If you’ve spent more on an upcoming trip than you’d be comfortable losing, you’ll want to have the best travel insurance in your corner. Our team of insurance experts analyzed 53 travel insurance plans and 42 policy features to find the best travel insurance. See why these plans are the best and how much you can expect to pay.

Why trust our insurance experts

Our team of experts evaluates hundreds of insurance products and analyzes thousands of data points to help you find the best product for your situation. We use a data-driven methodology to determine each rating. Advertisers do not influence our editorial content. You can read more about our methodology below.

  • 2,332 coverage details evaluated
  • 385 rates reviewed
  • 5 levels of fact checking

Top-rated travel insurance companies 

According to our analysis, the best travel insurance overall is the Worldwide Trip Protector plan offered by Travel Insured. TravelSafe and WorldTrips also offer 5-star plans. See where each plan in our rating shines to determine which is best for your next trip.

Best travel insurance companies

Compare the best travel insurance plans of 2023

Methodology

Our insurance experts reviewed 42 aspects of 53 policies to find the best travel insurance plans. We used data provided by Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison provider. For companies offering more than one travel insurance plan, we shared information about the highest-scoring plan (or two, in case of a tie).

Some companies may offer plans with additional benefits or lower prices than the plans which scored the highest, so make sure to get travel insurance quotes to see your full range of options. 

The factors we scored out of a possible 100 points include the following. 

Cost: 30 points. We scored the average cost for each travel insurance policy for a variety of trips and traveler profiles:

  • Couple, age 30 for an 8-day trip to Mexico costing $3,000.
  • Couple, age 30 for an 8-day trip to Mexico costing $3,000, with CFAR coverage upgrade.
  • Couple, age 40, for a 17-day trip to Italy costing $6,000.
  • Couple, age 40, for a 17-day trip to Italy costing $6,000, with CFAR coverage upgrade.
  • Family of four, for a 17-day trip to Italy costing $15,000.
  • Family of four, for a 17-day trip to Italy costing $15,000, with CFAR coverage upgrade.
  • Couple, age 65, for a 17-day trip to Italy costing $6,000.
  • Couple, age 65, for a 17-day trip to Italy costing $6,000, with CFAR coverage upgrade.
  • Couple, age 70, for an 8-day trip to Mexico trip costing $3,000.
  • Couple, age 70, for an 8-day trip to Mexico trip costing $3,000, with CFAR coverage upgrade.

Medical expenses: 15 points. We scored travel medical insurance by the coverage amount available. Travel insurance policies with travel medical expense benefits of $250,000 or more per person were given the highest score of 15 points.

Medical evacuation: 15 points. We scored each plan’s emergency medical evacuation coverage by coverage amount. Travel insurance policies with medical evacuation expense benefits of $500,000 or more per person were given the highest score of 15 points.

“Cancel for any reason” upgrade: 5 points. We gave travel insurance plans with the option of a “cancel for any reason” upgrade 5 points.

Trip interruption travel insurance: 5 points. We gave 5 points to travel insurance plans that offer trip interruption reimbursement of 150% or more.

Travel delay required waiting time: 5 points. We gave 5 points to travel insurance policies with travel delay benefits that kick in at 6 hours or less.

Baggage delay required waiting time: 5 points. We gave 5 points to travel insurance policies with baggage delay benefits that kick in at 12 hours or less.

Pre-existing medical condition exclusion waiver: 5 points. We gave policies that cover pre-existing medical conditions if purchased within a required timeline 5 points.

Non-medical evacuation: 5 points. If a policy provides coverage for non-medical evacuation, such as for political or security reasons, we gave it 5 points.

Cancel for work reasons: 5 points. If a plan allows you to cancel your trip for work reasons, such as your boss requiring you to stay and work, we gave it 5 points. 

Employment layoff: 5 points. Travel insurance policies that allow you to cancel your trip because of layoff at a company where you have worked for one continuous year were scored 5 points. If a plan requires that you had the job for more than a year to qualify, no points were given.

Why some companies didn’t make the cut

Travel insurance companies selling policies at above-average cost when compared to competitor plans may not have scored enough points to make the cut. Plans with low limits for medical expenses and medical evacuation were also less likely to receive top scores.

What is travel insurance?

A comprehensive travel insurance plan bundles several types of coverage, each with its own limits. To ensure you have adequate financial protection for your trip, your travel insurance policy should include the following coverages. 

Trip cancellation insurance 

As soon as you buy a travel insurance plan that includes trip cancellation insurance, you’re covered if you need to call off your trip because of a reason listed in your policy. These reasons generally include unexpected illness, injury or death of you, a family member or a travel companion, severe weather, jury duty and your travel supplier going out of business. 

If you cancel your trip for a covered reason, you can expect to be reimbursed for 100% of your prepaid, nonrefundable travel expenses. 

For even greater flexibility, some travel insurance plans offer a “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) upgrade. This optional coverage allows you to pull the plug on your trip for any reason at all, as long as you do so at least 48 hours before your scheduled departure. 

Adding CFAR coverage will increase the cost of your plan and it’s important to note that this coverage typically only reimburses 50% or 75% of your expenses, depending on the policy. 

Travel delay insurance

Once your trip is underway, inconvenient delays can be expensive. Travel delay insurance reimburses you for unexpected expenses you incur after a certain waiting period, such as five hours. If your travel is delayed longer than that time because of a reason in your policy, such as severe weather, your benefits can cover needs like airport meals, transportation and even overnight accommodation. 

This coverage usually has daily limits as well as a maximum limit. For example, a travel insurance plan may provide trip delay coverage of up to $150 per day with a $2,000 maximum.    

Trip interruption insurance

If you need to end your trip early — again, for a reason listed in your policy — trip interruption insurance comes into play. 

Say a close family member back home is involved in an accident and you need to rush back to be by their side. Trip interruption benefits can reimburse you for any prepaid, nonrefundable payments you’ll lose by leaving early. It can also pay for a last-minute one-way ticket home. 

Travel medical insurance

Travel medical insurance pays for ambulance service, doctor visits, hospital stays, X-rays, lab work and prescription medication you may require while on your trip. This is especially important if you are traveling abroad, where your U.S. health insurance may have limited benefits. 

The best senior travel insurance has ample travel medical coverage because Medicare also does not cover health care outside of the U.S., except in very limited circumstances. 

Many travel insurance plans cover medical treatment for COVID, but not all do. The best COVID travel insurance has generous travel medical and emergency medical evacuation benefits.  

Emergency medical evacuation

If you’re traveling to a remote area, or planning excursions such as boating to an island, emergency medical evacuation coverage is a good idea. This coverage pays to transport you to the nearest adequate medical facility if you are injured or sick while traveling. 

Depending on your location and medical condition, emergency transportation could cost tens of thousands of dollars. Our top-scoring travel insurance plans all offer coverage of $1 million. 

Baggage delay coverage

If you arrive safely at your destination but your bags do not, this coverage can help. After a certain waiting period, such as six or 12 hours, this coverage will reimburse you for necessities you may need while waiting for your bags to arrive. Be sure to save your receipts and look at your coverage limit, as some caps are low, like $200. 

Baggage loss and personal effects coverage

Baggage insurance can reimburse you if your bag never arrives, or if your personal belongings are stolen during your travels. Coverage limits apply here, as well as exclusions for certain items such as electronics. If you’ll be traveling with your laptop or other valuables, read your policy carefully to make sure they’re covered. 

How much travel insurance should I buy?

Travel insurance companies typically offer several plans with varying maximum limits. The higher the coverage limits, the more you’ll pay for travel insurance. 

Squaremouth, a travel insurance comparison site, recommends the following coverage limits for international travel: 

  • Emergency medical coverage: At least $50,000. 
  • Medical evacuation coverage: At least $100,000. 

If you’re going on a cruise, or to a remote location, Squaremouth recommends: 

  • Emergency medical coverage: At least $100,000. 
  • Medical evacuation coverage: At least $250,000.

When evaluating travel insurance plans, our team of insurance analysts gave the highest scores to plans with at least $250,000 in emergency medical coverage and at least $500,000 in medical evacuation coverage.

Is travel insurance worth it?

Travel insurance may be a smart purchase if you’ve planned an expensive, nonrefundable trip. It can also be worth buying if you’ll need medical coverage at your destination. 

“Almost all claims stem from cancellations, delays and medical emergencies,” said James Clark, spokesperson for Squaremouth. “These are major concerns for travelers, and the main reasons why most travelers buy travel insurance.”

According to Clark, travel delay was the most common claim in 2022, accounting for just over 24% of all claims. Clark said the top five most common claims last year were: 

  • Travel delay: 24.04%
  • Emergency medical: 21.73%
  • Trip cancellation: 18.99%
  • Trip interruption: 18.48%
  • Baggage delay: 4.98%

Your credit card and your existing health insurance may provide the insurance you need. If not, dozens of travel insurance companies are competing for your business.

What does travel insurance cover?

Travel insurance covers your prepaid, nonrefundable trip costs and the extra money you need to spend due to unforeseen circumstances and emergencies both before and during your trip. 

Coverage varies by company and policy, so it’s important to shop around to find the best travel insurance plan for your needs. 

In general, travel insurance covers costs associated with these problems: 

  • Bankruptcy of a travel company, such as your airline or tour operator. 
  • Dangerous weather conditions.
  • Delayed and lost luggage.
  • Illness or death in your family that requires you to stay home or cut your trip short.
  • Illness that needs medical attention.
  • Injury requiring medical evacuation.
  • Jury duty. 
  • Travel delays and missed connections.
  • Terrorism.
  • Theft of your personal belongings while traveling.
  • Unexpected job loss. 

Most travel insurance companies offer a free look period when you buy a policy. Take this time — which might be anywhere from 10 to 21 days — to carefully review the plan’s coverages and exclusions, and request a full refund if it doesn’t meet your needs.

Does travel insurance cover rental cars?

Travel insurance for rental car damage is available as an add-on to many travel insurance policies. This will cover damage to your rental car, but not liability or damage to other vehicles. 

All of the 5-star rated plans in our rating offer optional rental car damage and theft coverage. Be sure to read your policy for limits and exclusions.

How much is travel insurance?

The average cost of travel insurance is 5% to 6% of your trip costs.

How much you pay for travel insurance will depend on how expensive your trip is, how many benefits the insurance provides and the age of the covered travelers.

Here are average costs per trip by travel insurance plan, based on our analysis of rates.

Average travel insurance cost per trip

How travel insurance works

“Typically, travelers are expected to pay their expenses out of pocket, and then file a claim for reimbursement,” said Clark. “However, there are medical situations in which a provider may be required to pre-authorize payment to make sure the policyholder receives the treatment they need.”

According to Clark, “Providers can pre-authorize payment for medical care and emergency evacuations. With that said, every circumstance is unique, and providers will handle each situation on a case-by-case basis.”

How to get travel insurance

To buy travel insurance, you’ll need to submit an online application with information about yourself and your trip, such as your name, age, permanent address, destination, travel dates and total trip cost per person. Since the application is simple, you can easily get quotes from multiple companies on your own. 

Even easier, you can get multiple quotes by submitting a single application online through a travel insurance comparison site like Squaremouth.

What travel insurance doesn’t cover

Travel insurance policies typically exclude or limit “foreseeable” losses such as:

  • Accidents or injuries caused by drinking or drug use.  
  • Canceling your trip because you changed your mind.
  • Ending your trip early because you changed your mind.
  • Losses caused by intentional self harm, including suicide.
  • Losses due to war, civil disorder or riots.
  • Medical tourism.
  • Medical treatment for pre-existing conditions.
  • Mental health care.
  • Natural disasters that begin before you buy travel insurance.
  • Non-medical evacuation.
  • Normal pregnancy. 
  • Medical treatment related to high-risk activities.
  • Routine medical care, such as physicals or dental care.
  • Search and rescue.

“For trip cancellation coverage, travel insurance plans will only cover you for very specific covered reasons listed in a plan’s description of coverage,” Sandberg said. “If an event is not listed as a covered reason, it won’t be covered unless the consumer opts for a ‘cancel for any reason’ policy.”  

“Cancel for any reason” upgrade

For the greatest flexibility to cancel, consider adding “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) coverage to your travel insurance plan. This will increase the cost of your policy, but will typically reimburse you for 75% of your trip expenses if you decide to cancel your trip. 

A CFAR upgrade also usually has a number of requirements, such as buying it within seven to 14 days of making your first trip payment and insuring the full amount of your travel costs. But, it will give you the freedom to cancel your trip for any reason, as long as you do so at least two days before your scheduled departure.

“This year, about 6% of travelers who bought travel insurance on squaremouth.com are purchasing a policy with the ‘cancel for any reason’ upgrade,” said Clark. “This is on par with pre-COVID levels, when ‘cancel for any reason’ was included in roughly 5% of all travel insurance sales.” 

According to Clark, CFAR sales fluctuated greatly during the pandemic. “At one point, almost 1 in 3 travel insurance customers opted to upgrade their policy to include CFAR,” he said. “Since then, CFAR sales have steadily returned to the norm.” 

Adding CFAR coverage typically increases the cost of your travel insurance plan by 50%.

Make sure you’re covered: Best COVID travel insurance

How to choose the right travel insurance policy

When shopping for travel insurance, consider the coverages that are most important to you. For example:

  • Travel medical insurance. If you’re traveling abroad, you’ll want a high limit for medical expenses, such as doctor and hospital bills, ambulance, X-rays and medicine. The best travel insurance for seniors includes ample travel medical insurance because Medicare generally does not pay for health care outside of the U.S.
  • Emergency medical evacuation. If you’re planning a trip to a remote destination, make sure your travel insurance plan has high limits for emergency evacuation. Squaremouth suggests $50,000 to $100,000 of medical evacuation coverage for most trips but recommends $250,000 for travel to remote locations.

You’ll also want to consider common exclusions, such as:

  • Adventure sports. Many travel insurance plans exclude coverage for risky activities such as skiing and scuba diving. Read the fine print of a policy to see what is excluded, or look for a travel insurance company that specializes in covering adventure sports trips, such as World Nomads.
  • Named storms. If a hurricane is named before you buy travel insurance, it’s too late to buy coverage and cancel your trip because of the storm.
  • Normal pregnancy. Normal pregnancy typically isn’t covered by travel insurance. If you get pregnant after you buy travel insurance, you may be covered for pregnancy-related reasons, but you’ll need to provide medical proof that pregnancy started after your purchased travel insurance. 
  • Pre-existing medical conditions. If you have dealt with a health issue, look closely at this common exclusion. Travel insurance plans typically have look-back periods, which could be 60, 90 or 180 days before you bought the policy. If you had symptoms during that time, your claim could be denied if your condition flares up while you’re traveling. You can often get a pre-existing medical condition exclusion waiver within 14 to 21 days of making your first trip deposit, as long as you are medically able to travel when you buy your travel insurance policy. There may also be other terms to get the waiver, such as needing to insure the full value of your trip.

When to buy travel insurance

The best time to buy travel insurance is immediately after making your first nonrefundable travel payment, whether it’s for a plane ticket, hotel stay, cruise or excursion. Like other types of insurance, your policy needs to be in place before something goes wrong. It won’t cost you any extra to buy travel insurance far in advance of your trip, and it will cover a longer period of time.  

“Purchasing a travel insurance policy at the time of making an initial trip payment offers travelers the most peace of mind,” said Clark.

“Knowing they are protected if unforeseen events such as medical emergencies, inclement weather, natural disasters and other trip disruptions occur allows travelers to approach their trip with less worry and more confidence.”

You’d have a hard time buying travel insurance before booking anything because you’d have nothing to insure, Clark said. “With that said, travelers are able to purchase a policy and make modifications, such as updating travel dates or adding expenses to the insurance policy, as they continue to make their travel arrangements.” 

You can buy travel insurance up to the day before you leave on your trip, but waiting may cost you the opportunity to qualify for a pre-existing condition waiver or to buy a “cancel for any reason” upgrade.

Where to buy travel insurance

You can purchase travel insurance directly from any of several dozen travel insurance companies. You may also be able to purchase travel insurance through a travel agent, travel insurance broker, airline, cruise, hotel, rental car company or other provider you book a ticket with.

Using a travel insurance marketplace that will give you quotes for multiple policies is a great way to compare coverage options and pricing to find the best policy for your trip. Buying a policy directly from a travel provider is convenient and might be fine, but it might not meet your needs. 

“If a traveler is heading to the Caribbean with the intention of going scuba diving, it’s unlikely that the policy offered by the airline would cover that activity,” Clark said. “Shopping around for insurance opens the door to other policy providers that may offer a policy that checks all of a traveler’s boxes.”

In addition, while flight insurance, which may be offered through a partnership with a travel insurance provider like AIG or Allianz, may cover travel delays and cancellations, it might not protect you if you get sick during your trip, Clark said. 

“We highly recommend travelers read the policy’s fine print before making a purchase so they know what’s covered,” he added.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

The best travel insurance is offered by Travel Insured (Worldwide Trip Protector), TravelSafe (Classic) and WorldTrips (Atlas Journey Preferred). These are the three top-scoring plans in our review of 53 travel insurance policies.

The best travel insurance policy for you will depend on what type of coverage you need. With so many different policies and carriers, the policy that was best for your friend’s trip to California might not be ideal for your trip to Japan. If you’re traveling abroad, you may be willing to pay more for higher coverage levels.

“Premium travel insurance plans offer all of the standard coverages you’d expect to see in a travel insurance plan, such as trip cancellation and interruption, trip delay, baggage loss and delay, emergency travel medical and emergency evacuation,” said Stan Sandberg, co-founder and CEO of TravelInsurance.com. “But the coverage limits will be higher and you can expect to see some benefits not available in standard plans.”

No, travel insurance does not usually pay for COVID testing. COVID-19 testing for travel is a foreseeable expense, and insurance typically does not cover expenses you can plan for. If you must test negative for COVID-19 as a condition of departing for or arriving at your destination, you should expect to pay for this expense yourself. Your health insurance or travel insurance may cover the test if a doctor orders it for you.

Make sure you’re covered: Best COVID travel insurance

Your U.S. health insurance may provide little or no coverage in foreign countries. Check with your health insurance company to see if you have any global benefits. If your health care does extend across the border, the benefits it provides abroad may not be the same benefits it provides domestically.

Medicare usually won’t pay for health care outside of the United States and its territories.

Even if your plan does cover international health care, you may have to pay out of pocket and file for reimbursement. If you wouldn’t be able to pay up front (or don’t want to take the risk), you’ll want travel medical insurance.

It’s also possible that doctors at your destination won’t accept your insurance and you’d be better protected with a travel insurance policy.

The best time to buy travel insurance is immediately after booking your trip and making a nonrefundable payment — in other words, as soon as you’re at risk of losing money. This way, you’ll know the total cost that you need to insure and you’ll have the longest window to take advantage of your policy’s benefits if something goes wrong.

You can’t wait until something goes wrong and then buy travel insurance to get reimbursed for your loss. Travel insurance only covers unexpected losses.

Travel insurance typically costs 5% to 6% of the trip price, according to our analysis.

Older travelers, especially those age 60 and up, can expect to pay more than younger travelers. A 70-year-old can expect to pay 11% of the trip cost for travel insurance, while a 30-year-old can expect to pay 5% of the total trip cost.

Looking to save on plans for older travelers? Best travel insurance for seniors

Travel insurance companies are free to choose not to cover travel to certain countries. For example, you may find that certain trip insurance carriers don’t offer coverage if you’re headed somewhere with a Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory from the U.S. State Department. Examples of such countries as of March 2023, include Venezuela, Iraq, Somalia, Haiti, Ukraine, Russia and about a dozen others. You may still be able to insure your trip to these countries with a high-risk travel insurance policy.

Another possibility is that your policy will not exclude travel to certain countries, but it will exclude certain risks that you’re more likely to encounter in Level 4 or Level 3 countries. For example, your policy may not cover losses related to declared or undeclared wars or acts of war or losses related to known or foreseeable conditions or events.

Some credit cards, such as the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card, offer benefits such as trip cancellation and interruption insurance, baggage delay insurance and trip delay reimbursement when you use your card to pay for your trip. Ask your credit card issuer for your card’s benefits guide to see what coverage you may have. Keep in mind that it may not cover all the risks you want to protect against, such as the cost of international health care or medical evacuation.

Business travel insurance makes sense if you are self-employed and paying for your own travel expenses, or if you are traveling internationally and want medical coverage abroad. You might also consider buying travel insurance for a business trip if your company won’t cover extra expenses if your flight is delayed or you need to head home early.  

Cruise travel insurance can help protect you financially if you need emergency medical care in a remote location, or if a delayed flight causes you to miss embarkation and you need to pay extra to catch up to your cruise.

Editor’s Note: This article contains updated information from previously published stories:

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