What is travel insurance?

Travel insurance 101: What is travel insurance and what does it cover?

Aug 6, 2023

So you’ve got your bags packed, your itinerary planned, and your heart set adventure. But then some buzzkill aunt or friend asks you whether you purchased travel insurance for your trip. Ugh

Honestly, I haven’t always purchased travel insurance. I thought it sounded expensive and unnecessary, or like something only rich people bought. Now? The disastrous consequences of what could have been haunt me to this day.

If you’re like me and were late to the travel insurance party, no worries! I’ve got the answers to all your questions below. ✈️

Consider this your “Girlfriend’s Guide to Boring and Complicated Travel Things: Travel Insurance” edition.

Trust me, it’s way less expensive than you think, and you want to learn about this now— not after something happens and you wish you had it!

What is travel insurance and why do I need it?

Travel insurance is your financial safety net for traveling. The purpose of travel insurance is to protect you from the unexpected curveballs that life (and travel) throw at you. Whether it’s a sudden illness, a canceled flight, lost luggage, a medical emergency, or even an unforeseen trip interruption, travel insurance protects you financially.

If you’ve ever struggled to get a hotel, airline, or activity to refund you for unforeseen circumstances that mean you have to cancel your reservation, you know that they all have their own policies (that you likely agreed to when you initially paid for them) and you generally get screwed and are still stuck with the bill. Enter travel insurance.

Who needs travel insurance?

Guess what? Travel insurance isn’t just for the globetrotters who’ve backpacked through every continent (although they all have it, yes). It’s for anyone and everyone with a plane ticket or an adventure planned. Whether you’re embarking on a cross-country road trip, a dreamy honeymoon, or an epic solo expedition, travel insurance is like the universal key to worry-free exploring.

What does travel insurance cover?

Travel insurance comes in different flavors, like a buffet of benefits tailored to suit your trip style. Here’s a taste of what it typically covers:

  • Trip cancelation or interruption. Life happens, and plans can change. If you need to cancel or cut short your trip due to unforeseen events like illness, accidents, or even a zombie apocalypse (well, maybe not that last one), travel insurance can reimburse you for the non-refundable bits.

  • Medical emergencies. Falling under the weather while abroad isn’t fun. Travel insurance can swoop in to cover medical expenses, hospital stays, and prescriptions, so you can focus on getting better without worrying about bills.

  • Lost or delayed luggage. We’ve all had that heart-stopping moment at the baggage carousel. If your belongings decide to take a detour, travel insurance can help cover the cost of replacing your essentials.

  • Travel delays. Missed connections, flight cancellations – they’re the grumpy side of travel. But with travel insurance, you might be eligible for compensation to smooth out those rough patches.

  • Emergency evacuations. Sometimes, a situation might call for a quick exit. If you find yourself in a place where medical care isn’t up to snuff, travel insurance can help evacuate you to a better-equipped location.

Remember, the specifics can vary depending on the plan you choose, so be sure to read the fine print like a detective on a case. Learn more about travel insurance and different scenarios that you’ll definitely want to have it in here!

What’s the best cheap travel insurance?

You can buy travel insurance from a lot of different providers, but I’ve always used Allianz. It has saved my butt more times than I’d like to admit, and from all the comparative shopping I did, it’s the most affordable travel insurance for the USA. It’s SO simple to get a quote, unlike a lot of other providers that make it annoyingly difficult. You can get packages that range from just insuring one trip to long-term travel insurance that covers a certain period of time.

How much does travel insurance cost?

The cost of travel insurance depends on:

  • Where you live

  • Your trip destination

  • Length of your trip

  • Your age

  • The level of coverage you want

  • The kind of activities that you have planned

For example, I did a 3 week, 4 country Europe trip and had it insured for around $250— completely worth it in my opinion.

However, I’ve had my shorter scuba diving trips insured at higher price point because diving is considered a riskier activity than going to museums and drinking wine in Europe. So what’s a good rate for travel insurance? The cost varies, but on average people say that you can expect to spend 4-6% of your total trip cost for coverage.

One other super important thing to note is that if you’re participating in extreme sports or activities, you’re going to need specialized travel insurance. Regular travel insurance typically won’t cover activities that are considered inherently dangerous, like scuba diving, skydiving, etc. If you’re looking specifically for scuba diving trip insurance, I use DAN (Divers Alert Network)— it’s the best-of-the-best and is specifically insurance for scuba divers.

So if you’ve been wondering “is travel insurance still worth it?” or what the best travel insurance is, I hope this helped! If not, let me know what other questions you have in the comments.

I know what you’re thinking: “This is great for you, but how can I afford to travel more?” I’ve been there!

It’s easier than you think to travel on a tight budget if you have the right tools. From scoring cheap flights to saving on hotels, snag my FREE guide with ALL the best budget travel tips and tricks! ✈️

Looking for more? Don’t miss the best-of-the-best travel blogs, travel hacks, and travel itineraries!

Are you new here? Let’s be friends! I’m Sarah— a solo female traveler (& world’s okayest travel blogger) helping you travel the world, discover surprising destinations, & have a laugh getting off the beaten path. Scroll to the bottom of this page to sign up to stay in touch (I promise not to spam you- just to share the best travel hacks, guides, itineraries, embarrassing stories, and unmissable experiences)!

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