So you finally scored a kick-ass flight deal on Kayak, booked your Airbnb, and are now on the hunt for a few Instagram-worthy places at your destination. But before you get on that flight, you realize you have yet to buy Travel Insurance but can’t quite figure out which plan is right for you.
With Travel Insurance, it can be challenging just reading the fine print. Well, I have done that for you by reviewing the most popular Travel Insurance plans for U.S. residents. I have also and picked my top favorites from AXA, Allianz Global Assistance and World Nomads. One of these will work for you regardless if you are a vacationer, a world traveler, or someone going on their first trip. Read on to find out which one will best match your needs.
Why Should I Get Travel Insurance?
Travel Insurance covers your expenses and gets the help you need when the unexpected happens. The list can be extensive but includes needing emergency care after getting injured or sick, to being stranded due to bad weather and losing your bags and clothing.
With the right travel insurance, you will also have access to a 24-hour assistance phone service that can answer all your questions regarding your claims and point you in the right direction when it comes to a medical emergency.
The last place you want to find yourself in is financial ruins due to a medical emergency or accident in an unfamiliar country, halfway around the world.
My Top 3 Recommendations
Want to SAVE some time and can’t be bothered with the nitty-gritty research? Here are my top 3 picks for Travel Insurance for U.S. Residents of 2018 and why you should consider each one.
|AXA Assistance USA Travel Insurance – Platinum
Ideal for active travelers seeking excellent medical protection and premium services at an excellent price
Value: 4.5/5 Best Value!
|Allianz Global Assistance – Classic Trip Plus
Incredible value, especially for families
|World Nomads Travel Insurance – Explorer
Flexible insurance for adventurers, perpetual or long-term travelers and digital nomads bouncing from country to country
Top 6 Travel Insurance Plans of 2018 – Reviews
I have pre-selected and reviewed some of the most popular and trusted insurance providers in the U.S. and their top plans. Below, I explain what they include and how they may suit your needs. For a comprehensive buyer’s guide on Travel Insurance, click here.
Each of the insurance provider’s underwriter reviewed here has a rating of ‘A’ or higher from A.M. Best which is a measure of financial strength. Such a rating means that the underwriter is rated to have very strong financial stability, meaning it has the means to process and pay out your claims.
Each of the insurance provider’s underwriter reviewed here has a rating of ‘A’ or higher from A.M. Best which is a measure of financial strength.
Comparing Coverage of Each Insurance Plan
For each insurance provider, I have reviewed their top plan with the best coverage. Of course, you don’t need to choose the very best plan. If you happen to like a particular plan or provider but feel that you don’t need ALL of the coverages, feel free to look at a lower (cheaper) plan from the same company. Below, I pointed out what makes each plan stands out, both The Good and The Bad so you could quickly compare.
Getting Quotes to Help You Compare Value
Simply comparing coverage without knowing the premium or the price, however, is not sufficient as it doesn’t give you a sense of value provided by each insurance plan. Best way to do it is to get a quote.
- A 28-year old traveler from Colorado, USA visiting Thailand
- Travel periods: one month (July 1 to 31), three months (July 1 to September 30), six months (July 1 to December 31)
- Trip cost: $3000
- Paid for trip on June 3
- Visited websites to get insurance premium quotes on June 7, four days after paying for the trip
Now you can fairly compare not only the coverage but also the price. For each plan, you can find the premiums for one-month, three-month and six-month trips. I took it further by comparing the coverage and benefits against the premium and determined a Value Score out of 5.
Get Your Own Quote
The best thing to do, however, is to get your own quotes for your trip with your actual trip dates, your age, your state and the country you are visiting. The quotes will vary based on the information you provide. For example, what you thought was a more expensive plan may turn out to be cheaper than another when quoting a longer period.
The following is a comprehensive table that allows you to compare coverage by coverage as well as the pricing (premium) for each plan by the length of the trip. Don’t fret if it looks too complicated at the moment. Just read on for a quick summary of each plan and why I think you should consider each one.
|Company||AXA Assistance USA Travel Insurance||Allianz Global Assistance||World Nomads Travel Insurance||Generali Global Assistance||AIG Travel Guard||Crum & Forster - Travel Insured International|
|Plan||Platinum||Classic Trip Plus||Explorer||Premium||Travel Guard Platinum||Worldwide Trip Protector Plus|
|Value Score (out of 5)||4.5||4||4||4||3.5||3|
|Premium for 1 month||$93||$147||$190.41||$157.19||$162||$195|
|Premium for 3 months||N/A||$147||$356.4||$565.24||$539||$683|
|Premium for 6 months||N/A||$147||630.35||$1347.39||$1108||N/A|
|Target Audience||Ideal for active travelers seeking excellent medical protection and premium services at an excellent price.||Incredible value for families traveling internationally. Children 17 years or younger covered at no additional cost when travelling with a parent or grandparent.||Perfect for Adventurers, Digital Nomads and Perpetual or Long-Term Travelers Seeking Flexibility.||Ideal for premium travelers with excellent medical protection and premium services.||A solid middle of the road Travel Insurance plan.||Provides flexibility and peace of mind against events that may disrupt your trip.|
|Trip Cancellation||Trip Cost||Trip Cost||Trip Cost up to $10,000||Trip Cost||Trip Cost||Trip Cost|
|Trip Interruption||Trip Cost + 50%||Trip Cost + 50%||Trip Cost up to $10,000||Trip Cost + 75%||Trip Cost + 50%||Trip Cost + 50%|
|Trip Delay||$300/day $1,250 max||$200/day $1,600 max||$250/day $1,500 max||$300/day $1,000 max||$200/day $1,000 max||$200/day $1,000 max|
|Missed Connection||$1,500 (for cruise and tour departures)||Yes||-||$1,000||$500||$4,500|
|Emergency Medical||$250,000||$50,000||$100,000||$250,000||$50,000; additional $50K coverage available||$100,000|
|Emergency Dental||$750 incl. in Medical||$750 included in Medical||$750||Included in Medical||$500 included in Medical||$750 included in Medical|
|Emergency Evacuation||$1,000,000||$1,000,000||$500,000||$1,000,000 ($10,000 limit applies to companion hospitality expenses)||$1,000,000||$1,000,000|
|Computer / Camera||no coverage on computer; camera and camera equipment coverage included as part of baggage coverage||Maximum $500 in total for all jewelry, watches, gems, furs, cameras|
and camera equipment, camcorders, sporting equipment,
computers, radios and other electronic items.
|Per Item Limit of $1,500; no exclusions for camera and camera equipment or computer||Camera included in Baggage Loss. Computer equipment is excluded.||$500 aggregate limit (jewelry, watches, furs, cameras and camera equipment, camcorders, computers, electronic devides) part of overall baggage coverage||$500 aggregate limit included in Baggage Coverage|
|Sporting Equipment Coverage||-||Maximum $500 in total for all jewelry, watches, gems, furs, cameras and camera equipment, camcorders, sporting equipment, computers, radios and other electronic items.||-||$500||-||-|
|Sporting Equipment Delay||-||-||-||$500||-||-|
|Accidental Death and Dismemberment - Travel Accident||$50,000||-||$10,000||$50,000||$50,000||$10,000|
|Accidental Death and Dismemberment - Flight Accident||$100,000||-||-||$100,000||$0, upgradable from $100K to $500K coverage||$0, optional: $100K, $250K, $500K, $1 mm|
|Pre-Existing Condition Waiver||If purchased within 14 days of initial trip payment and certain conditions are met; 60 days lookback period||If insurance purchased within 14 days of initial trip payment and certain conditions are met; 120 days lookback period.||-||If purchased prior to or within 24 hours of final trip payment and certain conditions are met; 180 days lookback period.||If purchased within 15 days of initial trip payment and certain conditions are met; 90 days lookback period||If insurance purchased within 21 days of initial trip payment and certain conditions are met; 60 days lookback period.|
|Rental Car Damage (Collision Damage Waiver||Optional: $50,000||Optional: $40,000||Optional: $35,000||$25,000 (not available to residents of TX)||$35,000||$50,000|
|Cancel For Any Reason||Optional:|
75% of non-refundable trip cost; requires purchase within 14 days of initial trip payment
75% of non-refundable trip cost
|50% of non-refundable trip cost; requires purchase within 14 days of initial trip payment and certain conditions are met|
Cancel for Work Reasons benefit included
|75% of non-refundable trip cost; requires purchase within 21 days of initial trip payment and certain conditions to be met|
|Interrupt for Any Reason||-||-||-||-||75% of non-refundable trip cost|
|24-Hour Emergency Assistance Services||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
Lost Golf Rounds $500,
Lost Skier Days $500,
Sports Equipment Rental $1,000,
Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation $100,000,
Cancel for Work Reasons,
Identity Theft Services,
Frequent Traveler / Loyalty Program Coverage
(covers redeposit fees)
Non- Medical Emergency Evacuation $25,000
EMERGENCY ASSISTANCE SERVICES:
Identity Theft Resolution Services,
Traveling Companion Assistance,
Emergency Cash Transfer,
Locating Lost or Stolen Items,
Replacement of Medication and Eyeglasses,
Embassy and Consular Services,
Worldwide Medical Information,
Emergency Message Relay,
ON DEMAND MEDICAL CARE:
Teladoc US Medical Consultations,
No Out-of-Pocket Medical Expense (up to $1,000)
Epicurean Needs (food delivery),
Flowers and Gift Baskets,
Golf Outings and Tee Times,
Hotel Accommodations (research, recommendations and reservations),
Procurement of Hard-to-Find Items,
Restaurant Reviews, and Reservations,
Rental Car Reservations,
Pet Services Locator
Cancel For Work Reasons,
Identity Theft Services,
Optional: Medical Coverage extra $50,000 coverage
Cancel for Work Reasons Benefit
Identity Theft Services
Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation $100,000,
Itinerary Change $500,
Change Fee $250,
Reimbursement of Miles or Reward Points $250,
Business Concierge Services
REVIEW: AXA Assistance USA Travel Insurance – Platinum
Ideal for active travelers seeking excellent medical protection and premium services at an excellent price
Premiums: $93 | N/A | N/A Value Score: 4.5/5
Of all the plans I have reviewed, this impressive plan has some of the best coverage at the lowest price, offering the best value overall.
The high Emergency Medical limit of $250,000 is an excellent benefit. For those with medical concerns, this plan also offers a favorable short look back period of only 60 days for the Pre-Existing Condition Waiver.
While you don’t necessarily have to be on a cruise or a tour, this insurance plan certainly targets those who are with a Missed Connection coverage of $1,500 (other plans usually offer only $500 or $1,000) to help you re-connect with your cruise ship or tour if you are unexpectedly delayed along the way.
For active travelers, there are even extra coverages including Loss Golf rounds, Lost Skier Days and Sports Equipment Rental $1,000, which are rather unique among the plans I have reviewed.
I wasn’t able to get a quote for three months or longer, unfortunately. For shorter terms, however, AXA offers the best value.
- Emergency Medical coverage: high limit of $250,000
- Pre-Existing Condition Waiver: relatively short look back period of 60 days
- Baggage Loss: high coverage limit of $3,000, including camera and camera equipment
- Other Extra Coverages Included: Lost Golf Rounds $500, Lost Skier Days $500, Sports Equipment Rental $1,000, Identity Theft Services, Concierge Services
- Baggage Loss: no coverage on computer equipment
REVIEW: Allianz Global Assistance – Classic Trip Plus
Incredible value, especially for families
Premium: $147 | $147 | $147 Value Score: 4/5
A solid recommendation for families as children 17 or younger are also covered when traveling with their parents and/or grandparents, as long as they themselves are insured. I also love the high Trip Delay limit of $1,600, if you are unexpectedly delayed by the airlines or by weather events. If you happen to be traveling with airlines with less than stellar on-time records and/or during stormy season, this benefit is rather reassuring.
Shockingly, the premium (price) did not change when I priced out 1-month, 3-month and 6-month trips. For longer trips, Allianz Global Assistance offers incredible value.
On the downside, the Emergency Medical limit is set at $50,000, which is the absolute minimum amount I would accept. I would usually recommend a coverage of at least $100,000. The Pre-Existing Condition Waiver also has a rather long look back period of 120 days. If, however, you have zero medical concerns or have no such concerns within 120 days of your insurance effective date, then this may not be a concern for you at all.
- Accommodates children 17 years or younger at no additional cost when traveling with a parent or grandparent
- Trip Delay limit: $1600 max
- Frequent Traveler/Loyalty Program redeposit fees included
- The lowest premium among all providers for long trips
- Emergency Medical coverage: lower limit of $50,000
- Baggage Loss: aggregate limit of only $500 for all jewelry, watches, gems, furs, camera, camcorders, sporting equipment, computers and other electronic items
- Pre-Existing Condition Waiver: relatively long look back period of 120 days
- No Cancel for Any Reason benefit
REVIEW: World Nomads Travel Insurance – Explorer
Perfect for Adventurers, Digital Nomads and Perpetual or Long-Term Travelers Seeking Flexibility
Premium: $190.41 | $356.50 | $630.35 Value Score: 4/5
By far our favorite travel insurance provider for long-term travelers and digital nomads. World Nomads has designed this insurance policy for those with looser travel plans and those who like to bounce from country to country in a region or around the world. That being said, World Nomads also works well for those traveling for more defined, shorter time periods; you get the best value when you travel for longer periods. Having the flexibility to purchase the insurance after you have left home and renew it as your travel plans evolve are some of the BEST reasons to consider World Nomads.
Furthermore, World Nomads stands apart from most other insurance providers by not excluding your participation in over 300+ sports and activities, which is unheard of. This means that if you have the adventurous spirit, you can partake in numerous activities and still maintain your medical coverage. Do read the fine print though to ensure that your chosen activities are not excluded.
World Nomads stands apart from most other insurance providers by not excluding your participation in over 300+ sports and activities, which is unheard of.
The other unique feature is the high Baggage Loss limit, which is set at $3,000. The per item limit for Baggage Loss is also set a very generous $1,500, which covers expensive camera and computer limit! For travelers carrying expensive MacBooks, iPads and DSLR cameras, this is a no-brainer!
- May be purchased even after the trip has begun
- May be renewed during the trip
- Covers over 300+ sports and activities, many of which are excluded by other insurance providers
- High Baggage Loss limit: $1,500 per item, which covers camera and computer equipment
- Emergency Evacuation limit: lower limit of $500,000
- Accidental Death and Dismemberment coverage: $10,000
REVIEW: Generali Global Assistance – Premium
Ideal for premium travelers with excellent medical protection and premium services
Premium: $157.19 | $565.24 | $1347.39 Value Score: 4/5
Generali’s popular Premium plan is structured for total protection, especially for higher priced trips and vacations. Of all the plans reviewed, it’s the only one that comes with additional coverage for Sport Equipment Loss AND Delay, with a coverage limit of $500 for each and those are in addition to Baggage Loss and Baggage Delay.
I also love that the Trip Interruption benefit limit is Trip Cost + 75%, when most other insurance providers only offer Trip Cost + 50%. Another important point is that the Emergency Medical coverage is at a very favorable $250,000 limit.
While not a must for most travelers, Generali offers an extensive number of Medical Assistance and Personal Concierge Services that are well worth the price of the premium.
Generali is a very solid value choice based on overall coverage for the price.
- Protection for the expensive trip or the luxury vacation
- Protection for travelers traveling with sport equipment
- Trip Interruption benefit limit: Trip Cost + 75%, when most other insurance providers offer Trip Cost + 50%
- Emergency Medical: high limit of $250,000
- Sporting Equipment: $500
- Baggage Loss covers expensive camera equipment
- Optional: Cancel For Any Reason benefit: 75% of Trip Cost
- Baggage Loss does not cover computer equipment
- Pre-Existing Condition Waiver: long look back period of 180 days
REVIEW: AIG Travel Guard – Travel Guard Platinum
A solid middle of the road Travel Insurance plan
Premium: $162 | $539 | $1,108 Value Score: 3.5/5
Overall, AIG Travel Guard – Travel Guard Platinum is a solid middle of the road travel insurance plan offering good value.
Let’s start with the pluses. For those with medical concerns, a 90 day look back period for the Pre-Existing Condition Waiver is on the shorter end, relative to other insurance plans. This plan also includes a Rental Car Damage benefit of $35,000 but for me, this does not make a great plan as you may or may not be renting a car during your trip and such a coverage may already be covered by your credit card. This plan also includes other extra perks such as Identity Theft Services, Roadside Assistance and Concierge Services, all of which can make a great plan even better.
In terms of drawbacks, this plan offers a low coverage limit of $50,000 for Emergency Medical (with the option to add another $50,000 coverage) and covers only 50% of Trip Cost (other providers offer 75%) under the Cancel for Any Reason Benefit, among others.
- Pre-Existing Condition Waiver: relatively short look back period of 90 days
- Rental Car Damage (Collision Damage Waiver): $35,000 included
- Other Extra Coverages included: Identity Theft Services, Roadside Assistance, Business Assistant, Concierge Services
- Emergency Medical: low limit of $50,000 (additional $50,000 coverage available)
- Cancel for Any Reason benefit: 50% of Trip Cost (others offer 75%)
- Trip Delay: low limit of $1,000 max
- Baggage Loss: low aggregate limit of $500 for camera and computer equipment, jewelry, watches, furs, camcorders and electronic devices
REVIEW: Crum & Forster Travel Insured International – Worldwide Trip Protector Plus
Provides flexibility and peace of mind against events that may disrupt your trip
Premium: $195 | $683 | N/A Value Score: 3/5
Value wise, Crum & Forster’s Worldwide Trip Protector Plus is beaten by its competitors, once you start overall coverage against
Where it shines is the short look back period of only 60 days for Pre-Existing Condition Waiver, ideal for those with recent health concerns. It also stands out by offering a Cancel for Any Reason benefit IN ADDITION to the Interrupt for Any Reason benefit (both covering 75% of non-refundable trip cost), which covers reasons that are not normally covered under the rest of the policy, provided you meet the eligibility requirements, of course. This Interrupt for Any Reason benefit, is both helpful and rather unique, among all the plans that I have reviewed. If you want a higher level of protection and peace of mind, this benefit is worth its weight. Its Missed Connection coverage also stands out at $4,500, when other offer $500 to $1,500 only.
- Pre-Existing Condition Waiver: short look back period of 60 days
- Rental Car Damage (Collision Damage Waiver) included: $50,000
- Other Extra Coverages Included: Identity Theft Services, Non-Medical Emergency Evacuation, Itinerary Change, Reimbursement of Miles or Reward Points, Personal and Business Concierge Services
- Missed Connection: very high limit of $4,500
- Baggage Loss: low limit of $1,000
- Baggage loss: low aggregate limit of $500 covers camera and computer equipment
- Accidental Death and Dismemberment: low coverage of $10,000
Travel Insurance – Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose the Right Coverage
Travel Insurance today is made up of different components, each designed to protect you while you are in far from home. When you think about it, on an itinerary with multiple connections and activities, A LOT has to go right to make sure you get to each destination on time with no missed connections and lost bags, while staying safe and healthy throughout your adventures.
With Travel Insurance, you are not leaving things to chance. With careful consideration, the right Travel Insurance provides peace of mind, knowing that there is a 24-hour support service in your language, direction to the closest hospital, or reimbursement for hotel stays when there is a delay, all without exorbitant bills at the end of your trip.
Let’s dive into the different MAJOR coverages that make up Travel Insurance, why you might need them and what to look for. Click on any coverage to jump right to it.
Accidental Death and Dismemberment
Pre-Existing Condition Waiver
Cancel for Any Reason
24-Hour Emergency Assistance Services
Understanding the Different Components of Travel Insurance
Trip Cancellation is a typical, standard benefit that comes with most travel insurance plans. It ensures that you are reimbursed for expenses that have already been pre-paid, unused and are non-refundable, if you need to cancel your trip before it even begins. Typical covered reasons include sickness or injury suffered by yourself or your traveling companion, hospitalization or death of a family member, natural disasters and accidents. The coverage limit is usually up to 100% of your trip cost.
If, after reviewing the list of the covered reasons for Trip Cancellation, you feel that you need even more flexibility, some insurance providers even provide a Cancel For Any Reason benefit. This is usually an optional coverage.
Watch out! Just as insurance providers provide a list of covered reasons, they also provide a list of exclusions, which are situations that WILL NOT be covered. For example, canceling a trip due to an unexpected, super important client meeting or work-related emergency or canceling due to an illness related to a pre-existing medical condition are typical exclusions. Some insurance providers, in their attempt to stand out from the rest, have plans that specifically offer protection for such situations when most don’t. That’s why the Cancel For Any Reason coverage comes in very handy.
Similar to Trip Cancellation, here you are protecting yourself against unforeseen events that may interrupt your trip after it has begun. If you need to cut your trip short for any of the covered reasons, you can expect to be reimbursed for expenses that are pre-paid, unused and are non-refundable.
Typical covered reasons are similar to those for Trip Cancellation, which include sickness or injury suffered by yourself or your traveling companion, hospitalization or death of a family member, natural disasters and accidents. The coverage limit is usually up to the 150% to 175% of your trip cost, to help pay for the unused, non-refundable travel arrangements plus additional costs for alternate arrangements to help you get to your destination or to help your rejoin your trip.
Also known as Travel Delay, this protection covers for unexpected costs related to new hotel bookings, meals, telephone calls and local transportation (read: cab rides) due to a delay imposed by a Common Carrier (in another words, the airline, ferry, train or bus company), a traffic accident (in which you are not involved), loss or theft of passports or money, a weather event or events such as a quarantine, hijacking, strike, terrorism or natural disaster.
For most of us, this protection is most helpful in case of weather delays or operational delays by the airlines. The coverage is usually a couple of hundred dollars (sometimes more, depending on the insurance provider) per day up to a maximum limit.
If you have tight international connections and/or are connecting to a booked tour or cruise after a flight, this very helpful coverage takes Trip Delay one step further. It offers you protection due to any delay of a Common Carrier, weather events or events such as a quarantine, hijacking, strike, terrorism or natural disaster.
Not only are you typically covered for the same incidental costs such as hotels, meals, and telephone calls, you are also covered for the additional transportation costs to rejoin your trip. For a trip that involves a cruise, that may mean a flight to the next port-of-call. The coverage limit usually ranges anywhere from $500 to $1,500.
This is an important one. Emergency Medical protection covers your expensive medical bills should you need to visit the local hospital due to an unexpected sickness or injury. It does not take the place of your regular healthcare that you have at home in the United States, which means it doesn’t cover regular check-ups.
The coverage here can vary wildly from one insurance provider to another, from $50,000 up to as high as $250,000. We have all heard horror stories due to unexpected medical bills in foreign countries. I would usually recommend coverage with at least $100,000, if not higher.
Watch Out! Are you partaking in sports activities that may be viewed as “high-risk” by insurance providers, even if you don’t think so? Think bungee jumping, mountain climbing, skydiving, skiing, snowboarding, and surfing, just to name a few. This is where you would benefit from reading the fine print and find out which activities may exclude you from protection. World Nomads, in particular, covers up to 300+ activities, normally excluded by most insurance providers.
Emergency Dental is typical protection that is included as part of Emergency Medical with coverage limit ranging from $500 to $750, which is to say NOT HIGH. Similarly to Emergency Medical, Emergency Dental covers for dental procedures for emergency situations and not regular examinations, cleaning or procedures that you may otherwise seek at any time.
Nobody ever wants to think about this or think that this could happen to them but we have all read stories about someone needing an emergency evacuation on a trip gone very, very wrong. Imagine yourself having the time of your life on your Machu Picchu hike, when you accidentally step on a slippery spot and fall off a steep slope. You survive your fall but next thing you know, you are that guy or gal who requires an airlift to the local hospital. Emergency Evacuation also covers medical evacuation all the way back home for very serious situations, so you can be treated at home and be supported by your loved ones.
As you can imagine, Emergency Evacuation can be super expensive. Don’t be that guy or gal who has no coverage and is now stuck in a foreign country. Coverage limit for Emergency Evacuation can be as high as $1,000,000.
Baggage Loss protection covers the loss or theft of your baggage and personal effects. Unfortunately, after reviewing many insurance plans, the level of protection never seems quite enough, no matter which one you end up choosing.
Here’s what you need to know though. Baggage Loss offered through. Travel Insurance is considered secondary coverage, which means that the insurance provider will pay the difference between what you are reimbursed by the Common Carrier (i.e. the airline, if they lose your bags) or by your home insurance provider. Therefore, when shopping for Travel Insurance, it is important to consider your total coverage offered by the Common Carrier transporting you and your belongings (it is usually not very much), your home insurance provider and the travel insurance provider.
You should also be aware that Baggage Loss often comes with a total limit, as well as a per item limit and sometimes an aggregate limit. For example, Safe Travels Insurance (made up company) offers a $2000 Baggage Loss coverage, but has a limit of $300 per item and an aggregate limit of $500 for camera, sporting equipment, jewelry and furs combined. If you lose a bag that happens to contain an expensive camera, a fur coat and some gold jewelry, at best, you could only claim $500 total for the camera, fur coat and the jewelry plus the cost of the bag, even though each of those items likely has cost you well over $300 each.
For many of us who often carry expensive laptops and tablets like our MacBooks and iPads and expensive DSLR cameras to capture the memories, it is important to consider the total coverage offered between our home insurance provider AND the travel insurance provider. That’s why in my recommendations, I have specifically looked at coverage when it comes to computer and camera equipment. Plans that come with an aggregate limit (usually $500) that includes camera and computer equipment are simply inadequate but unfortunately very common.
If you check your baggage, especially for long journeys with multiple connections, chances are good that on occasion, you and your bags don’t arrive at the same time, sometimes days apart! This can be problematic, especially if you have to stay fresh, clean and presentable for an important meeting the day after you arrive or you have traveled to a much cooler or warmer climate and don’t have the right clothes with you.
With Baggage Delay, most insurance providers will provide up to $500 or so to cover incidentals in order to help to get through a day or two without your baggage and your personal belongings. It doesn’t eliminate the hassle of not having your bag with you when you need it but it sure takes away the sting of having to pay a few hundred dollars to get new underwear, clothes and toiletries!
Accidental Death and Dismemberment – 24 Hours, Common Carrier and Flight Only
Like Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation, nobody ever thinks about or wants to think about needing Accidental Death and Dismemberment (commonly referred to as AD&D). Similar to life insurance, AD&D pays out when you, unfortunately, meet your demise or suffer a dismembering injury (like I said, nobody ever wants to think about this) during your travels. The coverage is usually in addition to benefits that are paid out by an existing life insurance policy that you may already have.
Therefore, it is important to consider your needs along with the needs of your family, should the unlikely but unfortunate event happen. It is important to ensure that if you plan on partaking in risky activities (however low) that you have a read the list of exclusions, to ensure that your AD&D coverage remains valid.
FYI, you can expect to encounter three types of coverage when looking at AD&D: 24-Hour, Common Carrier and Flight Only. 24-Hour coverage means you are covered during your entire trip, whereas Common Carrier coverage means you would be covered while traveling on a plane, ship, ferry, bus or train. Flight Only coverage would naturally cover for travels on a plane or while boarding one. Naturally, 24-Hour AD&D would provide you the broadest coverage.
Pre-Existing Condition Waiver
Pre-Existing Condition is a complex and confusing subject that has surprised (read: gotcha!) many travelers when making a claim. In fact, not understanding how pre-existing conditions work when it comes to travel insurance can create a headache, frustration and a giant dent in your wallet and ultimately, a denied claim. Let’s try to avoid that, shall we?
Generally, a pre-existing condition can be broadly defined as any documented treatment, diagnostic test or exam, medical recommendation for tests or exams or a change in prescribed medication within a defined look back period (typically 60-180 days prior to your travel insurance effective date). Most insurance providers will consider you having a pre-existing condition if the illness or concern has not been stable within the look back period. If the condition has worsened, new diagnoses, tests, scans treatments ordered and/or new medications prescribed, then you would be considered to have a pre-existing condition.
And unless you have a Pre-Existing Condition Waiver, if you were determined to have a Pre-Existing Condition, your claim and benefits would be DENIED.
The Solution If you are aware of your Pre-Existing Condition or think that you do, do look for a plan that comes with a Pre-Existing Condition Waiver. With it, should your pre-existing condition disrupt your trip, you would stay eligible for the benefits offered by your travel insurance plan.
Watch Out! A Pre-Existing Condition Waiver is not offered by every company. Furthermore, those that offer it often have certain requirements, including requiring you to buy the policy within a certain number of days of making your first trip payment. Also, Pre-Existing Waivers can also affect your traveling companions and loved ones who are not traveling with you, in cases where you need to interrupt your trip due to their medical conditions rather than your own. For this component of the travel insurance policy, it is well worth your time to read the fine print, and discuss your specific needs with the insurance provider, to avoid nasty surprises.
Cancel for Any Reason
You might think that the chances of you having to cancel your trip beyond any of the covered reasons may be very slim to none. But life has a funny way of presenting unexpected challenges. For this reason, some insurance providers provide a very popular Cancel for Any Reason benefit, which allows you to cancel your plans for reasons that are not usually covered.
24-Hour Emergency Assistance Services
While many insurance providers offer a phone support for 24-Hour Emergency Assistance Services, it is worth your while to double check that your insurance provider does provide this service. When you are halfway around the world where language is a barrier, it is a godsend to have a phone support service that can immediately verify your coverage, direct you to an approved medical facility, help with translation and answer all of your questions immediately, especially in a time sensitive situation or medical emergency.
Some insurance providers even offer premium-level services that include Emergency Cash Transfer, Identity Theft Resolution Services, Legal Referral, Pet Return, Vehicle Return and even Concierge Services that include Event Ticketing, Personalized Shopping, Hotel Accommodations and Airlines Reservations. While all of these services may seem indulgent, in a pinch, I have used Concierge Services to help with last-minute changes with airline reservations, especially when things didn’t go according to plan and I was stuck in a busy airport during a storm with a dying cellphone.
One Final Tip
Don’t Wait to Buy Travel Insurance
It’s worth repeating. Don’t wait to buy travel insurance. There’s no need to hum and haw about whether you need it. Benefits like Cancel for Any Reason and Pre-Existing Condition Waiver are only valid if you buy the insurance policy within a certain number of days of making your first trip payment, usually anywhere from 10 to 20 days.
Sure you could wait until the very last minute to purchase travel insurance but in the days and weeks between when you purchase your trip and when you depart, many things could happen, such as a sickness, a work obligation, or a weather event (think hurricanes, typhoons and snow storm of the century). Buying travel insurance AFTER the start of these events would mean you are NOT COVERED. Best time to buy your travel insurance is immediately after you have paid for your trip (or the first payment toward the trip).
All that being said, make sure you are properly insured for your trip for that peace of mind, and enjoy your trip! 🙂