What is Travel insurance and is it worth it?

When you’re getting ready for a vacation, you’re likely focused on reserving a flight, finding a hotel, and maybe even renting a car. But amidst all the planning, it’s crucial to think about another vital aspect: safeguarding your trip with travel insurance. So you can ask Should i get travel insurance? Buying travel insurance is a wise and affordable decision that offers financial security in situations like trip or flight cancellations, unforeseen medical expenses during your travels, and costs arising from baggage delays, loss, or theft.

Should I get Travel insurance

Wondering when to purchase travel insurance? Here are a few frequently asked questions along with their answers to assist you in making a decision.

When Is the Best Time to Get Travel Insurance?

If you’re thinking about when to purchase travel insurance, the answer is quite simple – buy it as soon as possible. It’s best to get medical coverage at least 15 days before your trip. However, it’s important to carefully consider the type of coverage you need, the amount you need, and any additional coverage that can help protect your trip. This requires thinking about what you’ll be doing on your trip and what risks you may face.

If you miss the 15-day deadline or have to book your trip at the last minute, don’t worry. You can still purchase coverage, but keep in mind that it may cost a little more than usual.

Here are some top Insurance companies to consider.

Travelex insurance services has affordable options for families and groups and 24/7 customer service support.


Another pick for travel insurance providers is NationWide which has specialized plans for business travelers, covers unique items and offers annual plans.


Should I Purchase Travel Insurance Before or After Booking?

It’s generally recommended to purchase travel insurance after reserving your seat on the plane rather than before booking your flight. This way, you’ll have a clear idea of the ticket price and can ensure that your travel insurance will fully cover it in case you need to make a claim later on.

The more details you have about your trip and estimated expenses, the easier it will be to find the right coverage that suits your specific needs.

What is the latest time to purchase travel insurance?

Typically, purchasing coverage before your trip’s scheduled date is possible. However, it’s highly recommended to buy travel insurance as soon as you book your reservations. The earlier you obtain travel insurance, the quicker you’ll have protection and the greater the potential benefits you could receive.

What is INCLUDED in travel insurance coverage?

Travel insurance policies usually come with various types of coverage for different travel-related incidents. These can include flight cancellations, medical emergencies, and lost baggage. Even if you’re on a tight budget, there are affordable insurance policies that offer a wide range of protection options. In the following sections, we’ll give you a summary of what travel insurance generally covers.

Cancellations and interruptions of trips

Trip interruption and trip cancellation insurance will refund you for expenses that cannot be reimbursed when a trip is canceled or shortened because of a covered reason. Covered reasons usually involve unexpected emergencies or events that are beyond your control, such as:

  • Extreme weather conditions or a natural calamity
  • Act of terrorism
  • Falling ill or being hospitalized
  • Losing a loved one
  • Being summoned for jury duty

If you’re concerned about booking a trip and then getting COVID-19, some travel insurance companies might consider it as a covered event. However, if you cancel due to fear of the virus, it may not be covered. Instead, many providers offer cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage, which allows you to get reimbursed if you cancel a trip for personal reasons.

Let’s say you decide to cancel your trip because you have doubts about traveling during a pandemic or have other important matters to attend to. With CFAR coverage, you can get your money back without too many questions asked. However, keep in mind that the amount you receive is usually limited to 50% to 75% of your prepaid expenses.

Delayed travel

If your trip gets delayed, having travel insurance can help cover the expenses you incur while waiting for your destination. This includes meals and accommodations during the delay. Additionally, your insurance provider may also reimburse you for any part of your trip that was affected by the delay. For instance, if a delayed flight causes you to miss a prepaid night at a resort, your provider might refund that cost.

However, keep in mind that insurance companies may have specific conditions regarding the duration of the delay for your expenses to be covered. It’s important to carefully review your policy’s fine print to understand these coverage rules.

Luggage that is lost, late, or stolen

The Department of Transportation (DOT) has a rule that airlines must compensate passengers for delayed, lost, or damaged bags. For domestic flights, the compensation can go up to $3,800, while for international trips, it’s $1,700.

However, it might take the airline a while to find your bag or declare it as untraceable. In the meantime, you might have to spend money on clothes or toiletries due to the baggage delay. Thankfully, travel insurance can help cover these unexpected expenses that the airline won’t pay for. Travel insurance doesn’t just protect your belongings during your trip, but it can also assist you in replacing important travel documents.

However, keep in mind that the coverage is usually limited per bag or lost item. On the other hand, items that travel insurance doesn’t cover might be protected by your homeowners or renters insurance.

Medical Expenses

If you decide to go on a trip overseas, keep in mind that your travel medical insurance from back home might not provide coverage. Medicare and Medicaid, for instance, usually don’t extend their protection beyond the country’s borders. To avoid unexpected expenses, it’s wise to consider travel insurance that can help cover medical costs, such as hospital visits, in case you fall ill or get injured during your time away.

Accidental passing or amputation

In case of an unfortunate event where you or your travel companion covered under the insurance policy passes away or suffers from loss of limb or vision during the trip, the travel insurance may offer a benefit payout to you or your beneficiary.

How much do I need to pay for travel insurance?

Forbes Advisor’s analysis shows that travel insurance usually amounts to 5% to 6% of your total trip cost.

However, the cost of travel insurance can vary depending on your age, the type of coverage you choose, and the overall cost of your trip.

On average, insuring a $5,000 trip costs around $228, with rates ranging from $154 for basic coverage to $437 for more comprehensive coverage.

What Does NOT INCLUDED in Travel Insurance?

Travel insurance is designed to protect you from unexpected expenses that may arise during your trip, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t cover everything. Let’s take a look at some examples of what might not be included in your travel protection:

  • Pregnancy: Although your insurance policy might cover medical emergencies during pregnancy, it probably won’t reimburse you for trip cancellations caused by regular pregnancy symptoms.
  • Preexisting conditions: Travel insurance usually does not cover medical expenses related to preexisting conditions, unless your doctor gives you the green light to travel and you bought insurance within a specific timeframe after booking your trip.
  • Political unrest: If your trip gets canceled or disrupted due to a war or political unrest, the expenses incurred may not be covered by your insurance.
  • High-risk travel: Your insurance policy might not offer coverage for activities with a high level of risk, such as skydiving or traveling to destinations that are considered unsafe.

What is Medical Insurance?

Health emergencies are often the main reason why people have to cancel or interrupt their trips. Not only can these emergencies result in high medical bills, but they can also lead to extended lodging expenses for travel companions. Before purchasing a special health insurance policy for your trip, it’s important to check with your current medical insurer. There’s a possibility that you may already have coverage through your existing health plan.

While many travel insurance companies in the US provide coverage overseas, Medicare does not. Additionally, it’s crucial to be aware of any policy exclusions, such as preauthorization requirements. Even if your health plan does cover you internationally, it might be worth considering the purchase of a special medical trip insurance. This can provide additional coverage that supplements your existing plan. It can cover expenses that your health plan doesn’t, such as deductibles.

Alternatively, you can opt for primary coverage, which will take care of your costs up to a certain limit. In emergency situations involving expensive procedures or overnight stays, the hospital will typically coordinate directly with your travel insurance provider for billing.

However, your regular health travel insurance company won’t be involved in this process. You’ll likely have to pay the hospital or clinic upfront and then seek reimbursement from your stateside insurer later. For routine care, such as a visit to a doctor, you’ll likely have to pay out-of-pocket and then submit documentation for reimbursement. Regardless of the situation, it’s wise to contact your insurer while on the road to inform them that you’ve sought medical assistance.

If you have any pre-existing conditions, it’s important to know that medical and trip-cancellation coverage may cover them, depending on when you purchase the coverage and how recently you’ve received treatment. If you frequently travel overseas, consider getting a multi-trip annual policy to save money.

Before making a decision, it’s always a good idea to check with your agent or insurer. Keep in mind that the US State Department issues warnings about traveling to certain countries. If you’re planning to visit one of these countries, your trip cancellation and medical insurance may not be honored unless you purchase supplemental coverage.

For travelers who are over 70 years old, travel medical insurance can be quite expensive. It’s worth comparing the cost of a stand-alone travel medical plan with comprehensive travel insurance, which typically includes good medical and evacuation coverage. If you need help understanding your options, reach out to a insurance company.

The Bottom Line

It’s easy to think that travel insurance is an unnecessary expense, but you never know when an emergency might happen. Having a trip insurance plan can help you recover costs in case of unforeseen events, including emergency medical care and trip cancellations. If you’re planning a big trip in the future and have saved up for it, shopping for travel insurance can give you peace of mind and protection in case something unexpected happens.

While most companies offer basic and comprehensive travel insurance plans, there are also providers that offer coverage for specific situations such as cruises, students studying abroad, or travel medical insurance. We suggest taking a look at our list of top providers and comparing quotes from at least three companies before making a decision on travel insurance.

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