2014 Travel Insurance Reviews

The Reviews.com research team worked with industry expert Fletcher Wilson and compiled a list of 23 travel insurance companies and selected 11 of the best companies to review based on 53 of the most important features.

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What Travel Insurance Features Matter and Why?

Cancellation/Interruption Coverage

Very Important
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Trip Cancellation/Interruption Coverage lists the different events that are covered should a traveler have to cut short or cancel a trip. Many of the top travel insurance companies offer the same covered events, including illness, injury, or death; a terrorist attack; a natural disaster; or a traffic accident en route to departure. The best companies stand out by covering pre-existing medical conditions as well as work-related reasons. This is an important category to consider when selecting an insurance company because it gives customers a good sense of whether or not the insurance offers the coverage they are looking for.

  • Bankruptcy of Travel Supplier - The insurance covers cancellations or interruptions if the travel supplier declares bankruptcy.
  • Cancellation/Delay - The insurance covers cancellations or delays due to an unannounced worker strike or bad weather.
  • Employment Termination or Transfer - The insurance covers cancellations or delays due to employment termination or transfer.
  • Hijacked, Quarantined, or Jury Duty - The insurance covers cancellations or interruptions due to hijacking, quarantine, or jury duty.
  • Military Personnel Called Away - The insurance covers cancellations or delays if military personnel is called away.
  • Natural Disaster - The insurance covers cancellations or interruptions due to a natural disaster.
  • Passport or Visa Theft - The insurance covers cancellations or interruptions due to a stolen passport or visa.
  • Pre-existing Medical Condition - The insurance covers cancellations or interruptions due to a pre-existing medical condition.
  • Pregnancy - The insurance company covers cancellations if pregnancy prevents the ability to travel.
  • Sickness, Injury, or Death - The insurance covers cancellations or interruptions due to the illness, injury, or death of the insured traveler or a loved one.
  • Terrorism - The insurance covers cancellations or interruptions if an unforeseen terrorist attack occurs.
  • Traffic Accident En Route - The insurance covers cancellations in the event the traveler gets into a traffic accident on the way to departure.
  • Work Reasons - The insurance covers cancellations or interruptions for work reasons.

Medical and Personal Coverage

Very Important
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Medical and Personal Coverage details what the insurance provider pays for in the event that a traveler requires emergency medical treatment during the trip. Most pay for medical and dental care, including costs for hospital service, ambulance transportation, and prescription medications. The best insurance also covers costs associated with treatment for pre-existing medical conditions. This category is quite important because travel often takes a person outside their coverage network where traditional health insurance may not pay for treatment. Travel insurance helps make up for this and gives customers some much-needed peace of mind.

  • 24-Hour Medical Assistance - The insurance provides 24-hour medical assistance during the trip.
  • Ambulance Transportation - The insurance covers the costs of ambulance transportation during the trip.
  • Emergency Dental - The insurance covers the costs of any emergency dental care required during the trip.
  • Emergency Evacuation - The insurance covers the costs of an emergency evacuation during the trip.
  • Emergency Medical - The insurance covers the costs of any emergency medical care required during the trip.
  • Hospital Service - The insurance covers the costs of hospital visits during the trip.
  • Medical Evacuation - The insurance covers the costs of medical evacuation during the trip.
  • Physician and Prescribed Drugs - The insurance covers the costs of doctor visits during the trip and any prescribed medications.
  • Pre-existing Medical Conditions - The insurance covers the costs of any treatment related to pre-existing medical conditions received during the trip.
  • Return of Remains - The insurance covers the costs of returning bodily remains back home in the event of death during the trip.

Travel Coverage

Very Important
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Travel Coverage is an extremely important category that identifies what types of events the insurance provider covers. Trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage are what most people will be after, but the best providers also reimburse travelers for missed connections, delays, and lost luggage. If a passport or visa is lost or stolen, many companies also assist customers in getting a replacement at no additional cost to them. It's important to note that all of the best travel insurance companies perform well in this area, so it may not play a significant role when ultimately selecting between two insurance providers.

  • Baggage Delay - The insurance covers baggage that is delayed while traveling.
  • Cost to Replace Passport/Visa - The insurance covers the costs of replacing lost or stolen passports or visas.
  • Lost, Stolen, or Damaged Baggage - The insurance covers baggage that is lost, stolen, or damaged while traveling.
  • Missed Connection - The insurance covers missed connections while traveling.
  • Trip Cancellation - The insurance covers trip cancellations.
  • Trip Interruption - The insurance covers trip interruptions.
  • Trip or Travel Delay - The insurance covers trip or travel delays.

Coverage Types

Fairly Important
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Coverage Types refers to the different types of plans offered by the insurance company. The most common type is single-trip insurance, but there are also special plans designed for long-term international travel and for groups of 10 people or more. Frequent travelers may want to search for a company that has an annual plan, which covers an unlimited number of trips within a 12-month period. This category is worth paying attention to while searching for the best coverage, but since most people are probably looking for single-trip insurance, which is easy to find, this category won't likely be a big concern for most.

  • Annual Coverage - The company offers annual policies.
  • Group Plans - The company offers policies for groups of 10 or more.
  • Long-Term International - The company offers policies for international trips of one year or more.
  • Medical Coverage - The company offers medical coverage as part of their policies.
  • Single Trip - The company offers policies for a single trip.

Travel Services

Fairly Important
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Travel Services are the extra resources the insurance company provides as part of the travel insurance package. It may include services like interpretation assistance and help with emergency cash transfers. Rental car coverage is another common offering, though it usually costs extra. Concierge services help with securing tickets or reservations, and business assistance is also available for those traveling for work. But although these services are a nice bonus to have, they're not central to a travel policies and shouldn't weigh too heavily in most people's decision-making process.

  • Business Assistance - The company provides business assistance to those who are traveling for work.
  • Concierge - The company helps make reservations and provides recommendations of places to visit on the trip.
  • Currency Assistance - The company provides help with emergency cash transfers and other currency assistance during the trip.
  • Identity Theft Resolution - The company assists with reclaiming one's identity if it is stolen during the trip.
  • Interpretation Assistance - The company provides interpretation assistance during the trip.
  • Legal Assistance - The company provides legal assistance during the trip.
  • Rental Car Damage - The insurance covers any damage to a rental car.
  • Travel Assistance - The company provides travel assistance during the trip.

Learning Materials

Less Important
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Learning Materials describes the online resources the insurance company provides to help customers learn more about their travel policies. In most cases, this typically means an FAQ or a knowledge base to cover common questions. Some companies also publish a blog containing helpful articles about travel insurance and travel tips, such as how to stay safe during a trip. Although these materials could be useful to someone who has never purchased trip insurance or travels infrequently, it will probably not be a major focus for most when choosing an insurance provider.

  • Blog - The company provides a blog discussing useful, industry-related topics.
  • FAQs - The company provides a list of answers to frequently asked questions.
  • Knowledge Base - The company provides a knowledge base of detailed help articles.

Premium Add-Ons

Less Important
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Premium Add-Ons discusses the available optional upgrades to the insurance policy, which can be purchased for an additional fee. One popular option is the ability to cancel a trip for any reason rather than just for one of the covered events. Certain insurance providers also allow customers to purchase additional protection for personal property such as computers and phones. These items are often not fully covered under a traditional travel insurance policy and, if luggage is lost or stolen, having additional coverage could turn out to be extremely valuable. These optional upgrades may not appeal to everyone, however, so the category as a whole is less important.

  • Accidental Death and Dismemberment - The insurance covers accidental death or dismemberment that occurs during the trip.
  • Additional Personal Property Protection - The insurance provides coverage for lost, damaged, or stolen personal equipment such as phones, sports equipment, and laptops.
  • Cancel for Any Reason - The company reimburses the cost of the entire trip if it is cancelled for any reason.

Support

Less Important
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Support explains the different ways customers can contact the insurance provider if they have questions or concerns. In most cases, this means by phone or by email. Many of the best insurance companies also have a growing social media presence where they communicate with customers through platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Live chat isn't particularly common among travel insurance companies, though there are a few that offer this service to their customers. This category may be important to some, but it shouldn't have a large impact on most customers' decisions because it isn't directly related to the insurance policy itself.

  • Email - The company has an email or ticket system dedicated to support.
  • Live Chat - You can contact the company through live chat.
  • Phone - You can contact the company by phone to get support.
  • Social Media - You can contact the company with questions through social media networks.

Choosing the Best Travel Insurance Provider

All of the travel insurance companies reviewed offer a variety of plans, making them well suited to all kinds of travelers. However, some companies distinguish themselves more than others in certain areas, and these lists highlight which providers perform best in a particular category.

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