You’ve selected your flight. You’ve selected your seats. Just before pressing the “purchase” link, you find yourself with a vague offer of travel insurance. It seems cheap and affordable. But will it sufficiently cover you? Probably not. Here’s why:
Travel insurance for your flight alone (aka "flight insurance") is a coverage option that most often appears as an add-on when booking flights or cruises online. The level of coverage represented in "flight insurance" is generally less comprehensive, has lower plan limits, and more exclusions when compared with plans sold by travel insurance companies directly or through agents. This means that buying travel insurance in the checkout page on the airline, cruise, or travel aggregator sites could result in having to buy an additional travel insurance plan to cover things that the “flight insurance” plan does not.
Trip protection style plans - often referred to as “trip cancellation” plans - should have more extensive benefits and can cover your travel insurance needs more appropriately, often for the same price or only a bit more. Plus, the cost of trip protection/trip cancellation style plans, which are designed to cover much more than just your flights (e.g., baggage and personal effects, accident and illness, emergency medical evacuation, and more), is quoted in increments of $500. For example, if your total trip cost is anywhere between $501-$1000, then you should consider rounding up your trip cost in the insurance search up to $1000, and this should not increase the cost of the travel insurance.
Which benefits should comprehensive travel insurance policies include?
Comprehensive trip protection/trip cancellation style travel insurance policies should include a transparent list of covered reasons for cancellation. These covered reasons are what the underwriting insurance company considers to be reasonable causes for canceling your trip. It will help for you to become familiar with the covered reasons before you purchase the appropriate policy.
Helpful Tips and Questions you can consider while reviewing travel insurance plans:
- Are the reasons you are most concerned about included in the list of covered reasons for canceling your trip? *Read the plan comparisons and benefits details carefully.
- If not, is there another plan that meets your needs and covers concerns?
- If not, does the plan include an upgrade option for Cancel for Any Reason coverage, and are you eligible for such an upgrade based on the timing of your purchase?
- Is the policy wording and plan comparison clear and transparent?
- Is the policy description/plan certificate made available before you purchase? If so, review it to confirm your primary concerns are included as covered reasons.
Attributes of comprehensive trip protection/trip cancellation style policies:
Comprehensive trip protection/trip cancellation style policies should cover trip cancellation, delay, or interruption for more than the cost for your flight alone or cruise alone. It should be inclusive of coverage for:
- trip cancellation, delay, or interruption due to illness, injury, or death to the traveler, a traveling companion, and/or an immediate family member not traveling
- trip cancellation, delay, or interruption in the event of financial default of a tour operator or airline or a labor strike, unforeseen terror event, unforeseen inclement weather
- Medical expenses (not limited to emergencies)
- Global network of contracted doctors and hospitals
- Emergency Medical Evacuation
- Coverage Baggage and personal effects
- Coverage for pre-existing conditions can be included based on the timing of your purchase relative to the date of your initial trip payment of any kind.
- "Cancel for Any Reason" upgrade available on the Preferred plan only (eligibility requirements apply)
If you choose to buy travel insurance, and there are many reasons why you should (read our post “Why Should I Buy Travel Insurance?”), you want to make sure you are buying the most comprehensive policy and are protected for more than just issues that arise with your flight. Our advice is to skip the flight insurance policy offered by online airline, cruise lines, and travel retail aggregators and choose one of the travel policies offered by Wanderwell, which will protect you in the event of flight delays or cancellations and will also protect you for issues that arise during your travels.