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
This is important coverage for travelers going abroad, where your U.S. health plan may have limited glocal coverage or no coverage. Travel medical insurance pays for ambulance service, doctor and hospital bills and other medical expenses during your trip. You can find generous coverage limits of up to $500,000 per person, but depending on your trip you may not need that level of coverage..
Because Medicare does not pay for health care outside the U.S., except in very limited circumstances, travel medical insurance is essential for senior travelers.
If Covid is a concern, you can find travel insurance policies that cover Covid-related medical expenses 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
You may be able to upgrade your trip cancellation insurance to “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) coverage. Not all providers offer this add-on. Having it 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. Reimbursement under a CFAR claim is often 75% 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.
Travel delay insurance
Travel delay insurance reimburses you for expenses if you’re stuck somewhere and have to buy necessities to tide you over. For example, if you’re stuck in an airport all day because of a weather delay, this coverage can reimburse you for essential purchases like snacks and toiletries. If you’re stuck for a long time, it could pay for a taxi, a night in a hotel and meals.
Trip interruption insurance
If you have to cut your trip short because of a reason listed in the policy, this is 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.