People travel for all types of reasons. Whether you're planning your next trip to visit family members in another nation, jetting off on a much-deserved vacation or preparing for important business travel, there is one thing you should never leave home without: specialized insurance that covers your needs as a traveler.
Travel and trip insurance policies help provide peace of mind. They can include different types of coverage to support medical emergencies, trip interruption or cancellation and an array of other situations that you may run into while away from home.
Before buying travel insurance, however, there are a few important things to know that will help you find the best policy for your journey.
What is travel insurance?
The term 'travel insurance' is often used to to describe any type of insurance for travelers available. It's also used interchangeably with 'trip insurance'. Understandably, this causes some confusion. So let's clear things up.
Travel insurance is a generic term describing all types of travelers insurance. But when travel insurance companies use the term, they're referring to medical insurance for international travelers. To simplify things, we'll refer to this as travel medical insurance.
What exactly is travel medical insurance and how does it differ from trip insurance?
Travel medical insurance is perfect for international travelers, whether they're coming to or traveling from the U.S. It provides coverage for medical care for injuries or illness incurred after the policy effective date. But it can also cover emergency medical evacuation, telehealth communication and 24-hour emergency assistance.
Your domestic insurance may be adequate while you're in your home country, but when you travel internationally, you'll need travel medical insurance to cover costs related to accidents, injuries and emergency medical services needed while abroad. Some policies even cover the acute onset of pre-existing conditions.
Trip insurance, on the other hand, helps travelers guard against unexpected expenses, or provide coverage for non-refundable expenses related to the trip itself. Most trip insurance plans include benefits like trip interruption, trip delay or trip cancellation for covered reasons. In this way, travelers can recoup certain covered expenses for their transportation, lodging and other costs. Plans and benefits vary, but trip insurance can also provide coverage for lost luggage, a misplaced or stolen passport and more.
There are also more specific travel medical and trip insurance plans, depending on your demographics and the type of trip you're planning. Here's a quick rundown of some of our most popular plans.
- Cruise insurance
- Business travel insurance
- International student health insurance
- Group travel insurance
- And other travel insurance products
What should I look for?
One of the best ways to find an ideal travel or trip insurance plan is to work with a travel insurance company or site like VisitorsCoverage where you can compare travel insurance and buy the best travel insurance for your needs from top insurers in the industry.
These comparison tools allow you to see plan details related to different types of coverage (including trip cancellation, trip interruption, Cancel for Any Reason Insurance, emergency medical evacuation insurance, short-term health insurance, green card insurance, student health insurance and more). Seeing all of your travel insurance options can help you find a policy that checks off all the boxes on your travel insurance requirements list. Some factors to consider when you review the plan details.
- Type of coverage: Make sure that the policy you purchase aligns with your trip. If you're traveling for business, for instance, look into a specific business travel insurance policy. Similarly, insurers also provide specific cruise insurance, or policies for specific destinations like Canada or Europe.
- Medical care coverage: If you need a travel medical plan, make sure it will suit your personal health needs. A traveler with a pre-existing condition, for example, should select a policy that includes coverage for the acute onset of the condition, so that if a sudden, severe medical event occurs while they're abroad, certain related medical expenses will be covered.
- Travel insurance that covers Covid: Even as the pandemic wanes in your home country, when you start traveling again, you'll want travel insurance that covers COVID-19. Fortunately, finding Covid travel insurance isn't that difficult. Most travel insurance plans cover medical care and expenses related to COVID-19, if the virus is contracted after the policy effective date.
- Trip coverage with Cancel For Any Reason insurance: While most trip insurance plans do cover trip cancellation for specific covered reasons, these are usually limited to natural disasters or airline disruptions. When you add Cancel For Any Reason to your travel insurance, you'll have the freedom to cancel your travel plans for, literally, any reason. Whether you're concerned about Covid or just decide not to go, the Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR) benefit lets you cancel your trip and recoup certain prepaid travel expenses that would otherwise be non-refundable.
- Travel insurance cost and duration: Contrary to popular belief trip and travel insurance doesn't have to be expensive. Paying a couple hundred dollars up front can save you from having to deal with medical and trip cancellation expenses that can cost thousands. In the best-case scenario you won't have to use insurance coverage at all but the peace of mind you'll have from being covered will help you get the most out of your trip.
Read the details of each policy to make sure that you choose a policy that includes a sufficient coverage amount and will line up with the duration of your trip.
Trip cancellation plans, for instance, include specified coverage amounts (up to $1,000 for trip delay and $100,000 for trip cancellation, across a maximum 90 days of coverage.) Frequent travelers can consider multi-trip insurance, which can support coverage for several trips during a year-long period. You may also need to consider different policy maximums in order to find the right plan for your travel needs.
- Buy travel insurance at the right time: It's also important to carefully time your trip or travel insurance purchase. If you've already booked a trip, but have yet to make your first deposit, you're in luck. This is an ideal time to buy travel insurance. Policies can vary, but some stipulate that travelers purchase their plan within a certain number of days after making their first trip deposit. Other plans enable coverage to be bought right up until the day of travel. Check the details of the policy to make sure you're buying at the right time.
If you're still having trouble deciding on the best travel health insurance for your needs, our Customer Success Team is here to help.