Travel is an investment in discovery & experience. Travel insurance helps protect your investment.
With the right policy in place, travel insurance offers peace of mind from the unexpected while you’re out discovering the world. But shopping for the right policy can be intimidating…and filing a claim can be time-consuming & frustrating. We’ve been there more times than we’d like to remember!
Below, you’ll find some of the considerations we factor into our own travel insurance decisions, as well as background on the companies we choose to work with. We no longer travel abroad without travel insurance, and we hope this page helps bring you some clarity to this confusing topic!
- Reasons to consider travel insurance
- Researching, comparing & buying
- World Nomads: the company we use
- Global Rescue: leader in emergency evacuation coverage
- Important timelines: purchasing or cancelling your policy
- Factors that drive policy cost
- Estimating trip cost: key considerations
- “Cancel for any reason” (CFAR) coverage
- Emergency evacuation coverage
- Credit card protection
Reasons to consider travel insurance
Below are just a few reasons to protect your investment in travel.
- Cancellation Protection—as long as you’re canceling for a covered reason, travel insurance will reimburse you for any unused, non-refundable payments or deposits you paid for travel arrangements. This includes airfare, accommodation, rental cars, cruises, tours, excursions, and more.
- Medical Necessity—health insurance at home rarely covers medical expenses overseas. Travel insurance policies typically include six-figure limits to cover you, in case you get sick or need medical attention outside of your home country.
- Travel Emergencies—from the basic (flight delays, missed connections, lost baggage, etc.)…to the extreme (terrorism, tornadoes, and other ‘Acts of God’)…these things happens. And when they do, travel insurance can offer some financial consolation for a partially (or totally) ruined trip.
Researching, comparing & buying
Dozens of companies sell travel insurance. Most of them offer a variety of policies, with different costs, benefits & coverage limits. Travel insurance aggregators like Squaremouth are great for researching & comparing prices & benefits on your own.
The question of what’s covered vs. what’s not covered is always one of the trickiest & most confusing parts to navigate. That’s why it’s so important to carefully read a policy’s wording for a full description of coverage. If in doubt, call the company, or ask a qualified insurance expert to advise you.
Another big piece to consider is the claims process. If something does go wrong before or during your trip, filing a claim could be extremely painful or a piece of cake, depending on the nature of your claim and the company you’ve purchased your policy from. This reinforces the importance of choosing the right company.
The two companies we choose to work with are World Nomads & Global Rescue. Our agency belongs to the Partner Program of both companies, meaning we do receive compensation if you purchase one of their policies via links on our website (and if you do—thank you!).
World Nomads: the company we use
Travel insurance from World Nomads is available to people from 140 countries. It’s designed for adventurous travelers with cover for overseas medical, evacuation, baggage and a range of adventure sports and activities. You can even buy and claim online, after you’ve left home—which we needed to do in Ecuador last year! World Nomads offers two different plans: Standard & Explorer.
Visit this page to learn more about World Nomads and generate a free travel insurance quote for your next trip.
Global Rescue: leader in emergency evacuation coverage
When we planned our first African honeymoon in 2019, our local partner introduced us to their exclusive provider of emergency evacuation coverage: Global Rescue.
Since 2004, Global Rescue has been a worldwide leader in field rescue, evacuation, security extraction, and virtual health services. Recently, Global Rescue and IMG have created one of the industry’s most complete travel insurance offerings, integrating Global Rescue’s advisory and evacuation services with the financial protection of IMG Signature Travel Insurance.
Important timelines: purchasing or cancelling your policy
PURCHASING: In many cases, there are advantages to securing a policy very early in the trip-planning process. With Global Rescue, for example, if you purchase your policy within 20 days of making your initial trip deposit or payment, they’ll include a pre-existing medical condition waiver (no cost) and the ability to add “cancel for any reason (CFAR)” coverage (additional cost).
CANCELLING: Many companies offer a 10-day cancellation window (called a “free look period”) which entitles you to a refund, should you wish to cancel the policy. That is, as long as you haven’t started your trip or filed a claim yet! Consult World Nomads & Global Rescue for details.
Factors that drive policy cost
Travel insurance coverage varies by provider & plan. Policy costs are typically driven by some combination of personal factors (age; health) and trip-related factors (duration; destination; trip cost). In many cases, these factors also determine exclusions or limitations you might be subject to.
In general, you may find basic policies as low as 4% of your trip cost and some premium plans in the 12% range. If trip cost is a key driver of policy cost (you can test this by generating quotes and adjusting the numbers), then it’s important to 1) only pay for what you need and 2) estimate accurately, if you haven’t paid for all of your expenses yet.
Estimating trip cost: key considerations
If you’re being asked for “trip cost” when generating a travel insurance quote, this likely means the cost of your trip is going to drive the cost of your policy. The higher the trip cost, the higher the policy cost.
As it relates to travel insurance, another way to look at “trip cost” is “much of your total trip cost do you wish to insure?”
In this sense, what you really want is a solid estimate of your total expected non-refundable expenses. This includes deposits or payments you’ve already made, and any future expenses you expect to incur for travel arrangements.
Sometimes, you’ll have to estimate these expenses well before you actually incur the charges. Nonetheless, this is a critical step, for 3 reasons:
- Your estimate matters — the amount you input for “trip cost” will determine your level of coverage. Estimate too low, and you’ll come up short if you need to cancel your trip. Estimate too high, and you’re paying for coverage you don’t need.
- Key word: NON-REFUNDABLE — your policy is only going to pay you out for things you can’t otherwise get reimbursed for. Including refundable costs is going to increase the cost of your policy, but it’s not going to benefit you if you need to cancel.
- Cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage — not all providers offer it, but when they do, there are timelines involved. With Global Rescue, you may not incur all expenses within the 20-day window, but you will have to estimate them if you want to add CFAR coverage.
Note: the above examples don’t apply to World Nomads, as their policies are not driven by trip cost.
“Cancel for any reason” (CFAR) coverage
Cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage is an additional investment in flexibility. It’s a premium benefit that costs more and reimburses less. Adding this benefit will increase the cost of your policy (sometimes 20-40%) and if you do put it to use, it’ll typically reimburse you 75% of the trip cost.
To mitigate their own financial liability, insurance underwriters include very specific “covered reasons” for trip cancellation in their policies. Death of an immediate family member is almost always a covered reason. “I don’t feel like going anymore” is not a covered reason. So if you’ve already paid a significant amount toward your trip and you anticipate a change of heart, you may consider asking about CFAR coverage.
Often times, “interrupt for any reason” (IFAR) & “cancel for work reasons” (CFWR) coverage are included with CFAR.
Emergency evacuation coverage
Without coverage in place, an emergency evacuation can cost as much as $250,000 (or more) out of pocket. The average person may not have that kind of money just lying around.
In the world of travel insurance: if you get sick or injured overseas, the cost of medical care is separate from the cost of being air-lifted back to your home country. Emergency evacuation coverage (EEC) complements travel insurance, but it’s not included with all policies. This is an important nuance to understand, and something to take a close look at when deciding on a provider.
Many travelers purchase EEC on its own—separate from travel insurance. Why would someone do this? Perhaps they:
- Have chosen a travel insurance policy that doesn’t include EEC.
- Are relying on a credit card that includes certain benefits, but not EEC.
- Simply want access to EEC in their home country.
That’s right: you don’t need to be overseas to take advantage of EEC. If the USA is your home country and you have a skiing accident in Jackson Hole, you can rely on Global Rescue for emergency air transport as long as you’re more than 100 miles from home. They specialize in field rescue for travelers facing minor medical issues—or life-threatening situations—and offers memberships for these services (7 days up to 5 years).
Visit our Emergency Evacuation Coverage page to learn more.
Credit card protection
If you have a credit card that provides travel insurance benefits, it’s worth exploring this before you start paying for anything. Why?
General rule of thumb: if you want to take advantage of the benefits, you’ll need to use the card to pay for any trip-related expenses you want covered.
Many of the cards we own—Chase Sapphire Reserve, Chase Ink, Chase United Visa, Chase Southwest Business Visa, and AMEX Delta Platinum—offer different types of coverage. Consult the card issuer’s terms & conditions for details.
We hope this has been helpful, and we wish you peace of mind on all your travel adventures!
▾ Ready for your next adventure?! ▾
Family vacations…group friend trips…honeymoons…we’ve got you covered. If you don’t have the time to research and plan your own trip, we’ll take care of the details, so you can focus on the good stuff!
- Visit our Plan A Trip page and set up your free 30-minute Discovery Call.
- Check out our Resources page for some of the best trip-planning tools we use daily.
Disclosure: travelhelix belongs to the World Nomads Partner Program, Global Rescue Partner Program and Squaremouth Travel Partner Program. We do receive compensation if you purchase a travel insurance policy or enroll in an emergency evacuation services membership by clicking via the links on our website. If you’ve found this info useful and plan to purchase a policy, please consider booking through our site—thank you!
Disclaimer: The travel insurance information provided above is a brief summary only. It does not include all terms, conditions, limitations, exclusions and termination provisions of the travel insurance plans described. Coverage may not be available for residents of all countries, states or provinces. Please carefully read your policy wording for a full description of coverage.
Our company is not a licensed financial service provider, and is not certified to sell financial products or offer financial advice. The decision of whether or not to secure coverage is your own, as is the decision of which company to buy from. Should you wish to purchase travel insurance or emergency evacuation coverage via links on our website, such products or services will be governed by terms & conditions solely determined by the providers themselves. It is your responsibility to be fully acquainted with the terms & conditions regarding the use of these products or services prior to, and after, your purchase.