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8 Things to Look For When Comparing Travel Insurance Plans

shopping for travel insurance
Allianz - shopping for travel insurance

We know travel insurance can be confusing. When you’re shopping for plans, how do you know which is the best? Which benefits do you need? How much should insurance cost?

There are a few key things to look for, from epidemic coverage for COVID-19 to protection for pre-existing conditions. This guide will walk you through it.

Every plan we offer includes access to 24-Hour assistance via the Allyz® TravelSmart app or by phone. Our expert team of problem solvers can help with almost any travel dilemma you face.

1. Epidemic coverage

It’s the number-one question on many travelers’ minds: Does travel insurance cover COVID-19-related losses? Epidemics are generally excluded from coverage. However, most Allianz Travel Insurance plans now include the new Epidemic Coverage Endorsement, which adds covered reasons to select benefits for certain losses related to COVID-19 and any future epidemic.

Given the unpredictability of travel in the COVID-19 era, this is a must-have. Plans with the Epidemic Coverage Endorsement may include epidemic-related covered reasons under some or all of the following benefits:

  • Trip cancellation, if for example you must cancel your trip after being diagnosed with COVID-19.
  • Trip interruption, if for example you get sick during your trip, or if you are specifically named and individually ordered to quarantine (this does not include generally or broadly applicable quarantines).
  • Travel delay, if for example you are denied boarding based on a suspicion that you are ill with an epidemic disease such as COVID-19.
  • Emergency medical care, if for example you are diagnosed with COVID-19 and need to be hospitalized while traveling.

To see if your plan includes this endorsement, please look for “Epidemic Coverage Endorsement” on your Declarations of Coverage or Letter of Confirmation. Terms, conditions and exclusions apply. It’s important to read your plan carefully, so you understand what can be covered. Find answers to specific questions about COVID-19 and travel insurance in our FAQ.

2. Pre-departure benefits

What are pre-departure benefits? This means travel insurance protection that applies before you leave for your trip — specifically, trip cancellation benefits. These benefits can reimburse you for pre-paid, nonrefundable trip costs if you must cancel your trip last-minute for a covered reason.

You definitely need this protection if any part of your planned trip is non-refundable, such as airfare, cruise fare, tours, hotels, and/or vacation rental costs. Check the fine print when you purchase travel, so you know which costs you’ll need to protect.

You may not need trip cancellation benefits if:

  • Your trip is fully refundable up until your departure date
  • Someone else is paying for your trip, so you have no pre-paid costs
  • Your travel plans are open-ended, with few pre-paid costs

3. Post-departure benefits

What are post-departure benefits? This protection kicks in once you’ve officially begun your trip. Post-departure benefits can include:

The benefits you need depend on the type of trip you’re taking. Heading overseas? Then you definitely need emergency medical, because many medical facilities in other countries require cash payment up front and do not accept U.S. insurance plans. Some destinations even require visitors to carry emergency medical travel insurance.

OneTrip Emergency Medical is an economical plan that only includes post-departure benefits: emergency medical, emergency transportation, trip delay, travel accident coverage and baggage benefits. It does not, however, include trip cancellation or trip interruption.

4. Protection for children

If your child gets sick or injured while you’re traveling, emergency medical benefits can ensure they get high-quality care and can cover the cost of medical treatment. OneTrip Prime and OneTrip Premier both cover kids 17 and under for free when traveling with a parent or grandparent (not available on policies issued to Pennsylvania residents).

Kids probably don’t care about lost-baggage or travel delay benefits (although they are eligible to receive the $100 fixed payment for a covered delay, if they’re insured with a plan that includes SmartBenefitsSM!) But if you’re going overseas or to a remote destination, you absolutely need a plan with emergency medical benefits.

5. Pre-existing medical condition coverage

A pre-existing condition is an injury, illness, or medical condition that, within the 120 days prior to and including the day you buy your plan:

  1. Caused a person to seek medical examination, diagnosis, care, or treatment by a doctor;
  2. Presented symptoms; or
  3. Required a person to take medication prescribed by a doctor (unless the condition or symptoms are controlled by that prescription, and the prescription has not changed).

Travel insurance plans can cover losses related to pre-existing conditions as long as you meet the requirements, which include purchasing your plan in the specified timeframe (typically within 14 days of making your first trip payment) and being medically able to travel on the day you purchase your plan.

6. Maximum trip length

Thinking about becoming a digital nomad and wandering long term? When you’re buying travel insurance, be sure to look for a plan with a generous maximum trip length. Allianz Global Assistance has four plans that can protect trips of up to 180 days:

While annual travel insurance plans are ideal for protecting multiple trips, they aren’t designed for really long trips. AllTrips Prime covers trips up to 45 days, while AllTrips Premier covers trips up to 90 days.

Read more: How to Buy Travel Insurance for Long Trips

7. Coverage exclusions

When shopping for a travel insurance plan, most people only consider the benefits — but it’s also important to look at what’s excluded! Exclusions are situations and circumstances in which your travel insurance will not provide reimbursement for any losses. A few key exclusions include:

  • Any loss, condition, or event that was known, foreseeable, intended, or expected when your plan was purchased.
  • Normal pregnancy or childbirth, except as specifically covered under Trip Cancellation. Read more about how travel insurance protects travel during pregnancy.
  • The use or abuse of alcohol or drugs
  • Participating in extreme, high-risk sports and activities

Make sure you read through the exclusions when you’re buying travel insurance. You might think, “Oh, those don’t apply to me — I’m not an extreme-sports type of person.” But maybe you’re planning to run a 5K while on vacation — and you should know that losses related to participating in sports competitions aren’t covered. Or if you’re going to try your hand at rock-climbing in Utah, you should know that climbing sports are also listed under exclusions. Questions about what’s covered? Just ask us!

8. Cost

Whether you’re heading to a luxury resort or a no-frills cabin, the cost of travel insurance is a major factor to consider. You want to be well protected… but you don’t want to stretch your travel budget to the breaking point.

Luckily, it’s easy to compare the cost of travel insurance! It only takes a few minutes to enter some basic trip information and get a quote. We’ll show you the cost of different plans, help you compare features side by side, and provide the full plan and pricing details so you can make an informed decision.

Budget-priced travel insurance options include:

Pro tip: People 65 and up can often save by choosing an annual plan. 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: The Comprehensive Guide to Annual Travel Insurance

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