Our Review of the Top 10 Travel Insurance Providers for Any Destination
Reviews of the Top 10 Best Travel Insurance Companies
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.
Our Top 10 Travel Insurance Providers
Best: Overall, and for families with kids
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 eleven years in a row. It is accredited by the Better Business Bureau, which gives it an A+ rating.
Travelex offers two main coverage plans - basic and select (family-friendly) - and two flight insurance opt-ins. They offer protection for both leisure and business travelers. Like many companies here, they cover younger children (17 and under) at no additional cost. The company boasts a high claims paid rate (previously reported at 94 percent).
The Travelex mobile website allows you to shop and purchase policies, get emergency assistance, and access trip-related documents from your phone. You can initiate a claim and check the status of your claim online.
Sample online quote:
Family of four, going on a 10-day, $10,000 trip: Basic $377, Select $333, Max $895
Best for: Frequent travelers
Allianz Travel Insurance is part of the giant multinational corporation Allianz, which has over 140,000 employees on five continents. Allianz insures over 80 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+.
Allianz offers a handful of distinct plans including those for frequent travelers. If you travel for business, for example, it might be worth investing in an annual plan that covers both medical and lost baggage expenses for all your trips throughout the year.
Back in 2013 Allianz won an award for its TravelSmart mobile app, which connects travelers to approved hospitals in over 120 countries. The app also allows travelers to check on flight statuses, get emergency international assistance, and access their policy while on the road.
Sample online quote:
Family of four, going on a 10-day, $10,000 trip: $304.
Best for: Luxury Travel
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+.
TravelGuard includes trip assistance - including dealing with lost bags, cancelled flights, or medical emergencies - via agents who are available 24 hours a day. They offer three basic plan levels - Deluxe, Preferred, Essential - as well as numerous additional upgrades and packages. Upgrades can cover things like last-minute trips where cancellation isn't a factor. TravelGuard stands out in its overage levels - it will insure a trip coverage up to $500,000, higher than the average industry coverage. All of its plans include concierge service and 24-hour emergency assistance.
TravelGuard has an online Claims tool that allows clients to easily file a claim from a computer or mobile device. The tool speeds up the claims process while allowing users to upload photos and documents, electronically sign claims forms, and check the status of a claim from their phones.
Sample online quote:
Family of four, going on a 10-day, $10,000 trip: Silver $252/Gold $309 / Platinum $655
Best for: Traveling with pets
San Diego-based Generali Global Assistance has provided travel insurance since 1991. The insurance division has previously been known as CSA Travel Protection. Generali Global is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ rating and an A financial rating from A.M. Best.
CSA offers three plans: Standard, Preferred and Premium. It covers telemedicine services with its plans and medical costs if a person becomes sick or injured during their trip. It also reimburses medical costs if you pay out of pocket. As with most travel insurance companies, CSA offers 24/7 emergency assistance, concierge services, identity theft resolution services and a 10-day "free look" period. If you change your mind within 30 days of purchasing the insurance and before you start your trip, the company will provide a full refund. It offers pet relocation services: If you have a medical emergency and cannot take care of your pet while on vacation, it will return your pet home. It also has a Pet Service Locator to help you find vets or other pet services on your travels. For pre-existing medical conditions, you would need to purchase the Premium plan before or at least 24 hours in advance of your final trip payment. You will also need to be medically able to travel, and your prepaid expenses are insured.
They walk you through the claim-filing process step-by-step on their website.
Sample online quote:
Family of four, going on a 10-day, $10,000 trip: $298.52 Standard / $346.28 Preferred / $398 Premium
Best for: Budget Adventure Travel
World Nomads 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 World Nomads. The company's policies are underwritten by Lloyd's, which has an A financial rating from A.M. Best.
World Nomad offers two levels of insurance plans, which include all of the typical coverage options. In addition, it offers coverage for cameras, laptops, digital gear, and all sorts of travel activities.
World Nomads has an interactive website that allows you to ask questions related to travel and receive both informative articles and blog posts from fellow travelers. It has also developed language apps for iPhones. And you can purchase policies and file claims online from anywhere in the world.
Sample online quote:
Family of four, going on a 10-day, $10,000 trip: $185 to $255. World Nomad doesn't ask the cost of your trip for the online quote, or the number of travelers, but does distinguish between single, couple, and family groups. The quote tool offers an option to donate to a cause in your destination as well.
Best for: Workaholics
In addition to providing travel insurance, AXA offers trip other assistance through its network of over 9,000 staff members in over 30 offices around the world. The company 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.
AXA offers three plans (gold, silver, platinum). It offers an additional "cancel for any reason" policy, which will cover up to 75 percent of your pre-paid non-refundable trip costs. This option must be purchased within 14 days of your first trip payment, but it's a good option for people whose jobs are unpredictable.
The website provides a clear chart outlining the three levels of service and their coverage, and it is fast and easy to get an online quote.
Sample online quote:
Family of four, going on a 10-day, $10,000 trip: $342 Silver / $395 Platinum / $492 Gold
Best for: Study abroad/Expats
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.
In addition to providing traditional comprehensive trip insurance, HTH specializes in providing medical coverage for students, faculty, and expats living abroad. The long-term overseas coverage only covers medical issues, not trip cancellation or lost baggage. The plan will pay up to $1,000,000 for a medical evacuation and contains no lifetime limit.
The website offers a lot of information about overseas travel and living and provides straightforward quotes. The mPassport app gives you access to thousands of doctors around the world who speak English.
Sample online quote:
Family of four, going on a 10-day, $10,000 trip: Economy $389, Classic $456, Preferred $546.
Best for: Mobile app aficionados
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 has been winning over customers with its fast claims payments. Berkshire Hathaway has an A.M. Best financial rating of A++. It is accredited with the Better Business Bureau and has an A+ rating.
BHTP offers six distinct plans tailored to meet your specific travel needs. Options are available for adrenaline junkies, low-budget fliers, family vacationers, business travelers, and even those looking to relax on a cruise.
Berkshire Hathaway is a leader in providing mobile apps to facilitate rapid claims and payments. You can file a claim online or via the mobile app, which also allows you to track flights, get help finding lost luggage, rebook flights and purchase policies. Getting an online quote is also possible, but the process isn't quite as smooth.
Sample online quote:
Family of four, going on a 10-day, $10,000 trip: ExactCare Family: $249; ExactCare: $346.
Best for: International volunteers or employees
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.
Seven Corners offers a wide range of plans for almost every conceivable coverage option. Its RoundTrip plans provide comprehensive trip coverage (including trip cancellation, medical treatment, and lost property). The RoundTrip Elite plan allows you to cancel for any reason (with 75% reimbursement) and covers pre-existing conditions as long as you purchase the plan within 20 days of your trip deposit and fully insure your trip.
In 2016, Seven Corners launched a new mobile website that allows consumers to purchase plans, get 24-assistance and learn about travel insurance from their smartphones.
Sample online quote:
Family of four, going on a 10-day, $10,000 trip: Economy $416, Choice $441, Elite $462.
Best for: Hassle-free claims
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.
April provides traditional comprehensive travel insurance, but it also offers an annual plan designed for people who travel at least three times per year. For fairly low prices, you can get basic coverage for trip interruption or delay, medical expenses, and baggage delay or loss. These are plans designed for frequent travelers who don't want to sweat the many small complications that can add up to big expenses. April prides itself on its Stress Less Benefits, which often allows policyholders to avoid a claims process and instead just call in their issue while traveling. If a claims report is needed, the company seeks to get it paid within 30 days.
April has an easy to use website (though some reimbursements require the old-fashioned way) as well as a fully functional "Easy Claim" app.
Sample online quote:
Family of four, going on a 10-day, $10,000 trip: $482.
We reviewed dozens of travel insurance providers to come up with this list of top companies. Our criteria for inclusion included:
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.
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 were 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.
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.
All of our picks offer comprehensive travel insurance that includes at least:
- Trip cancellation, interruption, delay
- Medical expenses/evacuation
- Lost/delayed baggage
- 24/7 assistance
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. 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 be excluded.
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, 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.
U.S. Travel Insurance Association (USTIA)
This professional association represents travel insurance companies and promotes ethical and professional industry standards. You can search its database for member organizations.
National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC)
Provides information and advice for consumers regarding when and how to purchase travel insurance.
Insurance Information Institute (III)
The III is dedicated to promoting a public understanding of insurance. It has a page providing travel insurance facts.
Your state Insurance Commissioner
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.
Better Business Bureau (BBB)
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.
About Mary Purcell, MA