June 1, 2020
Due to travel restrictions, plans are only available with travel dates on or after
Due to travel restrictions, plans are only available with effective start dates on or after
Last year, for the first time, I bought an annual travel insurance plan.
I was looking ahead to a busy year of travel, with at least three trips already planned. Financially, it made sense to buy insurance once and have all my vacations protected, instead of insuring each one individually — or choosing not to insure some of the smaller trips.
A year later, I had to make a decision: Should I renew my AllTrips plan? Is annual travel insurance worth it? Yes, I decided. Here’s why.
Just like last year, I already have three trips on my calendar: a February escape to Puerto Rico, a longer trip overseas in the spring, and a summer vacation to a destination I haven’t yet chosen. Three is the magic number when you’re considering multi-trip travel insurance vs. single-trip plans: An annual plan will often be cheaper than insuring three trips individually.
You can run the numbers to see for yourself. All you have to do is get a quote for each trip and see how the total compares to the cost of an AllTrips plan. One cool thing about annual travel insurance: it doesn’t matter how expensive your trips are, how many trips you take, or how old you are. You’ll pay the same price regardless. Last year, my plan ended up covering five big trips plus three more weekend getaways.
Last year, all my trips were in the U.S. This year, I’m planning one major trip to see family in Jordan, followed by a week in the country of Georgia. I haven’t purchased my plane tickets yet, but there’s no doubt they’ll total $1,000+. That’s money I don’t want to lose — not to mention the cost of hotels, tours or any other expenses. Trip cancellation benefits can reimburse those pre-paid, nonrefundable costs if I have to cancel for a covered reason.
“Covered reason” is key. Earlier in the year, I chose to cancel a planned weekend trip because my husband’s aunt broke her hip. I lost close to $500 when I canceled the airline tickets, and my travel insurance did not reimburse me. While the hospitalization of a family member can be a covered reason for trip cancellation, a spouse’s aunt is too distant a relative to count as a family member. (Here’s how travel insurance defines family members.) I knew this when I canceled, however. Travel insurance can’t cover every possible scenario, and that’s OK.
It’s important to note that AllTrips Prime has a maximum limit of $3,000 per year for trip cancellation/trip interruption. (All other benefit limits are per trip.) If I were taking multiple super-expensive vacations in a year, then I’d probably upgrade to the AllTrips Premier Plan, which has tiered trip cancellation/interruption benefits up to $15,000.
I’m a pretty healthy, active traveler. I’m certainly not planning to tumble off a cliff in Petra or get hit by a car in Amman. But emergencies like this can happen when you’re traveling — and they can be hugely expensive. In Jordan, the U.S. Department of State warns, “serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States could cost more than 150,000 USD.”1 In Jordan, as in many other countries, doctors and hospitals often require an up-front cash payment before you receive treatment. U.S. health insurance cards aren’t accepted.
Fortunately, the AllTrips Prime plan includes up to $100,000 in emergency medical transportation benefits and up to $20,000 in emergency medical benefits for covered medical and dental emergencies. It also includes access to 24-Hour Hotline Assistance, for expert help in virtually any kind of crisis. Long story short, I can travel overseas without worrying about what will happen in case of a medical emergency. That alone is worth the price of the plan.
Timing is everything when you’re buying travel insurance. In order to receive the pre-existing medical condition benefit, you need to purchase a plan within 14 days of making your first trip deposit. Also, if you wait to buy insurance until after an adverse event occurs, such as a storm or a natural disaster, then you won’t be covered for losses caused by that event.
I like having annual travel insurance because I don’t have to worry about any of this. I’m fully protected for every trip, because I’m buying the plan well in advance.
Read more: When to Buy Travel Insurance in the Booking Process
From past experience, I’ve learned that renting a car is the easiest way to get around Puerto Rico. I also know that local drivers can be aggressive, roads can be rough, and the traffic can be pretty bad.2 One overlooked benefit of annual travel insurance is rental car damage and theft coverage (not available to KS, TX, and NY residents as part of an annual plan.) This benefit can cover the costs (up to $45,000) if a rented car is stolen or is damaged in an accident or while it's left unattended, with no deductible. My quote from a San Juan rental car company: $11 per day for this coverage for their cheapest compact car.
Last year, the decision to buy the AllTrips Prime Plan paid off right away. On the very first trip I took, a surprise snowstorm cancelled my train home from New York City. That meant an extra day in the city, and my travel delay benefits reimbursed me $72.82 for all my meals during that delay. Filing a claim was easy. I snapped photos of my receipts and uploaded them using the free TravelSmart app (which also can help you track flight delays, access 24-Hour Hotline Assistance and more.)
I was staying at a friend’s apartment, and so I didn’t have extra hotel expenses. If I’d had to pay for a night in a NYC hotel, the total amount of my claim probably would have equaled or exceeded the $275 I paid for my plan.
Back to the big question: Is multi-trip travel insurance worth it? For me, it is — and if you’re a frequent traveler, it’s probably a good buy for you too. Take a look at the full line of annual plans from Allianz Global Assistance, from the super-affordable AllTrips Basic to the AllTrips Premier Plan, which can cover your whole household. Safe travels!