Travel insurance can include many specific types of coverage, but most fall under five main categories:
- Trip Cancellation or Interruption Insurance. Trip cancellation is when something happens that prevents you from going on a previously planned trip, such as an unforeseen medical problem. Trip interruption is when you are part way through your journey and something happens that cuts it short, such as a family member’s medical emergency back home or a workers’ strike at an airport. Generally, you’ll be reimbursed only for the portion of the trip you did not complete. Terrorism threats fall under this umbrella, but some plans only pay if you are scheduled to arrive within a set number of days before the incident takes place.
- Medical Insurance. Before buying travel medical coverage, check with your regular health insurance company to see what kind of coverage you have when traveling. Many U.S. insurers continue to cover you overseas. Medicare does not provide travel coverage. Even if your regular health insurer provides primary coverage, you may want to buy supplemental (secondary) coverage to cover deductibles and any unusual expenses your regular insurer does not cover. Emergency medical coverage can be purchased as primary or secondary coverage with per person benefit limits from $15,000 up to $250,000 or more. Note that the U.S. State Department routinely issues warnings about traveling to certain high-risk countries. If you travel to these areas, your travel insurance may not be honored, unless you buy supplemental coverage.
- Evacuation Insurance. These policies cover the cost of moving you to a location where you can get necessary and appropriate treatment in the event of a medical emergency. Evacuation costs are generally not covered by your regular home-based health insurance. Non-medical evacuation coverage arranges transportation from a place of danger to a safer location during times of civil or political unrest.
- Baggage and Personal Items Loss. This coverage provides reimbursement for lost, stolen, or damaged baggage and other personal items. It’s usually offered for your entire trip, not just flight-related activities. If you are carrying items valued over $1,000, such as a laptop or camera, it’s best to list them on a schedule as part of your homeowners or business policy.
Life Insurance. There are three main types of travel life insurance:
- Accidental Death. Only a few companies offer this blanket coverage for an entire trip.
- Air Flight Accident. This only covers the flight portion of your trip.
- Common Carrier. This coverage pays in the event of death or dismemberment while you are traveling on any form of public transport.