Travel Medical Insurance: What to Know

Travel medical insurance provides financial protection while traveling, since many u.s. health insurance policies, including medicare and medicaid, don’t typically cover your medical expenses outside of the country..

Jessica Martel

Jessica is a freelance writer, professional researcher, and mother of two rambunctious little boys. She specializes in personal finance, women and money, and financial literacy. Jessica is fascinated by the psychology of money and what drives people to make important financial decisions. She holds a Masters of Science degree in Cognitive Research Psychology.

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Katie Powers

Licensed auto and home insurance agent

3+ years experience in insurance and personal finance editing

Katie uses her knowledge and expertise as a licensed property and casualty agent in Massachusetts to help readers understand the complexities of insurance shopping.

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Updated October 12, 2023

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Table of contents

  • Travel medical insurance
  • What’s covered

Primary coverage

Secondary coverage.

  • Medical evacuation
  • Comprehensive coverage

Trip cancellation

  • Insurance limitations

Though you never plan to have an accident or get sick during a trip, unexpected emergencies happen. Your U.S. health insurance likely won’t cover any visits to the hospital or emergency care in a foreign country. [1] To ensure you have coverage while traveling, you can purchase a stand-alone policy for travel medical insurance.

What is travel medical insurance?

Travel medical insurance can help fill in coverage gaps if you require emergency or routine medical services while traveling overseas. Even if you have international health insurance that includes care when traveling abroad, it won’t always cover the cost of medical treatments such as X-rays, lab tests, or ambulance services in a foreign country.

Travel medical coverage primarily protects you in the event of an emergency, so long-term travelers should look into purchasing a more comprehensive plan. To prevent extensive financial losses while abroad, it’s a good idea to check with your insurance company to see if you and your family members have adequate coverage before you travel.

Before selecting medical insurance coverage, you should compare travel health plans among multiple companies. Some of the best insurers to consider include Blue Shield, Allianz Travel Insurance, American International Group (AIG), HTH Worldwide Travel Insurance, GeoBlue, Generali Global Assistance (GGA), and more.

Does your health insurance plan cover you internationally?

Many health insurance plans, including Medicare and Medicaid, are only valid within the U.S. or your home state. While some employer U.S. health plans or private plans provide international travel insurance, it’s important you read the fine print so you know exactly what your policy covers in case of a medical emergency.

Many health insurance plans with international coverage only pay for emergencies that require immediate medical attention while overseas. For example, your insurance may cover a broken bone or a hospital visit if you’re experiencing chest pains. It likely wouldn’t cover any routine medical care.

What travel medical insurance covers

Travel medical insurance covers the cost of unexpected medical expenses while abroad. If you encounter an unexpected injury or illness, your travel medical insurance will reimburse you up to your plan limit.

You can choose from different types of medical travel insurance plans and add-ons when buying coverage. The best travel insurance for you will depend on factors such as where you intend to travel, for how long, and what you plan to do.

Here are five different types of coverage you may encounter while shopping for travel medical insurance.

The difference between primary and secondary coverage has to do with payment priority. With primary medical travel insurance, the insurance plan will pay your medical costs directly, even if you have another health insurance policy. You’ll file any medical claims directly with the company you bought travel medical insurance from, which can help speed up the payment process. [2]

With secondary medical travel insurance, you’ll need to file a claim with your primary healthcare insurance provider first — even if you don’t think the insurer will provide coverage. If the insurer denies your claim or doesn’t fully cover it, you can then file it with the medical travel insurance company.

Emergency medical evacuation insurance

An emergency evacuation can be very expensive — especially if it’s in a remote area. Medical evacuation insurance can help cover the costs associated with emergency transportation to an adequate treatment facility. It can also cover the costs associated with transporting you back to the U.S.

Comprehensive travel insurance plan

Some comprehensive policies include medical travel insurance and trip-cancellation coverage if you have to cancel your trip due to something such as severe weather or a natural disaster. Many comprehensive plans also cover trip interruption, medical evacuation, travel delay benefits, and baggage delay.

With medical travel insurance, you can often include trip cancellation insurance as an add-on for an additional cost. Trip cancellation insurance covers trip costs, including your flight, cruise, or train tickets, if you can’t go on your trip. It doesn’t cover any medical care you need while traveling. [3]

Limitations of travel medical insurance

Before confirming your travel plans, check with your insurance company to see if the plan has any limitations or exclusions. Travel medical insurance policies often don’t cover medical bills related to the following three situations.

Pre-existing conditions

A pre-existing condition is a medical condition or illness you’ve had for a certain period before purchasing insurance. It’s possible to purchase insurance with pre-existing conditions coverage. The policies are often time-sensitive and only provide coverage if purchased within a certain number of days of the trip deposit — often 14 days.

High-risk activities

If you’re planning to engage in risky activities or extreme sports, such as skydiving or bungee jumping, check if your travel insurance policy excludes the activities. Many insurance plans won’t cover these risky activities. However, you may be able to purchase extreme sports insurance for additional benefits coverage.

Geographic exclusions

Some insurers won’t provide coverage if you travel to a country that the U.S. Department of State has assigned a Level 4 “do not travel” advisory to. [4] Before traveling to a country with a travel advisory, check with your insurance company to see if your coverage applies.

Travel medical insurance FAQs

Before you take off on your next overseas adventure, you should look into buying a travel medical insurance plan, as well as how you can use it if you need it and how it differs from health insurance coverage.

Who should buy travel medical insurance?

Anyone traveling to a country where their health insurance provider doesn’t provide coverage should consider purchasing travel medical insurance. Certain destinations may require you to purchase it when applying for a visa or staying for a certain amount of time, too.

For example, Schengen Area countries in the European Union require people to have travel medical insurance if they apply for a travel visa, which you’ll need if you’re staying for more than 90 days. [5]

How do you use your travel health insurance?

If you have a medical emergency when traveling and need to use your travel health insurance plan, contact your insurance company immediately. Most travel insurance companies have 24/7 customer service hotlines you can contact for help and information. Your insurer can give you step-by-step instructions on what to do depending on your specific situation.

What is travel insurance vs. medical insurance?

The main difference between travel insurance and regular medical plans is travel insurance only covers you during travel. It’s only valid during your trip to protect you against medical emergencies while you’re away from your home country.

What does medical travel insurance cover?

Travel medical insurance can provide coverage if you have an unexpected illness, injury, or other medical emergency during a trip abroad. U.S. health insurance policies don’t usually cover overseas incidents.

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Travel Medical Insurance: What to Know

Travel medical insurance can provide financial protection in case of unforeseen circumstances while traveling, such as illness or medical emergencies.

Key benefits of travel medical insurance

  • Travel medical insurance coverage
  • Who needs medical travel insurance?

Choosing the right travel medical insurance

How to use travel medical insurance, is travel medical insurance right for your next trip, travel medical insurance: essential coverage for health and safety abroad.

Affiliate links for the products on this page are from partners that compensate us (see our advertiser disclosure with our list of partners for more details). However, our opinions are our own. See how we rate insurance products to write unbiased product reviews.

  • Travel medical insurance covers unexpected emergency medical expenses while traveling.
  • Travelers off to foreign countries or remote areas should strongly consider travel medical insurance.
  • If you have to use your travel medical insurance, keep all documents related to your treatment.

Of all the delights associated with travel to far-flung locales, getting sick or injured while away from home is low on the savvy traveler's list. Beyond gut-wrenching anxiety, seeking medical treatment in a foreign country can be exceedingly inconvenient and expensive.

The peace of mind that comes with travel insurance for the many things that could ail you while abroad is priceless. As options for travel-related insurance abound, it's essential to research, read the fine print, and act according to the specifics of your itinerary, pocketbook, and other needs.

Travel insurance reimburses you for any unexpected medical expenses incurred while traveling. On domestic trips, travel medical insurance usually take a backseat to your health insurance. However, when traveling to a foreign country, where your primary health insurance can't cover you, travel medical insurance takes the wheel. This can be especially helpful in countries with high medical care costs, such as Scandinavian countries.

Emergency medical evacuation insurance

Another benefit that often comes with travel medical insurance, emergency medical evacuation insurance covers you for any costs to transport you to an adequately equipped medical center. Emergency medical evacuation insurance is often paired with repatriation insurance, which covers costs associated with returning your remains to your home country if the worst happens. 

These benefits are for worst-case scenarios, but they might be more necessary depending on the type of trips you take. Emergency medical evacuation insurance is helpful if you're planning on traveling to a remote location or if you're traveling on a cruise as sea to land evacuations can be costly. Some of the best travel insurance companies also offer non-medical evacuations as part of an adventure sports insurance package.

It's also worth mentioning that emergency medical evacuation insurance is required for international students studying in the US on a J Visa. 

Types of coverage offered by travel medical insurance

The exact terms of your coverage will vary depending on your insurer, but you can expect most travel medical insurance policies to offer the following coverages.

  • Hospital room and board
  • Inpatient/outpatient hospital services
  • Prescription Drugs
  • COVID-19 treatment
  • Emergency room services
  • Urgent care visits
  • Local ambulance
  • Acute onset of pre-existing conditions
  • Dental coverage (accident/sudden relief of pain)
  • Medical care due to terrorist attack
  • Emergency medical evacuation 
  • Repatriation of mortal remains
  • Accidental death and dismemberment

Travel medical insurance and pre-existing conditions

Many travel insurance providers will cover pre-existing conditions as long as certain conditions are met. For one, travelers need to purchase their travel insurance within a certain time frame from when they placed a deposit on their trip, usually two to three weeks. 

Additionally, travel insurance companies usually only cover stable medical conditions, which are conditions that don't need additional medical treatment, diagnosis, or medications.

Who needs travel medical insurance?

Even the best-laid travel plans can go awry. As such, it pays to consider your potential healthcare needs before taking off, even if you are generally healthy. Even if well-managed, preexisting conditions like diabetes or asthma can make a medical backup plan even more vital.

Having what you need to refill prescriptions or get other care if you get stuck somewhere other than home could be essential to your health and well-being. That's without counting all the accidents and illnesses that can hit us when away from home.

Individuals traveling for extended periods (more than six months) or engaging in high-risk activities (think scuba diving or parasailing) should also consider a solid medical travel plan. Both scenarios increase the likelihood that medical attention, whether routine or emergency, could be needed.

In the case of travel via the friendly seas, it's also worth considering cruise trip travel insurance . Routine care will be available onboard. But anything beyond that will require transportation to the nearest land mass (and could quickly become extremely expensive, especially if you're in another country).

Like other types of insurance, medical travel insurance rates are calculated based on various factors. Failing to disclose a preexisting health condition could result in a lapse of coverage right when you need it, as insurers can cancel your policy if you withhold material information. So honesty is always the best policy.

Even the best-laid travel plans can go awry. As such, it pays to consider your potential healthcare needs before taking off, even if you are generally healthy. Making the right choice when shopping for travel medical insurance can mean the difference between a minor hiccup in your travels and a financial nightmare. 

When a travel insurance company comes up with a quote for your policy, they take a few factors into consideration, such as your age, your destination, and the duration of your trip. You should do the same when assessing a travel insurance company. 

For example, older travelers who are more susceptible to injury may benefit from travel medical insurance (though your premiums will be higher). If you're traveling for extended periods throughout one calendar year, you should look into an annual travel medical insurance plan . If you're engaging in high-risk activities (think scuba diving or parasailing), you should seek a plan that includes coverage for injuries sustained in adventure sports.

In the case of travel via the friendly seas, it's also worth considering cruise trip medical travel insurance. Routine care will be available onboard. But anything beyond that will require transportation to the nearest land mass (and could quickly become extremely expensive, especially if you're in another country).

Travel medical insurance isn't just for peace of mind. If you travel often enough, there's a good chance you'll eventually experience an incident where medical treatment is necessary.

Before you submit your claim, you should take some time to understand your policy. Your travel medical insurance is either primary (you can submit claims directly to your travel medical insurance provider) or secondary (you must first submit claims to your primary insurance provider). In the case of secondary travel medical insurance, a refusal notice from your primary insurance provider, even if it does not cover medical claims outside the US, is often required as evidence of protocol.

On that note, you should be sure to document every step of your medical treatment. You should keep any receipts for filled prescriptions, hospital bills, and anything else documenting your medical emergency.

As many people have found out the hard way, reading the fine print is vital. Most travel insurance policies will reimburse your prepaid, nonrefundable expenses if you fall ill with a severe condition, including illnesses like COVID-19. 

Still on the fence about whether or not  travel insurance is worth it ? It's worth noting that many travel insurance plans also include medical protections, so you can also protect against trip cancellations and other unexpected developments while obtaining travel medical insurance.

While short, domestic trips may not warrant travel medical insurance, it may be a good idea to insure longer, international trips. You should also consider travel medical insurance for trips to remote areas, where a medical evacuation may be expensive, and more physically tasking trips.

While shopping for travel medical insurance may not be fun, a little advance leg work can let you relax on your trip and give you peace of mind. After all, that is the point of a vacation. 

Medical travel insurance frequently asked questions

Trip insurance covers any unexpected financial losses while traveling, such as the cost of replacing lost luggage, trip interruptions, and unexpected medical expenses. Travel medical insurance just covers those medical expenses without the trip interruption or cancellation insurance.

Travel insurance companies usually offer adventure sports as add-on coverage or a separate plan entirely. You'll likely pay more for a policy with adventure sports coverage. 

Many travel medical insurance policies now include coverage for COVID-19 related medical expenses and treat it like any other illness. However, you should double-check your policy to ensure that is the case.

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Please note: While the offers mentioned above are accurate at the time of publication, they're subject to change at any time and may have changed, or may no longer be available.

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The Best Travel Medical Insurance of 2024

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Allianz Travel Insurance »

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Seven Corners »

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GeoBlue »

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WorldTrips »

Why Trust Us

U.S. News evaluates ratings, data and scores of more than 50 travel insurance companies from comparison websites like TravelInsurance.com, Squaremouth and InsureMyTrip, plus renowned credit rating agency AM Best, in addition to reviews and recommendations from top travel industry sources and consumers to determine the Best Travel Medical Insurance Plans.

Table of Contents

  • Allianz Travel Insurance
  • Seven Corners

Buying travel insurance is a smart move for any type of trip, but you may not need a policy that covers everything under the sun. If you don't need coverage for trip cancellations or delays because you're relying on your travel credit card to offer these protections, for example, you may find you only need emergency medical coverage that works away from home.

Still, travel medical coverage varies widely based on included benefits, policy limits and more. If you're comparing travel insurance plans and hoping to find the best option for unexpected medical expenses, read on to learn which policies we recommend.

Frequently Asked Questions

The term travel insurance usually describes a comprehensive travel insurance policy that includes coverage for medical expenses as well as trip cancellations and interruptions, trip delays, lost baggage, and more. Meanwhile, travel medical insurance is coverage that focuses on paying for emergency medical expenses and other related care.

Travelers need international health insurance if they're visiting a place where their own health coverage will not apply. This typically includes all international trips away from home since U.S. health plans limit coverage to care required in the United States.

Note that if you don't have travel health insurance and you become sick or injured abroad, you'll be responsible for paying back any health care costs you incur.

Many travel insurance policies cover emergency medical expenses you incur during a covered trip. However, the included benefits of each policy can vary widely, and so can the policy limits that apply.

If you're looking for a travel insurance policy that offers sufficient protection for unexpected medical expenses, you'll typically want to choose a plan with at least $100,000 in coverage for emergency medical care and at least that much in protection for emergency medical evacuation and transportation.

However, higher limits can provide even more protection from overseas medical bills, which can become pricey depending on the type of care you need. As just one example, Allianz says the average cost of emergency medical evacuation can easily reach up to $200,000 or more depending on where you’re traveling.

Your U.S. health insurance policy almost never covers medical expenses incurred abroad. The same is true for most people on Medicare and especially Medicaid. If you want to ensure you have travel medical coverage that applies overseas, you should purchase a travel insurance plan with adequate limits for every trip. Read the U.S. News article on this topic for more information.

The cost of travel medical insurance can vary depending on the age of the travelers, the type of coverage purchased, the length of the trip and other factors. You can use a comparison site like TravelInsurance.com to explore different travel medical insurance plans and their cost.

  • Allianz Travel Insurance: Best Overall
  • Seven Corners: Best for Families
  • GeoBlue: Best for Expats
  • WorldTrips: Best Cost

Coverage for preexisting conditions is available as an add-on

Easy to purchase as needed for individual trips

Relatively low limits for medical expenses

No coverage for trip cancellations or trip interruption

  • Up to $50,000 in emergency medical coverage
  • Up to $250,000 in emergency medical evacuation coverage
  • Up to $2,000 in coverage for baggage loss and damage
  • Up to $600 in baggage delay insurance
  • Up to $1,000 for travel delays
  • Up to $10,000 in travel accident insurance
  • 24-hour hotline assistance
  • Concierge services

SEE FULL REVIEW »

Purchase comprehensive medical coverage worth up to $5 million

Coverage for families with up to 10 people

Low coverage amounts for trip interruption

Medical coverage options vary by age

  • Up to $5 million in comprehensive medical coverage
  • Up to $500,000 in emergency evacuation coverage
  • Up to $10,000 in coverage for incidental trips to home country
  • Up to $25,000 in coverage for terrorist activity
  • Up to $500 in accidental dental emergency coverage
  • Up to $100 per occurrence in coverage for emergency eye exams
  • $50,000 in coverage for local burial or cremation
  • 24/7 travel assistance
  • Up to $25,000 in coverage for accidental death and dismemberment per traveler
  • Up to $500 for loss of checked baggage
  • Up to $5,000 for trip interruptions
  • Up to $100 per day for trip delays
  • Up to $50,000 for personal liability

Qualify for international health insurance with no annual or lifetime caps

Use coverage within the U.S. with select providers

Deductible from $500 to $10,000 can apply

Doesn't come with any nonmedical travel insurance benefits

  • Up to $250,000 in coverage for emergency medical evacuation
  • Up to $25,000 for repatriation of mortal remains
  • $50,000 in coverage for accidental death and dismemberment

High limits for medical insurance and emergency medical evacuation

Covers multiple trips over a period of up to 364 days

Deductible of $250 required for each covered trip

Copays required for medical care received in the U.S.

  • Up to $1,000,000 of maximum coverage
  • Up to $1,000,000 for emergency medical evacuation
  • Up to $10,000 for trip interruptions
  • Up to $1,000 for lost checked luggage
  • Up to $100 per day for travel delays
  • Up to $25,000 in personal liability coverage
  • Medical coverage for eligible expenses related to COVID-19
  • Ability to add coverage for your spouse and/or child(ren)
  • Repatriation of remains coverage up to overall limit
  • Up to $5,000 for local burial or cremation 
  • $10,000 to $50,000 for common carrier accidental death

Why Trust U.S. News Travel

Holly Johnson is an award-winning content creator who has been writing about travel insurance and travel for more than a decade. She has researched travel insurance options for her own vacations and family trips to more than 50 countries around the world and has experience navigating the claims and reimbursement process. In fact, she has successfully filed several travel insurance claims for trip delays and trip cancellations over the years. Johnson also works alongside her husband, Greg, who has been licensed to sell travel insurance in 50 states, in their family media business.

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In just a few short weeks, summer travel will be well underway. Almost 82% of all American adults (more than 212 million people) intend to travel this summer, with 25% planning on traveling internationally, according to The Vacationer , a travel data-tracking website. And 40% of people plan to travel more this year than they did last year, according to Forbes ,. If this summer’s travel season turns out to be anything like last year's, book early, budget more and plan on delays.

And while you’re at it, consider your options for travel insurance . While vacation is supposed to be a time of fun and relaxation, accidents can occur. For this reason, it’s better to be safe than sorry.  

What is travel medical insurance? 

Travel medical insurance can help you pay for emergency medical expenses that arise when you’re on a trip, such as if you become ill or experience an injury and need to go to the hospital. Even if you have a U.S. health insurance plan, most provide little or no coverage abroad. Medicare does not provide coverage abroad either.  

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Here’s what travel medical insurance covers:  

  • Emergency medical expenses: ambulance service, doctor and hospital bills, X-rays, etc.
  • Medical evacuation
  • Prescription medications
  • 24-hour assistance services
  • Accidental death and dismemberment

Travel medical insurance does not cover expenses incurred as a result of routine medical exams, elective care, extreme sport injuries or intoxication. Typically, pre-existing conditions are also not covered, unless you qualify for a pre-existing medical condition exclusion waiver. 

You can choose from a number of policy types when deciding on a travel medical insurance policy. 

Single-trip coverage: As the name suggests, a single-trip insurance policy provides coverage for a single trip, from the time you leave, to the time you return.

Multi-trip coverage: Also called annual trip insurance, multi-trip coverage covers all trips in a calendar year, as long as each trip does not exceed a certain number of days.

Primary coverage: Your travel medical insurance will pay out before any other health insurance you have. 

Secondary coverage:  Claims are first filed with your existing health insurance provider. If your U.S. health plan doesn’t provide coverage overseas or cannot cover all expenses, then you will file a claim with your travel insurance company.

When should you get travel medical insurance?

Approximately 13% of people have had medical issues while traveling abroad that required care, according to a 2022 study from GeoBlue . At the same time, the study found that 76% of consumers either don't know how they would pay for medical treatment abroad or likely won't have adequate coverage, and 46% expect to use their existing domestic health insurance plan.

If you intend on traveling outside of the U.S. it’s a good idea to purchase some form of travel medical insurance, even if you're in good health. This way, you’re not stuck paying medical costs up-front in the case of an accident or emergency, since most U.S. health insurance policies don’t provide coverage abroad. 

You may also consider opting for a comprehensive health insurance policy, which also offers trip cancellation, lost luggage and trip delay coverage, but it will cost more. These benefits usually come with premium travel credit cards as well. Check out our article on credit cards with travel insurance .

United Healthcare recommends travel medical insurance for all travelers, particularly:

  • Families with children
  • Anyone visiting a country that speaks a different language
  • People with chronic conditions
  • Solo travelers
  • Travelers to a remote location

How much does travel medical insurance cost?

How much travel medical insurance costs depends on several factors, including the country you're visiting, how old you are, deductible amounts, and how much coverage you'll need. How much you pay also depends on whether or not you're opting for individual coverage or need coverage for family members who are traveling with you, such as your spouse or kids.

Policies average between $40 and $80, according to Travelers.com , but higher coverage limits and longer coverage terms typically increase the cost of the policy. The average price for a stand-alone travel medical insurance policy is a bit higher than this estimate, at $97, according to SquareMouth Travel Insurance .

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Erin pairs personal experience with research and is passionate about sharing personal finance advice with others. Previously, she was a freelancer focusing on the credit card side of finance, but has branched out since then to cover other aspects of personal finance. Erin is well-versed in traditional media with reporting, interviewing and research, as well as using graphic design and video and audio storytelling to share with her readers.

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When Does Travel Insurance Cover Existing Medical Conditions?

pre-existing medical conditions

Travel insurance is more than a perk or a “nice to have.” A  travel insurance plan  can save your travel investment if you must cancel your trip for covered health reasons caused by pre-existing medical conditions. But in order for this to happen, you’ll need to select a plan that offers a Pre-Existing Medical Condition Exclusion Waiver, and also meet specified conditions. Additionally,  emergency medical coverage  can reimburse you for the costs of getting covered medical treatment domestically or overseas.

What is a Pre-Existing Condition?

We know this can seem complicated. We’re here to help. Before we jump into the details of how you can obtain a travel insurance plan that can cover a pre-existing condition, let’s define exactly what we’re talking about. Quite simply, a pre-existing condition is an injury, illness or medical condition that caused someone to seek treatment, presented symptoms, or required medication. This may have taken place anytime within 120 days prior to and including the plan’s purchase date. Note that you don’t even need an official medical diagnosis from a physician for something to be considered a pre-existing condition.

How to Meet Conditions for a Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion Waiver

We know that the term is a mouthful, but the conditions needed to qualify for a Pre-Existing Condition Exclusion Waiver are fairly straightforward.

First and foremost, you must insure your full nonrefundable trip costs. From there, if you insure the full cost of your trip within 14 days of paying your first trip deposit, and you're medically able to travel when you do so, you can be covered for most existing medical conditions. We’re going to cover each of these conditions a bit more in depth below.

Note that all travel insurance plans cover existing medical conditions. Certain travel insurance products from Allianz Global Assistance do — but specific requirements apply. Below are three hypothetical examples to help you understand how to make sure your existing medical condition is covered.

For travel insurance to cover your pre-existing condition, you must be medically able to travel on the day you purchase your plan.

After suffering debilitating pain in your left knee for three years, you've finally scheduled a total knee replacement. You get the procedure done and find that your recovery goes more swiftly than expected. After two weeks of physical therapy, your doctor says she's amazed at your progress. Heartened to hear this, you book a cycling trip through the French Alps for the fall and you purchase travel insurance to protect it. If you suffer knee problems and you have to cancel the trip, are you covered?

With a pre-existing medical condition, the safest course of action is to get your physician's certification that you're fine to travel before you book your trip. Allianz Global Assistance’s travel insurance requires you to be medically able to travel on the day you buy your  plan. It doesn't matter if you expect to be able to travel in the future, or if your doctor says you should be able to travel by the time you're scheduled to leave.

Let's say you book that cycling trip and your travel insurance 12 weeks after your surgery, when you're feeling pretty good and you can take long walks around the neighborhood. Don't assume you're medically able to travel. If you end up making a travel insurance claim related to your knee, Allianz Global Assistance may review your medical records and talk to your physician to determine your condition at the time you bought insurance.

One more important thing to understand: the "medically able to travel" only applies to the people named in the insuranceplan . If your mother has uncontrolled diabetes, for instance, you need existing medical condition coverage in case you need to cancel your trip because she's in the hospital. But your mother does not need to be medically able to travel in order for you to be covered.

For a pre-existing medical condition to be covered, you must insure your full nonrefundable trip costs.

You just booked the trip of a lifetime, a two-week European river cruise with your sister. You hold out on buying your plane ticket, however, because you're hoping airfares to Paris will drop. A few weeks later, you grab that cheap ticket — whew! — but you forget to update your plan by adding the airfare cost to your coverage. Then, a week before departure, your sister (who has long suffered from hypertension) has a major change in her medication and her doctor won’t let her travel. Will travel insurance cover your trip cancellation?

Your travel companion's condition would have been considered a covered reason for trip cancellation if you had insured your full trip costs. Because you didn't, your travel insurance plan would not cover cancellations caused by pre-existing medical conditions. If you had to cancel for another covered reason — because the covered cruise operator went out of business, for instance — your travel insurance would cover the trip cancellation.

Travel insurance only covers pre-existing medical conditions if you buy your plan within 14 days (depending on your plan) of making your first trip payment or deposit.

You and your husband are both nature lovers, and to celebrate your 25th anniversary you're planning a two-week stay at a luxury eco-resort in Costa Rica. You buy travel insurance to protect your trip investment, but not until  three weeks  after the trip purchase. Because you waited, pre-existing medical conditions aren't covered. No problem, you think. You're both fit and healthy. Except your husband has had some urinary problems over the past few months, so you make him go to the urologist before the trip. Bad news: he has a prostate condition that will keep him grounded. It's treatable, but you'll have to cancel the trip. Is this trip cancellation covered?

For Allianz Global Assistance travel insurance plans, an existing medical condition is defined as an illness or injury that exhibited symptoms or was treated any time 120 days prior to purchasing your plan. In this instance, your trip cancellation due to an existing medical condition would have been covered if you had bought travel insurance within  14 days  of paying your first trip deposit.

Three more things you need to know about travel insurance and existing medical conditions

  • Certain pre-existing medical conditions are excluded from Allianz Global Assistance’s travel insurance coverage, such as mental and nervous health conditions, bipolar disorder, and Alzheimer's disease.
  • There's a cap on trip costs when you're buying travel insurance with pre-existing medical condition coverage, so be sure to know the amounts.
  • You must be a U.S. resident to buy travel insurance with existing medical condition coverage.

We encourage customers to contact our insurance advisers at 1-866-884-3556. They'll answer your questions and help you find the travel insurance plan that's best for your unique needs. Safe travels!

Related Articles

  • Emergency Medical Insurance for Travel
  • Medical Travel Insurance Benefits
  • How to Use Your Trip Delay Benefit and When to Cancel

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Terms, conditions, and exclusions apply. Please see your plan for full details. Benefits/Coverage may vary by state, and sublimits may apply.

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Insurance benefits underwritten by BCS Insurance Company (OH, Administrative Office: 2 Mid America Plaza, Suite 200, Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181), rated “A” (Excellent) by A.M. Best Co., under BCS Form No. 52.201 series or 52.401 series, or Jefferson Insurance Company (NY, Administrative Office: 9950 Mayland Drive, Richmond, VA 23233), rated “A+” (Superior) by A.M. Best Co., under Jefferson Form No. 101-C series or 101-P series, depending on your state of residence and plan chosen. A+ (Superior) and A (Excellent) are the 2nd and 3rd highest, respectively, of A.M. Best's 13 Financial Strength Ratings. Plans only available to U.S. residents and may not be available in all jurisdictions. Allianz Global Assistance and Allianz Travel Insurance are marks of AGA Service Company dba Allianz Global Assistance or its affiliates. Allianz Travel Insurance products are distributed by Allianz Global Assistance, the licensed producer and administrator of these plans and an affiliate of Jefferson Insurance Company. The insured shall not receive any special benefit or advantage due to the affiliation between AGA Service Company and Jefferson Insurance Company. Plans include insurance benefits and assistance services. Any Non-Insurance Assistance services purchased are provided through AGA Service Company. Except as expressly provided under your plan, you are responsible for charges you incur from third parties. Contact AGA Service Company at  800-284-8300 or 9950 Mayland Drive, Richmond, VA 23233 or [email protected] .

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Choose the plan that meets your needs and spend more time enjoying your international experience not worrying about your insurance coverage.

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What type of coverage do you need?

Vacation / holiday, visitor / immigrant, student / scholar, employer / business traveler, expat / global citizen, mission / social good, marine captain / crew.

  • Flights / Airfare
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Travel Medical Insurance

Temporary coverage for accidents, sicknesses, & emergency evacuations when visiting or traveling outside of your home country.

Popular Plans

International health insurance.

Annually renewable international private medical insurance coverage for expats and global citizens living or working internationally.

Travel Insurance

Coverage designed to protect you from financial losses should your trip be delayed, interrupted, or cancelled.

Individual & Family Services

Non-insurance services for worldwide emergency evacuation, field rescue, medical transport, and 24/7/365 travel assistance.

Enterprise Services

Meet your duty of care obligations with confidence, knowing your travelers are safe, healthy, and connected wherever they may be in the world.

What type of organization do you represent?

  • Corporations
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  • Maritime Industries
  • Government Agencies
  • Non-Profit Organizations

Medical & Travel Assistance

Global workers' compensation case management, security assistance services, insurance administrative services, see prices & compare our travel medical plans.

T ravel Medical Insurance protects you in the event of an illness or injury when traveling outside of your country of residence. It provides key medical benefits in case of an emergency.

Traveling abroad is an exciting experience, but unpredictable illnesses and accidents can happen. Even worse, the resulting medical bills can be overwhelming. The level of international medical coverage provided by your domestic insurance provider can vary greatly depending on your plan, so you may have very limited coverage or no coverage at all. A travel medical insurance plan can provide the coverage you need. For more information, check out our blog: " How to Choose the Best Travel Medical Insurance Plan ."

Travel medical coverage is ideal for:

  • International vacationers
  • Relatives visiting from overseas
  • People going on cruises, safaris or guided tours
  • International business travelers
  • Students studying abroad

International Medical Group ®  (IMG ® ) also offers travel insurance  that protects your health as well as your trip costs and travel expenses. And if you need long-term medical coverage, check out our  international health insurance . IMG plans include a wide range of medical benefits, protection, and support should a problem arise.

Popular Travel Medical Plans Ideal for Traveling Outside of Your Home Country

Patriot Platinum Travel Medical Insurance

Patriot Platinum Travel Medical Insurance

Temporary first-class health insurance for individuals, families, and groups

  • COVID-19 coverage for travelers to the U.S.
  • Coverages for inside and outside the U.S. ( Patriot America Platinum / Patriot International Platinum )
  • Short-term travel medical coverage
  • Coverage for individuals, groups, and their dependents
  • Higher Limits & More Coverage than Patriot Lite Travel or Patriot Plus
  • Freedom to seek treatment with hospital or doctor of your choice

Summary of Benefits

iTravelInsured Travel SE

iTravelInsured Travel SE

Family-friendly plan for domestic and international destinations

  • Trip cancellation benefit up to 100% of trip cost
  • Trip interruption benefit up to 150% of trip cost
  • 24/7 access to telehealth services for non-emergency medical issues
  • $250,000 medical expense coverage for unexpected illnesses & accidents while traveling (including COVID-19)
  • Sickness, injury, or death of pet included as trip cancellation/trip interruption covered peril
  • Travel protection plan consists of travel insurance and other non-insurance travel assistance service

Plan Benefits

The iTravelInsured Travel SE program is our most popular plan for domestic and international destinations. Travel Insurance benefits are available whether traveling on a cruise, tour or vacation abroad.

Patriot America Plus

Patriot America Plus

Temporary health insurance for non-U.S. residents traveling to the USA

  • Coverage for inside the U.S.
  • Made for individuals, groups, and their dependents
  • Coverage for Acute Onset of Pre-Existing Conditions*

Additional Travel Medical Insurance Plans

Patriot Lite Travel Medical Insurance

Patriot Lite Travel Medical Insurance

Temporary health insurance for individuals, families, and groups when traveling outside of your home country.

Visitors Care

Visitors Care

Temporary fixed coverage health insurance for non-U.S. residents when traveling outside of your home country.

Student & Scholar Insurance

Student & Scholar Insurance

Student health insurance plans tailored to fit the needs of international students involved in educational or cultural exchange.

GlobeHopper Senior

GlobeHopper Senior

Temporary health insurance for travelers age 65+ when traveling outside of your home country.

Patriot Multi-Trip Travel Medical Insurance

Patriot Multi-Trip Travel Medical Insurance

Annual multi-trip travel medical insurance for individuals, families and groups.

Outreach Travel Medical Insurance

Outreach Travel Medical Insurance

Temporary health insurance for missionaries and mission groups when traveling outside of your home country.

Need Extra Protection and Coverage?

Explore our travel insurance options.

Why Do I Need Travel Medical Insurance?

D epending on where you travel, you may encounter language and currency barriers that prevent you from accessing high-quality medical care. Check out IMG’s Why You Need Travel Medical Insurance Now More Than Ever to learn more about some of these challenges.

Traveling unprotected can leave you vulnerable to paying high out-of-pocket medical expenses, and navigating a foreign health care system without the assistance you need.

However, with a travel medical insurance plan, you can worry less and experience more knowing you have medical coverage and a trusted health advisor who can support you in your time of need.

Get even more information by checking out our article,  “Do I Need Travel Medical Insurance?”

How Much Does Travel Medical Insurance Cost? Less than $3 per day for an average plan.

Like other travelers, you may be wondering if the coverage is worth the cost. It may surprise you to learn that IMG’s travel medical plans can cost less than $3 per day (based on an average plan) and can provide coverage worth well beyond your initial cost. Pick a plan and get protected.

Factors that Determine Cost The cost of a plan varies based on many factors including:

Age of traveler.

Age is one of the primary factors that determines insurance rates. Each IMG plan has a complete breakdown of insurance rates based on ages that can be found in the plan brochure.

Destination

Medical expenses vary around the world. To provide the best balance of coverage and cost, plan coverage rates may be different for a traveler visiting the United States than they are for a traveler in a destination where healthcare is less expensive.

Duration of Trip

A breakdown of daily rates and monthly rates can be found in IMG plan brochures. If you need long-term coverage (1 year or more), view our international health insurance plans .

Deductible, Maximum Limit, & Additional Optional Coverage

Customize your plan by choosing the deductible amount, maximum limit, and any optional rider that is best for you.

When Is Travel Health Insurance required? Some countries may require you to purchase travel health insurance to gain entry.

Traveling to schengen countries.

Schengen countries require visa applicants to prove they have travel medical insurance to cover expenses for repatriation, urgent medical attention, emergency hospital treatment and more. Read our blog about  Countries that Require Travel Medical Insurance for Entry to learn more.

Other Situations

You may also be required to purchase travel health insurance depending on the purpose of your trip. The U.S., for example, requires those traveling on a J1 or J2 visa to maintain a certain level of medical coverage for the duration of their stay. However, if you're visiting the U.S. on a B2 visa, a travel medical insurance plan is only recommended. Find out How to Choose the Best Visitor Insurance Plan for You .

Travelers embarking on other trips — such as organized tours, working holiday schemes, mission trips, and cruises — may also be required to purchase coverage.

These are just a few reasons when you would be required to purchase Travel Medical Insurance. See the full list for 6 Times You Need to Purchase Travel Medical Insurance.

Recent Blog Articles

Where can you travel internationally right now.

There are many international destinations that you can currently visit, but here are eight popular spots to consider for your next leisure getaway.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you're planning a trip with multiple destinations, such as a vacation to Europe, you'll want to select the country that you plan on spending the most time in. Your travel medical insurance will cover you for the entirety of your trip and in countries outside of your own.

Yes, the insured does not have to be the one that fills out the application. You can purchase a travel medical plan for your parents, friends, or relatives as long as you have the necessary information.

As non-resident aliens, international students on F, J, M and Q visas (and certain family members of students) are not subject to the individual mandate for their first 5 years in the U.S. All other J categories (teacher, trainee, work and travel, au pair, high school, etc.) are not subject to the individual mandate for 2 years (out of the past six).

Since international students are not subject to the mandate, they are not required to purchase a plan that meets PPACA requirements and can purchase an appropriate IMG plan.

International Students – Exempt as Non-Resident Aliens

Under the IRS international student exemption , anyone “temporarily in the United States on an “F”, “J”, “M”, or “Q” visa for the primary purpose of studying at an accredited academic institution or vocational school (and certain family members of students), and who substantially complies with the requirements of that visa,” is exempt from being treated as a resident alien, and is therefore exempt from the individual mandate as a non-resident alien.

That exemption applies for 5 years. After 5 years, a student is no longer exempt, and the substantial presence test must be applied. See examples here .

Even after 5 years in the U.S., an international student may continue to be a non-resident alien for tax purposes under the “Closer Connection” exception if they can prove that they still have a closer connection to their home country than to the U.S.

The Individual Mandate and Alien / Non-Alien Status

The IRS provides a questions and answers page on the individual mandate. Question 11 asks whether all individuals living in the U.S. are subject to the mandate. The answer is that U.S. citizens and permanent legal residents are subject to the mandate, as are “foreign nationals who are in the U.S. long enough during a calendar year to qualify as resident aliens for tax purposes.” Thus, non-resident aliens are not subject to the individual mandate, even if they have to file a tax return.

Am I a Resident or Non-Resident Alien?

The IRS states that you are a non-resident alien unless you meet either the green card test or the substantial presence test.

Under IRS Publication 519 , Tax Guide for Aliens (the green card test), green card holders are resident aliens for tax purposes. The substantial presence test uses a formula to count the number of days present in the U.S. over the past 3 years. Generally, you a resident alien after six months of presence in the U.S. – unless you are exempt.

IMG’s international travel medical products are not a substitute for minimum essential coverage that you may need to have under PPACA. However, since most PPACA plans do not provide the types of international benefits and assistance that travelers need, you should strongly consider purchasing an international travel medical plan such as IMG’s Patriot Lite Travel Medical Insurance for coverage while you travel outside of the U.S.

If you are a U.S. citizen, national or an “alien lawfully present” in the U.S., you will need to maintain minimum essential coverage unless you are exempt. Exemptions include:

  • Individuals not residing in the U.S.
  • Non-U.S. citizens who are “non-resident aliens” (for U.S. income tax purposes). See Am I a Resident or Non-Resident Alien?
  • Individuals with a coverage gap of less than 3 months.
  • Individuals who cannot afford coverage (i.e. required contribution exceeds 8% of
  • household income).
  • Individuals with a religious conscience exemption (applies only to certain faiths).
  • Members of a health care sharing ministry.
  • Incarcerated individuals.
  • Individuals with income below the tax filing threshold; and
  • Members of Indian tribes

In general, PPACA does not govern short-term limited duration insurance, like IMG’s short-term travel medical insurance programs.

However, please understand that under PPACA, as of January 1, 2014, extensions of short-term coverage will be limited to less than 12 months to meet the definition of a short-term limited duration plan.

IMG’s international travel medical products are not a substitute for minimum essential coverage that you may need to have under PPACA. If you are a U.S. citizen, national or legal resident alien in the U.S., you will need to maintain minimum essential coverage unless you are exempt. Exemptions include:

  • Non-U.S. citizens who are “non-resident aliens” (for U.S. income tax purposes).  See Am I a Resident or Non-Resident Alien? 
  • Individuals with a coverage gap of less than 3 months
  • Individuals who cannot afford coverage (i.e. required contribution exceeds 8% of household income)
  • Individuals with a religious conscience exemption (applies only to certain faiths)
  • Members of a health care sharing ministry
  • Incarcerated individuals

You will not need PPACA coverage for short-term travel to the U.S., unless you are considered an “alien lawfully present” in the U.S. See I am a Non-U.S. citizen covered under a Global Medical Insurance Plan .

In general, PPACA does not govern short-term limited duration insurance, like IMG’s short-term travel medical insurance programs .

However please understand that under PPACA, as of January 1, 2014, extensions of short-term coverage will be limited to less than 12 months to meet the definition of a short-term limited duration plan.

The "Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act," commonly known as PPACA, was first introduced as a measure to deal with rising healthcare costs and numbers of uninsured.

The heart of PPACA consists of three provisions: guaranteed issue (insurers must offer coverage regardless of the applicant's health status or pre-existing conditions), community rating (insurers must offer policies within a given territory at the same price regardless of health status, age, gender, or other factors), and an individual mandate. The individual mandate assures that everyone has a minimum amount of coverage: those above a certain annual income are required to purchase coverage or incur a tax penalty; those who cannot afford it will have their coverage paid for by the government.

As PPACA continues to be implemented and challenged throughout the country, understanding the issues and implications for the international insurance industry and your business becomes all the more important.

Insurance prices are regulated by the government - you won't find a better price on IMG insurance plans anywhere else.  

IMG plans provide you access to more than 17,000 providers through our International Provider Access (IPA) while you're outside of the United States. Our multilingual customer service centers, claims administrators, and 24-hour emergency care coordinators are ready if the unforeseen does happen during your mission trip. 

Visitors should plan to get insurance after they plan their trip and receive their visa, but before they arrive in the U.S. The effective dates for coverage should match their visa.

If you were to suffer an injury or get sick while visiting the United States, you might be surprised by the cost of medical care. You may also be surprised by the limited assistance your domestic insurance provider can provide while you're visiting. Visitor insurance coverage in the U.S. helps to ensure that you don't incur any unforeseen expenses, receive excellent care, and get home quickly and safely if anything were to happen during your visit. 

In addition to the medical and health coverage, healthcare provider access, and other benefits you expect from IMG plans, we offer missionary-specific insurance benefits like coverage for furlough and political evacuations. See your plan befits information for more!

Once your plan is purchased and you have your plan documents, you will have the information you'll need to complete your school's waiver. 

Check with your school to get your waiver status. 

To show proof of insurance, simply download or print a copy of the ID card and/or confirmation letter and provide it to your school's program administrator.

IMG plans include customization options and add-ons, including add-on coverage for high school sports, interscholastic, intramural, or club sports, personal liability and legal assistance. 

If you are applying for coverage under the Patriot series of plans, IMG will process your application and send your ID card and other documents within one business day. If you are applying for coverage under the Global or Group series, IMG will process your application within three to four business days following the receipt of all required information, and your materials will be forwarded the same day coverage is approved. Every attempt will be made to process your application timely. The specific time frame depends largely on the type of coverage for which you are applying. 

This is not an offer to enter into an insurance contract. This is only a summary and shall not bind the company or require the company to offer or write any insurance at any particular rate or to any particular group or individual. The information on this page does and will not affect, modify or supersede in any way the policy, certificate of insurance and governing policy documents (together the "Insurance Contract"). The actual rates and benefits are governed by the Insurance Contract and nothing else. Benefits are subject to exclusions and limitations.

Select why you are away from home.

Get plan recommendations and helpful resources., government services.

  • "Although one hopes never to use travel insurance, IMG was a godsend throughout our ordeal. We couldn’t have done it without your continued assistance." Joan D. United States

" I took comfort in the fact that IMG had my back. "

While skiing in Chile, Mark, an IMG member, found himself on the brink of paralysis.

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Travel insurance

Best travel insurance companies of June 2024

Amy Fontinelle

Heidi Gollub

Heidi Gollub

“Verified by an expert” means that this article has been thoroughly reviewed and evaluated for accuracy.

Updated 2:16 p.m. UTC June 7, 2024

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Editorial Note: Blueprint may earn a commission from affiliate partner links featured here on our site. This commission does not influence our editors' opinions or evaluations. Please view our full advertiser disclosure policy .

WorldTrips is the best travel insurance company of 2024 , based on our in-depth analysis of travel insurance policies. Its Atlas Journey Elevate plan gets the top score in our rating because of the extensive coverage it provides for the price. It offers best-in-class emergency medical and evacuation benefits, as well as high limits for baggage insurance.

Best travel insurance of 2024

  • WorldTrips : Best travel insurance.
  • Travel Insured International : Best for emergency evacuation.
  • TravelSafe : Best for missed connections.
  • Aegis : Cheapest travel insurance.
  • Travelex : Best for families.
  • AIG : Best for add-on coverage options.
  • Nationwide : Best for cruise itinerary changes.

Why trust our travel insurance experts

Our travel insurance experts evaluate hundreds of insurance products and analyze thousands of data points to help you find the best trip insurance for your situation. We use a data-driven methodology to determine each rating. Advertisers do not influence our editorial content . You can read more about our methodology below.

  • 1,855 coverage details evaluated.
  • 567 rates reviewed.
  • 5 levels of fact-checking.

Best travel insurance companies

Best travel insurance.

WorldTrips

Top travel insurance plans

Average cost, medical limit per person, why it’s the best.

If you’re looking for the best travel insurance for international travel , WorldTrips’ Atlas Journey Elevate plan gives you $250,000 in travel medical insurance with primary coverage. This plan is a good option if health insurance for international travel is a priority. It also has $1 million in emergency evacuation coverage. 

See our full WorldTrips travel insurance review .

Pros and cons

  • $250,000 in primary medical coverage.
  • $1 million per person in medical evacuation coverage.
  • Primary damage or loss baggage coverage of $500 per item, up to $2,500.
  • 5 optional upgrades, including pet care, adventure sports and rental car damage and theft.
  • No non-medical evacuation coverage.

Customer reviews

WorldTrips has a rating of 4.27 stars out of 5 on Squaremouth, based on 428 reviews of policies purchased through the travel insurance comparison site since 2008. 

Heidi’s expert take:   “WorldTrips offers primary coverage for emergency medical expense and for baggage damage or loss. This means the insurer will pay for your claim first and then seek recovery from any responsible third party, such as your health insurance provider, airline or homeowners insurance company (if your belongings are stolen). Travel insurance with secondary medical coverage might be cheaper, but then you’d have to file claims with third parties yourself, before you could turn to your travel insurance for help.” Heidi Gollub, Managing Editor of Insurance, USA TODAY Blueprint

Best travel insurance for emergency evacuation

Travel insured international.

Travel Insured International

Top travel insurance plan

If you’re traveling to a remote area, consider Travel Insured International’s Worldwide Trip Protector. It has the best travel insurance for emergency evacuation of travel insurance policies in our rating. This top travel insurance plan provides up to $1 million in emergency evacuation coverage per person and $150,000 in non-medical evacuation per person. It also has primary coverage for travel medical insurance benefits.

  • Only plan in our rating that offers $150,000 in non-medical evacuation coverage.
  • $500 per person baggage delay benefit only requires a 3-hour delay.
  • Optional rental car damage benefit up to $50,000.
  • Missed connection benefit of $500 per person is only available for cruises and tours.

Travel Insured International has a rating of 4.39 stars out of 5 on Squaremouth, based on 3,402 reviews of policies purchased on the travel insurance comparison site since 2004.

Heidi’s expert take:   “The Worldwide Trip Protector plan provides rare non-medical evacuation benefits of up to $150,000. If you’re traveling to an area at risk of a political, security or national disaster, this emergency evacuation coverage could help get you back to safety.” Heidi Gollub, Managing Editor of Insurance, USA TODAY Blueprint

Best travel insurance for missed connections

TravelSafe

TravelSafe offers good travel insurance for missed connections , with $2,500 in missed connection coverage for each person on the plan.

  • Best-in-class $2,500 per person in missed connection coverage.
  • $1 million per person in medical evacuation and $25,000 in non-medical evacuation coverage.
  • Generous $2,500 per person baggage and personal items loss benefit.
  • Most expensive of our best-rated travel insurance plans.
  • No “interruption for any reason” coverage option.
  • Weak baggage delay coverage of $250 per person after 12 hours.

TravelSafe has a rating of 4.3 stars out of 5 on Squaremouth, based on 1,506 reviews of policies purchased on the travel insurance comparison site since 2004.

Heidi’s expert take:   “If you miss out on prepaid vacation plans because you didn’t make a connecting flight, you’ll be glad for the $2,500 missed connection coverage. Some policies only provide missed connection coverage for cruises and tours, but TravelSafe Classic doesn’t impose that restriction.” Heidi Gollub, Managing Editor of Insurance, USA TODAY Blueprint

Cheapest travel insurance

Aegis

Go Ready Choice by Aegis has the most affordable travel insurance of the best-rated travel insurance companies in our rating. This is based on the average cost of seven international trips of varying lengths and values for travelers of different ages.

See our full Aegis travel insurance review .

  • Cheapest of our best trip insurance plans.
  • Pet care benefit of $500 under travel delay benefits.
  • Low emergency medical and evacuation limits.
  • Low missed connection benefit of $500 per person for cruises and tours only.
  • Low baggage and personal items loss benefit of $500 per person.

Aegis has a rating of 4.06 stars out of 5 on Squaremouth, based on 1,111 reviews of policies purchased on the travel insurance comparison site since 2013.

Heidi’s expert take:   “If you’re looking for a  budget travel insurance policy , Go Ready Choice may fit the bill. It has comparably low coverage limits, but if you have health insurance that will cover you on your trip, its $50,000 in secondary medical coverage may be sufficient.” Heidi Gollub, Managing Editor of Insurance, USA TODAY Blueprint

Best travel insurance for families

Travelex

Top-scoring plan

Travelex Insurance Services has the best travel insurance for families because you can add kids aged 17 and younger to your Travel Select plan at no additional charge.

See our full Travelex travel insurance review .

  • Free coverage for children 17 and under on the same policy.
  • Robust travel delay coverage of $2,000 per person ($250 per day) after 5 hours.
  • Hurricane and weather coverage after a common carrier delay of any amount of time.
  • Low emergency medical coverage of $50,000 per person.
  • Non-medical evacuation is not included.
  • Low baggage delay coverage of $200 requires a 12-hour delay.

Travelex has a rating of 4.43 stars out of 5 on Squaremouth, based on 2,048 reviews of policies purchased on the travel insurance comparison site since 2004.

Heidi’s expert take:   “If you’re traveling with kids, a Travelex policy will cover them, too. The number of children you can add to your policy is unlimited and they’ll get travel protection at no additional cost.” Heidi Gollub, Managing Editor of Insurance, USA TODAY Blueprint

Best travel insurance for add-on coverage options

AIG

Travel Guard Preferred from AIG allows you to customize your policy with a host of available upgrades, making it the best traveler insurance for add-on options . These include “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) coverage , rental vehicle damage coverage and bundles that offer additional benefits for adventure sports, travel inconvenience, quarantine, pets, security and weddings.

There’s also a medical bundle that increases the travel medical benefit to $100,000 and emergency evacuation to $1 million. This is a good option if you’re looking for foreign travel health insurance.

See our full AIG travel insurance review .

  • Bundle upgrades allow you to customize your travel insurance policy.
  • Emergency medical and evacuation limits can be doubled with optional upgrade.
  • Base travel insurance policy has relatively low medical limits.
  • $300 baggage delay benefit requires a 12-hour delay.
  • Optional CFAR upgrade only reimburses up to 50% of trip cost.
Heidi’s expert take: “You can add riders to your AIG travel insurance policy to maximize your coverage. Choose from these bundles: adventure sports, medical, pet, quarantine, security and wedding. You may also want to add “cancel for any reason” coverage and rental vehicle damage coverage.”  Heidi Gollub, Managing Editor of Insurance, USA TODAY Blueprint

Best travel insurance for cruise itinerary changes

Nationwide

Nationwide’s Choice Cruise is good travel insurance for cruises . It has a $500 per person benefit if a cruise itinerary change causes you to miss a prepaid excursion.

Choice Cruise also has a missed connections benefit of $1,500 per person after only a 3-hour delay when you’re taking a cruise or tour. But note that this coverage is secondary coverage to any compensation provided by a common carrier.

See our full Nationwide travel insurance review .

  • Benefits for cruise itinerary changes, ship-based mechanical breakdowns and covered shipboard service disruptions.
  • Non-medical evacuation benefit of $25,000 per person.
  • Missed connection coverage of $1,500 per person for tours and cruises, after a 3-hour delay.
  • Baggage loss benefits of $2,500 per person.
  • Travel medical coverage is secondary.
  • Trip cancellation benefit for losing your job requires three years of continuous employment.
  • No “cancel for any reason” upgrade available.

Nationwide has a rating of 4.02 stars out of 5 on Squaremouth, based on 570 reviews of policies purchased on the travel insurance comparison site since 2018.

  Heidi’s expert take: “This plan has protections for cruisers when it comes to prepaid expenses. But its emergency medical coverage is secondary, which means you’d have to file medical claims with your health insurance company first. Since U.S. health insurance won’t help you at sea, you may want to look for cruise travel insurance with primary medical coverage instead.” Heidi Gollub, Managing Editor of Insurance, USA TODAY Blueprint

Compare the best travel insurance plans

Travel Insured International

Via Compare Coverage’s website

TravelSafe

Heidi’s expert take: “Here are my tips on how to buy travel insurance that gets you the most coverage for the lowest price: Buy early . Getting travel insurance within two weeks of making your first trip deposit may qualify you for coverage of pre-existing medical conditions, and it won’t cost you any extra.  Look for primary emergency medical coverage . If you buy a plan with secondary coverage, you’ll have to file a claim with your health insurance first, even if you know it will be denied.  Don’t overinsure . Calculate the value of only your prepaid, nonrefundable trip expenses that are not already covered by other insurance (like credit card travel insurance or health insurance, if your coverage extends to where you are traveling). Even if this value is $0, you can still buy travel insurance for the travel medical insurance benefits, and you’ll only be paying for the insurance you need.  Understand exclusions . If you are planning to go scuba diving, for instance, make sure this adventure activity is not excluded from a policy’s coverage. If so, you may need to pay for a rider or shop for another plan that offers the coverage you need.” Heidi Gollub, Managing Editor of Insurance, USA TODAY Blueprint

What is the best travel insurance?

The best travel insurance for international travel is sold by WorldTrips, according to our in-depth trip insurance comparison.

The best travel insurance plan for you will depend on the trip you are planning and the coverage areas that are most important to you.

  • Best cruise travel insurance
  • Best COVID travel insurance
  • Best “cancel for any reason” travel insurance
  • Best senior travel insurance

Best travel insurance for cruises

The best cruise travel insurance is Atlas Journey Preferred sold by WorldTrips . This plan offers solid travel insurance for cruises for a low rate.

WorldTrips

Best travel insurance for COVID-19

The best COVID travel insurance is the Trip Protection Basic plan sold by Seven Corners . It is a relatively low cost travel insurance plan with optional “cancel for any reason” coverage that reimburses up to 75% of your prepaid, nonrefundable trip expenses.

Travel Insured

Best travel insurance for “cancel for any reason” 

The best “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) travel insurance is Seven Corners’ Trip Protection Basic. Adding CFAR coverage to a RoundTrip Basic plan only increases the cost by about 40%, which is lower than other plans we analyzed. For the extra cost, you get coverage of 75% of your prepaid, nonrefundable trip expenses, as long as you cancel at least 48 hours before your scheduled departure.

Best travel insurance for seniors

The best senior travel insurance is the Gold plan sold by Tin Leg . It is an affordable travel insurance plan with travel medical primary coverage of $500,000 and a pre-existing conditions waiver if you insure the full amount of your trip within 14 days of your first trip deposit.

Trawick International

How much is travel insurance?

The average cost of travel insurance is 5% to 6% of your prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs . 

How much you pay for travel insurance will depend on:

  • The cost of your trip.
  • Your destination.
  • The length of your trip. 
  • The ages of travelers being insured.
  • Your state of residence.
  • The travel insurance policy you choose.
  • The total coverage amounts in your policy.
  • Any travel insurance add-ons you select. 

Here are average travel insurance rates for a 30-year-old female who is insuring a 14-day trip to Mexico.

Looking to save? Discover cheap travel insurance options.

How much travel insurance should I buy?

Travel insurance companies typically offer several plans with varying maximum limits. The higher the coverage limits, the more you’ll pay for travel insurance. 

Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison site, recommends the following coverage limits for international travel: 

  • Emergency medical coverage: At least $50,000. 
  • Medical evacuation coverage: At least $100,000. 

If you’re going on a cruise, or to a remote location, Squaremouth recommends: 

  • Emergency medical coverage: At least $100,000. 
  • Medical evacuation coverage: At least $250,000.

When evaluating travel insurance plans, our team of insurance analysts considered the best medical travel insurance policies to have at least $250,000 in emergency medical coverage and at least $500,000 in medical evacuation coverage. 

When should I buy travel insurance?

The best time to buy travel insurance is within two weeks of making your first nonrefundable travel payment, whether it’s for a plane ticket, hotel stay, cruise or excursion. 

Travel insurance costs the same whether you buy it early or last minute, and buying it early has added benefits: 

  • You may be able to add on “ cancel for any reason” (CFAR) coverage , an upgrade that is typically only available for a limited time after you’ve started paying for your trip. 
  • You may qualify for a pre-existing medical conditions exclusion waiver, meaning your pre-existing conditions will be covered by travel insurance. This waiver is generally added to your policy automatically, provided you buy the travel insurance within a certain window after your first trip deposit.
  • You will be covered over a longer period of time for unforeseen events that could cause you to cancel your trip, such as medical emergencies, inclement weather and natural disasters. 
Expert tip: You can buy travel insurance up to the day before you leave on your trip, but waiting may cost you the opportunity to qualify for a pre-existing conditions exclusion waiver or to buy a “cancel for any reason” upgrade.

Where can I buy travel insurance?

You can buy a travel insurance plan:

  • Online. Visit a travel insurance company’s website to buy a policy directly or use a comparison website like Squaremouth or Travelinsurance.com to see your options and compare plans. You may also be able to purchase travel insurance online through an airline, cruise, hotel, rental car company or other provider you book a ticket with.
  • In person. A travel agent or insurance agent may be able to assist you in buying travel insurance.

Travel insurance trends in 2024

Americans are changing the way they travel and this includes buying travel insurance when they might have skipped it in the past. As spending on trips continues to rise , travelers have more to lose if their plans are disrupted. 

Based on travel insurance quote requests on the Squaremouth website last month, these are the main benefits travelers are looking for in a travel insurance policy.

*Source: Squaremouth.com. Travel insurance quote filter usage from April 28 to May 28, 2024.

Methodology

Our insurance experts reviewed 1,855 coverage details and 567 rates to determine the best travel insurance of 2024. For companies with more than one travel insurance plan, we shared information about the highest-scoring plan.

Insurers could score up to 100 points based on the following factors:

  • $3,000, 8-day trip to Mexico for two travelers age 30.
  • $3,000, 8-day trip to Mexico for two travelers age 70.
  • $6,000, 17-day trip to Italy for two travelers age 40.
  • $6,000, 17-day trip to Italy for two travelers age 65.
  • $15,000, 17-day trip to Italy for four travelers ages 40, 40, 10 and 7.
  • $15,000, 17-day trip to France for four travelers ages 40, 40, 10 and 7.
  • $15,000, 17-day trip to the U.K. for four travelers ages 40, 40, 10 and 7.
  • Medical expenses: 10 points. We scored travel medical insurance by the coverage amount available. Travel insurance policies with emergency medical expense benefits of $250,000 or more per person were given the highest score of 10 points.
  • Medical evacuation: 10 points. We scored each plan’s emergency medical evacuation coverage by coverage amount. Travel insurance policies with medical evacuation expense benefits of $500,000 or more per person were given the highest score of 10 points.
  • Pre-existing medical condition exclusion waiver: 10 points. We gave full points to travel insurance policies that cover pre-existing medical conditions if certain conditions are met.
  • Missed connection: 10 points. Travel insurance plans with missed connection benefits of $1,000 per person or more received full points.
  • “Cancel for any reason” upgrade: 5 points. We gave points to travel insurance plans with optional “cancel for any reason” coverage that reimburses up to 75%.
  • Travel delay required waiting time: 5 points. We gave 5 points to travel insurance policies with travel delay benefits that kick in after a delay of 6 hours or less.
  • Cancel for work reasons: 5 points. If a travel insurance plan allows you to cancel your trip for work reasons, such as your boss requiring you to stay and work, we gave it 5 points.
  • Hurricane and severe weather: 5 points. Travel insurance plans that have a required waiting period for hurricane and weather coverage of 12 hours or less received 5 points.

Some travel insurance companies may offer plans with additional benefits or lower prices than the plans that scored the highest, so make sure to compare travel insurance quotes to see your full range of options.

If you’d like to dig in deeper, head over to our travel insurance ratings methodology page.

Best travel insurance FAQs

According to our analysis, WorldTrips has the best trip insurance. Two of its plans — Atlas Journey Explore and Atlas Journey Elevate — get 5 stars in our rating.

The best travel insurance policy for you will depend on what type of coverage you need. With so many different policies and carriers, the policy that was best for your friend’s trip to California might not be ideal for your trip to Japan. If you’re looking for the best travel insurance for international travel, you may be willing to pay more for higher coverage levels.

A comprehensive travel insurance plan bundles several types of travel insurance coverage, each with its own limits. To ensure you have adequate financial protection for your trip, your travel insurance policy should include the following travel insurance coverages:

  • Trip cancellation . With trip cancellation insurance , you’re covered if you need to call off your trip because of a reason listed in your policy, such as unexpected illness, injury or death of you, a family member or a travel companion, severe weather, jury duty and your travel supplier going out of business. 
  • Travel delay. Once your trip has started, travel delay insurance reimburses you for unexpected expenses you incur after a minimum delay, such as five hours. It can cover needs like airport meals, transportation and even overnight accommodation. 
  • Trip interruption. If you need to cut your trip early for a reason listed in your policy, trip interruption insurance can reimburse you for any prepaid, nonrefundable payments you’ll lose by leaving early. It can also pay for a last-minute one-way ticket home. 
  • Travel medical . Emergency medical benefits are especially important if you need international health insurance for travel outside of the country. Your domestic health insurance may provide limited coverage once you leave the U.S. The best travel medical insurance pays for ambulance service, doctor visits, hospital stays, X-rays, lab work and prescription medication you may require while traveling. 
  • Emergency medical evacuation. If you’re traveling to a remote area, or planning excursions such as boating to an island, emergency medical evacuation coverage is a good idea. This coverage pays to transport you to the nearest adequate medical facility if you are injured or sick while traveling. 
  • Baggage delay. After a certain waiting period, such as six or 12 hours, this coverage will reimburse you for necessities you need to buy to tide you over while you wait for your bag to arrive. Be sure to save your receipts and look at your coverage limit, as some caps are low, like $200. 
  • Baggage loss. Baggage insurance can reimburse you if your bag never arrives, or if your personal belongings are stolen during your travels. Coverage limits apply here, as well as exclusions for certain items such as electronics.  

“Typically, travelers are expected to pay their expenses out of pocket, and then file a claim for reimbursement,” said James Clark, spokesperson for Squaremouth. “However, there are medical situations in which a provider may be required to pre-authorize payment to make sure the policyholder receives the treatment they need.”

According to Clark, “Providers can pre-authorize payment for medical care and emergency evacuations. With that said, every circumstance is unique, and providers will handle each situation on a case-by-case basis.”

Travel insurance covers your prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs — as well as extra money you may need to spend due to unforeseen circumstances and emergencies — both before and during your trip.

Travel insurance coverage varies by plan, but in general travel insurance covers costs associated with these problems: 

  • Bankruptcy of a travel insurance company, such as your airline or tour operator. 
  • Dangerous weather conditions.
  • Delayed and lost luggage.
  • Illness or death in your family that requires you to stay home or cut your trip short.
  • Illness that needs medical attention.
  • Injury requiring medical evacuation.
  • Jury duty. 
  • Travel delays and missed connections.
  • Theft of your personal belongings while traveling.
  • Unexpected job loss. 

Travel insurance policies often exclude or limit “foreseeable” losses. Typical travel insurance exclusions include:

  • Accidents or injuries caused by drinking or drug use.
  • Canceling your trip because you changed your mind.
  • Ending your trip early because you changed your mind.
  • Losses caused by intentional self harm, including suicide.
  • Losses due to war, civil disorder or riots.
  • Medical tourism.
  • Medical treatment for pre-existing conditions.
  • Mental health care.
  • Natural disasters that begin before you buy travel insurance.
  • Non-medical evacuation.
  • Normal pregnancy. 
  • Medical treatment related to high-risk activities.
  • Routine medical care, such as physicals or dental care.
  • Search and rescue.

Your U.S. health insurance may provide little or no coverage in foreign countries. Check with your health insurance company to see if you have any global benefits and ask how they work. If your health care does extend across the border, the benefits it provides abroad may not be the same benefits it provides domestically. 

Medicare usually won’t pay for health care outside of the United States and its territories, so older travelers planning an international trip should look into the best senior travel insurance with robust medical benefits. 

The best time to buy travel insurance is immediately after booking your trip and making a nonrefundable payment — in other words, as soon as you’re at risk of losing money. This way, you’ll know the total cost that you need to insure and you’ll have the longest window to take advantage of your policy’s benefits if something goes wrong.

You can’t wait until something goes wrong and then buy travel insurance to get reimbursed for your loss. Travel insurance only covers unexpected losses.

Travel insurance companies can decline to cover travel to certain countries. For example, you may find that some trip insurance companies don’t offer coverage to countries with a Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory from the U.S. State Department. 

Travel insurance policies also frequently exclude certain risks that you’re more likely to encounter in Level 4 or Level 3 countries. For example, your policy may not cover losses related to declared or undeclared wars or acts of war or losses related to known or foreseeable conditions or events. 

Some credit cards , such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card , offer benefits such as trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance and trip delay reimbursement when you use your card to pay for your trip.

Ask your credit card issuer for your card’s benefits guide to see what coverage you may have. Keep in mind that it may not cover all the risks you want to protect against, such as the cost of international health care or emergency medical evacuation .

Business travel insurance makes sense if you are self-employed and paying for your own travel expenses, or if you are traveling internationally and want medical coverage abroad.

You might also consider buying travel insurance for a business trip if your company won’t cover extra expenses if your flight is delayed or you need to head home early.

Cruise travel insurance can help protect you financially if you need emergency medical care in a remote location, or if a delayed flight causes you to miss embarkation and you need to pay extra to catch up to your cruise.

Experts caution that travel insurance you buy through a cruise line may not be as comprehensive as plans you can buy directly from travel insurance companies.

Some travel insurance plans cover rental cars as an optional upgrade, for an additional cost. The 5-star rated travel insurance companies in our rating offer these optional rental car benefits:

  • Travel Insured International — Rental car damage and theft coverage of $50,000.
  • WorldTrips — Rental car damage and theft coverage of $50,000 with a $250 deductible. 

Travel insurance typically only covers a single trip, although your insured trip can have multiple destinations. 

If you’re looking to insure several trips in the same year, annual travel insurance may be a good option for you.

Travel insurance may be required, depending on the country you plan to visit. But it’s smart to consider buying a travel insurance policy for international travel, even when it is not required. A good travel insurance policy can protect you financially if you need emergency medical assistance when traveling, or if you need to cut your trip short and buy a last-minute plane ticket home because an immediate family member is ill. 

Wondering if travel insurance is worth it? What travel insurance covers

Editor’s Note: This article contains updated information from previously published stories:

  • Spirit Airlines scrubs 60% of its Wednesday flights, says cancellations will drop ‘in the days to come.’
  • 'Just a parade of incompetency': Spirit Airlines passengers with 'nightmare' stories want more than apology, $50 vouchers
  • ‘This is not our proudest moment’: Spirit Airlines CEO says more flight cancellations expected this weekend
  • Hurricane Irma: Flight cancellations top 12,500; even more expected
  • Is an annual travel insurance policy right for you?
  • How 2020 and COVID-19 changed travel forever – and what that means for you
  • COVID-19 or delta variant have you ready to scrap your trip? Here’s how to cancel like a pro
  • Sunday: Snow is over, but flight cancellations top 12,000
  • After nearly 13,000 Harvey cancellations, Irma is new threat to airline flights
  • What’s the difference between travel insurance and trip ‘protection’?
  • How to choose the right travel insurance for your next vacation
  • Travel insurance can save the day
  • Angry passengers brawl after Spirit cancels flights
  • What to do when travel insurance doesn’t work
  • How lockdowns, quarantines and COVID-19 testing will change summer travel in 2021
  • Travelers will pay and worry more on summer vacation this year. But they won’t cancel
  • How to find a hotel with COVID testing and quarantine facilities wherever you travel
  • Yearning to travel in 2022? First, figure out your budget – then pick a destination
  • Pro tips for surviving a long flight during a pandemic: Get the right mask, bring a pillow
  • Want to steer clear of contracting COVID-19 on your next vacation? Follow these guidelines
  • Post-pandemic travel: Is it OK to ask another passenger’s vaccine status or request they mask up?
  • These days, forgetting these important travel items could cost you thousands of dollars
  • International travel hacks: When to book flights and hotels, how to deal with COVID-19 rules
  • Traveling post-coronavirus: How do you book your next trip when so much remains uncertain?
  • The COVID-19 guide to holiday travel – and the case for why you shouldn’t go this year
  • Should you travel during the holidays? Americans struggle with their decision
  • ‘There’s still pent-up demand’: What you should know about fall travel
  • Planning for life after coronavirus: When will we know it’s safe to travel again?
  • ‘Busiest camping season’: Travelers choose outdoor recreation close to home amid COVID-19 pandemic
  • Considering a camping trip this summer? Tips to make sure your gear is good to go
  • RVing for the first time? 8 tips for newbies I wish I’d known during my first trip
  • Five myths about travel agents
  • Should I buy travel insurance?
  • Is travel insurance stacked against you?
  • Five myths about travel insurance and terrorism
  • These eight things could get your travel insurance claims rejected
  • There’s a good chance that your credit card already gives you some kind of travel insurance coverage
  • How to avoid a hotel cancellation penalty
  • Change fees and travel insurance continue to rise

Blueprint is an independent publisher and comparison service, not an investment advisor. The information provided is for educational purposes only and we encourage you to seek personalized advice from qualified professionals regarding specific financial decisions. Past performance is not indicative of future results.

Blueprint has an advertiser disclosure policy . The opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Blueprint editorial staff alone. Blueprint adheres to strict editorial integrity standards. The information is accurate as of the publish date, but always check the provider’s website for the most current information.

Amy Fontinelle

Amy Fontinelle has more than 15 years of experience helping people make informed decisions about their money, whether they’re refinancing a mortgage, buying insurance or choosing a credit card. As a freelance writer trained in journalism and specializing in personal finance, Amy digs into the details to explain the products and strategies that can help (or hurt) people seeking greater financial security and wealth. Her work has been published by Forbes Advisor, Capital One, MassMutual, Investopedia and many other outlets.

Heidi Gollub is the USA TODAY Blueprint managing editor of insurance. She was previously lead editor of insurance at Forbes Advisor and led the insurance team at U.S. News & World Report as assistant managing editor of 360 Reviews. Heidi has an MBA from Emporia State University and is a licensed property and casualty insurance expert.

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How to Find the Best Travel Insurance

Elina Geller

Barbara Marquand writes about mortgages, homebuying and homeownership. Previously, she wrote about insurance and investing at NerdWallet and covered personal finance for QuinStreet. Prior to that, she wrote for national consumer and trade publications on a wide range of topics, including business, careers and parenting. Her work has appeared in the Associated Press, MarketWatch, MSN Money, The New York Times, The Washington Post and many others.

Sam Kemmis is a travel rewards expert at NerdWallet specializing in airline and hotel loyalty programs. In a previous professional life, he wrote comedy until a nomadic lifestyle and a lifelong obsession with saving money turned his attention to travel rewards. He is no longer funny. His work has been featured by The Associated Press, The Points Guy and Fast Company. He has spoken about travel rewards at CardCon, the Altitude conference and AwardWallet's "Award Travel 101" podcast. He is based in Ojai, California, and teaches mindfulness meditation because that's what you do in Ojai.

Elina Geller is a former Travel Writer at NerdWallet specializing in airline and hotel loyalty programs and travel insurance. Her passion for travel rewards began in 2011 when she flew first class to London and Amsterdam on British Airways and used hotel points to stay in both cities. In 2019, Elina founded TheMissMiles, a travel rewards coaching business. Elina's work has been featured by AwardWallet. She’s a certified public accountant with degrees from the London School of Economics and Fordham University.

Mary M. Flory

Mary Flory leads NerdWallet's growing team of assigning editors at large. Before joining NerdWallet's content team, she had spent more than 12 years developing content strategies, managing newsrooms and mentoring writers and editors. Her previous experience includes being an executive editor at the American Marketing Association and an editor at news and feature syndicate Content That Works.

How to Find the Best Travel Insurance

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Table of Contents

What travel insurance covers

How much does travel insurance cost, types of travel insurance, how to get travel insurance, what to look for in travel insurance, best travel insurance comparison sites, which insurance company is best for travel insurance, when to skip travel insurance, travel insurance, recapped.

Travel insurance can cover medical expenses, emergencies, trip interruptions, baggage, rental cars and more.

Cost is affected by trip length, pre-existing medical conditions, depth of coverage, your age and add-ons.

You can get it through credit cards or third-party companies, & can shop on travel insurance comparison sites.

Before buying, evaluate risks, know existing coverage, obtain quotes online and review policy details warily.

Skip it if you buy flexible airfare and hotels, already have coverage or only book refundable activities.

Booking travel always carries some degree of uncertainty. Travel insurance provides a safety net so you can step out with confidence. You may not need travel insurance for inexpensive trips, but it can provide a sense of security when you prepay for pricey reservations, a big international trip or travel during cold and flu season, which can be unpredictable.

According to insurance comparison site Squaremouth, travelers in 2023 spent an average of $403 for comprehensive coverage, compared to $96 for medical-only policies. Comprehensive plans typically cost between 5% and 10% of the insured trip cost.

Since that price tag is no small amount, it helps to know how to shop smart for travel insurance. Here's how to find the right travel insurance plan for you and your next adventure.

Depending on the type of coverage you’re looking for, the chart below will help you determine what to look for when selecting a policy:

Depending on the policy, travel insurance reimburses you or offers services when something goes awry. There’s even coverage for the worst-case scenario: if you die in an accident while traveling. Accidental death coverage pays your beneficiary a lump sum in that case.

Before you buy, take a little time to get familiar with different types of travel insurance products, how it’s priced, and what it covers and excludes. If you’re traveling during these uncertain times, you’ll want to make sure that the policy you select covers coronavirus-related emergencies. Usually, the more thorough the coverage, the more it will cost.

Travel insurance costs vary depending on:

Length and cost of the trip: The longer and more expensive the trip, the higher the policy cost.

Cost of local health care: High health-care costs in your destination can drive up the price of trip insurance.

Medical conditions you want covered: Conditions you already have will increase the cost of travel insurance coverage.

Amount and breadth of coverage: The more risks a policy covers, the more it will cost.

Your age: Generally the older you are, the higher the price.

Any optional supplement you add to your policy : Cancel For Any Reason , Interrupt For Any Reason and more.

Keep these factors in mind when considering different travel insurance options.

You’ll find a wide selection of travel protection plans when you shop for a policy.

Typically, travel insurance is sold as a package, known as a comprehensive plan, which includes a variety of coverage.

Here are seven of the most common types of travel insurance:

Travel medical insurance

These plans provide health insurance while you’re away from home. Although in some ways these policies work like traditional health plans, generally you cannot use travel health insurance for routine medical events. For example, a routine medical checkup is usually not covered. In addition, these policies often include limitations on coverage and exclusions for pre-existing conditions.

Although most travel insurance plans cover many recreational activities, such as skiing and horseback riding, they often exclude adventure sports, such as skydiving or parasailing, or competition in organized sporting events. You may need to buy a special travel policy designed for adventure or competitive sports.

International travel insurance

Most likely, your U.S.-based medical insurance will not work while you’re traveling internationally, and Medicare does not provide any coverage once you leave the United States outside of a few very specific exemptions. If you plan on traveling abroad, purchasing travel medical insurance could make a lot of sense.

» Learn more: Travel medical insurance: Emergency coverage while you travel internationally

Trip cancellation, interruption and delay

Trip cancellation coverage reimburses you for prepaid, nonrefundable expenses if the tour operator goes out of business or you have to cancel the trip for one of the covered reasons outlined in the policy, such as:

Your own illness.

The illness or death of a family member who’s not traveling with you.

Natural disasters.

Trip interruption insurance covers the nonrefundable cost of the unused portion of the trip if it is interrupted due to a reason outlined in the policy.

Trip delay coverage reimburses you for expenses such as lodging and meals if you’re delayed during a trip (e.g., your flight gets canceled due to weather ).

Many package policies cover all three. These policies are different from the cancellation waivers that cruise lines and tour operators offer, the Insurance Information Institute says. Waivers are cheap, ranging from $40 to $60, and often include restrictions. For example, according to the institute, waivers might not refund your money if you cancel immediately before departure. Waivers are technically not insurance policies.

Some companies offer additional layers of coverage at extra cost. “Cancel For Any Reason” coverage will reimburse a large part of the trip cost, no matter why you back out. And some companies let you pay extra to cover pre-existing conditions if you cancel for medical reasons.

Some insurers and comparison sites let you customize a policy by choosing types of coverage a la carte. For example, TravelInsurance.com is a comparison site that provides quotes from different providers.

Baggage and personal belongings

How does lost luggage insurance work? This coverage reimburses you for baggage and personal belongings that are lost, stolen or damaged during the trip. Some plans also reimburse you for extra expenses if you experience a baggage delay for more than a certain period, such as 12 hours.

Your renters or homeowners insurance may cover personal belongings while you are traveling. It’s best to review your homeowners insurance policy to determine the level of coverage it provides so you do not end up paying for a benefit you already have.

» Learn more: Baggage insurance explained

Emergency medical assistance, evacuation and repatriation

This coverage pays medical expenses if you get sick or injured on a trip . Medical evacuation coverage pays for transporting you to the nearest hospital, and medical repatriation pays for flying you to your home country.

» Learn more: Can I get travel insurance for pre-existing medical conditions?

24-hour assistance

This service is included with many package plans. The insurer provides a 24-hour hotline that you can call when you need help, such as booking a flight after a missed connection, finding lost luggage, or locating a doctor or lawyer.

Generally, travel insurance companies do not cover sports or any activity that can be deemed risky. If you’re thinking of incorporating adventurous activities into your vacation, choose a plan that includes adventure sports coverage.

Most travel insurers cover a wide array of services, but the specific options vary. Some plans include concierge services, providing help with restaurant referrals, tee time reservations and more. Many services also offer information before the trip, such as required vaccinations. The only way to know what’s included is to read the policy.

» Learn more: Should you insure your cruise?

Accidental death and dismemberment insurance

This coverage pays a lump sum to your beneficiary, such as a family member, if you die in an accident while on the trip. Accidental death and dismemberment insurance policies also pay a portion of the sum to you if you lose a hand, foot, limb, eyesight, speech or hearing. Some plans apply only to accidental death in a plane.

This coverage may be duplicative if you already have sufficient life insurance, which pays out whether you die in an accident or from an illness. You may also already have accidental death and dismemberment insurance through work, so it's best to check your policies to ensure you’re not overpaying.

» Learn more: NerdWallet's guide to life insurance

Rental car coverage

Rental car insurance pays for repairing your rental car if it’s damaged in a wreck, by vandals or in a natural disaster. The coverage doesn't include liability insurance, which pays for damage to other vehicles or for the medical treatment of others if you cause an accident and are held responsible.

Ask your car insurance company whether your policy will cover you when renting cars on the trip. U.S. car insurance policies generally don’t cover you when driving in other countries, except Canada.

Car insurance requirements are complex because they vary among countries. You can usually purchase liability insurance from the rental car company. Learn about car insurance requirements by searching for auto insurance by country on the U.S. Embassy website .

» Learn more: Best credit cards for rental car coverage

A note about single vs. long-term policies

Single trip insurance plans are a great option for those going on a single trip for a specific length of time (e.g., a two-week vacation) and then returning home. The price of the policy is usually determined by the cost of the trip.

Long-term travel policies cover you for multiple trips, but there are limitations to how long you can be away from home, if you can return home during your travels and how many trips you can take. In addition, trip cancellation and interruption coverage is either not offered or capped at a dollar amount that can be significantly below the total cost of all the trips taken during the covered period.

Long-term travel insurance plans — often called 'multi-trip' or 'annual travel insurance' — are a suitable option for those who travel often and are satisfied with the amount of trip cancellation coverage for all the trips they take over the duration of the policy.

» Learn more: How annual (multi-trip) travel insurance works

Below, we include how to obtain travel insurance, along with the pros and cons of each option.

Some credit cards offer trip cancellation and rental car insurance if you use the card to book the trip or car.

When you book a trip with your credit card, depending on the card you use, you may already receive trip cancellation and interruption coverage.

» Learn more: 10 credit cards that provide travel insurance

Here are a handful of credit cards that offer varying levels of travel insurance coverage for purchases made with the card.

Chase Sapphire Preferred Credit Card

on Chase's website

Chase Sapphire Reserve Credit Card

on American Express' website

Chase Ink Business Preferred Credit Card

• Trip delay: Up to $500 per ticket for delays more than 12 hours.

• Trip cancellation: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $40,000 per 12-month period.

• Trip interruption: Up to $10,000 per person and $20,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $40,000 per 12-month period.

• Baggage delay: Up to $100 per day for five days.

• Lost luggage: Up to $3,000 per passenger.

• Travel accident: Up to $500,000.

• Rental car insurance: Up to $75,000.

• Trip delay: Up to $500 per ticket for delays more than 6 hours.

• Travel accident: Up to $1 million.

• Rental car insurance: Up to the actual cash value of the car.

• Trip delay: Up to $500 per trip for delays more than 6 hours.

• Trip cancellation: Up to $10,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $20,000 per 12-month period.

• Trip interruption: Up to $10,000 per trip. Maximum benefit of $20,000 per 12-month period.

Terms apply.

Pros: Coverage is free.

Cons: You can’t customize the insurance to meet your needs. Most credit cards offer secondary car rental insurance, which pays for the costs not covered by your regular car insurance plan.

Travel agents and travel reservation sites

You can buy travel insurance when you book your flight, hotel and car rental.

Pros: Buying is as quick and easy as clicking “yes” when you book reservations. Coverage is inexpensive.

Cons: You can’t customize the coverage.

» Learn more: Airline travel insurance vs. independent travel insurance

Travel insurance comparison sites

You can compare different policies and review quotes at once based on the trip search criteria you’ve input into the search form. Examples include marketplaces like Squaremouth or TravelInsurance.com.

Pros: You can choose a policy that fits your needs and compare policies and pricing in one place.

Cons: Comparing multiple policies takes time.

Travel insurance companies

You can purchase travel insurance directly from an insurance provider.

Pros: You can choose a policy that fits your needs. Many travel insurer websites also offer information to help you understand the coverage.

Cons: You’ll need to go to multiple websites to compare coverage and pricing.

» Learn more: The best travel insurance companies right now

Keep these tips in mind when you’re considering a trip insurance policy.

Evaluate the financial risks you face when traveling. Can you bear those costs yourself, or do you want insurance?

Examine what coverage you already have: Does your credit card offer travel insurance? Do you have renters or homeowners insurance to cover belongings? What is the deductible? Will your health plan cover you in all the locations where you travel?

Get quotes for trip insurance online. Choose a package of the benefits you need and compare prices for similar coverage among carriers.

Narrow your choices and then read the policy fine print to understand what’s covered, what’s excluded and the limits on coverage. You may find that the lowest-priced policy is too restrictive and that paying a little more gets you the coverage you need. Or you might find that the cheapest, most basic policy fits the bill.

If you don’t know which provider to go with, it makes sense to browse a list of plans on a travel insurance comparison site. These online marketplaces will often include plans from the best travel insurance companies along with customer reviews.

Squaremouth

travel insurance cover outpatient

Compare plans from more than 30 providers.

Over 86,000 customer reviews of insurers.

Under its Zero Complaint Guarantee, Squaremouth (a NerdWallet partner) will remove a provider if any customer complaint isn't resolved to its satisfaction.

Has a filter option to see policies that provide COVID-coverage.

TravelInsurance.com

travel insurance cover outpatient

Compare plans from 13 providers.

See good and poor customer ratings and reviews for each insurer when you receive quotes.

“Learning Center” includes travel insurance articles and travel tips, including important how-to information.

Quotes provided from each provider include a link to COVID-19 FAQs, making it easy for customers to review what’s covered or not.

InsureMyTrip

travel insurance cover outpatient

Compare plans from more than two dozen providers.

More than 70,000 customer reviews.

“Anytime Advocates” help customers navigate the claim process and will work on behalf of the customer to help with appealing a denied claim.

Includes a link to plans that offer COVID coverage.

travel insurance cover outpatient

Compare plans from 11 providers.

Search coverage by sporting activity, including ground, air and water sports.

Many types of plans available for students, visiting family members, new immigrants, those seeking COVID quarantine coverage and more.

travel insurance cover outpatient

Compare different insurance plans from 35 providers.

Over 5,600 customer reviews on Trustpilot, with an average 4.9 stars out of five.

Formerly known as AardvarkCompare, AARDY includes a “Travel Insurance 101” learning center to help customers understand various policies and benefits.

Quote search results page includes COVID-coverage highlighted in a different color to make it easier for customers to review related limits.

Whether you’re looking for an international travel insurance plan, emergency medical care, COVID coverage or a policy that includes extreme sports, these providers have you covered.

Our full analysis and more details about each organization can be found here: The Best Travel Insurance Companies Today .

Allianz Global Assistance .

Travel Guard by AIG .

USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services .

Travel Insured International .

World Nomads .

Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection .

Travelex Insurance Services .

Seven Corners .

AXA Assistance USA .

There are a few scenarios when spending extra on travel insurance doesn't really make sense, like:

You booked flexible airline tickets.

Your hotel room has a good cancellation policy.

It's already included in your credit card.

You haven't booked any nonrefundable activities.

» Learn more: When you don't need travel insurance

Yes, especially for nonrefundable trips and travel during the COVID-era. Whether you purchase a comprehensive travel insurance policy or have travel insurance from your credit card, you shouldn't travel without having some sort of travel protection in place to safeguard you and your trip. Travel insurance can protect you in case of an unexpected emergency such as a canceled flight due to weather, a medical event that requires hospitalization, lost luggage and more.

There are many good travel insurance policies out there and a policy that may be great for you may not be good for someone else. Selecting the best plan depends on what coverage you would like and your trip details.

For example, World Nomads offers a comprehensive travel insurance policy that has excellent coverage for adventure sports. Allianz provides coverage for trips of varying lengths of time through its single trip plans and multi-trip plans. Some providers offer add-on options like Cancel For Any Reason travel insurance. If you’re not sure which plan to go with, consider looking at trip insurance comparison sites like Squaremouth or Insuremytrip.

Yes, you can. However, it's better to purchase it sooner rather than later, ideally right after booking your trip because the benefits begin as soon as you purchase a policy.

Let’s say you’re going on a trip in a month and a week before departure, you fall and break your leg. If you’ve purchased a travel insurance policy, you can use your trip cancellation benefits to get your nonrefundable deposit back.

Most comprehensive travel insurance plans offer trip cancellation, trip interruption, emergency medical and dental, medical evacuation, trip delay and lost luggage coverage. Many plans offer COVID coverage, but you’ll always want to check to ensure that the policy you choose provides that benefit if you’re traveling during these times. Some plans may also allow you to add features like Cancel For Any Reason travel insurance.

It depends which credit card you have. Premium travel cards like the Chase Sapphire Reserve® and The Platinum Card® from American Express offer travel insurance benefits if you book a trip using your card or points.

However, the coverage provided by the credit cards is usually lower than if you purchased a standalone policy. Review the travel insurance benefits on your credit card and check that the limits are adequate before foregoing from purchasing a separate plan.

Let’s say you’re going on a trip in a month and a week before departure, you fall and break your leg. If you’ve purchased a travel insurance policy, you can use your

trip cancellation benefits

to get your nonrefundable deposit back.

It depends which credit card you have. Premium travel cards like the

Chase Sapphire Reserve®

The Platinum Card® from American Express

offer travel insurance benefits if you book a trip using your card or points.

Unpredictability is one of the mind-opening joys of travel, but travel insurance should contain no surprises. The time you spend to understand your options will be well worth the peace of mind as you embark on your next adventure.

Whether you’re seeking a single or a long-term policy, each travel insurance option offers different strengths and weaknesses. Choosing the right policy depends on your trip needs, your budget and how important various benefits are to you.

Keep reading

If you want to dig in deeper to world of travel insurance, these resources will point you in the right direction.

What is travel insurance?

How much is travel insurance?

Is travel insurance worth it?

What does travel insurance cover?

Does travel insurance cover COVID?

How to maximize your rewards

You want a travel credit card that prioritizes what’s important to you. Here are some of the best travel credit cards of 2024 :

Flexibility, point transfers and a large bonus: Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

No annual fee: Bank of America® Travel Rewards credit card

Flat-rate travel rewards: Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card

Bonus travel rewards and high-end perks: Chase Sapphire Reserve®

Luxury perks: The Platinum Card® from American Express

Business travelers: Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card

1x-10x Earn 5x total points on flights and 10x total points on hotels and car rentals when you purchase travel through Chase Travel℠ immediately after the first $300 is spent on travel purchases annually. Earn 3x points on other travel and dining & 1 point per $1 spent on all other purchases.

60,000 Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $900 toward travel when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

1x-5x 5x on travel purchased through Chase Travel℠, 3x on dining, select streaming services and online groceries, 2x on all other travel purchases, 1x on all other purchases.

60,000 Earn 60,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $750 when you redeem through Chase Travel℠.

Chase Southwest Rapid Rewards® Plus Credit Card

1x-2x Earn 2X points on Southwest® purchases. Earn 2X points on local transit and commuting, including rideshare. Earn 2X points on internet, cable, and phone services, and select streaming. Earn 1X points on all other purchases.

85,000 Earn 85,000 bonus points after spending $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening.

What you pay for Medicare will vary based on what coverage and services you get, and what providers you visit. What are my coverage options?

There's no yearly limit on what you pay out-of-pocket, unless you have supplemental coverage, like a Medicare Supplement Insurance (Medigap) policy, or you join a Medicare Advantage Plan .

What’s a premium, deductible, coinsurance, or copayment?

Part A (Hospital Insurance) costs

Part b (medical insurance) costs, medicare advantage plan (part c) costs.

Where can I get more cost details from my plan?

Learn more about Medicare Advantage Plans.

Part D (Drug Coverage) costs

Learn more about Part D.

Medicare Supplemental Insurance (Medigap)

Learn more about Medigap and its costs.

What do you want to do next?

  • Next Step: Get help with costs
  • Take Action: Talk to someone
  • Get details: Learn about the parts of Medicare

IMAGES

  1. Travel Insurance Explained

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  2. Infographic: What A Standard Travel Insurance Policy Covers

    travel insurance cover outpatient

  3. How Does Travel Insurance Work

    travel insurance cover outpatient

  4. What is Travel Insurance and Who Should Get It?

    travel insurance cover outpatient

  5. What is Covered by Travel Medical Insurance/Visitors Coverage?

    travel insurance cover outpatient

  6. What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

    travel insurance cover outpatient

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  19. 11 Best Travel Insurance Companies in June 2024

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    Travel medical insurance covers emergency medical expenses for individuals who travel internationally or domestically. It typically covers emergency medical expenses, such as hospital stays, doctor visits, prescription medications, and emergency medical evacuations due to unforeseen illness or accidental injury while on your covered trip.

  21. Best Travel Insurance Companies of June 2024

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  22. Travel Insurance Quotes

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  24. Differences between Inpatient and Outpatient Covers in Health Insurance

    Care health insurance plans cover a range of outpatient treatments under OPD coverage. Depending on the chosen plan, you may get it as the base feature or as an optional cover. Some of the popular Care Health Insurance plans that offer OPD covers are: 1. Care Classic Health Insurance. Check out the OPD features of Care Classic Health Insurance:

  25. Nomadic Expat Health Insurance. I know the insurance question ...

    This plan provides comprehensive coverage everywhere outside the US and also covers up to 3 trips back to the US, each calendar year, up to 21 days per trip. This plan has an unlimited medical benefit and covers inpatient, outpatient, preventative care, pre-existing conditions, Covid-19, medical evacuation and much more.

  26. How to Find the Best Travel Insurance

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  28. Costs

    Outpatient mental health care: $0 for your yearly depression screening. 20% of the Medicare-approved amount for visits to your doctor or other health care provider to diagnose or treat your condition. If you get your services in a hospital outpatient clinic or hospital outpatient department, you may have to pay an additional amount to the hospital.