- Four main types of travel insurance include trip cancellation insurance, baggage insurance, travel health insurance, and rental car insurance.
- Less than three out of every 20 U.S. travelers purchase insurance for their trip.
- A good travel insurance company should have a 24-hour hotline for emergency assistance.
Most people don’t think twice about getting insurance for their home or car, but less than 13% of Americans have any type of travel insurance. It is a relatively inexpensive type of policy that can help protect you financially while you’re on the road, both domestically and abroad. The best travel insurance depends on a few different factors like the type of trip you plan to take, where you’re going, and how you’ll get there.
The Best Travel Insurance
Trip Cancellation Insurance
Booking a trip usually requires you to make reservations several weeks or months in advance. Oftentimes, you’ll have to pay up front for major items like flights and hotels. Unfortunately, many things can happen between the time you make a reservation and the time of your actual trip that might throw a wrench in your plans.
Trip cancellation insurance allows you to cancel your trip and get all or part of your money back, depending on the policy. Some plans only cover certain causes of cancellation, like a medical emergency or death in the family. Others will allow you to cancel for any reason, but these policies are generally more expensive.
Some trip cancellation policies are also designed to cover your expenses like meals and accommodation if a flight is canceled, or if your itinerary is otherwise disrupted for reasons beyond your control.
When you travel, you’re usually limited to bringing whatever you can fit into one suitcase. If anything happens to that one bag, you’ll be stranded without clothing, toiletries, and other essentials. This is especially likely to happen if your airline loses your bag or inadvertently puts it on the wrong flight.
Baggage insurance covers the cost of replacing items in a lost, stolen, or damaged suitcase. Even if the bag is just temporarily delayed after being misplaced by an airline, baggage insurance will often pay for a certain amount of expenses while you wait to be reunited with your belongings.
Travel Health Insurance
Your U.S. health insurance plan might not cover medical care abroad, and it almost certainly won’t cover emergency situations like evacuation or repatriation. A travel health insurance policy can help you in a range of scenarios from simple antibiotics to transportation to a hospital for emergency treatment.
Rental Car Insurance
Many tourists choose to rent a car to help them see the sights while traveling. But if anything happens to the car while it’s in your possession, you could be on the hook for damages out of pocket if you don’t have rental car insurance. Many credit cards automatically include rental insurance for any cars paid for with the card, so check with your bank to see what’s covered.
The Worst Travel Insurance
It’s hard to say what the worst travel insurance is as each type of travel has different insurance requirements. However, there are some travel insurance policies to stay away from. Avoid purchasing travel insurance from a company that doesn’t offer 24-hour assistance so you won’t be stuck waiting for phone lines to open in a middle-of-the-night emergency. You can use travel insurance review sites to check customer reviews of different policies before making a decision.