There are plenty of smart ways to save money on your travel plans, but refusing to buy travel insurance isn't necessarily one of them. Sure, you may not feel you need a travel insurance policy if you are going on a road trip or planning a cheap vacation close to home. However, we all know "life happens" and plenty of scenarios can knock your travel plans off track.
Why do you need travel insurance? Before COVID-19 brought the travel world to a screeching halt, vacations could be interrupted or canceled altogether due to an unexpected illness, a family emergency or a cancellation by an airline or resort. Not only that, but travel insurance can also cover other components of your trip you may not even think of.
This could include lost or stolen baggage or a missed connection that requires a sudden hotel stay and a few dinners while you're rerouted on another flight. With ongoing uncertainty as the coronavirus pandemic continues to affect travelers in the U.S. and around the world, travel insurance might be another thing you want to factor into your overall trip cost when planning a vacation.
Try not to think of travel insurance as "just another expense" you should avoid while planning your dream trip. Think of travel insurance as protection for the financial investment you made in your vacation. With that in mind, it is thrifty to shop around for the most affordable travel insurance policies.
To determine the Cheapest Travel Insurance Companies, U.S. News created sample traveler profiles for three separate eight-day trips to different domestic and international destinations at various price points. We used that information to get quotes for the cheapest option for 100% trip cancellation coverage for each trip.
We then calculated the average cost of the trips to determine the sample average cost. Find more information on the methodology for the Cheapest Travel Insurance Companies here. (Note: The sample average costs are not price quotes from U.S. News. To find a travel insurance price quote, use the "get a quote" link to enter your trip details and find more information.) The Cheapest Travel Insurance Companies:
- World Nomads Travel Insurance
- Trawick International
- AXA Assistance USA
- GoReady Travel Insurance
- Generali Global Assistance
- Allianz Travel Insurance
- Nationwide Insurance
- Seven Corners
American Express Travel Insurance
Keep in mind coverage limits and availability may vary by state. Also note: Coverage for trip cancellation or interruption due to COVID-19 varies by provider, so you'll want to consult each travel insurance website for further details. Read on to find out more about what each company offers and decide which travel insurance policy is right for you.
World Nomads Travel Insurance
Average cost of travel insurance across sample trips: $131
World Nomads sells travel insurance policies that travelers can customize based on price and what type of coverage they're looking for. The policy inclusions are broad, but one thing that makes World Nomads Travel Insurance stand out is its standard policy automatically covers 200-plus adventure sports like skydiving, scuba diving, ATV riding, zip lining, snowmobiling, skiing, snowboarding, and more. Many other travel insurance companies require specific, separate policies to cover extreme sports.
Two plans are available within World Nomads: Standard and Explorer. The Standard plan is going to be the most cost-effective. It includes $2,500 worth of trip protection for cancellation or interruption, up to $1,000 in coverage of lost, stolen or damaged baggage, up to $750 for baggage delays on your outward journey ($150 per day maximum), up to $100,000 in emergency medical insurance and up to $300,000 in emergency medical evacuation transportation.
Average cost of travel insurance across sample trips: $180
Trawick International provides numerous insurance options for all types of travelers, including tourists, students heading abroad, businesspeople, families, groups and more. The travel insurance company offers six different plan types for trip protection and cancellation insurance, and consumers can select from these options to choose what's going to work best for them.
The Safe Travels Voyager plan covers up to $100,000 for trip cancellation and up to $250,000 in primary medical coverage, including COVID-19 medical expenses. This plan also includes coverage for missed connections, trip delays, lost and delayed baggage, rental car damage, emergency evacuation and repatriation coverage up to $1 million, and more. An optional cancel for any reason benefit upgrade is available as well.
The budget-friendly Safe Travels Explorer plan is billed as "just the necessities," with trip cancellation and interruption coverage up to 100% of the insured vacation, up to $50,000 in medical coverage and up to $200,000 in emergency evacuation coverage, plus coverage for lost and delayed luggage and missed flight connections.
There are three annual travel insurance trip options available as well. Trawick International also provides several plan options for those who want specific travel medical insurance, popular with those who have preexisting conditions, and student travel insurance for those studying abroad.
AXA Assistance USA
Average cost of travel insurance across sample trips: $199
AXA Assistance USA offers three tiers of travel insurance for customers who want to pay more (or less) to get the right amount of coverage. The Silver Plan is the most affordable option with 100% coverage for trip cancellation and interruption, $100 per day in coverage for trip delays ($500 maximum benefit), $500 in missed connection coverage, $100,000 in coverage for emergency medical evacuation, and $25,000 in accident and sickness coverage. This plan also comes with $200 in coverage for baggage delays and $750 in coverage for baggage and personal effects.
However, you can pay for more coverage and higher coverage limits with the Gold or Platinum Plans. The Platinum Plan – AXA's highest tier plan – even comes with specialized coverage relevant to active travelers, such as coverage for lost ski days ($25 per day), $500 in coverage for lost golf rounds and $1,000 in coverage for sports equipment rentals.
This level of coverage is also the only AXA plan that lets you add a cancel for any reason rider to your policy, which allows you to receive 75% of your trip costs back if you decide to cancel your trip. (Note: This coverage needs to be purchased within 14 days of your initial trip deposit for it to apply.)
Also note, AXA Assistance USA plans come with a 10-day money-back guarantee. This means you can purchase a plan, change your mind and get your premiums back provided you have not started your trip or filed a claim.
Average cost of travel insurance across sample trips: $221
GoReady Insurance (formerly APRIL Travel Protection) offers travel insurance plans for single trips as well as annual plans for frequent travelers who need insurance for several trips throughout the year.
Single-trip customers can choose from a handful of travel insurance plans as well as a cruise-specific plan and a VIP plan. The VIP plan offers coverage limits of up to $1 million for emergency evacuation, 100% coverage for trip cancellation and 175% reimbursement for trip interruption.
Travelers who choose a single-trip plan for a cruise can receive 100% coverage for trip cancellation and 150% coverage for trip interruption, and they can purchase policies with cancel for any reason coverage. This plan also includes coverage for trip cancellation and interruption, travel delays and emergency medical assistance if the insured person, their traveling companion or a family member contracts COVID-19.
The company also offers the GoReady Choice Plan that lets you select the benefits you want the most, including coverage for sports and business equipment, financial insolvency of a travel provider, cancellation for work reasons and more.
Finally, this provider's GoReady Pandemic Plus Plan is one of the travel industry's only travel insurance plans that does not explicitly exclude pandemics.
This plan comes with trip cancellation and interruption coverage, emergency medical and dental expense coverage up to $50,000, emergency evacuation and repatriation coverage up to $500,000, trip delay coverage, baggage and personal effects coverage, accidental death and dismemberment coverage, and more. You can also add on cancel for any reason coverage and receive 75% of your trip costs in return if you cancel your trip.
Generali Global Assistance
Average cost of travel insurance across sample trips: $245
Generali Global Assistance presents three travel insurance plan options, ranging from basic, affordable coverage to an enhanced, premium policy. The Standard plan provides coverage up to 100% of the insured vacation for trip cancellation and up to 125% of the insured vacation cost for trip interruption.
The Standard plan also includes up to $50,000 in medical coverage and up to $500 in emergency dental coverage, plus missed connection and lost and delayed luggage coverage. The company's other plans (Preferred and Premium) include similar offerings at higher coverage limits, in addition to more specific coverage for issues like financial insolvency of travel service providers and preexisting conditions.
What's more, Generali Global Assistance provides a few travel insurance options specifically for those booking a vacation rental.
Allianz Travel Insurance
Average cost of travel insurance across sample trips: $285
Allianz Travel Insurance provides a plethora of travel insurance plans, from specialized rental car and medical insurance to more traditional single-trip and annual travel insurance options. There are two top cost-effective plans from Allianz:
OneTrip Cancellation Plus and OneTrip Basic. OneTrip Cancellation Plus includes trip cancellation and interruption coverage up to $5,000 and travel delay coverage up to $150 (this is the daily limit), plus access to a 24-hour hotline for assistance.
The OneTrip Basic policy includes trip cancellation and trip interruption coverage up to $10,000, 24-hour hotline assistance, emergency medical and dental coverage up to $10,000 ($500 for dental expenses), emergency medical transportation up to $50,000 and luggage loss, damage and delay protection. Preexisting conditions are covered under this plan if specific requirements are met.
Meanwhile, the provider's OneTrip Prime travel insurance plan is billed as its most popular. This policy features higher coverage limits (up to $100,000 for trip cancellation, up to $150,000 for trip interruption, up to $1,000 for baggage loss or damage, up to $500,000 in emergency medical transportation and more), plus additional perks like $100 per day for travel inconveniences.
Average cost of travel insurance across sample trips: $307
Nationwide specializes in three types of travel insurance plans: cruise, single-trip and annual or multitrip plans. Most travelers will likely be interested in the Single-Trip Essential Plan. This option covers trip cancellation (up to $10,000), travel delays ($150 per day, up to $600 maximum) and trip interruption (up to 125% of the total trip cost), including travel interruptions or delays due to terrorism.
Travelers also get up to $75,000 in accident and illness medical coverage, $500 in emergency dental coverage and $250,000 in emergency medical evacuation and repatriation of remains. Plus, this plan covers both luggage delays and lost luggage or personal items.
Those looking to upgrade their plan to include cancel for any reason coverage, higher policy coverage and additional benefits will want to opt for the Single-Trip Prime Plan. Meanwhile, frequent travelers seeking coverage have three annual plan options to choose from.
The company's cruise plans (there are three options) also provide a variety of safety nets, from standard trip cancellation or interruption perks to coverage of cruise-specific issues like itinerary changes due to mechanical problems, missed excursions and weather-related trip changes.
Average cost of travel insurance across sample trips: $310
Seven Corners offers coverage for U.S. residents, and it also extends medical coverage plans to travelers who are visiting the United States.
To help stand out from other providers, Seven Corners also offers unique group travel insurance plans, travel insurance for students, road trip insurance for trips throughout the United States, Mexico and Canada, and medical evacuation and repatriation coverage designed specifically for visa holders. In addition, you can purchase annual travel insurance plans that cover more than one trip within a year.
The most popular plan Seven Corners offers is the RoundTrip Trip Cancellation Travel Insurance plan. This coverage is for a single trip, and it applies to United States residents who are traveling within the U.S. or internationally. There are two tiers available: RoundTrip Economy and RoundTrip Elite.
The bottom-tier RoundTrip Economy plan comes with trip cancellation coverage up to $20,000, trip interruption coverage up to 100% of the cost of the trip, trip delay coverage worth $250, missed connection coverage worth $250, emergency accident and sickness medical coverage up to $10,000, emergency dental coverage up to $750, emergency evacuation and repatriation coverage up to $100,000, and lost, stolen or damaged baggage coverage up to $500.
Average cost of travel insurance across sample trips: $329
IMG Travel Insurance offers many different types of insurance you can buy, ranging from specialty plans for retired travelers ages 65 and older to plans for expats, business travelers and students. When it comes to general travel insurance plans, however, there are three main tiers of coverage: iTravelInsured Travel Lite, iTravelInsured Travel SE and iTravelInsured Travel LX.
The iTravelInsured Travel Lite plan is the most budget-friendly, although coverage limits are not necessarily skimpy. This plan comes with up to 100% in coverage for trip cancellation, a trip interruption benefit worth up to 125% of the trip cost, up to $500 in coverage for travel delays and more.
Covered perils also include emergency sickness, injury and death, as well as hijacking, terrorist activities and the financial default of a travel supplier, among others. However, you should note that preexisting conditions cannot be added to this plan and that all coverage is secondary to other insurance you have.
On the other hand, the highest tier iTravelInsured Travel LX plan will get you much higher coverage limits as well as a waiver for preexisting conditions if you purchase your travel insurance plan within 24 hours of the final payment on your trip. Coverage for this plan is primary as well, so you can use your travel insurance plan in place of other insurance you already have.
American Express Travel Insurance
Average cost of travel insurance across sample trips: $329
While American Express is a familiar name in the credit card world, you do not need to be an American Express credit card holder to purchase a travel insurance plan with the company. American Express Travel Insurance offers build-your-own coverage and four preset package options: Basic, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
The most budget-friendly options from this company are the Basic, Silver or build-your-own plans. The Basic plan includes up to $1,000 for trip cancellation or interruption, up to $5,000 in coverage for medical issues or emergency evacuation or repatriation, up to $750 for dental emergencies and $250 in baggage loss.
However, this standard plan does not cover travel accidents, death or dismemberment, or reimbursement for lodging, meals or missed connections associated with trip delays. The Silver plan covers up to 100% of the trip cost for cancellation or interruption, plus up to $25,000 for medical issues, up to $100,000 in emergency evacuation and repatriation, up to $50,000 to $100,000 in travel accident protection (depending on the accident type), $500 for lost luggage and up to $150 per day for expenses related to a delayed trip.
The build-your-own package allows you to pick and choose what types of coverage you would prefer. Options to choose from include trip cancellation, delay and interruption, emergency medical and dental coverage, emergency evacuation and baggage protection.
Is the Cheapest Travel Insurance the Best Travel Insurance?
Buying travel insurance only makes sense if you purchase enough coverage to protect the investment you made in your trip. For that reason, the cheapest travel insurance plan is not always the best. You should compare pricing, but you should also make sure you're buying coverage from a quality provider (like the ones included above). Additionally, check that your coverage comes with inclusions and limits that make sense for your trip.
To find the right travel insurance plan for your needs, start by tallying up the cost you paid for your trip, including prepaid charges for airfare, lodging and transportation. From there, you can select coverage limits for trip cancellation and interruption coverage, and you can also compare plans based on the most important components that could result in major losses, such as medical coverage and emergency evacuation.
Also, make sure your policy provides adequate protection for baggage and personal items, as well as the implications of a significant travel delay. Finally, make sure you have the option to include any additional coverage you need, such as cancel for any reason coverage or waivers for preexisting conditions.
Ideally, you will wind up with a travel insurance plan that offers just the right amount of coverage for a price you can afford.