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ByMaggie Overholt Senior Insurance Editor

Maggie is the former lead insurance writer and editor at Reviews.com. She's written more than 70 insurance articles covering homeowners, auto, life, motorcycle, travel, and more.

The Best Travel Insurance Companies

The best travel insurance companies give you the freedom to enjoy your journey without getting bogged down in the complexities of travel, offering primary medical coverage, generous limits, few exclusions, and top-notch customer service. In short, the best travel insurance should have your back, whether it’s helping to cover any injuries or giving you money when a huge delay strikes. In order to help you find the best insurance for your trip, we looked at 22 of the nation’s top providers. We read and reviewed dozens of different policies, consulted with insurance and travel experts, compared customer satisfaction ratings, and considered financial strength ratings. Those last two factors we put a lot of stock in as you’ll want not only a company that’s easy to work with, but also one that has the financial backing to settle your claims. Ultimately, the cost will depend on you, your trip, and who’s coming with — which is why it's important to compare quotes from multiple providers. Our four top picks are a great place to start.

Why Trust This Review?

Since 2013, Reviews.com has helped millions of people find the best of the best when it comes to all sorts of products and services, including travel insurance. We’ve evaluated 22 of the nation’s top providers, read and reviewed dozens of different policies, and updated this review regularly in order to bring you the most current information. The author of this review does not own stock in any of the companies mentioned, or in any other travel insurance providers.

The 4 Best Travel Insurance Companies

The Best Travel Insurance Companies: Summed Up

  Travelex Insurance Services John Hancock Insurance Agency IMG Allianz Global Assistance
Our review Our review
The best
For families For solo travelers For thrill-seekers For long trips
Recommended plans
Travel Select Bronze, Silver, Gold iTravelInsured LX OneTrip Premier, AllTrips Executive
A.M. Best financial strength
A++* A+ A A-
Extreme sports coverage
Cancel for any reason
✓**
Free coverage for kids
✓† ✓†
Get a quote Get a quote Get a quote Get a quote

* Travelex works with underwriters like Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance (A++ on A.M. Best)
** Except for residents of New York
† Under 18

Travelex Insurance Services - Best for Families

Best for
Families

Travelex Insurance Services
Travelex
Truly comprehensive coverage that covers kids under 18 without extra fees.
Pros
Financial strength
Comprehensive coverage and upgrade options
Kids covered for free
Great customer service
Cons
Limited basic plan
Not always the best deal

Why we chose it

Financial strength

Travelex policies are underwritten by Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance, which has an A++ rating from A.M. Best. Put simply, this means that Travelex is one of the most financially stable travel insurance providers on the market, and you won’t have to worry about the company’s ability to pay your claim.

Comprehensive coverage and upgrade options

Travelex’s Travel Select Plan has all the makings of a great travel insurance policy. It offers $50,000 of coverage for medical treatment and an impressive $500,000 for medical evacuation. If you purchase your plan within 21 days of the initial trip deposit, the policy will also offer coverage for losses due to a preexisting medical condition (excluded in most travel insurance plans). Aside from medical coverage, the plan covers everything from missed connections to baggage delays.

The standard coverage from the Travel Select plan is thorough, but we really like how Travelex packages its optional coverage, too: à la carte upgrades that you can add to your existing coverage. The coverage upgrades include popular options such as coverage for adventure or “extreme” sports and the ability to cancel for any reason.

“With [Cancel for any Reason], it doesn't matter why you have to cancel your trip – you just can. Often times, travelers will purchase CFAR coverage when traveling to a part of the world with civil or political unrest. This allows the traveler to cancel if uncomfortable with leaving for the trip - second thoughts, fear of safety or a bad omen appeared. Regardless the reason if you are outside 48 hours before your trip, you can cancel.

The company also offers a medical upgrade that gives you an additional $50,000 for standard medical coverage (for a total of $100,000) and an additional $500,000 for medical evacuation (a total of $1 million) — a nice inclusion for those who want a little extra security.

Kids covered for free

For anyone traveling with families, we recommend getting a quote from Travelex. That’s because any children under 18 are covered on the Travelex Select plan for free. Most companies generally charge a flat fee for kids; when we got quotes from John Hancock, it added on about $50 per child.

Great customer service

Travelex offers some of the best customer service as well. Our phone call was answered quickly, and the rep we spoke to was knowledgeable and friendly and didn’t push us for personal data until it was appropriate — a refreshing change of pace. If anything goes wrong on your trip, the company’s 24/7 emergency assistance ensures that you’ll be able to contact a Travelex rep at any time for support.

Points to consider

Limited basic plan

While the Travel Select plan offers impressive coverage, Travelex’s basic plan did not meet our base requirements for travel insurance providers. For starters, the Travel Basic plan caps emergency medical coverage at $15,000, which is far below the recommended minimum. It also does not offer options for “extreme” activities or a Cancel for Any Reason add-on. To be fair, the basic plan may be an acceptable match for shorter domestic trips, but we feel confident the Travel Select plan is the way to go.

Not always the best deal

While price depends on a number of variables, including your location, travel destination, and trip length, it is worth noting that the Travel Select plan is Travelex’s most expensive. In other words, there is a possibility that you can find another provider that offers more thorough coverage, such as $100,000 of medical coverage, for cheaper. This isn’t guaranteed, but shopping around may lead you to a better deal elsewhere.

John Hancock - Best for Solo Travelers

Best for
Solo Travelers

John Hancock
John Hancock
John Hancock matches comprehensive coverage with friendly, knowledgeable customer support.
Pros
Straightforward contracts
Generous coverage
Excellent customer service
Cons
No free coverage for kids
No coverage for “extreme” sports or activities

Why we chose it

Straightforward contracts

John Hancock offers an impressively straightforward and easy-to-read contract. When explaining coverage for trip interruptions due to a stolen passport, the contract clearly states that it will cover “a documented theft of passports or visas. Documented means that you have reported the theft to the local authorities.” The contract isn’t an entertaining read, but we like that it lays out the policy as simply as possible and offers clarifications along the way so we know exactly what to expect from our coverage.

Generous coverage

John Hancock offers all the standard coverage you would expect from a travel insurer, including trip cancellation reimbursement and 24/7 assistance. You even get up to $150 per day for meals and other expenses if your flight is delayed by three hours with the middle-of-the-road Silver plan, as opposed to the five to 12 hours of other companies we compared. We were equally impressed by the medical coverage — the Bronze plan (the cheapest) offers $50,000 for medical treatments and $250,000 for medical evacuation. Upgrade to the Silver or Gold and the amounts increase. The company even offers $750 for dental (a full $250 more than competitors like Travelex).

Excellent customer service

We were also impressed by John Hancock’s world-class service. John Hancock’s reps were knowledgeable, friendly, patient, and warm, and they knew the coverage backward and forward. Better still, it took less than a minute for the company to answer our call, which made us feel confident that if we had to call in an emergency, we’d be in good hands.

It bears noting that John Hancock’s customer support (its sales and claims departments) is actually managed by Seven Corners — another insurance company that didn’t quite make our top picks. Even so, we feel that John Hancock’s policies and the customer representatives make a great pairing.

Points to consider

No free coverage for kids

We were disappointed to see that John Hancock does not offer free coverage for children under 18. That means you will have to pay extra to insure your kids, which may end up being quite expensive. If you’re taking a family trip and want to save some cash, we suggest comparing quotes with providers such as Travelex and Allianz Global Assistance.

No coverage for 'extreme' sports or activities

If adventurous activities like rock climbing, skydiving, or caving are on your itinerary, John Hancock won’t be the best choice. The company does not offer coverage for injuries due to “extreme” sports and activities. For those who enjoy these activities, we recommend getting quotes from providers who offer the optional coverage, like Travelex or IMG. But for those who want to take it easy, John Hancock is still a great choice.

IMG - Best for Thrill-Seekers

Best for
Thrill-Seekers

IMG
IMG
IMG's LX plan covers adventure sports like scuba diving excursions, helicopter rides, and moped rentals.
Pros
Coverage tailored around adventurous activities
Generous medical coverage
Convenient customer service
Cons
Long trip and baggage delay requirements
Fewer customization options

Why we chose it

Coverage tailored around adventurous activities

IMG leads the pack when it comes to offering plans for adventurers. Specifically designed for trips to remote or exotic locations, the iTravelInsured LX plan offers $500,000 of coverage for “sports/recreational activities,” as well as $10,000 of coverage for search and rescue. Adventurous but naturally hazardous activities such as rock climbing or scuba diving can put you at risk of an expensive injury or getting stranded. We like that IMG offers a plan that can give adventurers peace of mind.

Generous medical coverage

With a $500,000 medical coverage limit, you also won’t have to worry about footing a large bill in the event of any illness or injury — coverage for adventure sports and activities is included in the amount. In addition, a $1 million medical evacuation limit ensures that you can make it back home safely and affordably in case you need additional medical care.

Convenient customer service

Like our other providers, IMG earned high marks for its customer service. Phone calls were answered promptly, and the reps were patient, polite, and helpful. However, the company also offers a Live Chat option on its website, which was incredibly helpful while we were comparing plans.

The only other company from our picks to offer chat was John Hancock, but its chat option was a separate window that was a little more difficult to keep track of. IMG’s chat box stays connected to the bottom of your screen and is minimizable for easy access when you need it.

Points to consider

Long trip and baggage delay requirements

IMG has some of the longest time requirements before you can claim reimbursement for trip or baggage delays. The LX plan requires you to wait six hours for trip delays and 12 hours for baggage delays, while the SE plan requires 12 for both. The Travel Lite plan is even worse at 12 hours for trip delays and 24 hours for baggage. By comparison, other providers will sometimes require three to five hours — making this inconvenience difficult to ignore.

Fewer customization options

While we like how IMG designs its plans to satisfy the needs of specific travelers, we miss having the upgrade options of providers like Travelex. For example, we were disappointed that we couldn’t add coverage for adventure sports or the ability to cancel for any reason to the SE Plan. But all-around solid coverage makes IMG worth consideration if you’re an adventurer or planning a family trip.

Allianz Global Assistance - Best for Long Trips

Best for
Long Trips

Allianz Global Assistance
Allianz Global Assistance
If you're spending a semester abroad or planning a long tour around the globe, Allianz Global Assistance has you covered for up to six months.
Pros
Coverage for long trips
Multi-trip plans
Improved customer service
Cons
Add-on coverage is lacking
No free coverage for kids on long-term plans

Why we chose it

Coverage for long trips

If you’re planning a trip longer than a few months, Allianz Global Assistance is one of your best options. Most providers (except for Travelex) limit their coverage to three months, but Allianz Global Assistance will insure trips up to one year in length — a great match for long vacations, backpackers, or those studying abroad. The plan we recommend is the OneTrip Premier Plan, which meets our travel insurance requirements and covers kids under 18 for long family excursions.

Multi-trip plans

For those who travel frequently, Allianz Global Assistance also offers annual plans that will provide continuous coverage for international or domestic trips over the course of a year. You’ll have to go with the pricier AllTrips Executive Plan or higher to receive reliable coverage, but the annual fee is worth it. The one-time costs average around a couple hundred dollars, which is more convenient and far less expensive than signing up for a new travel insurance policy for each of your trips.

Improved customer service

The first time we reviewed travel companies more than a year ago, our phone experience with Allianz Global Assistance customer service was mediocre at best: We were on hold for over five minutes, and our rep seemed to know less about the plans than we did.

However, times have changed, and our most recent experience with Allianz Global Assistance global assistance was much better. Our call was answered in about half the time, and our rep was fairly knowledgeable. Full disclosure: Our other picks are still noticeably better, but we appreciate that Allianz Global Assistance stepped up its game.

Points to consider

Add-on coverage is lacking

Allianz Global Assistance is flexible when it comes to the length of your trips, but that flexibility doesn't extend to all of its coverage. We were disappointed to see that Allianz Global Assistance lacked add-ons such as the popular and helpful “cancel for any reason” option. We didn’t see add-on coverage for “extreme” sports or activities, either, which we feel is an oversight. For long and easygoing vacations, Allianz Global Assistance is a solid bet, but more adventurous travelers or those with rapidly changing commitments will want to look elsewhere.

No free coverage for kids on long-term plans

Allianz Global Assistance does not offer free coverage for children in any of its annual plans, which means that families that travel frequently will have to purchase separate policies for their kids. The biggest strength of Allianz Global Assistance is its ability to cover long trips and frequent travelers, so this exclusion is strange. In any case, it’s still one of the few providers that will offer free coverage to kids for trips over six months.

Guide to Travel Insurance

How to choose a travel insurance provider

Look for the five major coverage options

As we mentioned before, there are five major coverage options that every travel insurance policy should offer. In simple terms, those coverage options and their definitions include:

  • Trip cancellation/interruption coverage reimburses you for prepaid, non-refundable expenses such as flights and hotels in the event that you need to cancel your trip or cut it short.
  • Baggage/personal item loss or delay coverage reimburses you for lost, stolen, or damaged bags and items or covers the cost of clothing, toiletries, and other essentials if baggage is delayed.
  • Medical care covers medical treatment due to accidents or injuries as we describe above. However, it does not include injuries caused by “extreme” activities by default.
  • Medical evacuation covers the cost for medical treatment and transport to a treatment center or medically staffed transport to a hospital in the U.S.
  • 24/7 worldwide assistance offers extra security by ensuring that a travel insurance agent will be accessible and ready to assist you in any emergency.

Read the fine print and ask questions

Every insurance plan comes with something called the Policy Certificate that lists all acceptable coverage scenarios. If it’s not on the list and you didn’t buy the option, it’s not covered. For that reason, it’s vital that you read the certificate before purchasing the policy (or at least in the first 10 days, when most insurers will let you cancel for a full refund). Depending on where you’re headed, some policies offer better coverage than others, particularly if you plan on participating in “extreme” activities or if there’s been civil unrest in the region.

In any case, if you have any questions, be sure to ask. A good travel insurance provider should have knowledgeable reps who can clarify any misunderstandings. All of our top picks had reps who were up to the task.

Compare quotes

Even though cost is often the main factor when choosing a travel insurance provider, we didn’t compare premiums. There are just too many variables for us to reliably say which company will give you the best price. Company A could have better rates for your family’s trip to Canada than Company B, but Company C might be cheapest for your Australian rock-climbing sojourn. For more information about what affects trip cost, check out our review of the best cheap travel insurance companies.

Purchase travel insurance early

Three important coverage options are only available for a limited time after you start planning your trip, since they’re designed to protect against things that can happen before you depart (the typical window is 10 to 14 days, although some companies allow around 20).

The waiver for preexisting medical conditions exclusion is the most important; it stops the insurance company from using your previous health history to deny a medical claim. With the waiver, you only have to prove that you were medically fit to travel on the day you bought the policy for your claim to be covered. Without it, your claim could be denied as long as there was evidence of the issue in the two to six months prior.

The other two time-sensitive options are known as “cancel for work reasons” and “cancel for any reason.” Each lets you cancel for reasons beyond the standard ones — most often a medical emergency or severe weather.

Keep your assistance card on you when you travel

Megan Freedman, Executive Director at the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, advises travelers to be aware of the 24-hour travel assistance services provided by every plan: “It’s really important for travelers to keep that contact info handy.” The wallet-sized card you get from your travel insurer can be useful in both emergencies (like if you lose your passport) and non-emergencies (like if you just want a quick way of getting tickets to the opera).

Travel Insurance FAQ

Is travel insurance worth it?

If you are taking an international trip, having travel insurance for medical treatment or evacuation is highly recommended, since your health insurance may not apply when you are traveling abroad. But even when not traveling abroad, insuring big-ticket trips ($5,000), or traveling frequently, travel insurance can prevent heavy financial losses due to unforeseen circumstances like a sudden trip cancellation. As for short or cheap domestic trips, travel insurance is likely unnecessary — coverage for baggage and delays may not be worth the cost.

When should you buy travel insurance?

Generally, it’s advised that you purchase travel insurance at least within 13 to 14 days of making the first deposit on your trip. If preexisting medical conditions are a factor and you need to purchase a waiver, our experts recommend sooner than later. “To purchase the waiver for pre-existing medical conditions, this insurance must be purchased within 14 to 21 days after initial deposit,” explains Ann Cappa, ACC, DS of Caribbean And Beyond.

How much travel insurance do I need?

Life can be unpredictable, and traveling is no exception. Our expert, Megan Singh, recommends enough travel insurance to cover at least a week in the hospital — about $50,000. That’s a pretty safe bet, and you shouldn’t have any trouble finding that figure, especially with our top picks. However, if you’re traveling within the country, you might not need that much. Be sure and take into account a variety of factors, including the nature of your trip, the location, and the duration in order to tailor a policy that’s right for you.

How much does travel insurance cost?

In general, you should expect your policy to cost between 4% to 10% of your total trip cost. The main factors that determine premiums are trip cost and length, the age of the travelers (older people are more expensive to insure), and any options you select (things like extreme sports or rental car coverage). To find the best price for your trip, we recommend comparing quotes from each of our top picks.

Can I buy travel insurance after booking a flight?

Yes. In fact, you can only get travel insurance coverage after you’ve made the purchases that you want covered. Furthermore, you should purchase travel insurance immediately after you’ve purchased your major trip expenses like flights, hotels, and cruises. Don’t wait. Most policies waive preexisting medical conditions, but only if you purchase insurance within two or three weeks of your final trip deposit. If you wait any longer, you could end up without coverage for your primary medical issues.

Does travel insurance count as health insurance?

Travel insurance is not a replacement for health insurance. Many travel insurance policies place a heavy emphasis on medical coverage because it is one of the most expensive travel risks. But it will not cover a visit to your doctor for a check-up. In addition to the medical coverage, travel insurance will protect you from other travel risks like trip cancellations or lost luggage.

Won't my credit card travel benefits be enough?

Not really. Although some credit cards come with a travel insurance benefit, they aren’t substitutes for comprehensive travel insurance. For one, there’s usually an annual coverage limit of $1,500 to $2,500 and a very limited number of covered reasons for cancellation or delay. More importantly, no credit card provides medical treatment or evacuation coverage abroad.

How do I file a travel insurance claim?

When it comes time to file a claim, you will want to review your policy to ensure that your claim will be honored and then call your travel insurance company as soon as possible (many allow you to file online as well). Your travel insurance company will provide directions on the steps you need to take to receive payment. After filing, it normally takes one to two months until the claim is resolved.

Make sure to keep detailed records of your travel in the form of receipts, invoices, bills, and even causes of delay in writing. Doing so ensures that your travel insurance company can’t reject a claim due to a lack of proof.

Our Other Travel Insurance Reviews

The travel insurance company you choose depends on your personal preference and needs. We addressed a few of the most common specialized travel insurance needs in the following reviews:

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