Top Travel Insurance: What to Look For
For many travelers, it takes a long time to plan the perfect vacation. There are many preparations you must make, such as figuring out what to do for food and finding appropriate lodging.
One area many travelers make the mistake of skipping out on is travel insurance. Travel insurance provides multiple benefits during your trip, offering financial compensation in the event of either a medical emergency or something going wrong with the trip.
The exact coverage you receive changes depending on the insurance plan you choose. Typically, each travel insurance provider offers multiple plans with varying levels of coverage. Some of the most common clauses in travel insurance plans provide protection for delays, legal expenses and loss of personal belongings. Listed below are some of the top travel insurance companies as well as several of the biggest benefits of travel insurance.
Benefits of Travel Insurance
You do not need to purchase travel insurance every time you go on vacation. For smaller or shorter trips, you are fine without protection. Travel insurance is most important when you are taking a bigger, more expensive trip.
One of the biggest benefits of travel insurance is you do not lose out on your vacation investment if there is an emergency. If you spend thousands of dollars booking a cruise trip only to have a family emergency the day you are supposed to leave, you can get reimbursement from your insurance. As long as you are cancelling for a covered reason, you get your money back, even for nonrefundable tickets.
Another way travel insurance can save your trip is if there is a medical emergency. If you are traveling outside of the United States, you have no insurance. In the event of a medical emergency, you are responsible for paying out of pocket for all the expenses, unless you have travel insurance. In addition to treatment and medication costs, travel expenses are also included with your insurance. This is an important clause, as taking an ambulance or receiving other medical transport often costs hundreds, if not thousands of dollars.
Travel insurance also offers a level of protection against unforeseen events. In many cases, if there is a scheduling delay, you either adjust your schedule or accept the loss. For example, if you booked a hotel in advance, but due to a train delay you did not make it to the hotel, you are still responsible for the costs. You can also invest in baggage delay benefits, which offer reimbursements if any items go missing during a flight, ensuring you do not arrive in a foreign location empty handed, with no means to purchase new supplies.
AIG Travel Guard
AIG Travel Guard offers three different travel insurance plans. One of the most popular benefits of AIG plans is offering coverage for preexisting medical conditions. In order to qualify for this, you must meet several criteria:
- You purchase your plan within at least 15 days of the trip.
- The level of coverage you purchase equals the cost of whatever prepaid payments or deposits you already made for the trip.
- You are medically cleared to travel to your desired location.
- The trip does not exceed $100,000 for you and any other individual accompanying you.
Both the gold and silver plans allow you to extend your insurance benefits to your children for no additional cost. With the platinum and gold plans, you can cancel your trip for any reason, but you only get 50 percent of your insurance back in these circumstances.
AIG does not offer as many travel benefits as other insurance plans, with the majority of the benefits focusing on health coverage. It is a great insurance if anyone going on your trip has a medical condition. The silver and gold plans cost between $60 to $80, while the platinum plan is around $115.
Travelex is considered one of the best overall travel insurance agencies. It offers competitive pricing, with some of the most affordable plans of any agency. There are also multiple plans available, with customizable features. All Travelex plans also provide free coverage for any children under the age of 17.
The basic plan only costs $28. With a basic plan, you receive trip cancellation and interruption coverage, as well as coverage for medical emergencies and evacuations. If your trip costs $50,000 or less, you are covered for 100 percent of the cost. If the trip costs $75,000, your coverage increases to 150 percent.
American Express Travel Insurance (Amex)
Amex offers the most customizable travel insurance, allowing you to build your own travel insurance plan. While this offers a great deal of freedom, it makes calculating the cost of your insurance much more challenging. The more features you add, the more expensive your plan becomes. There are a few additional benefits to Amex insurance, including:
- The cost of coverage does not change with the length of the trip, though medical coverage is only viable for the first 60 days of your trip.
- Any travel expenses paid with American Express Rewards points are automatically insured.
- You are not required to list where you are traveling.
- Unlike most other travel insurance agencies, adventure sports and other trips considered high risk are eligible for coverage.
Other Travel Insurance Agencies
Amex, Travelex and AIG are some of the best travel insurance agencies in the United States, but they are not your only options. If you are not happy with their insurance plans, there are other agencies to try, including: