Whether you’re planning your honeymoon, a family trip to Hawaii or a business trip to meet new clients, travel insurance can provide protection when your plans go astray. There are generally three main types of travel insurance: travel cancellation and disruption; medical assistance and evacuation; and baggage loss and delay. We researched dozens of travel insurance companies to pick the best in the industry. The right plan for you may depend on the nature of your travels, who is traveling and your budget. But whatever your needs, these 10 picks are financially stable, reliable companies with a good track record and comprehensive coverage.
- Allianz Travel Insurance
- TravelGuard (AIG)
- CSA Travel Protection
- World Nomads
- AXA Assistance USA
- HTH Travel Insurance
- Berkshire Hathaway Travel Protection
- Seven Corners
- April Travel Protection
Our Top 10 Travel Insurance Providers
families with kids Travelex
Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider based in Omaha, Neb. Its parent company, Travelex, has been a worldwide leader in foreign currency exchange for decades, and Travelex Insurance was started in 1996. The company’s travel insurance policies are underwritten by Old Republic Insurance Company and Transamerica Casualty Insurance company, which has a financial rating of A+ from A.M. Best, and TransAmerica Casualty Insurance Company, which has A.M. Best ratings of A. The company has won the international luxury travel network Virtuoso’s Best Travel Insurance Provider award for nine years in a row. It is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, which gives it an A+ rating.
Allianz Travel Insurance is part of the giant multinational corporation Allianz, which has over 13,000 employees on five continents. Allianz insures over 250 million customers worldwide. The company has been around for over 100 years. In fact, Allianz insured the Wright Brothers’ first flight in 1903. Today Allianz is accredited with the Better Business Bureau, which gives them an A+ rating. Its financial rating from A.M. Best is A+.
TravelGuard is a subsidiary of AIG. Its policies are underwritten by National Union Fire Insurance Company of Pittsburgh, which has an A.M. Best financial rating of A. The company is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has a rating of A+.
San Diego-based CSA Travel Protection has provided travel insurance since 1991. The Italian-based multinational conglomerate Generali Group underwrites its policies.
CSA is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ rating. Generali Group has an A financial rating from A.M. Best.
WorldNomads has targeted its insurance at independent travellers and adventure-seekers. If your vacation includes activities like kite sailing, snowboarding, or bungee jumping, this might be the company for you. The company is recommended by Lonely Planet and National Geographic Adventure.. But you don’t have to be an adventure seeker to benefit from the very competitive rates offered by WorldNomads. The company’s policies are underwritten by Lloyd’s, which has an A financial rating from A.M. Best.
In addition to providing travel insurance, AXA offers trip other assistance through its network of over 7,500 staff members in 33 offices around the world. The company handled 9.4 million claims in 2014. AXA Insurance has a financial rating of A from A.M. Best. American Modern Home Insurance – which has an A+ financial rating from A.M. Best – underwrites AXA travel policies. AXA Assistance has an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau.
HTH Travel Insurance is a leader in providing medical coverage for international students and expatriates. The company’s policies are underwritten by Nationwide, which has an A+ financial rating from A.M. Best. HTH is not rated by the Better Business Bureau, but it is a member of the U.S. Travel Insurance Association (USTIA) and has signed on to its Code of Ethics.
Warren Buffet’s Berkshire Hathaway is not known for travel insurance, but it is rapidly gaining recognition in the market for its technological advances in the field. It launched its travel protection program in 2014 and appears to be winning over customers with fast claims payments and easy access mobile app. Berkshire Hathaway has an A.M. Best financial rating of A++. It is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ rating.
volunteers or employees Seven Corners
The Indiana-based Seven Corners began offering international medical insurance in 1993. Today Seven Corners offers a wide range of travel insurance to U.S. residents and foreigners visiting the U.S. It also offers group plans to companies, non-profits and U.S. government agencies seeking to protect their staff and volunteers when traveling. It is the travel insurance provider for the Peace Corps and other U.S. government agencies. Different plans are underwritten by different companies. The popular RoundTrip comprehensive plans are underwritten by Nationwide, with an A+ financial rating from A.M. Best. Other plans are underwritten by Lloyds of London or U.S. Fire Insurance Company, both of which have A ratings from A.M. Best.
Founded in 1988 in France, April International now operates in 33 countries. April has an A+ financial rating from A.M. Best. Its U.S. travel insurance policies are underwritten by American Modern Home Insurance, which also has an A.M. Best rating of A+. The company is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ rating, and it’s a member of the U.S. Travel Insurance Association.
We reviewed dozens of travel insurance providers to come up with this list of top companies. Our criteria for inclusion included:
- Financial strength
With any insurance company, you want to be sure that your provider is financially secure and able to pay out on any potential claim you may have. We only included companies with a financial rating from A.M. Best of A or better.
- Solid underwriter
Most travel insurance policies are underwritten by a third party, and often it is hard to figure this out. We made sure that the company ownership and underwriting was clearly stated and that underwriters also had a solid financial footing and reputation.
- Good business reputation
Because of the industry’s less-than-stellar reputation, we think it’s important to look at a company’s track record, including membership in professional associations. Most of our picks are accredited with the Better Business Bureau and have an A+ rating. Most are also members of the U.S. Travel Insurance Industry Association, and have signed on to the group’s Code of Ethics. We also looked for companies that are listed with the major travel insurance brokers.
- Detailed, clear website
One of the biggest complaints about travel insurance providers is that they use complicated language and small print to trick consumers into believing that certain situations are covered when they aren’t. We looked for companies with clear websites that are transparent about what is and isn’t covered.
- Claims satisfaction
Although the travel insurance industry does not have the level of scrutiny of the automobile or home insurance fields, we looked at reviews of consumer and claims satisfaction to rule out any with large numbers of complaints.
- Excellent coverage
All of our picks offer comprehensive travel insurance that includes at least:
Trip cancellation, interruption, delay
In addition, most of these companies offer several different plans allowing you to expand coverage to include things like pre-existing conditions, “cancel for any reason,” adventure travel and pets. These optional extras usually cost more and have conditions attached, so be sure to read the fine print.
We looked at the price range of each company’s plans and provided a sample quote for a basic package. Experts say that travel insurance typically costs between 5 and 15 percent of the trip cost. Our quotes for basic coverage were usually less, but once you add on important features (like coverage for pre-existing conditions), the rate will increase.
Before You Buy
Experts recommend you do your homework before buying a travel insurance policy.
The industry is known for excessive exclusions and confusing language in small
print. A 2013 report from the National Consumer League recommends that you:
Check to see if you’re already covered through another policy.
Lots of insurance policies (including home, auto and life) and credit
cards offer partial coverage for trip interruption or medical emergencies.
Read the fine print – especially regarding exclusions.
Things like pre-existing conditions, pregnancy-related issues, job loss
or travel in a country that has reported a high threat of terrorism may
Remember that you can get your money back.
Lots of travel insurance companies allow you to get your money back if you cancel the plan within ten days (before travel).
Don’t purchase travel insurance through airlines.
Airlines aggressively push these cancellation insurance plans and pay commissions of 10 to 40 percent to the travel agents who sell them.
Consumer Reports recommends that you use an online travel insurance broker to search for a good match for your travel. Sites like Squaremouth, InsureMyTrip.com, TripInsuranceStore.com, or QuoteWright.com all allow you to shop and compare quotes. Even if you use such a service, however, Consumer Reports recommends contacting the carrier directly to go over the coverage and fine print before purchasing a policy.
This professional association represents travel insurance companies and promotes ethical and professional industry standards. You can search its database for member organizations.
Provides information and advice for consumers regarding when and how to purchase travel insurance.
The III is dedicated to promoting a public understanding of insurance. It has a page providing travel insurance facts.
All insurance is regulated at the state level. NAIC provides an interactive map so that you can click on your state and be directed to your state’s Insurance Commissioner.
The BBB allows you to search its vast online database to check on the reputation and any complaints that have been filed against a company.