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Your Guide to Choosing the Best Travel Insurance for Your Trip

hikers at the top of a mountain
Allianz - hikers at the top of a mountain

Your next trip might be a grand global adventure or a getaway close to home. A classic family road trip or a solitary retreat. A relaxing resort stay or a strenuous trek.

Whatever your plans, you need travel insurance to match. Travelers often ask us questions like “What’s the best travel insurance for Europe?” or “What’s the best travel insurance for the Caribbean?” The truth is the destination doesn’t matter as much as the category of trip you’re planning. We’ll explain how to choose the right insurance for nine types of travel, from quick getaways to international adventures. Be sure to read each plan’s details before you buy, to make sure the benefits and benefit limits can fully protect your trip.

First, the question on every traveler’s mind: Does travel insurance cover COVID-19? Most of our plans now include the  Epidemic Coverage Endorsement, which adds covered reasons to select benefits for certain losses related to COVID-19 and any future epidemic. Benefits vary by plan and by state of residence, and are not available in all jurisdictions. For more information, please see the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement page in your plan details and read our COVID-19 FAQ or our COVID-19 Coverage Alert.

The Best Travel Insurance for a Cruise

Cruises aren’t like other vacations. When you’re floating in the middle of the Caribbean, the Mediterranean or even the Atlantic, mishaps like medical emergencies and trip interruptions get even trickier to deal with.

One must-have is  trip cancellation benefits. Cruise lines have notoriously strict cancellation policies. It’s common to receive no refund at all if you cancel less than 14 days before sailing, and some promotional fares can’t be changed or refunded at any time.1 Even though many cruise lines have instituted more flexible rules to accommodate COVID-19-related uncertainty, they generally issue credits for cancellations, not cash refunds.

Another must-have is  travel delay benefits. Let’s say your flight to Fort Lauderdale is canceled because of a storm, causing you to miss your cruise embarkation. Travel delay benefits can reimburse you for the cost of transportation to the next port of call so you can catch up with the ship.

Another is  emergency medical and  emergency transportation benefits. Cruise ships’ onboard medical centers are able to prescribe medication and stabilize patients with serious conditions, but they don’t have the full capabilities of a hospital. If you experience a medical emergency on board a cruise ship, you’ll probably be evacuated to the nearest appropriate medical facility — and if you don’t have travel insurance, you’ll have to pay for everything out of pocket.

Good choices for cruise protection include OneTrip Prime, which includes all these benefits and more, and OneTrip Basic, an economical plan for budget cruises.

Read more: 5 Reasons You Need Cruise Insurance

The Best Travel Insurance for a Quick Getaway

More and more Americans are opting to take several micro-cations each year — trips of four nights or less — instead of a vacation lasting one or two weeks. Because these trips are typically less expensive, you might be tempted to skip the insurance. At the same time, you know that if a travel delay or other mishap occurs, your whole vacation might be ruined.

Here’s the solution: an annual travel insurance plan. An annual plan can protect every trip you take in 365 days (although benefit limits apply). Not only can it protect your weekend getaways, but far-flung vacations and unexpected trips all can be protected. Allianz Global Assistance defines a “trip” as any time you travel to, within, and/or from a location at least 100 miles from your primary residence.

The AllTrips Prime plan from Allianz Global Assistance is a good bet for most people who plan several short trips throughout the year. It includes all the key benefits: trip cancellation and interruption, travel delay, baggage delay, emergency medical and more.

Read more: Why Short Trips Make an Annual Travel Insurance Plan a Must-Have

The Best Travel Insurance for a Road Trip

Road trips, by nature, are spontaneous and carefree. You may not have many prepaid expenses to worry about, so do you still need travel insurance? We recommend it if you’re planning to stay in a hotel or a vacation rental. While hotels have adopted more flexible cancellation policies, most still penalize you for changing or canceling your reservation less than 24 hours in advance.2 Vacation rental/homeshare companies’ policies vary, from flexible (free cancellation until 24 hours before check-in) to strict (no refund if you cancel less than 60 days out). If you’re in a traffic accident and your car is inoperable, or if you fall sick, you’re out of luck… unless you have travel insurance with trip cancellation benefits.

For a road trip, we recommend our most economical travel insurance plan: OneTrip Cancellation Plus. This plan only includes the essentials: benefits for trip cancellation, trip interruption and travel delay. You can be reimbursed for prepaid, non-refundable expenses — such as vacation rental costs and even campground reservations — if you must cancel your trip due to a covered reason.

If you’re renting a car for your trip, you can upgrade your plan to include the Rental Car Damage Protector (available in most states). It’s the affordable way to protect yourself in case your rental car is stolen or is damaged in a covered accident or while it's left unattended.

Read more: 4 Ways Travel Insurance Can Protect Your Road Trip

The Best Travel Insurance for an International Trip

Most people buy travel insurance for an international trip because they want to protect their investment. Whether you’re bound for Paris or Phnom Penh, chances are your plane ticket is expensive and you don’t want to lose the money you’ve spent in the event of a last-minute trip cancellation.

There’s an even better reason to buy travel insurance for your next international journey, however, and that’s emergency medical benefits. American travelers are often shocked to discover that their domestic health insurance is not accepted at hospitals overseas. “Many foreign medical facilities and providers require cash payment up front and do not accept U.S. insurance plans. Medicare does not provide coverage outside of the United States,” the U.S. Department of State explains.3 Don’t expect the local U.S. embassy to cover your medical bills, either. You’ll have to arrange payment yourself, unless you have travel insurance.

Our most popular plan for international travel is OneTrip Prime. OneTrip Prime includes a broad range of key benefits, with generous maximum limits. It’s a good choice for families, because it covers kids 17 and under for free when traveling with a parent or grandparent (not available on policies issued to Pennsylvania residents).

Read more: Which International Travel Insurance Plan is Best for Your Trip?

The Best Travel Insurance for a Long Trip

A lengthy journey of a month or more can be life-changing. Maybe you’re walking the Camino Santiago through France or Spain. Maybe you’re trekking along the Turkish coast on the Lycian Way. Or maybe you’re taking a fabulous around-the-world cruise. Wherever your wandering spirit takes you, make sure your travel insurance goes too. The longer the trip, the greater the chance that something will go wrong! So what’s the best travel insurance for those longer trips?

If you’re taking an expensive dream vacation, or venturing into remote areas, we recommend OneTrip Premier. This plan has all the benefits included in OneTrip Prime, with double the maximum limits for most benefits and more covered reasons for trip cancellation. Both OneTrip Premier and OneTrip Prime can cover trips up to 180 days in length.

If your plans are more freeform, with few prepaid expenses — like a backpacking or couch-surfing trip — then OneTrip Emergency Medical might be the best fit. This plan gives you peace of mind from knowing you’re protected in case of a covered medical emergency, as well as trip delay, travel accident coverage and baggage benefits. It does not, however, include trip cancellation or trip interruption. OneTrip Emergency Medical can cover trips up to 180 days.

The Best Travel Insurance for World Travels

In April, you’re visiting your sister in Johannesburg. In June, you’re taking a tour of Tuscany. In August, you’re treating your nieces to an Alaskan cruise. And in November, you’ve booked a week in Antigua.

Anyone who’s planning more than two big trips in a year should think about multi-trip insurance — specifically, AllTrips Premier. This top-of-the-line annual plan includes a full slate of benefits, including rental car insurance where available. It offers four tiers of trip cancellation/trip interruption benefits, up to $15,000 per person, per year. All your trips can be protected for 365 days after your plan effective date.

Annual travel insurance can be a really smart buy for people 65 and up. Unlike single-trip insurance plans, which cost more for older travelers, the price of a multi-trip plan is not affected by the traveler’s age.

Read more: What Factors Affect the Cost of Travel Insurance?

The Best Travel Insurance for a Family Vacation

Any parent or grandparent knows that traveling with children can get complicated, fast. If one kid gets sick, for instance, that can torpedo the entire trip. Travel insurance can help — but what’s the best plan for a family vacation?

If you’re planning a domestic family vacation, like a week at the beach or the lake, then OneTrip Cancellation Plus might be the way to go. This plan is an affordable way to protect your investment in the cost of the vacation rental or hotel, plus other pre-paid expenses, if you must cancel your trip or cut it short for a covered reason.

If you’re planning an international family vacation, then you’ll need emergency medical benefits to protect everyone. OneTrip Prime covers kids 17 and under for free when traveling with a parent or grandparent (not available on policies issued to Pennsylvania residents).

Read more: How Travel Insurance Covers Family Members

The Best Travel Insurance for a Budget Trip

Insurance isn’t just for expensive trips. In fact, it may be more important for travelers who are on a strict budget. That’s because travel insurance can reimburse you for your nonrefundable trip costs, if you have to cancel for a covered reason, and cover expensive medical care, if you experience a covered medical emergency overseas. Without these protections, you could end up losing the hard-earned money you spent on your trip or paying way more than you anticipated for emergency care.

What are some of the best affordable travel insurance plans? OneTrip Basic includes trip cancellation and interruption, along with other benefits. The cost of the plan is based on the cost of your trip and the age of the traveler, which rewards budget-minded travelers. If you don’t have a lot of prepaid trip costs to protect, the OneTrip Emergency Medical plan provides only post-departure benefits: emergency medical and emergency medical transportation, trip delay, missed connection and lost/stolen or damaged baggage.

Read more: 5 Ways Travel Insurance Pays for Itself

The Best Travel Insurance for Adventure Travel

For some people, adventure travel means a strenuous physical challenge: mountain biking through the Himalayan steppe, or hiking the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia. For others, it means simply venturing away from tourist hotspots to explore remote destinations. Whatever your definition of adventure, travel insurance is a must. Because you face a higher risk of injuring yourself — and because you may find yourself far from modern medical facilities — you need a plan that offers emergency medical benefits and emergency transportation. Baggage loss/damage benefits also are essential to protect your expensive gear. (Bicycles, skis and snowboards are only covered while they are checked with a travel carrier.)

OneTrip Prime is a solid choice for adventure travel, as is the AllTrips Prime plan if you’re planning more than two trips in the next 365 days.

Just know that travel insurance does not cover losses resulting directly or indirectly from certain high-risk or ultra-high-risk activities, including — but not limited to — skydiving, bungee jumping, caving, rappelling, climbing sports, etc. Look at the General Exclusions section of your plan documents for a full list of excluded activities.

Read more: 4 Reasons You Need Travel Insurance for an Adventure Vacation

And one last note: Any travel insurance is better than no travel insurance. Every plan we offer includes access to 24-Hour Assistance, available anytime by using the Allyz® TravelSmart app  or by phone. Our elite team of travel and medical experts can help with almost any problem you encounter while traveling, large or small.

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Oct 04, 2021