Travel Insurance 101 – Medical Insurance, Trip Cancellation, Evacuation

by Apr 26, 2019Insurance

The fact is, unfortunate things can and do happen when traveling, even domestically, and travel insurance protects you from being burdened by the costs associated with those little surprises – illness, injury, theft, flight delays, violent weather, etc.

According to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, even though unexpected events interfere with the travel plans of 17 percent of Americans, less than 25 percent purchase travel insurance. Traveling without insurance is a risk that could have catastrophic financial impacts on you and your family.

Understanding what travel insurance covers

In general, travel insurance policies will protect travelers from the additional expenses associated with the following types of occurrences (there are caps and stipulations on reimbursing expenses or covering stolen items so be sure to read your policy very carefully, and do not assume anything):

  • You have to cancel your non-refundable trip because a family member had an accident and cannot travel.
  • You have to book a hotel and pay for meals because of an overnight flight delay because of bad weather.
  • You went to Athens, Greece, but your luggage went to Athens, Ohio and as a result you had to purchase clothing and other necessary items to continue your trip.
  • You missed your cruise departure because of weather-related flight delays.
  • You need medical assistance while traveling abroad.
  • Your luggage arrived, but thanks to the travel ban and having to place your electronics in your luggage, your tablet and camera were stolen.
  • Your bed and breakfast burns down (see photo above) and not only is your luggage destroyed, but you will need a new place to stay.
Testimonial from Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance:A Ripcord Rescue Travel Insurance client was gearing up for an 11-day photography workshop in Antarctica and Argentina when disaster struck: Two hurricanes, Irma and Maria, barreled through the island where she lived and decimated her business. She was told it would take months before her offices would be up and running. She had to call off her December trip to the bottom of the world. Apart from missing the opportunity to photograph rare species and spectacular polar landscapes, the client had to forfeit about $16,000 in trip deposits and other non-refundable reservations. Because her comprehensive travel insurance policy from Ripcord covered losses resulting from natural-disaster-related business interruptions, Ripcord refunded her the full amount.”

The above are but a few examples of coverage provided by good travel insurance policies. Take the time to compare and shop for the travel insurance that will best meet your travel requirements.

Deciding what type of travel insurance you need

When deciding whether travel insurance is right for you, compare companies, policy coverage, benefits and prices. Also find out what is included as well as excluded in any travel insurance policy.

1. Know what coverage you might already have. Check your current health and homeowner’s policies to know what you are protected against. Unless you have exceptionally good health insurance, it is unlikely that it will provide for international medical emergencies. Even if your policy does, it may not provide any coverage at all for medical evacuation. And while your homeowner’s policy might cover you for stolen items while traveling domestically, it is unlikely if there is any coverage for international travel. There are exceptions and additional protections that can be purchased – be sure to check with your agent.

Travel insurance would cover losses from this fire at a bed and breakfast.

2. Know what your credit card will cover. While many credit cards claim to be good for travel, few really are, and even fewer still offer truly strong travel insurance benefits. We were recently surprised to discover that American Express Business Platinum (an excellent travel card for its other benefits) did not cover us for costs associated with delayed luggage. Its insurance would only cover lost luggage. American Express also does not provide trip cancellation insurance, though they will be happy to sell you coverage. The following are three cards we know that stand out for the travel insurance coverage provided:

  • Chase Sapphire Preferred: This is one we also use most often, and it is considered by many to be the premium travel card (we do also have American Express Business Platinum though it is a distant second choice).
  • Citi Prestige: Another strong travel card recommended by many.
  • US Bank FlexPerks: This card also offers personal identity theft insurance.

3. Determine what types of insurance you need.

  • Do you need coverage for trip cancellation, interruption and delay?
  • What about medical insurance and medical evacuation coverage while traveling?
  • Do you need coverage for pre-existing medical conditions? Most policies have specific exclusions, though some allow for pre-existing condition for a premium.
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HITT Tip: Wondering where to shop for travel insurance? Full disclosure, our team currently uses the medical / evacuation services of Global Rescue and for travel insurance we most often use World Nomads, but there are numerous places to shop and compare other companies offering travel insurance. These are a few:






Travel nightmares meet travel insurance reality

Travel nightmares meet travel insurance reality

You dutifully purchased travel insurance for your upcoming adventure and are feeling protected against possible travel nightmares. That is, until you read a story about travel insurance not covering missing a connecting flight because of long TSA lines.

Choosing the best travel insurance for your trip

Choosing the best travel insurance for your trip

You’ve booked your trip for a dream vacation, but you’re just not sure about buying travel insurance. After all, it seems like an added expense and how do you know which is the best travel insurance for your trip anyway? Let’s stop right there. You need travel insurance when you travel, unless you are so wealthy you can afford your own medical expenses and possibly the expense of medical transport back home.

Travel medical evacuation insurance coverage – do I really need it?

Travel medical evacuation insurance coverage – do I really need it?

Do I really need additional medical evacuation insurance coverage when I already have travel insurance? There is no simple answer, like with many insurance types. The best traveling advice is to weigh risks and expense, and consider your own philosophy and tolerance. We have additional medical evacuation coverage with Global Rescue, no questions asked.

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About The Author

Michael Hodgson

Winner of a 2018 Silver Medal from the North American Travel Journalists Association for travel writing excellence, Michael has authored more than 16 books and penned many hundreds of feature articles over the years. His bylines have appeared in Backpacker, Men's Journal, Men's Health, Outside, The San Jose Mercury News, Portland Oregonian and more. His travels have taken him to all seven continents. He is a member in good standing of the North American Travel Journalists Association (NATJA), the International Food Wine and Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) and the Professional Travel Bloggers Association.

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Travel Tips Insurance Travel Insurance 101 – Medical Insurance, Trip Cancellation, Evacuation