When it's time to prepare for your next journey, whether it is a business trip or a vacation, there's one key element that you shouldn't leave home without, a travel insurance policy.

This type of insurance is best for international travelers and tourists to ensure that they aren't stranded in a foreign location if they have a medical emergency, lose their passport or have other, pre-defined emergencies.

When it comes to shopping for comprehensive travel insurance, though, there are quite a few insurance companies, all with different plans and offerings. Whether you need to guard against the chance of lost luggage, or ensure that you can get medical treatment should you need it, a travel insurance policy can help.

Lets take a deeper look, including what these policies cover and what to look for when buying travel insurance.

Travel insurance: A brief primer

There are different types of insurance that can be beneficial for foreign and domestic trips, and it's important to understand the difference between available policies.

Trip insurance, for instance, is different than travel insurance, and can help policyholders get reimbursed in case they encounter trip interruption, trip cancelation, travel delay or similar situations. These policies can be considered a travel guard, and can come in handy if a trip is delayed or another issue impacts lodging and transport arrangements or nonrefundable travel deposits.

Travel medical insurance primarily deals with health insurance, and making sure that when policyholders take trips outside of their home countries, they can get medical assistance if needed.

While plan offerings vary by insurance company, international travelers can often use their policy in situations such as:

  • Emergency evacuations
  • Accidents and injuries
  • Natural disasters
  • Limited trip cancellation

How travel insurance benefits you

Although many travelers have primary medical insurance through their employers, most domestic policies are not accepted outside of the country. This means that should a traveler become injured or ill while abroad and need to visit a local doctors office or hospital for healthcare services, their regular insurance policy will likely not cover them. This could result in very high healthcare bills for necessary medical treatment. Furthermore, if an emergency evacuation is necessary (for medical reasons or due to a terror attack), the cost can exceed $250,000 for travelers to return to their home country. A travel insurance policy can help prevent travelers from having to pay for these costs themselves.

The benefits of a travel insurance plan aren't just centered around health insurance and medical treatment, though. This insurance can also be beneficial in the case of lost luggage, or a stolen passport. With the right insurance, should travelers become the victim of theft during a trip overseas (which can be particularly worrisome, especially in an unfamiliar place where you may not speak the local language) their travel insurance company can assist them nearly immediately with cash or bill settlement.

What to look for in your travel insurance company

A travel insurance plan can provide peace of mind, as well as financial and medical assistance, helping international travelers feel safe and cared for while keeping out-of-pocket expenses to a minimum.

When buying travel insurance, there are a few critical factors to keep in mind to ensure you partner with the right provider:

  • Comprehensive vs. limited policies: As noted previously, travel insurance plan offerings differ among companies, but many provide choices in the areas of limited and comprehensive plans. Although a comprehensive plan typically comes with a slightly higher cost, these policies provide much better coverage compared to a limited policy. When traveling overseas, it's best not to leave things to chance and obtain the best insurance coverage possible. From our perspective, a comprehensive plan is almost always preferable.
  • Purchasing from a U.S.-based provider: Some travelers venturing overseas may assume that its best to purchase a policy from a provider based in the destination country. This isn't always the case, though, and many experts recommend buying travel health insurance from an American insurance company. There are many advantages to buying from a U.S. insurance provider, including the fact that claims are usually processed much more quickly, and these plans typically have a higher customer satisfaction rate. Best of all, its simpler to compare insurance companies by looking at reviews, like those from the Better Business Bureau.
  • Traveling for business: Travelers should also consider the purpose of their trip when looking at their options for travel insurance. A business travel insurance plan, for instance, is ideal for those who have to frequently go overseas for their jobs.
  • Single trip vs. multi-trip: In the case of business travel insurance plans, there are options for travelers to obtain coverage for an entire year, meaning multiple trips of up to 45 days within one year would be covered. Depending on travelers needs and their frequency and reasons for international travel, finding a provider that offers this type of coverage can be beneficial.

One of the best ways to go about finding the ideal travel insurance policy is to compare insurance plans among some of the top U.S. and international providers. In this way, travelers can see all available plan offers and select the policy that best meets their needs and their budget.

Connect with us at VisitorsCoverage to learn more about finding the best travel insurance company.