba diving lesson. It can also pay for a last-minute one-way ticket home if you have an emergency.

Baggage and personal effects coverage

Losing your bags can really ruin a trip. Baggage coverage can at least ease the financial pain a little. It can reimburse you for the bags and clothes and shoes that never arrive, although note that reimbursement is for the depreciated value of the items, not the cost to buy new ones. It also pays out for items lost to theft.

Baggage delay coverage

Your bags may be on their own detour, but what do you do while you’re waiting? This coverage reimburses you for necessities while you wait for your luggage. For example, if you’re in Canada you may need a coat, hat and essential toiletries. Policies usually require a certain time delay before baggage delay coverage kicks in, such as six hours.


What’s Not Covered by Travel Insurance?

There are common things not covered by travel insurance. Make sure you read a policy’s exclusions so you’re not caught by surprise later.

For example, injuries from high-risk activities may not be covered, such as scuba diving. Nor are problems that happen because you were drunk or using drugs.

Medical tourism is also a common exclusion, so if you’re going abroad for a face lift or other elective procedure, travel insurance won’t cover hospital bills or aftercare.

If you lose cash, or it’s stolen, that is typically also excluded from reimbursement under most travel insurance plans.

Keep in mind that travel insurance is designed to protect you against unforeseen events and emergencies. For instance, if you want to cancel a trip because you’re afraid of flying, that’s not covered under standard trip cancellation insurance.


How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost?

The cost of travel insurance is usually mainly based on the age of travelers and the trip cost. Expect the average cost of travel insurance to be 6% of your trip cost.

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