How do I Choose the Best Travel Insurance Policies?

C. Mitchell

Choosing the best travel insurance policies depends largely on what kind of trip you are planning, and the degree of protection you are looking for. Travel insurance can be a good way to protect yourself from losing money on a vacation or trip that is canceled, or that you can no longer participate in for a variety of reasons. Some travel insurance policies are geared towards protecting travelers while they are on trips, often providing supplemental medical insurance, among other things. Most of the time, the details of the trip to be insured — length of time, cost, and activities to be undertaken, among other things — will determine which policies are best.

In some instances, it may be wise to purchase travel insurance for your trip.
In some instances, it may be wise to purchase travel insurance for your trip.

Travel or trip insurance comes in many different varieties. The most common travel insurance policies cover the costs of trips that are canceled or missed due to airline delays, weather events, or hotel closures. Sometimes, the individual vendors will reimburse trip cancellations that were out of the traveler’s control, but not all will. If your only concern is that your trip might be canceled, a basic trip cancellation insurance policy is probably for you.

Some travel insurance protects against loss of or damage to baggage during transit.
Some travel insurance protects against loss of or damage to baggage during transit.

Most travel insurance policies are stackable, which is to say that they can be built upon and expanded in terms of coverage options. Additions such as alternative accommodations, flight rescheduling, and baggage contents replacement can be purchased to accompany most basic travel insurance policies. Policies that cover voluntary cancellation, such as in the event of traveler illness or work conflict, are usually also available. Each addition comes at a cost, and in choosing which additions are appropriate for you, it is important to weigh the risk against the price.

The sale of insurance policies is profitable largely because of the uncertainty factor present in risk. The chances that something catastrophic will happen that will affect a particular trip are relatively low, but if they happen, they can be quite costly. This is the basic premise upon which travel insurance policies are priced. Understanding the relative nature of the risk you seek to avoid can be very helpful in determining how much to spend on travel insurance, and what particular factors to insure against.

Depending on what you plan to do on your trip, one of the many travel insurance policies covering medical calamity may be for you. Many travel and trip insurance plans provide for certain medical benefits while traveling that often exceed the benefits provided by a personal health insurance plan. Travel medical insurance benefits can include extreme sport coverage, as well as medical evacuation policies that will bring you back to your home country in the event of hospitalization abroad. Before making any decisions on medical travel insurance policies, it is important to check with your primary medical insurance provider to ascertain the contours of your existing coverage.

Trip cancellation insurance policies can give travelers peace of mind when booking and planning trips, particularly when traveling to destinations that are volatile or prone to weather-related incidents. Choosing the best policy is a matter of knowing what you need, and understanding the accompanying risk. There is no foolproof path to choosing the best travel insurance policies, but approaching the questions from an informed perspective will make the selection process much smoother. Collect quotes from a variety of providers, and ask pointed questions until you have identified the plan that best suits your travel situation.

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