2023's Best Travel Insurance Services
As the travel sector reopens, more and more Americans are preparing to take their dream trips and see the world. According to the 2021 American Express Travel: Global Travel Trends Report, 56 percent of the public is ready to book a trip immediately, even if they have to cancel it in the future, while 65 percent are saving their credit card points to book a trip.
While you may be ready to see the world, are you prepared to deal with anything that could go wrong when you are abroad? A study by AXA Global Healthcare shows an overnight hospital stay for the uninsured can cost between $661 and $2,800, depending on where you go. If you have a more serious accident and need treatment for a broken ankle, you could be facing a bill anywhere from $2,000 to over $8,300. In the worst-possible case an air ambulance could cost over $270,000 -- in some parts of the United States, the cost of a home.
Before you leave on that dream vacation, getting travel insurance can prevent your next adventure from becoming a nightmare. At InsuranceRanked.com, we did the research on all the travel insurance options to help you find the right level of coverage for your needs. Here’s our picks for the best travel insurance providers available today.
Best Overall Travel Insurance Marketplace: Squaremouth
When it comes to comparison shopping for travel insurance, Squaremouth may be the most comprehensive website for making an apples-to-apples decision between two plans. Offering dozens of policies from over 30 reputable companies, Squaremouth arguably the most comprehensive marketplace out there today.
Quick facts about policies offered by Squaremouth:
Squaremouth offers policies from over 30 insurance companies, giving you plenty of options to find the right travel insurance plan for your needs.
- Additional coverages available, including Cancel for Any Reason, pre-existing condition waiver with early purchase, and hazardous activity coverage.
Best Whole Trip Travel Insurance: Faye
Faye is the streamlined way for getting whole-trip travel insurance online. It's ideal for US residents planning local or international vacations on a fixed budget, and allows travelers to easily receive necessary services through the company's mobile app.
What customers get with Faye:
- A customizable base plan that fits their travel needs with comprehensive health-, trip-, and property-related coverage, along with add-on coverage for rental car care, adventure and extreme sports protection, vacation damage protection, pet care, and “cancel for any reason” coverage
Faye's app provides real-time flight alerts for customers, including delays, cancellations and gate changes
- Insurance quotes, coverage, and claims that can be obtained and processed digitally
- Around the clock, proactive customer support through phone, email, WhatsApp, and chat through the mobile app
Best Customizable Overall Travel Insurance: Seven Corners
When it comes to travel insurance policies, every traveler has unique needs. Understanding how every traveler needs different policies, Seven Corners travel insurance offers a solid combination of benefits and add-on benefits, helping everyone get the best potential plan for their needs.
Quick facts about policies offered by Seven Corners:
- Seven Corners offers travel insurance policies ranging across seven categories, ranging from single-trip insurance, to annual plans, to emergency medical only coverage.
- Add-on coverage includes Cancel for Any Reason, Trip Interruption for Any Reason, event ticket registration fee protection and sports & golf equipment rental.
Why is Buying the Right Travel Insurance Important?
As travelers book airfare and make hotel reservations to see the world with destinations reopening, 2020 gave everyone a stark reminder that the unknown can ruin our best laid plans. Not only was the threat of a pandemic looming overhead, but cancelled flights and closed hotels as well. Many were left with credits they may not have been able to use, or in some situations, lost their money entirely.
Buying the right travel insurance plan can help you in two different ways. First, many insurance plans may protect your investment in case something goes wrong that’s out of your control. For example: if you were to get in an accident on the way to the airport and miss your flight, trip cancellation could help you recover some of your non-refundable costs. Or if your trip is delayed for a significant amount of time, trip delay benefits can help you pay for unexpected meals, or even an emergency hotel room.
Travel insurance doesn’t just cover the problems that can happen on your trip -- you may also be protected at your destination in the event of a medical emergency. Travel insurance policies usually come with emergency medical and dental benefits, which can help you if you need an ambulance, a trip to the emergency room, or a hotel stay. If you are involved in a serious accident and need to be airlifted home, the right plan can not only arrange transportation, but also provide direct payment to the provider.
When to Buy Travel Insurance
With many policies, travelers can purchase trip insurance at any time before their departure. Some brands even offer flyers the opportunity to purchase a plan in the hours immediately before boarding an aircraft. However, to get the best benefits, it’s important to purchase travel insurance as soon as you make your first payment towards your vacation.
When you purchase your travel insurance plan early, you could unlock additional benefits only available to those who lock in their policy alongside their trip planning. If you are able to purchase your insurance plan between 14 and 21 days of your first deposit, some plans will offer a pre-existing condition waiver, or the opportunity to add on additional insurance benefits.
What if you don’t know how much your overall trip will cost? Many insurance companies will allow you to increase your coverage as you plan your trip, giving you the opportunity to lock in your early purchases benefits, and expanding the coverage as it grows.
Many policies offer different early purchase benefits, so be sure to check with our travel insurance guides to understand which benefits may be available to you when you buy your plan up front.
Benefits of Travel Insurance
As the name would suggest, travel insurance is a temporary insurance policy that offers coverage for certain situations which may be unique to your vacation. Most travel insurance policies include benefits to protect against emergency medical needs, trip cancellation, trip delay and baggage loss.
What Does Emergency Accident & Sickness Medical Cover?
When you travel to another country, your health insurance stays at home. Even if you have Medicare coverage, your benefits only extend to providers within the United States. Emergency accident and sickness medical benefits offer coverage if you need to see a doctor while away from home. For example: If you’re riding in a taxi and end up in a traffic accident, emergency accident benefits could cover transportation in an ambulance, doctor’s bills and hospital care.
Not everything is covered under emergency accident and sickness benefits. If you have complications from a pre-existing condition -- like a heart condition or a broken bone -- your insurance may not cover medical treatment for it unless you have a pre-existing condition waiver.
What Does Baggage Delay and Baggage Loss Cover?
Baggage delay and baggage loss are designed to help travelers recover losses when an airline, train line, or cruise line loses checked luggage. Benefits are broken down into a per-day benefit, and a total benefit if the luggage is damaged or otherwise destroyed.
If a common carrier (airline, cruise line, etc.) loses your luggage when you arrive at your destination, your baggage delay benefits can help you pay for any incidental purchases you will need, such as replacement clothes or a phone charger. Depending on the policy, you will be limited to what may be reimbursable. For instance, many plans only allow you to buy one phone charger per covered person, or limit your purchase to clothes and toiletries.
If your bag is permanently lost, then travel insurance can help you recover the cost of your lost bag and clothing beyond what the airline provides. In order to file a claim, you may be asked to provide proof of what was in your bag, as well as what you paid for the articles.
Trip Cancellation vs. Cancel for Any Reason
While “Trip cancellation” and “cancel for any reason” may sound like the same exact policy, they cover completely different aspects of your vacation. Trip cancellation insurance provides benefits if you are forced to cancel your trip from an outside influence. For example: if an immediate family member becomes seriously ill and you need to cancel to take care of them, your insurance plan could help you recover non-refundable costs, like airfare or tour costs.
However, it does not allow you to cancel your trip because you no longer want to travel, or are afraid of something bad happening. Instead, cancel for any reason benefits allow you to change your mind about your trip prior to departure, and still get some sort of recovery. It won’t be a full payout of your costs -- generally speaking, cancel for any reason usually helps travelers recover between 60% and 75% of your purchase.
What Does Emergency Evacuation Cover?
Nobody wants to think of what would happen if they were to get seriously injured in a foreign country. Unfortunately, accidents can take place anywhere in the world, at any time, and usually without any warning. A medical evacuation ambulance can cost tens of thousands of dollars to get home, which many Americans simply don’t have the money available to pay.
In this situation, travel insurance can help you in your most difficult hours. If a doctor orders an emergency evacuation home by air ambulance, not only can a good travel insurance plan help you cover the costs, but it may be able to directly pay for your evacuation. Depending on the insurance plan, you may be required to contact your travel insurance provider directly to start the process, instead of booking an air ambulance and requesting reimbursement afterwards.
Frequently Asked Questions
Will travel insurance cover COVID-19?
While many travel insurance plans will offer emergency medical coverage for COVID-19 infections away from home, the pandemic itself may be considered a “known event” and may not qualify for trip cancellation or trip interruption benefits. Before purchasing any plan, be sure to check the travel insurance company’s COVID-19 statement to understand the limitations of their coverage.
How quickly can I get travel insurance coverage?
Many insurance policies provide your documents nearly immediately, delivered electronically by e-mail or to a smartphone app provided by the company. However, your insurance coverage won’t actually start until the first active date, which is usually the date of your departure. You may be able to purchase travel insurance once you are on your vacation, but it will only cover anything that might happen after your purchase -- you can’t file a claim for anything that happens before your insurance is effective.
When should I purchase travel insurance?
To get the most benefits, it’s beneficial to purchase your travel insurance within 21 days of putting down the first deposit on your trip. By locking in your insurance benefits early, you can take advantage of additional coverage, such as a pre-existing condition waivers. Early purchase can also open up add-on options, including cancel for any reason benefits, cancel for work reason benefits (in states where it is available), or hazardous activity coverage.