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ByJoe Supan Staff Writer

John Hancock Travel Insurance Review

John Hancock is one of our favorite travel insurance companies. The company offers three plans, and the coverage in each of them is extremely generous. The cheapest option, the Bronze plan, provides emergency medical and evacuation limits that exceed the most expensive options from several of John Hancock’s competitors. The plans are also exceedingly reasonable in some of the more minor areas: Baggage delay benefits, for instance, kick in after only 12 hours, while nearly every other provider requires at least a full day.

Just know that John Hancock is one of the only companies we looked at that doesn’t cover kids for free — they’re treated as separate policyholders. But aside from that gap, John Hancock excels in nearly every other area.

The Claim

John Hancock has one of the least braggy marketing strategies we’ve ever seen. The biggest boast we could find highlighted the "simple" and "easy to read wording" in its contracts, along with "exceptional products and world-class service." With a namesake most famous for his in-your-face approach to signatures, this modesty came as quite a surprise.

Is it true?

Yes.

The contracts really are simple, easy to read, and delightfully free of legal jargon. For example, when explaining what constitutes a natural disaster covered under trip cancellation, the contract reads: “‘Natural Disaster’ means flood, fire, hurricane, tornado, earthquake, tsunami, volcanic eruption, blizzard or avalanche that is due to natural causes.” While it’s not the most elegant language, it does spell everything out with clear, logical writing.

John Hancock also isn’t exaggerating about its “exceptional products.” Overall, its plans come with some of the most generous coverage amounts of any travel insurance company that we found. The cheapest option, the Bronze plan, starts at $50,000 in medical and $250,000 in evacuation and only goes up from there.

Each plan also includes 100% trip cancellation and at least 125% trip interruption. John Hancock also goes above and beyond with the details that might not jump out at first glance. Travel delay benefits kick in after three hours for its Silver and Gold plans (six hours for the Bronze), the lowest times of any company we looked at.

We were also extremely impressed by John Hancock’s world-class service. To grade each company’s customer service, we called and emailed each one and asked them a long list of hypothetical questions. We were looking for agents that were easy to get a hold of, knew the policies inside and out, and didn’t mind taking the time to explain the finer details to us.

John Hancock’s reps consistently provided the best customer service experience in our testing. They were knowledgeable, friendly, patient, and warm, and it took less than a minute to get on the line with a real person when we called.

Product Overview

Best for

Anyone looking for generous baggage and trip delay coverage

Not for

Anyone traveling with kids or doing extreme activities like scuba diving

Features

Price Varies
In business since 1862
Standout features Stellar customer service
Cancel for any reason
14-day preexisting condition waiver
Plans Bronze
Silver
Gold
Emergency medical coverage Bronze: $50,000
Silver: $100,000
Gold: $250,000

Generous trip and baggage delay minimums

John Hancock is head and shoulders above the competition in trip and baggage delay coverage. In order for its $15 to $200 trip delay benefit to kick in, it requires a delay of only three hours or more (six for the Bronze plan).

That stands in stark contrast to companies like Trawick International, which has a 12-hour minimum delay for its trip delay benefit. John Hancock's low threshold carries over to its baggage delay requirements, too: It requires only a 12-hour minimum delay, while nearly every other plan we saw stipulates a full 24 hours.

Bronze Plan
Silver Plan
Gold Plan
Trip cancellation
100%
of trip cost
100%
of trip cost
100%
of trip cost
Trip interruption
125%
of trip cost
150%
of trip cost
150%
of trip cost
Travel delay
$500
($150/day)
after six hours
$750
($150/day)
after three hours
$1,000
($200/day)
after three hours
Baggage delay
$250*
$500*
$500*
Baggage loss
$750
$1,000
$2,500
Emergency medical
$50,000
$100,000
$250,000
Medical transportation
$250,000
$500,000
$1 million

*12-hour minimum delay

Stellar customer service

John Hancock stands out in our testing as the travel insurance company with the best customer service. Not only were our test calls answered within a minute every time (by a real person), but all of the reps knew the plans inside and out. With some companies, it was clear that the person we were talking to was just reading off the same information from the website that we had access to.

We felt like John Hancock’s reps had experience handling claims, as they easily walked us through all of the thorny hypotheticals we had prepared. In addition to that breadth of knowledge, they were also wonderful people to talk to. Every rep was patient and kind, and they never pushed us toward a sale. If we ever had to sort out a difficult claim or call in an emergency, there’s no other company we’d rather call.

14 days for a refund

While this won’t make or break a travel insurance policy, we appreciate John Hancock’s inclusion of a 14-day “Free Look” to review your policy after you purchase it. If any red flags pop up, or you just decide you’d rather go with another provider, you can cancel for a full refund within 14 days of your initial purchase. (Of course, that doesn’t apply if you’ve already started your trip.)

14-day preexisting condition waiver

Most travel insurance plans come with a general exclusion for preexisting conditions. That means that any expenses stemming from a preexisting condition won’t be covered without a preexisting condition waiver. Fortunately, John Hancock provides a pretty generous one.

Some providers like IMG only give you 24 hours from you final trip payment to purchase insurance with a preexisting condition covered; John Hancock provides a full 14 days from your first trip payment. If you have a preexisting condition that you need covered, like diabetes or asthma, it’s important that you get your insurance as soon as possible after you book your first flight or hotel room.

Cancel for any reason

We love that John Hancock offers a “Cancel for Any Reason” upgrade, which reimburses you for up to 75% of your total trip cost as long as you cancel at least two days before you’re scheduled to leave. If you’re looking for total peace of mind — in case the babysitter cancels last-minute or a work emergency throws a wrench in your plans — this feature is a must-have.

Possible drawbacks

No coverage for 'extreme' activities

This was a significant ding on John Hancock’s customization score. While companies like IMG and Travelex offer upgrades for trips that involve extreme sports activities, John Hancock explicitly excludes them in its Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Airline Ticket Change Fee, Missed Connection, and Trip Delay benefits.

The specific activities not covered include “participating in bodily contact sports; skydiving; mountaineering where ropes or guides are normally used; hang gliding; parachuting; any race by horse, motor vehicle or motorcycle; bungee cord jumping; scuba diving, unless accompanied by a divemaster where depth does not exceed one-hundred (100) feet; spelunking or caving; or rock climbing.”

No free coverage for children

One of the only perks we miss with John Hancock is free coverage for children under age 18. While companies like Allianz, IMG, and Travelex all cover kids in their policies for free, John Hancock treats them as separate travelers requiring their own insurance, with no discounts. If you’re looking for insurance for a family trip, we recommend comparing quotes with providers who cover kids for free, as the savings could be substantial.

Lacks customization

John Hancock also doesn’t offer a ton of customization options relative to other travel insurance policies. For example, you can't increase your coverage in any specific areas like emergency evacuation or medical. If you’re only traveling across the border to Mexico, for instance, and wanted to beef up your medical coverage but not evacuation, you’d be out of luck. That said, John Hancock’s baseline coverage is exceptional, and most people won’t have any issues sticking to its three plans.

The Competition

  John Hancock Travel Insurance Allianz Travelex Insurance Services
Our review
Available plans
3 9 4
A.M. Best financial strength rating
A A+ A++
Children under age 18 covered for free
Annual plans
24-hour travel assistance service
Get a quote Get a quote Get a quote

John Hancock vs. Allianz

We like John Hancock best for almost every type of trip, but Allianz has the edge with two types of travelers: Those traveling with children and anyone looking for coverage on a longer trip.

Unlike John Hancock, Allianz covers kids age 17 and under for free as long as they’re accompanied by a parent or grandparent. Additionally, its single trip plans go up to a year in length (John Hancock tops out at 90 days), and it has four different annual plans, which cover an unlimited amount of trips taken within a 12-month period.

If neither of those features appeal to you, John Hancock has better coverage at every level. Where only Allianz’s most expensive package includes $250,000 for medical evacuation, John Hancock starts there with its cheapest option. We also loved John Hancock’s “Cancel for Any Reason” add-on and would have liked to see a similar option from Allianz.

But perhaps the starkest difference between these two travel insurance companies came in their customer service. While John Hancock impressed us at every turn, our experience with Allianz was disappointing overall: We were on hold for about five minutes before being connected with a rep, and we got pretty surface-level answers once we were. No one was rude or impatient, but we didn’t learn much more than we did just by browsing the website.

John Hancock vs. Travelex

John Hancock and Travelex were two of the best all-around providers that we looked at, and which one is right for you comes down to the specifics of your trip. If you’re traveling with children under 18, we’d recommend skipping John Hancock altogether. There are so many travel insurance companies that cover kids for free that it’s not worth paying that extra money. And if you are taking a family trip, we thought Travelex had the edge on companies like IMG and Allianz that offered the same perk.

That said, if there aren’t any kids on your trip, we’d go with John Hancock. The benefits are better at almost every level, particularly in the most important areas: medical and evacuation.

Travelex covers $15,000 in medical and $100,000 in evacuation on its cheapest plan, while John Hancock goes up to $50,000 and $250,000, respectively. In our review of the best travel insurance providers, the insurance experts we talked to all recommended at least $50,000 in medical and $100,000 in evacuation, and John Hancock was the only company that met this criteria in all of its plans.

John Hancock Travel Insurance FAQ

Do I really need medical evacuation on my travel insurance?

It depends where you’ll be traveling and how built up the region is. If you are traveling to London, where it might not take long for an ambulance to reach you, then you might not need the most expensive coverage. However, travel journalist David Yeskel goes on to say: “If you suffer a serious injury and/or illness while traveling outside North America (especially in a remote location) and can’t be effectively treated at that destination, being airlifted to the nearest modern hospital becomes critical — and could save your life.”

Is John Hancock travel insurance right for me?

It could be, provided you aren’t going on any extreme activities, taking a trip lasting over 90 days, or traveling with children. However, it’s important to consider all of your options and get multiple quotes when trying to find the best travel insurance. The key is to make sure you aren’t purchasing a policy that won’t cover you when disaster strikes.

“Scan the fine print,” says Jeff Miller of Our Passion for Travel. “No one likes reading each and every detail of the paperwork you’re provided. But before you go, read over to familiarise yourself with what you’re covered for. I’ve seen people nonchalantly explain that ‘they’re covered’ without even looking at the policy.”

And watch out for exclusions, too. “Sometimes you may need an adventure package for scuba, zip lining, and other adventure sports,” says Sheryl Hill, CEO and founder of Depart Smart. “Many air sports — parasailing, sky diving — are excluded. Alcohol may exclude you if you overindulge.” If your trip involves any of these activities, Travelex might be a better provider for you.

The Bottom Line

If you’re not traveling with kids or taking a trip over 90 days in length, John Hancock provides the best travel insurance around. In the most important areas of coverage — emergency medical and evacuation — it had the most generous limits of any company we tested. But John Hancock also stands out in the smaller details like reasonable minimum times before delay benefits kick in and “Cancel for Any Reason” upgrades on all of its plans. We recommend gathering quotes from multiple companies for any type of insurance, but John Hancock is certainly a strong contender.

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