What is Travel Insurance?

By and large, travel insurance plans are made up of three key components, trip cancellation/interruption, emergency medical, and baggage.

  • Trip cancellation coverage will usually refund the entire non-refundable purchase price of your trip if it gets canceled or interrupted for covered reasons that vary by provider. Injury or illness prior to the trip is, in fact, the most common trip cancellation claim. As long as you purchased the policy prior to the injury or illness, and have documentation from a doctor that the person in question cannot travel, your travel insurance policy will compensate you for all the non-refundable costs of your trip. So if you spent $10,000 on your family's summer vacation and you cannot go because your daughter is ill, this is the type of travel insurance coverage that will reimburse you. 
  • Medical coverage pays for emergency care if you get hurt or ill while traveling. Different companies offer different maximum amounts that vary by plan. This coverage typically also includes emergency medical evacuation, which pays to transport you to a proper facility if there is not one available in your vicinity. Dental coverage is also included in some plans.
  • Baggage coverage will reimburse you for your belongings if your luggage is lost, stolen, or damaged; it also will sometimes pay for purchasing necessities if baggage is delayed.
  • Comprehensive plans combine all three.

Your travel insurance premium will largely depend on how much coverage you will need, i.e. how much you've spent on the trip altogether. A single traveler's business trip abroad will require significantly less coverage than a family of five’s month long Mediterranean cruise. Medical and baggage coverage, however, is generally capped at a maximum amount depending on the plan you choose. Some medical plans require deductibles just like traditional medical insurance. Most travel insurance companies will offer several plans. The main difference in plans will be the maximum amounts allowed for medical and baggage, as well as add-on services and features.

Top 10 Companies

Our Partner
10 / 10
  • Our #1 choice for travel insurance – A+ BBB accredited
  • Safe & secure checkout with instant coverage confirmation
  • Best price guarantee – compare policies with confidence!
  • Large network of leading travel insurance providers
  • Member of the US Travel Insurance Association (UStiA)
Our Partner
9.4 / 10
  • Rated A+ and accredited by the Better Business Bureau
  • Member of the US Travel Insurance Association (UStiA)
  • Customizable standard & comprehensive coverages
  • Four different benefit levels to choose from
  • Up to $500,000 for emergency medical evacuation
  • 24/7 travel assistance and concierge services
  • Free coverage for minors under their Travel Select plan
Our Partner
9.3 / 10
  • Rated A+ and accredited by the Better Business Bureau
  • Broad selection of comprehensive coverages to choose from
  • Competitively-priced plans with the option to upgrade
  • Convenient mobile app with location-based travel alerts
  • 24/7 customer support for domestic and international travelers
Our Partner
9.3 / 10
  • Compare rates from all the top providers
  • Extensive knowledge base
  • Sort by plans, provider, or reviews
  • Unparalleled customer service
  • Best plans, price, and money back guarantees
Our Partner
9.3 / 10
  • Recommended by travelers and guidebook publishers
  • Purchase or extend your coverage while traveling
  • Covers digital gear & over 150 adventure activities
  • Round-the-clock multi-lingual assistance worldwide 
  • A community of 97,000 travelers from 129 countries
Our Partner
9.3 / 10
  • Up to $250,000 in medical coverage and $1 million in evacuation
  • 24/7 support anywhere in the world
  • Extensive assistance services
  • Pre existing conditions and cancel for any reason
  • Identity theft resolution services
Our Partner
9.3 / 10
  • Protect against unexpected medical expenses
  • Personal belongings protection
  • Coverage for trip cancellations
  • 24/7 travel assistance
  • Travel insurance for US residents and non-US citizens
  • Cancel for any reason
Our Partner
9.0 / 10
  • Excellent supplement to traditional travel insurance
  • Global medical transport, travel security & crisis response memberships
  • Not reliant on the insurer for the hospital selection
  • Transport from virtually anywhere to your preferred hospital (150 miles or more from your residence)
  • 24/7 assistance and interpretation services for foreign hospitals
Our Partner
8.9 / 10
  • Accredited by the Better Business Bureau with an A+ rating
  • Backed by the superior financial strenght ratings of Allianz SE
  • Over 100 years of experience in the diversified insurance industry
  • A broad range of single trip and multi-trip plans to choose from
  • Comprehensive coverage for individuals, households, and businesses
Our Partner
8.9 / 10
  • Medical, cancellation, and baggage coverage
  • Coverage available for pre-existing conditions
  • Travel concierge services with premium plans
  • Emergency evacuation and medical repatriation
  • Covers cancellations due to terrorism and natural disasters
  • Offers emergency prescription replacement and physician referral
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How We Compare Travel Insurance

Plans & Coverage


What Are Some of the Covered Reasons for Trip Cancelation?

As previously mentioned, trip cancellation will reimburse you if you or a traveling companion is unable to make the trip due to injury or illness. But many plans also cover you if you have to cancel due to illness or injury of family members who aren't traveling. 

If the family member suffers a condition that is life threatening or requires hospitalization, trip cancellation coverage will reimburse you for and non-refundable deposits you have already made before the trip was canceled. This can include flights, cruises, hotels, pre paid excursions, etc. Often hotels will work with you and refund you a portion of your payment if you have to cancel. Travel insurance will take care of the rest. In fact, travel insurance will cover everything less any published refunds you are entitled to receive. 

Trip cancelation will also cover you in the event a natural disaster makes your trip impossible. Say you've booked a vacation to visit the Lesser Antilles islands in the Caribbean, but because a hurricane is headed straight for your destination the flight has been canceled. 

Trip cancellation coverage will refund your money in this situation as well, PROVIDED you purchased the policy BEFORE the storm was named. Most travel insurance plans offer coverage for extreme weather, but all have different stipulations. As always, it is of paramount importance you read your policy thoroughly and go over any questions you have with the representative before you buy.

Below is a list of the most common reasons for making a trip cancelation claim. It is important to note that not all companies offer all of these coverages. What’s more, the technicalities of each coverage will differ by company. For example, while two companies both might both cover acts of terrorism, one may allow cancellation if your trip is scheduled up to 30 days after the incident, while the other only allows two weeks.

-Injury/Illness/Death of traveler or non traveling family member
-Injury/Illness/Death of host
-Natural Disaster at Destination
-Tour Operator/airline/cruise line ceases operation
-Terrorism/evacuation at destination
-Home or Business damaged
-Jury Duty/Court Appearance
-Military Deployment
-Work related (transfer, termination, required to work)
-Victim of crime prior to trip
-Car accident prior to trip
-Theft of passport prior to trip
-School Related

What is Emergency Medical Coverage?

Travel medical coverage is for sudden, unexpected illnesses that could potentially be life threatening or cause irreparable harm, not for routine examinations. Travel insurance will cover doctor, hospital, or licensed medical practitioner costs associated with the illness or injury. In these situations, you are encouraged to contact the travel insurance provider as soon as you are able so they can communicate with the care facility directly. These medical plans operate much the same as traditional health insurance. There is a payout maximum depending on the plan purchased, and sometimes a deductible. Some carriers also offer dental coverage.

Emergency Medical Coverage will typically NOT cover you if you decide to go land diving with the villagers in Vanuatu, or hang gliding in the Bavarian Alps.

High-risk sports are generally not covered. Also, neither are body contact sports, mountain climbing, scuba diving, caving, flying an airplane, etc. Your policy will delineate these exclusions one by one. Along the same lines, medical coverage will also be invalid if you travel to a warzone, or any part of the world deemed dangerous or to be experiencing an epidemic. Again, the specifics will all be set out in the policy.

Evacuation and Repatriation

Most travel medical plans will pay to transport you for medical treatment if a suitable facility is not in the area. However, the decision as to whether or not the current facility is appropriate, and the subsequent choice of alternative facility, is totally in the hands of the travel insurance provider. Additionally, if your hospital stay should be a long one, some plans will pay to transport a family member to your bedside, or to send your children back home. Once your condition has stabilized, travel insurance will cover the costs of returning yourself as well.


As with medical coverage, baggage coverage will have different payout maximums depending on which plan you choose. Keep in mind that plans differ in what they are willing to pay.

Some plans offer per item maximums. With regard to valuable items, most plans have specific stipulations in the policy as to what they will and will not cover. Often, valuable items that are covered will also have valuable item maximums. Receipts or other proof of value will almost always be required for these items as well.

Customer Assistance Services


Say you are traveling in India and your passport is stolen out of your hotel room. You have no idea where to go or what to do, and no one in the region understands you. Travel insurance customer assistance services can help.

Depending on your provider, travel insurance policies come with a host of additional services. These can include medical services like case management and direct communication with providers in their language; travel assistance like lost baggage search and ATM location; and even concierge services like booking restaurants, events, and tee times. All providers should offer 24/7 support. Assistance via mobile applications is increasingly becoming the norm as well.

Financial Strength


It is of paramount importance to a traveler that their travel insurance company can be relied upon to pay claims. Travel insurance providers, like life, homeowners, and auto insurance providers, are graded by ratings agencies in terms of their projected financial strength and creditworthiness. Essentially, these grades give consumers an idea of a given providers ability to honor its claims into the future. While travel insurance policies will need to cover a significantly shorter span of time than home or life policies, the financial strength outlook of a travel insurance provider is still just as crucial given that you might need their services abroad, at your most vulnerable in unfamiliar surroundings. Therefore, to judge the strength of a given company we've used financial strength ratings (FSR) from Standard and Poor's, Moody's, and AM Best, three of the leading credit rating agencies worldwide. 



To judge a given travel insurance provider's reputation, we've polled online review websites to search for any patterns of statistical significance. We've also taken into consideration a company's Better Business Bureau (BBB) grade and percentage of negative vs. positive reviews. The BBB is a nonprofit organization promoting ethical business behavior and monitoring compliance by their 400,000 Accredited Businesses. Finally we've recorded a travel insurance provider's Trustpilot score, and positive vs. negative reviews as well. TrustPilot is an online review community, in which consumers share their experiences with services and products. 

What's important to know about Travel Insurance?

What is travel insurance?

Travel Insurance will help you pay for unexpected expenses if your trip is canceled or interrupted due to a covered reason. The best travel insurance plans can also include medical evacuation coverage in the event that you become ill or injured and require medical attention while away from home. It will also reimburse you for lost, damaged or stolen personal belongings and luggage. Additionally, many travel insurance providers offer 24/7-travel assistance to help you coordinate travel plans, re-book flights or hotels, or act as personal travel assistant. Some travel insurance providers may even offer coverage for identity theft and political evacuation.

When should I get travel insurance?

The sooner you purchase travel insurance, the better, especially if you have significant pre-paid, non-refundable portions of your trip (such as hotel rooms, plane tickets, or tours) booked. Travel insurance will be there to help you cover those costs. That being said, most providers will allow you to purchase travel insurance up to 7-21 days before your trip, and some will even let you purchase coverage up to 24 hours in advance. As with all insurance, hopefully you’ll never need it, but if you do you’ll have the peace of mind knowing your travel insurance provider has you covered.