Comprehensive Travel Insurance Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Comprehensive Travel Insurance Guide: Everything You Need to Know

Comprehensive travel insurance is typically the ideal choice when it comes to securing a health insurance plan for your travels. A comprehensive plan will offer the best protection and optimal benefits for the majority of travelers. 

Choosing the best comprehensive travel insurance can be tricky because there are so many options available for overseas and domestic travel.  When you compare comprehensive travel insurance, you'll want one that gives you peace of mind, even when you're far from home. 

But how do you choose a comprehensive travel health insurance plan? Understanding the importance of protecting yourself during your trip and the benefits you desire will help you choose the best comprehensive travel insurance plan for your individual needs.

Travel medical insurance offers two types: limited and comprehensive. Compare the differences to choose the right plan.

What Is Comprehensive Medical Travel Insurance?

A comprehensive travel insurance policy offers coverage for eligible medical care for new illnesses or injuries that occur during one’s travels. This can include hospitalization, surgery, urgent care, medication, emergency medical evacuation, and more for new and unexpected medical emergencies abroad.

What Does Comprehensive Travel Insurance Cover?

Comprehensive travel medical insurance coverage can include: 

The actual coverage and benefits offered vary from plan to plan. It’s key to review a plan’s description of coverage to understand what is and isn’t covered.

What Is Not Covered By Comprehensive Travel Insurance?

Since travel insurance is meant to cover individuals in the short-term on certain trips, it isn’t meant to act as your regular domestic health insurance plan. For this reason, there are various exclusions and limitations to be aware of. 

Travel insurance typically does not cover: 

  • Preventative or routine care 
  • Pregnancy or childbirth
  • Elective treatments or surgeries 
  • Regular dental or vision treatment 
  • Cancer treatment

Each plan will have its own limitations and exclusions, so it's important to review your policy details for more information on what isn’t covered under your plan.

How Does Comprehensive Travel Insurance Work?

After you sign up for a policy, you will receive your travel coverage ID card and policy confirmation letter ahead of your policy effective date, before you depart on your trip. If an unexpected illness or injury occurs that requires you to seek medical care, bring your coverage information with you.

You may be able to take advantage of direct billing where the provider bills your insurance directly, or you may have to pay upfront. How you pay will affect your claims process, so be sure to understand what to do in either payment situation.

How Does Comprehensive Travel Insurance Compare to Limited Travel Insurance?

In a nutshell, comprehensive coverage offers much higher protection and better benefits than a limited coverage plan. Comprehensive plans provide percentage-based coverage up to the policy maximum, which can give you a large safety net for eligible emergency medical situations.

On the other hand, limited travel insurance offers less coverage and benefits and only pays a predetermined amount per type of treatment or service, regardless of how much your bill is, which can quickly lead to higher out-of-pocket costs. 

A comprehensive plan comes at a higher price, but is much more flexible and expansive. Where a limited plan provides coverage according to predefined cost limits, a comprehensive policy can cover 80 -100% of the cost once the insured pays their one-time deductible.

Learn more about why limited travel insurance plans are often considered risky.

Who Needs Comprehensive Travel Insurance?

Comprehensive travel insurance is designed to offer the best protection for all types of travelers. An accident or unexpected illness can happen to anyone, regardless of age or health. Being protected from a huge financial burden is definitely worth the investment, especially for your peace of mind.

Another thing to keep in mind is your destination. If you are traveling to the U.S., a comprehensive travel insurance policy is crucial. This is because medical expenses are extremely expensive in the United States and can quickly add up to thousands of dollars in fees if care is received uninsured.

If you are an older traveler, especially if you are visiting the United States from abroad where medical costs are extraordinarily high, comprehensive travel insurance is highly recommended. A good short-term health insurance plan can ensure that you have a safety net if medical care is needed during your trip.

What Is the Best Comprehensive Travel Insurance?

The best comprehensive travel insurance plan will depend upon your individual travel plans and needs. When deciding on a plan, consider the length of your trip, your destination, your age and health, your budget, and any activities that you’ll be taking part in. 

You may opt for a plan that offers an adventure sports rider if you’re planning on doing any riskier activities such as jet skiing or snowboarding. If you are older with a pre-existing condition, you may want to consider a plan that offers coverage for pre-existing conditions.

The best comprehensive travel insurance plan for you will vary, so it’s ideal to compare plans, do your research, and ultimately decide on the policy that is perfect for your trip.

Comprehensive Travel Insurance Benefits

Compared to other policy options, comprehensive travel insurance plans can provide insured travelers with many advantages.

  • More robust travel medical coverage includes acute onset of pre-existing medical conditions, and medical emergencies.
  • A simplified process since many comprehensive travel plans function just like regular PPO insurance. Policies with a PPO network may be accepted at more health service locations and offer better discounted rates.
  • Options for bundled coverage that includes not only travel medical but also related trip insurance. This can extend to situations like delayed or missing baggage or trip cancellation.

Frequently Asked Questions


How much is comprehensive travel insurance?

The cost of comprehensive travel insurance will vary depending on your travel destinations, plans, age, and more. Get a quote in minutes.


Can you buy comprehensive travel insurance after travel starts?

Comprehensive travel insurance must be purchased before your travel dates.


What are the two basic types of travel insurance?

The two basic types of travel insurance are comprehensive and limited (or fixed). Comprehensive is a percentage-based coverage plan while limited offers fixed benefits for each service.


Who is the best company for travel insurance?

At VisitorsCoverage, we offer a selection of top-rated travel insurance companies and policies to choose from.


What does travel insurance not cover?

Travel insurance is short-term medical insurance, so it typically won’t cover preventative or routine care, pregnancy or childbirth, pre-existing conditions, dental care, or vision care.


How much medical coverage do I need for travel?

The amount of coverage you need will depend upon a number of factors, but typically a comprehensive travel insurance plan will offer adequate coverage for the average traveler.