Is Travel Insurance Worth It?

When you’re planning your next adventure, there are so many exciting details that go into arranging the perfect trip. From brainstorming your itinerary to hunting for once-in-a-lifetime deals to learning more about the areas you’re traveling to, planning your travels is a fun part of the trip, and it helps build the excitement for the adventure to come.


Written by Echo Wang | Edited by Bianca Versoza

When you’re planning your next adventure, there are so many exciting details that go into arranging the perfect trip. From brainstorming your itinerary to hunting for once-in-a-lifetime deals to learning more about the areas you’re traveling to, planning your travels is a fun part of the trip, and it helps build the excitement for the adventure to come.

Notice how we didn’t mention shopping for travel insurance as one of the awesome parts of trip planning? Travel insurance can be expensive, you probably won’t need it, and it’s money you could easily spend on a night in the town or a once-in-a-lifetime experience during your trip.

So, that means you should save time and money and skip travel insurance, right? Not exactly. In fact, that’s probably the last thing you should do.

Flights and reservations get canceled. Accidents happen. Emergencies arise. The only thing worse than having your trip ruined by unforeseen circumstances is losing thousands of dollars in the process.

Read on as we discuss the pros and cons of purchasing travel insurance, the ins and outs of what it covers, and any other facts you’ll need to know to answer the question is travel insurance worth it for me.

  1. What is Travel Insurance?
  2. What Does Travel Insurance Cover?
  3. What Isn’t Covered By Travel Insurance?
  4. When to Avoid Travel Insurance
  5. When is Travel Insurance Worth It?
  6. Types of Coverage
  7. Where to Purchase Travel Insurance
  8. Top Travel Insurance Providers
  9. Alternatives to Travel Insurance
  10. Why is Travel Insurance Worth it? Peace of Mind and Protection

What is Travel Insurance?

Travel insurance is a supplemental insurance plan that protects you from some of the inherent financial and personal risks of travel. Insurance may cover minor inconveniences, like a late or lost suitcase, as well as significant issues, such as a last-minute cancellation, or an emergency in a foreign country.

Besides insulating you from potential financial and health risks while traveling, insurance also provides you with access to emergency services that can make it much easier for you to navigate unforeseen situations while on vacation.

Depending on your insurance, your plan may provide you with access to travel and medical professionals available day and night to assist with any issues. Services they offer may include medical care, consultations, logistical support such as translation or helping to replace a stolen passport, and more.

What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

Like other types of insurance, what your policy covers and the extent to which you’re covered can vary significantly. As you’d imagine, more affordable coverage typically offers fewer benefits than expensive plans that are more comprehensive.

Regardless of the policy you choose, travel insurance offers three types of protection. A travel insurance policy protects you, your belongings, and your trip experiences.


Perhaps most importantly, traveler’s insurance offers medical coverage to protect you in an emergency. Coverage includes medical treatment, transportation to receive treatment, and may include insurance against death or dismemberment.

Depending on the policy, the coverage may be primary or secondary. Primary insurance is the first policy billed by the care provider, while secondary insurance works as a supplement. All bills will first go through your primary provider, so any co-pays or deductibles can be applied. The balance of the bill is paid by the secondary insurance up to your coverage amount.

For travelers with pre-existing medical conditions, pay close attention when shopping for a policy, as many don’t offer coverage for pre-existing conditions. Some policies do extend coverage to pre-existing conditions, provided that you purchase your policy within 15 days of booking your trip.

Personal Belongings

Another significant benefit of travelers insurance is protection for your belongings if your luggage is lost or stolen. Most plans offer fairly comprehensive coverage for your personal effects; where they differ is in how easy it is to file a claim and receive reimbursement.

Top insurance plans will reimburse you for lost, stolen, or delayed luggage while you’re on your trip with very few hoops to jump through. This way, you’re not stuck in a foreign country with little more than the shirt on your back. You’ll be compensated for your lost or stolen goods in short order, so you can purchase replacement items during your trip.

More affordable plans may offer similar coverage for your belongings, but filing a claim is a more involved process. Cheap insurance plans commonly require you to submit an itemized list of lost or stolen items after you return from your trip, and some companies require you to submit original receipts for the lost items.

Excursions and Experiences

Travel insurance also protects if circumstances force you to cancel your entire trip, a portion of your trip, or excursions and experiences you had planned as part of your trip.

If you’re forced to cancel your entire trip because of a covered reason, your insurance policy will reimburse you for the non-refundable costs you’ve already incurred in the booking. If you’re forced to return home early because of an emergency, your coverage may also reimburse you for the portion of your trip you’re forced to abandon.

Many plans also provide significant benefits if a travel delay forces you to make changes to your plans. Say you miss a connection, or a flight delay forces you to cancel an excursion you’ve booked. Your insurance plan may cover lodging, transportation, and activity costs.

Many travelers purchase insurance coverage for their air travel along with their flight, but it’s also offered as a supplement to many standalone travel policies. With air travel coverage, you’ll be compensated if your flight is delayed for any reason, or if you miss a connection.

Additional Benefits

Beyond protecting your health, belongings, and your trip, travel insurers also offer a helpline that you can call into for emergency services while on your trip. When something goes wrong far from home, it can be helpful to have a team on your side to help you navigate through the problem.

It’s common for fairly minor inconveniences to occur during your trip, and when you’re far from home in a foreign country, it’s easy for that minor issue to snowball into a major problem. A dedicated service number comes in handy more often than you’d think, and they can help you sort out lost documentation, help with paperwork, provide translation services, and more.


It’s common for a travel insurance policy to offer a CFAR policy add-on, which stands for Cancel For Any Reason. A CFAR add-on can be a bit pricey, but it provides unprecedented coverage should you decide to cancel your trip. CFAR add-ons usually pay around 75% of your trip costs, and they allow you to cancel the trip for literally any reason.

What Isn’t Covered By Travel Insurance?

While travel insurance is fairly comprehensive, the terms of your agreement will dictate certain events or situations that won’t be covered by your travel insurance. What a provider omits from coverage will vary depending on the company, and the level of coverage your plan provides.

We discussed pre-existing conditions above, which are the most common exclusions from traveler’s insurance. But, less obvious situations may also be excluded from travel insurance. For example, if you plan on skydiving or climbing a mountain while on vacation, don’t expect your travel insurance to cover you if you’re injured or killed during the activity.

Many plans also restrict coverage if it’s determined that your claim occurred as a result of drugs or alcohol, or if you’re traveling somewhere for medical reasons, such as elective surgery. You’ll also see that many insurance providers restrict coverage to certain countries that are deemed to be more dangerous for travelers.


The Covid-19 pandemic has turned the world on its head, and it’s made travel more difficult and dangerous for everyone. The pandemic is unprecedented, and for travel insurance providers, much of the playbook on navigating the pandemic is still being written.

Some providers exclude coronavirus completely from coverage. This means your travel insurance will not cover costs incurred as the result of contracting coronavirus while on vacation, or if you’re forced to cancel a trip because you contracted coronavirus before you leave.

When to Avoid Travel Insurance

While accidents and illnesses can wreak havoc on any trip at any time, there are many instances where the costs of travel insurance aren’t worth the potential benefits.

If you’re traveling domestically, you’ll need to carefully weigh whether or not travel insurance is worth it. If you already have health insurance, you’ll be covered through your current insurance in the event of an emergency.

Most hotels and airlines allow you to purchase trip protection at a lower rate than a comprehensive insurance policy, and you can buy ala carte coverage to protect yourself from cancellations or delays. The insurance offered by a hotel or airline may also cover your belongings if anything is lost or stolen.

Or, if you’re taking a particularly inexpensive trip, it may not be worth taking any insurance at all. If the greatest risk is losing the money you spend on a discounted flight or a cheap hotel stay, you may be better off rolling the dice with no insurance.

When is Travel Insurance Worth It?

Unless you’re traveling domestically or the trip you’re taking is inexpensive, it’s almost always a wise choice to carry travel insurance. Even if you never file a claim, travel insurance provides you with peace of mind knowing that you’re protected should anything go wrong with your trip.

Many travelers look at travel insurance as something that will reimburse them if they have to cancel their trip, but the benefits insurance provides are more crucial than that. In the grand scheme of things, reimbursing you for the few thousand dollars you’d lose missing your trip pales in comparison to the health and safety benefits of travel insurance.

While you or your loved ones will probably never require medical attention while you’re traveling, the costs of a visit to a foreign hospital without health insurance can be exceptionally high, even for a relatively minor visit. A more serious medical emergency could be a crippling blow to your finances.

When you consider worst-case scenarios, the cost of travel insurance is a sound investment for any traveler.

Types of Coverage

Travel insurance providers offer various types of coverage to suit the needs of different travelers. Virtually any policy allows you to select coverage for an individual or a family. Policies are available to cover a single trip or multiple trips, and there are also annual policies available for frequent travelers who take multiple trips each year.

The most expensive policy will always be one that provides comprehensive coverage for a single trip. The total cost of a plan that covers multiple trips or an annual plan will be more expensive. Still, it’s less costly in the long run because you’ll be covered across each trip you take.

Where to Purchase Travel Insurance

Purchasing travel insurance is a straightforward process, and there are several different ways you can obtain coverage. Depending on how you booked your trip, it’s likely you can add your insurance at the time of booking. If you’re booking through a travel agent or a service such as Expedia, you can purchase your coverage when you book the trip.

If you’re booking coverage after your trip is purchased, there are a few options for insuring your trip. You can buy insurance directly from a provider, or you can use an aggregator like Insuremytrip. Aggregators search for the best rates from over twenty travel insurance providers.

It’s crucial to remember that insurance coverage for travelers is time-sensitive. Most providers allow you to purchase your insurance coverage within 15 days of booking your trip. After that period, you’ll find it challenging to find insurance for your trip.

Top Travel Insurance Providers

There are many providers you’ll come across when shopping for travel insurance. Here are a handful of the most reputable companies in the business.


IMG is perhaps the largest travel insurance provider, and they offer an impressive array of different insurance plans. The selection is ideal for travelers who want to pick and choose plan benefits to keep their insurance costs low.

They also offer general health insurance policies for ex-pats and people traveling to another country for work reasons.


SafetyWing is among the most affordable and straightforward insurance providers. If you’re on a budget or you’re looking for comprehensive coverage as fast as possible, SafetyWing could be ideal for you.

SafetyWing provides travel and health benefits from as low as $10 per week, and they also extend coverage to one child under 10 for each parent traveling.

SafetyWing’s coverage is reasonably comprehensive for any traveler under the age of 65, and they also provide coverage for coronavirus. Insurance is also available for travelers as old as 84, but the premiums are more expensive.


MedJet offers comprehensive medical insurance for overseas and domestic travelers, and they offer annual plans and short-term options that cover you from 8-30 days. For medical transportation, MedJet is second to none.

MedJet offers two different plans, MedJet Assist, which offers comprehensive health coverage for individuals under 75 years old. MedJet Horizon provides the same extensive health benefits while also providing travel security, evacuation, and crisis response services in the event of a worst-case scenario on your trip.


Travelex is a well-known travel insurance provider that offers two different insurance tiers to suit the needs of all travelers. Both the Basic and Select packages provide similar benefits, with the Select package providing larger payouts or more flexible terms. Travelex also has a domestic option for travelers staying inside the United States.

Travel Insurance Aggregators

While the companies above represent some of the most popular travel insurance options, you may be able to save money by purchasing your insurance through an aggregator site such as InsureMyTrip or SquareMouth.

These sites are similar to booking sites for trips, except instead of planning for a vacation, they show you different insurance options. Tell them when you’re going and where, and they provide real-time quotes from a broad selection of providers, with dozens of policies from which to choose.

Alternatives to Travel Insurance

Travel insurance is the most effective way to protect yourself from trip cancelations, interruptions, or emergencies. But, many credit cards offer travel benefits that may provide sufficient protection for your trip at no additional cost to you. All you’ll need to do is use that credit card to pay for the trip and you’re protected.

Credit card travel benefits won’t provide you with any protection against medical emergencies. But, many cards offer significant benefits for unforeseen circumstances that interrupt your trip or force you to cancel it. Many travel cards also offer compensation if your checked luggage is lost or stolen.

Why is Travel Insurance Worth it? Peace of Mind and Protection

When it comes to travel insurance, it’s impossible to put a price on the peace of mind that travel protection provides. Whether you’re traveling by yourself or enjoying a relaxing vacation with your family, travel insurance allows you to worry less about the what-ifs so you can enjoy your trip to the fullest.

Whether you opt for single trip insurance, an annual plan, or if you’re relying on travel protection from a credit card, be sure to plan for all scenarios when creating your itinerary. Most importantly, enjoy your trip!