Traveling is often expensive and comes with risks you don’t face at home. If you end up getting hurt, losing your luggage, or getting stuck overnight in the airport, the costs can add up quickly.
Travel insurance offers a way to protect yourself from unexpected travel costs. It covers or reimburses a wide range of expenses so you don’t have to worry too much about the financial fallout of traveling mishaps. And, the good news is, it can be cheap!
Here’s a closer look at how to get the cheapest travel insurance and what else to consider when picking a policy.
Factors Influencing the Cost of Travel Insurance
As you shop around for travel insurance, you’ll find a variety of insurers with a range of policies and price points that include different levels of coverage types and amounts. Here’s a closer look at the common coverage types and how they work.
A prominent feature of travel insurance is medical coverage that kicks in if you get hurt or sick while traveling. It can cover you up to a max limit that often ranges from $50,000 up to $5 million or more.
Typically, the emergency accident and sickness coverage comes with a deductible and may also have a copay amount and coinsurance percentage. Insurers cover eligible costs after you pay your deductible and they subtract any copay or coinsurance you pay.
After you pay your deductible, some travel insurance plans cover 100% of approved medical expenses up to your maximum limit.
Emergency dental can help to cover the costs of dental care while traveling. Providers will often outline maximum limits, the type of care that’s covered, and specific situations in which it’s covered.
For example, Seven Corners’ basic plan includes $750 of coverage for emergency treatment if sound natural teeth are causing pain.
Trip Cancellation, Delay, or Interruption
Some insurers offer trip cancellation, travel delay, and trip interruption coverage. Each of these coverage types typically stands alone and comes with its own respective maximum limit.
- Trip cancellation: If you need to cancel a trip because of a covered event and can’t get a refund, this coverage can help you recoup your costs. Covered events may include situations such as you or a family member getting sick, injured, or dying before the trip.
- Travel delay coverage: If you happen to encounter travel delays that result in the need to pay for reasonable expenses like accommodations and extra meals, travel delay coverage can help to reimburse you for the costs. Restrictions may apply, such as requiring you to be abroad or requiring a minimum delay length of 10 hours.
- Trip interruption coverage: If you need to end a trip early due to extenuating circumstances (death of a family member, serious damage to your home, etc.), this coverage reimburses you for certain costs you’ll incur. For example, it may provide reimbursement if you have to book an earlier return flight.
Loss of Checked Baggage
Baggage and personal effects coverage reimburses you for lost baggage and personal items that you check with a common carrier. Insurers may provide limits per item and per occurrence.
If your baggage ends up getting delayed, this coverage reimburses reasonable amounts you spend on additional clothing and other necessary personal items. It may also cover the cost of locating and retrieving your luggage.
Insurers often set a maximum limit on the amount they’ll reimburse and may require your baggage to be lost for a minimum amount of time before you qualify (e.g. 24 hours).
Natural Disaster or Emergency Medical Evacuation
Many insurers include coverage for emergency evacuations with maximums that are separate from your medical limits. However, companies vary in the amount that’s covered, the situations which warrant a covered evacuation (e.g. medical, non-medical, natural disaster), and who can be evacuated (e.g. policyholder, spouse, children).
Accidental Death and Dismemberment (AD&D)
Accidental death and dismemberment coverage pays a benefit if you’re involved in an accident while on your trip that results in your death or the loss of one or more limbs. In the event of death, the insurer pays the plan’s benefit to your chosen beneficiary. Insurers will vary in the benefit amount they include for this coverage and their criteria for when a situation qualifies.
If you are sued and found personally liable for injuries to another person or damage to another person’s property—due to an event that happened while on your trip—this coverage could help to cover the costs up to your plan’s limits. Insurers may or may not provide this coverage and will vary in their coverage limits.
Many people participate in adventure activities while they’re on vacation. Adventure activities coverage is often an optional add-on that will ensure your medical coverage will still apply, even if you’re injured due to an adventurous activity like bungee jumping, riding a motor scooter, or parasailing.
Cheapest Travel Insurance by Company
Which travel insurance is cheapest? Here’s a look at quotes from five reputable providers.
|Company||One-Week Trip to (Cabo, Mexico), Age 35||One-Week Trip to (Cabo, Mexico), Age 60||One-Week Trip to (Vancouver, Canada), Age 35||One-Week Trip to (Vancouver, Canada), Age 60|
|Generali Global Assitance||$26.57||$28.57||$26.45||$28.45|
The above quotes are based on seven-day trips to Mexico and Canada. We chose the entry-level travel insurance plan for each provider and we requested $50,000 in medical coverage. Where a deductible option was present, we chose $250. Further, we requested quotes for 35- and 60-year-old travelers.
Beyond the medical maximum coverage limit, the insurers offered a variety of coverage types and amounts. For example, accidental death and dismemberment coverage varied from $10,000 up to $50,000 between the providers. Baggage delay, trip delay, trip interruption, and evacuation coverage varied. Some offered the above coverage types while others didn’t, and coverage amounts varied for those that did. So, when comparing travel insurance quotes, it’s essential to review what you get for the price.
How to Save Money on Travel Insurance
If you’re looking to save money on travel insurance, the best thing you can do is shop around. Most providers have a variety of plan tiers. So, figure out the minimum amount of coverage you need, and then browse the plan options to find the best overall value. Be sure to read the fine print.
It may also be helpful to know that you can adjust your medical coverage and deductible amounts to impact your premium price. Lower coverage limits and higher deductibles will mean a lower premium. However, if you end up filing a claim, high deductibles and low coverage limits could put you in financial trouble.
In the end, if something happens, you might be able to save a significant amount by paying a few more dollars each month on your premium.
If you’re going to live abroad, you’ll want to research best health insurance for expats instead of travel insurance because travel insurance isn’t designed for long-term coverage that extends beyond emergencies.
What Is the Cheapest Travel Insurance and Who Offers It?
Of the insurers we compared, International Medical Group Inc. (IMG) offered the cheapest travel insurance plan for 35-year-olds while Trawick International offered the cheapest plan for 60-year-olds. However, most of the quotes were within a few dollars of each other, so it’s a good idea to shop around and compare more than just pricing. If you’re older than 60, check out the best travel insurance options for seniors.
Does Travel Insurance Cover 100% of the Trip?
Some travel insurance plans cover 100% (or more) of your trip costs in certain scenarios while others don’t. For example, Generali Global Assistance’s Standard plan covers up to 100% of a trip’s cost if you need to cancel and 125% if it’s interrupted. Seven Corners, on the other hand, lists a $2,500 max limit on trip interruption coverage for its basic plan. You’ll have to carefully review the benefits of the policies you’re considering to see if your trip costs are covered, how much is covered, and under what circumstances the coverage applies.
How Much Does Travel Insurance Usually Cost?
The cost of travel insurance can vary greatly depending on your age, the company you choose, the coverage types you want, and the coverage amounts you need. Rates can start as low as $7 to $10 for 35-year-olds and around $27 for 60-year-olds, depending on the destination. Find out exactly how much it’ll cost you by getting quotes from a few of the best travel insurance companies of 2023.
Squaremouth. "Co-Insurance Coverage."
Seven Corners. “RoundTrip Travel Protection.”
Generali Global Assistance. “View Travel Insurance Plan Documents,” Enter date "3/16/2023" and "California." View Page 8.
Seven Corners. “Seven Corners Travel Medical Insurance for Trips Excluding the USA," Page 9.