By Joe Supan, Staff Writer

Our John Hancock Travel Insurance Review

John Hancock is one of our favorite travel insurance companies. The company offers three plans to choose from, 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 required 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 in coverage, 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, 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. We found every one of John Hancock’s humble claims to be absolutely true.

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 $50K in medical and $250K 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 and baggage 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.

Other Considerations

One of the only perks we miss with John Hancock is its coverage for children under 18. While companies like Allianz, IMG, and Travelex all include 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 include kids for free, as the savings could be substantial.

John Hancock also doesn’t offer a ton of customization options when compared with some travel insurance policies. You also won’t be able to 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.

That’s not to say John Hancock doesn’t provide any ways to customize your policy. We love that it 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.

A Closer Look at Coverage

Bronze Plan
Silver Plan
Gold Plan
Trip Cancellation
of trip cost
of trip cost
of trip cost
Trip Interruption
of trip cost
of trip cost
of trip cost
Travel Delay
after six hours
after three hours
after three hours
Baggage Delay
Baggage Loss
Emergency Medical
Medical Transportation
$1 million

*12-hour minimum delay

Our Deep Dive

While John Hancock’s most important coverage details are listed above, the smaller details can also have a huge impact on a policy’s effectiveness. In this section, we’ll take a closer look at some of John Hancock’s specific coverage features.

Generous trip and baggage delay minimums

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

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

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 called 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, kind, and never pushed us towards 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.)

No coverage for “extreme” activities

This was another 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.”

14-day pre-existing condition waiver

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

Some providers (*cough*, IMG) only give you 24 hours from you final trip payment to purchase insurance with a pre-existing condition covered; John Hancock provides a full 14 days from your first trip payment. If you have a pre-existing 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.

John Hancock vs. The Competition

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.

Allianz covers kids for free as long as they’re accompanied by a parent or grandparent, although we preferred Travelex’s benefits for families. Allianz also has a couple options for longer trips. Single trip plans go up to a year in length (John Hancock tops out at 90 days), and it also has four different annual plans which cover an unlimited amount of trips taken within a 12-month period.

If neither of those features apply to you, John Hancock has better coverage at every level. Where only Allianz’s most expensive package includes $250K 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. 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

These 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 plenty of 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 just better at almost every level, particularly in the most important areas: Medical and evacuation.

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

The Bottom Line

If you’re not traveling with kids or taking a trip over 90 days, 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.

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