Whether you travel frequently or only take a few big trips per year, a travel insurance plan can help you avoid financial losses when tragedy strikes, or when some aspect of your trip doesn’t go the way you hoped. The best travel insurance plans include coverage for unexpected medical bills, damaged or stolen luggage, expenses accrued when a trip is canceled or interrupted for reasons beyond your control, and more. However, you can often tailor your plan to ensure you have various types of coverage that make sense with the way you travel.
If you’re in the market for a travel insurance policy this year, you’re probably wondering which companies offer the broadest coverage available that you can actually count on. We compared many of the top travel insurance providers to find options that might work best for any type of traveler — and any type of trip. As you decide which company to trust with your upcoming vacation plans, start your search here.
The 8 Best Travel Insurance Companies of 2020
- World Nomads: Best Overall
- Allianz Travel Insurance: Best for Frequent Travelers
- Amex Assurance: Best for Flexibility
- Seven Corners: Best for Customization
- Travelex: Best for Family Travel
- Berkshire Hathaway WaveCare: Best for Cruises
- IMG: Best for Overseas Medical
- Travel Guard: Best Satisfaction Guarantee
Best Overall: World Nomads
We chose World Nomads as our top travel insurance provider based on a few factors, including the fact you can purchase this coverage and file claims from anywhere in the world. World Nomads also provides trip insurance plans that include an array of activities ranging from mountain biking to skiing, bungee jumping, surfing, and scuba diving, which is important if you’re someone who plans adventure vacations around the world.
While the types of coverage you can purchase in your plan may depend on where you live, Americans can purchase coverage for individual trips that can protect against acts of terrorism, medical repatriation, overseas medical care, trip cancellation, gear and baggage damage or loss, and more.
Coverage amounts can also be high depending on the type of plan you purchase. For example, you can procure a plan with emergency medical insurance worth up to $100,000, as well as emergency evacuation coverage as high as $500,000.
Also note that World Nomads is underwritten by Nationwide Insurance, which boasts an A+ rating with A.M. Best and Standard & Poor’s, as well as an A1 rating with Moody’s for their financial strength.
Best for Frequent Travelers: Allianz Travel Insurance
Allianz Travel Insurance lets consumers purchase individual plans based on unique trips, but you can also purchase an annual travel insurance plan if you’re someone who travels a lot. The fact you can purchase an annual plan makes it easy to research travel insurance once per year and enjoy coverage all year long — an important benefit when you’re constantly away from home for business or pleasure.
In addition to offering annual plans, Allianz Travel Insurance offers many different travel insurance options that can be tailored to your needs with higher coverage limits when you need them. However, their most popular plan, called OneTrip Prime, may be ideal for most travelers since it comes with trip cancellation coverage good for $100,000, trip interruption coverage worth $150,000, emergency medical coverage up to $25,000, and emergency medical transportation coverage up to $500,000.
You’ll also get benefits such as baggage delay and loss coverage, travel delay coverage, and more. It’s also possible for pre-existing conditions to be covered provided you were medically able to travel on your trip, you’re a U.S. resident, you insured the full non-refundable cost of your trip, and you purchased your travel insurance plan within 14 days of making your first payment on your vacation.
Best for Flexibility: Amex Assurance
Amex Assurance is travel insurance offered through American Express, although you do not have to be a credit card customer to purchase this coverage. You can also buy coverage for each individual trip you take, which makes it easy to tailor your policies to your very specific travel needs. This coverage is also especially flexible since you can modify or cancel your plan anytime before your trip, and you can even request a full refund within 14 days after you receive your plan documents.
While Amex Assurance policies are offered in standard packages, you can also “build your own” coverage. Either way, types of coverage you can pay for include trip cancellation and interruption coverage, global medical protection, travel accident insurance, global baggage protection, trip delay coverage, and 24-hour travel assistance. Coverage limits vary depending on the plan you choose, but the top tier “Platinum” coverage comes with medical coverage up to $100,000, dental coverage up to $750, and evacuation and repatriation coverage worth up to $1 million dollars.
Best for Customization: Seven Corners
We like Seven Corners travel insurance because they let you customize your travel insurance coverage so it fits your needs perfectly. They also offer high levels of coverage in some areas where travelers may feel vulnerable. For example, you can purchase a Seven Corners plan with up to $5 million dollars in coverage for international medical expenses. If you live outside the United States, you can also buy health insurance to cover potential medical expenses while you’re in the U.S., then renew this coverage for up to three years.
Seven Corners offers individual travel insurance plans, but they also offer a Wander Frequent Traveler plan that covers all trips you take during the year. This coverage comes with up to $1 million in medical coverage for those under the age of 65, as well as political evacuation and repatriation coverage, trip interruption coverage, baggage delay coverage, terrorism coverage, and more. A deductible and policy limits apply.
Best for Family Travel: Travelex
If you’re planning a trip that includes minor children, you should consider Travelex since this company’s plans protect children ages 17 and younger at no additional cost. Travelex also offers four main travel insurance plans — Travel Basic, Travel Select, Flight Insure, and Flight Insure Plus. Their Travel Select Plan is the most robust since it includes trip cancellation coverage, trip interruption coverage, trip delay coverage, missed connection coverage, baggage insurance, and even special insurance for sporting equipment delays. Further, this plan comes with $50,000 in emergency medical and dental coverage and $500,000 in emergency evacuation and repatriation coverage.
While Travelex offers set travel insurance plans you can choose from, they also let you customize your plan with special upgrades that can make sense for your trip. Options include “cancel for any reason” coverage, adventure sports coverage, car rental collision coverage, additional medical coverage, and more.
Best for Cruises: Berkshire Hathaway WaveCare
Berkshire Hathaway “WaveCare” travel insurance was created specifically for cruises. As a result, this coverage includes the most common types of insurance cruise passengers need.
With WaveCare, you’ll get comprehensive trip cancellation and interruption insurance, up to $75,000 in emergency travel medical insurance, $750,000 in medical evacuation coverage, missed connection coverage, baggage delay coverage and more. Cruise-specific insurance you’ll receive includes cruise disablement coverage, which pays out a fixed payment if you are stuck on your cruise ship without water, power, food, or restroom access for a specified length of time. Some policies also come with financial insolvency insurance that assures you’ll get a refund if your cruise line stops operating due to financial insolvency.
For utmost convenience, Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection also offers a helpful mobile app that lets you manage your policy, access personalized travel assistance, and file claims using a mobile device.
Best for Overseas Medical: IMG
While IMG offers a variety of travel insurance plans, they offer popular medical insurance plans that work well for families who plan to travel abroad, immigrants, and business travelers. With their Patriot Travel Medical Insurance plan, for example, you can purchase medical insurance for individuals, groups, or families. This coverage is renewable for up to 24 months, which makes it ideal for extended trips overseas. Maximum coverage limits range from $50,000 to $2 million dollars, and deductibles from $0 to $2,500 can apply. This coverage is good for medical expenses, evacuation, and repatriation.
Also note that you can add an Adventure Sports rider to your plan, which can be good for action sports like jet skiing, jungle zip-lining, rock climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, parachuting, paragliding, and parascending. This rider comes with a separate annual coverage limit, however, which tops out at $50,000 if you’re ages 49 and younger.
Best Satisfaction Guarantee: Travel Guard
Finally, make sure you consider Travel Guard as you compare the top travel insurance companies, and particularly if you want some sort of guarantee. This company promises to refund the cost of your policy if you’re not satisfied with the coverage you received, minus the service fee.
Travel Guard also makes it easy to tailor your coverage with three plans you can buy for individual trips as well as an annual travel insurance plan. Their most robust plan, called “Deluxe,” includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage, trip delay coverage, baggage delay coverage, missed connection coverage, and more. You’ll also get high-dollar coverage amounts in certain categories, including travel medical expense coverage up to $100,000, emergency evacuation and repatriation of remains coverage up to $1 million, and security evacuation coverage up to $100,000, among other benefits.
Also note that this coverage can include pre-existing conditions provided you purchase your travel insurance plan within 15 days of your first payment on your trip, you purchase coverage good for all prepaid, nonrefundable trip expenses, and you were medically able to travel when you purchased your vacation package.
What is Travel Insurance?
Travel insurance is an insurance product that works similarly to other types of insurance. Where homeowners insurance protects you against financial losses if your property is damaged due to fire, theft, vandalism and other covered reasons, travel insurance provides protection against financial losses if your vacation or travel plans are harmed, or if you face certain travel-related financial losses.
For example, baggage delay insurance can reimburse you for out-of-pocket expenses when your baggage is delayed by a common carrier such as an airline. Meanwhile, trip cancellation and interruption coverage can reimburse you for prepaid-nonrefundable components of your trip (such as the cost of your hotel and airfare) when a trip is cancelled or interruption for covered reasons beyond your control such as inclement weather or terrorist activity.
What Can Travel Insurance Do?
Like other types of insurance, travel insurance will reimburse you for out-of-pocket costs you’ve spent on a trip you don’t get to go on, or a trip that is ruined for reasons beyond your control. Travel medical coverage can kick in to pay your medical bills when you are injured or sick during your trip and unable to use your personal medical coverage. You can also get reimbursed when certain items are lost or damaged during a trip, such as your luggage or personal belongings.
Is Paying for Travel Insurance Worth It?
Paying for travel insurance is just like paying for any other type of insurance. Your premiums can seem like a waste if you never file a claim. However, this coverage can prove crucial and potentially even save your finances if you face an expensive situation away from home that is covered by travel insurance.
For example, Allianz Travel Insurance estimates that medical evacuation can cost $15,000 to $20,000 in Mexico, $100,000 in South America, or $50,000 to $100,000 in Germany, France, and other developed countries in Europe. Without travel insurance that included emergency evacuation coverage, you would have to find a way to pay this bill out-of-pocket if you were faced with a situation where you had to be evacuated due to a medical emergency.
How Travel Insurance Companies Price Their Products
You may have noticed that we didn’t include specific pricing on travel insurance plans for the companies we profiled above. The reality is that, across all carriers that offer these plans, pricing can and does vary depending on factors including where you’re traveling, the age of travelers in your party, how long you’ll be gone, and how much you paid for airfare, hotels, and other components of your trip.
To find the best pricing on travel insurance, you’ll need to apply for a quote based on the specifics of your trip, or your personal travel profile if you’re pursuing an annual travel insurance plan. Fortunately, the top travel insurance companies we include in this list all offer free quotes through their online platforms.
How We Chose the Best Travel Insurance Providers
There are dozens of travel insurance companies offering policies online today, which is why comparing companies and their offerings is crucial. We chose travel insurance providers on this list based on their major strengths, and we gave preference to companies that make it easy to compare policies and get a free quote for an individual trip or an annual policy online.
We also went with travel insurance companies that had profiles that average at least three stars or higher in reviews on Trustpilot. Finally, we looked for companies that offer broad coverage with high limits, as well as policies that can be tailored to meet individual travel needs, either with a “build your own policy” option or with custom add-ons.
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