Don't Go Anywhere Without These Expert Tips For Buying Travel Insurance (2022)

There's no shortage of expert tips for buying travel insurance online. But where's a pro when you really need one?

That's what Mike Mehta wanted to know when he contacted me recently. "Is travel insurance worth buying?" he asked. "Do you have any recommendations for reasonably priced travel insurance providers?"

And then I remembered a recent conversation I had with Zubair Jeewanjee, who runs the California travel insurance technology company G1G Travel. Even though travel insurance companies offer similar products, he says, "travel insurance is not all the same."

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Why you need travel insurance advice

In fact, you can buy travel insurance almost anywhere these days -- directly online from a travel insurance company, from a travel agency, even while you're booking a flight or hotel -- but Jeewanjee says travelers are often disappointed when they find out what happens after the sale and they have to file a claim.

"That's when they discover they're on their own," he says.

Americans spend $2.8 billion on travel insurance a year, according to the US Travel Insurance Association, a trade association. "Misspend" may be a more accurate word. By thoughtlessly throwing money at the first travel insurance policy that comes along, they may be signing up for worthless coverage.

With the busy summer travel season just ahead, how do you ensure that you're buying insurance from a reliable source? I have a list of trusted insurance websites in this recent story. But what should you buy? What do the travel experts say -- and what, specifically, should you look for?

What are the expert tips for buying travel insurance?

I asked travel insurance experts for their thoughts on how to buy the best travel insurance. Here's what they told me:

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Make sure you're not already insured

"One potential mistake people can make when purchasing a travel insurance policy is that you could potentially end up buying a policy that has some duplication of benefits with what you already have," says Joel Ohman, founder of InsuranceProviders.com, an insurance site. He advises you to review the benefits you already have with any of your other current insurance policies, credit cards, and membership programs. Actually, any legitimate agent will tell you to check your other policies before buying another one. Otherwise, you could buy too much insurance.

Look for a guarantee

That's Jeewanjee's advice. For example, G1G offers a service guarantee that promises its policies will meet ahigh standard. Itsquality assuranceprocess includes an analysis of a company's BBB report, customer reviews, claims payout ratio, reinsurers credit history, and other benchmarks. "We help our customers throughout the whole process of purchasing a travel insurance plan from start to finish, and what we do makes the process easy," he says.

Make sure it's real insurance

It isn't always, says Shylar Bredewold, CEO of Odyssean Travel, an online travel agency. "I've seen some very decent cruise protection plans," he says. "But these should not be confused with insurance and often come with disclaimers stating that they are indeed distinct from a coverage policy." Bredewold says the difference between "protection" and "insurance" has been a hot topic in the insurance industry lately. (Technically, "protection" isn't an insurance product.) "Travel professionals continue to be vigilant in what they recommend to clients, even when we trust the supplier," he adds.

Read the paperwork carefully

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That's what Justin Tysdal recommends. First, always read the benefits and then the "exclusions and limitations" in the policy. "Although something might first appear to be covered in the policy, there could be an exclusion that eliminates the coverage," explains Tysdal, CEO of Seven Corners, a travel insurance company. "Coverage may show in the schedule of benefits, but it may be eliminated based on a Travel Advisory that [the State Department issues] for a level 3 or 4. Most advisories at level 3 or 4 will exclude certain benefits from coverage." Tysdal also recommends checking on the company offering the policy. Make sure it's underwritten by a reputable insurance company with an "excellent" rating with A.M. Best, an agency that rates insurance companies based on financial stability.

Timing is everything

"One of the most important factors when buying travel insurance that many first-time purchasers don't understand is around the timing of the purchase," says Christine Buggy, vice president of marketing at Travelex Insurance. "Purchase a travel protection plan as soon as you've made your initial trip deposit to ensure you have coverage." Buggy says if you have a pre-existing medical condition, many travel insurance companies may waive the exclusion for pre-existing conditions. You just have to buy travel insurance within a designated time frame -- usually within 21 days of your initial trip deposit.

Travel agents offer expert tips for buying travel insurance

I also asked travel agents for their travel insurance advice. And here's where things got interesting. Remember Jeewanjee's comment about travel insurance not being the same? If there's a common thread in the agents' travel insurance advice, it echoes what he says. You have to look closely.

"It's pretty easy to compare policies based on the amount of the benefits," says Laura Patterson, a travel advisor for Brownell Travel, a Virtuoso member agency. "But there's more to it than the dollar figure."

For example, consider the baggage delay coverage on two competing plans. One provides reimbursement for personal articles and expenses for a baggage delay of 12 hours or longer. The other plan doesn't reimburse you unless it's a 24-hour delay.

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"This is significant if you arrive, but your luggage doesn't," she says. Suppose you're attending a wedding. On a plan with coverage kicking in after a 12-hour delay, you'll have time to shop for a suitable outfit, and peace of mind knowing that reasonable expenses will be reimbursed up to the benefit amount.

"But if the coverage is not in force until 24 hours after arrival, and the bags remain missing, the ceremony could very well be over before coverage is in effect, and you'll end up paying for that purchase of new clothing necessary for the big event," she says.

Deanna Maccario, the Asia program director with Audley Travel, a travel agency, says she also looks for coverage plan that offers primary, rather than secondary, coverage.

"This means that, in the case of a claim needing to be made, the client would not need to get declined by their primary insurance provider back home before having the option of submitting a claim to their travel insurance provider," she explains. "With primary coverage, they can immediately apply to the travel insurance provider which exponentially speeds up the claims process."

Advocating for every customer

There's something Maccario and Patterson have in common. If one of their clients' claims goes sideways, they're there to help. (And believe me, claims do go sideways, a fact I discover almost every day on my nonprofit consumer advocacy site). Their expert travel insurance advice is: Buy it from someone you trust -- not just the right travel insurance company, but the right agent.

How do you find good travel insurance companies? Well, let's just say the good ones have a reputation. Typing in the name of the company and "reviews" into your favorite search engine will show you which ones to do business with, and which ones to avoid.

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Related:

  • The Forbes Guide to Travel Insurance for 2020
  • Cancel For Any Reason Travel Insurance Coverage

FAQs

What should I look for when buying travel insurance? ›

Is it worth to buy a travel insurance? ›

Yes, usually.

If you suffer the misfortune of losing your luggage, passport or bank cards on holiday, it can be some comfort knowing that you have an insurance provider on hand to provide 24-hour assistance. The right policy can cover lost, stolen or damaged baggage and personal possessions.

What is the best travel insurance for over 70 with medical conditions? ›

AllClear offers tailored, comprehensive Travel Insurance for over 70's. We cover all pre-existing medical conditions and include Superior Covid cover in all our policies. Our 5-star policies will give you peace of mind, so you can relax and enjoy your holiday.

How can I get cheaper travel insurance? ›

8 easy ways to cut your travel insurance costs
  1. Shop around for quotes. ...
  2. Avoid buying insurance from travel agents. ...
  3. Buy online. ...
  4. Save with an annual policy. ...
  5. Only get the cover you need. ...
  6. Avoid paying twice. ...
  7. Get a family policy. ...
  8. Remember your GHIC.

Who is the best travel insurance provider? ›

Best Travel Insurance Companies of 2022
  • Best Overall: Travelex.
  • Runner-Up, Best Overall: Allianz Travel Insurance.
  • Best Value: InsureMyTrip.
  • Most Comprehensive Coverage: World Nomads.
  • Best for Seniors: HTH Travel Insurance.
  • Best for Cruises: Nationwide.
  • Best for Medical Coverage: GeoBlue.

What travel insurance does not cover? ›

Travel insurance policies typically exclude epidemics and pandemics. According to Allianz Global Assistance, a travel insurance provider, "Trip cancellations and trip interruptions due to known, foreseeable, or expected events, epidemics, or fear of travel are generally not covered."

How much travel insurance is needed? ›

A rule of thumb is travel insurance should typically cost 5% of your trip.

Does travel insurance get more expensive closer to the trip? ›

Unlike other aspects of your travel experience like airfares or hotel-room rates, the price of travel insurance doesn't increase the closer you get to your travel date. There's no financial penalty if you wait to buy travel insurance (except for those bonus coverages, of course).

When should you start your travel insurance? ›

Travel insurance is something you should take out as soon as you've booked your holiday. This is because it's possible you might have to cancel your trip after booking but before you've actually left. For example: You may get injured or fall too ill to travel.

What is a pre-existing medical condition? ›

As defined most simply, a pre-existing condition is any health condition that a person has prior to enrolling in health coverage. A pre-existing condition could be known to the person – for example, if she knows she is pregnant already.

Is Post Office travel insurance any good? ›

Post Office Premier Travel Insurance have been 5-star rated by Defaqto. Post Office won a 'Best Travel Insurance Provider' award at the Your Money Awards 2022.

Does travel insurance cover Covid? ›

Multitrip.com travel insurance policies provide cover for emergency medical and other expenses incurred abroad if you catch Covid-19 subject to the policy terms, limits, conditions and exclusions.

Who sells the best travel insurance for seniors? ›

The following companies consistently offer highly-rated travel insurance offerings:
  • Travel Guard Travel Insurance. In addition to offering standard cancellation coverage, this company features plans that cover preexisting conditions and full medical expenses. ...
  • Travelsafe Travel Insurance. ...
  • Allianz Travel Insurance.

Is High Blood Pressure a pre-existing medical condition for travel insurance? ›

The quick answer to this question is: yes. You should always tell your insurer about your high blood pressure, even if it's being well-managed through medication. High blood pressure is considered to be a 'pre-existing medical condition' by insurers.

Does travel insurance increase at age 70? ›

How much does travel insurance for over 70s cost? The older you get the more expensive your travel insurance will be. For example, a 70 year old with no medical conditions could pay around £35 for single-trip travel insurance - the same cover for an 80 year old could cost, on average, 54% more at £54.

Is Allianz a good travel insurance Company? ›

Allianz Global Assistance company (Allianz Travel) checks all of those boxes. Its parent company, Allianz SE, receives an A+ rating from A.M. Best (a leading insurance financial rating firm), and the company offers competitive individual trip and annual travel insurance products.

Does travel insurance cover cancellation due to Covid? ›

If you booked the flights before the pandemic and had travel insurance in place then too, speak to your insurer. You may be able to claim (assuming your policy covered pandemic cancellations), as clearly an unusable return flight is a knock-on cost.

Are Staysure any good? ›

Is Staysure travel insurance any good? Staysure travel insurance has an excellent review rating of 4.7 out of 5 on Trustpilot. They also have an excellent Defaqto rating for their comprehensive travel insurance. This is not surprising considering their comprehensive insurance provides a higher level of cover.

Do you have to declare medical conditions for travel insurance? ›

You'll need to declare all existing medical conditions when buying travel insurance. If you're not sure whether to declare, it's important not to assume it's covered. Always ask your insurance provider, otherwise you risk any claim you need to make being rejected.

Does travel insurance cover if you cancel? ›

Cancellation cover is included as part of most travel insurance policies. It'll compensate you for some or all of the cost of your travel expenses – flights, cruise, hotel, excursions and so on – if you've had to cancel your trip because of unexpected circumstances.

What are the different types of travel insurance? ›

Travel insurance can include many specific types of coverage, but most fall under five main categories:
  • Trip Cancellation or Interruption Insurance. ...
  • Medical Insurance. ...
  • Evacuation Insurance. ...
  • Baggage and Personal Items Loss. ...
  • Life Insurance.

What are the benefits of travel insurance? ›

Common Benefits of Travel Insurance Plans

Not only will these plans cover you for doctor visits and hospitalizations, they come standard with emergency medical evacuation, repatriation and miscellaneous travel benefits like lost luggage.

Can you get travel insurance the day before? ›

Yes, and it's best to get travel insurance as soon as you book your trip. That way you'll be covered for cancellation or if your airline goes into administration. The sooner you book your travel insurance, the better, but you can still get travel insurance right at the last minute, or even when you're already abroad.

Can you buy just medical travel insurance? ›

Travel medical insurance is offered either as part of comprehensive travel insurance plans or can be purchased as a stand alone plan. Travelers refer to these most commonly as travel health insurance plans, while the providers refer to them as travel medical.

Is travel insurance based on age? ›

Age: Travel insurance costs, like any other kind of insurance, are based on risk. Because older travelers are more at risk for health problems, the cost of travel insurance rises with age. This doesn't mean, however, that travel insurance is out of reach for older travelers.

How far in advance can I buy travel insurance? ›

Buying travel insurance before your trip is a smart move, but how long before your trip can you buy it? Typically, you can only buy coverage up to 12 months in advance. This gives you protection should you need to cancel your trip for any covered reason during that year.

Can you have 2 travel insurance policies? ›

If you have two travel insurance policies, each insurer will only pay their share of the claim. This is outlined in a section called the 'contribution clause' in your policy documents. It explains the share your insurer will pay in this situation.

Does travel insurance cover passport issues? ›

Travel insurance is also unlikely to pay out – but always ask. It's extremely unlikely you'll be able to claim on your travel insurance if you're not able to go on your trip and have to cancel because your new passport has not arrived.

How long is travel insurance valid for? ›

Annual Travel Insurance Policies

Annual travel insurance is designed to provide Emergency Medical and Medical Evacuation coverage for multiple trips throughout one year. These policies last one year from the start date, which should be the departure date of your first trip.

What insurance do I need? ›

Home or property insurance, life insurance, disability insurance, health insurance, and automobile insurance are five types that everyone should have.

What is the best travel insurance for seniors UK? ›

Top 7 Travel Insurance Providers for UK Seniors in 2022
  1. Staysure. If you're looking for a policy that fits all your needs, look no further than Staysure. ...
  2. AllClear. ...
  3. Globelink. ...
  4. Goodtogoinsurance.com. ...
  5. World First. ...
  6. Free Spirit. ...
  7. OK to Travel.

Which is the best travel insurance company in Australia? ›

The 2022 Exceptional Quality Travel Insurance winners are:
  • Allianz Comprehensive.
  • Aussietravelcover Top Plus.
  • Australian Unity Comprehensive Plan.
  • Bupa Comprehensive.
  • Cover-More Travel Insurance International Comprehensive +
  • HCF Comprehensive.
  • Medibank Comprehensive.
  • Qantas International Comprehensive.
8 Sept 2022

Do you have to declare medical conditions for travel insurance? ›

You'll need to declare all existing medical conditions when buying travel insurance. If you're not sure whether to declare, it's important not to assume it's covered. Always ask your insurance provider, otherwise you risk any claim you need to make being rejected.

Who sells the best travel insurance for seniors? ›

The following companies consistently offer highly-rated travel insurance offerings:
  • Travel Guard Travel Insurance. In addition to offering standard cancellation coverage, this company features plans that cover preexisting conditions and full medical expenses. ...
  • Travelsafe Travel Insurance. ...
  • Allianz Travel Insurance.

Which insurance is best for old age? ›

Best Health Insurance Plans for Senior Citizens
Health Insurance Plans for Senior CitizensAge Criteria
Bajaj Allianz Silver Health PlanMin: 46 years Max: 70 yearsView Plan
Bharti AXA Smart Super Health Insurance PlanMin: 18 years Max: 65 yearsView Plan
Care Senior Health Insurance PlanMin: 61 years Max: LifelongView Plan
22 more rows

What is the cut off age for travel insurance? ›

Some insurance policies even have an upper age limit of 65, which means they won't include you at all. However, with travel insurance for over 70s, you know you'll be covered.

Is Allianz a good travel insurance company? ›

Allianz Global Assistance company (Allianz Travel) checks all of those boxes. Its parent company, Allianz SE, receives an A+ rating from A.M. Best (a leading insurance financial rating firm), and the company offers competitive individual trip and annual travel insurance products.

Can you get travel insurance with Covid cover? ›

We're here to help make your travel experience as easy and enjoyable as possible. Allianz Comprehensive Travel Insurance for overseas travel includes COVID-19 benefits for trip cancellation and medical emergencies if you contract COVID-191. You can make a COVID-19 related claim under certain benefits 24/7 online.

Should I get travel insurance for Australia? ›

You are not required to have travel insurance to visit Australia, but it is strongly encouraged. Australia's government travel authority says, “If you can't afford travel insurance, you can't afford to travel.” Medical care in Australia can be expensive for travelers and visitors.

Does being on statins affect travel insurance? ›

Taking statins shouldn't increase your travel insurance premium, but if you find it does and you're caught in negotiations over price, take a step back to compare your options.

Does arthritis affect travel insurance? ›

Do you need to declare that you have arthritis? Yes, it's important to get comprehensive travel insurance for arthritis that will cover you if you get ill and need treatment while you're abroad. It's also important if you need to cancel your trip as a result of your arthritis.

Is high blood pressure considered a preexisting condition for travel insurance? ›

The quick answer to this question is: yes. You should always tell your insurer about your high blood pressure, even if it's being well-managed through medication. High blood pressure is considered to be a 'pre-existing medical condition' by insurers.

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