how to buy travel insurance, types of travel insurance

How to Buy Travel Insurance

Traveling is fun, but it can also bring about the unexpected.  And unless the trip is free, it’s likely that you are spending a significant amount of money too.  Therefore, searching out the best travel insurance for your needs is an important, yet often overlooked part of the trip planning process.  After all, you should protect yourself in case of a trip cancellation or interruption, lost baggage, or an illness.

Especially if you are going to a foreign land, having international travel insurance is a must!  A good travel insurance plan offers you a peace of mind and confidence to explore the world. And it allows you to travel with certainty of protection even in case of the worst scenarios such as a severe injury, or even war.

However, choosing the best travel insurance to purchase for your upcoming vacations can be an intimidating task. There are hundreds of plans that exist out there, written in complex legal language that can prove difficult to understand, even for the savviest consumers.  That’s why we’ve put together this guide – to help explain the different types of travel insurance to you, and give you our best recommendations for how to buy travel insurance.

Importance of Having Good Travel Insurance

Most travelers spend countless hours planning the perfect vacations, but often they overlook the importance of acquiring a good travel insurance coverage policy. Going to a strange land exposes you to illnesses and accidents, and there is no way to prevent unfortunate incidents from happening.

Even though travel insurance does not assist people to avoid misfortunes when going, they offer consolation in the form of monetary compensation and comprehensive range of benefits for travelers which include:

1. Getting Help Overseas

Countless travelers experience some form of trouble when vacationing abroad. I myself have broken my foot while in China, and I even know other professional travel bloggers who have had serious illnesses and broken bones while on the road.   So travel mishaps are not limited to novice travelers.

Searching for the best travel insurance coverage is critical when you travel. In the event that you get sick or get into an accident while overseas, travel insurance will ensure you receive quality treatment, and in some cases, facilitate moving you back home to a better medical facility if required.

It’s true…I really did break my foot while walking down the sidewalk in China!

2. Travel Insurance Cushions You From Medical Costs

You know what they say, you should always plan for the unexpected.  For example, when you travel abroad your medical insurance back at home WILL NOT cover you!?!  Sadly, most people don’t realize that.  So if you need medical attention overseas, you will be liable for the cost of your treatment if you do not have travel medical insurance.

While many countries have cheaper healthcare than here in the USA, in most countries (even third world ones) medical care for foreigners can still be quite expensive.  And when you are not expecting that expense, it could put quite the damper on your vacation!

*NOTE:  While some insurance plans will require you to pay up front and get reimbursed later, others will actually assist with getting you the money upfront.

RoamRight travel insurance

3. Travel Insurance Covers Disruptions in Your Trip

When you travel, there is a lot that is out of your control. You may have to return home unexpectedly in the case of an emergency, or perhaps your flight gets delayed or even canceled!  If you do not have travel insurance, such disruptions could cost you a fortune. In most cases, you will lose the money / deposits you have already paid, as well as having to pay additional costs.

Luckily, most travel insurance packages cover you for events which are out of your control; therefore, you don’t need to spend your money in case something goes wrong.  It’s a great peace of mind.

So many bags…so little control you have!

4. You Can Be Reimbursed for Your Losses and Expenses

In the event that your luggage is lost or damaged, if you don’t have travel insurance, then you are solely responsible for replacing your items. (Yeah, the airlines aren’t usually much help with this!)
However, most travel insurance plans will ensure that get reimbursed for your expenses and losses.  This means you will not lose money due to an airline blunder or even a thief.

Difference Between Just Trip Insurance and Travel Medical Insurance

There are many different kinds of travel insurance out there — and it’s tempting to just go with the cheapest rate.  However, there are differences in the types of travel insurance out there.  Read on to find out each type of these insurance covers, how they can protect you:

What is Trip Insurance?

Trip insurance is  short term insurance that protect financial investment in a trip. It includes cover for lost baggage, flight accident, trip cancelation, and other losses incurred while traveling.  Basically, all the actual travel expenses that you paid.

What is Travel Medical Insurance?

Few people realize this, but just because you buy trip insurance that doesn’t mean that you have travel medical insurance too.  While some plans will include medical coverage, not all of them do.  And in fact, the cheapest travel insurance plans likely do not include travel medical insurance.

Travel medical insurance is quite important, particular if you are traveling outside of your home country.  Travel medical insurance is a short term insurance that covers health care costs incurred outside one’s home country for example hospital room, emergency, board and ambulance costs.

Key Considerations When Looking for a Travel Insurance Policy

1. Multi-trip

These plans cover all the traveling you do in a year while limiting the length of each trip. The more you travel, the more you save with multi-trip cover. You are also covered continuously saving you the trouble of shopping for new policies.

2. Multiple coverage

It is cheaper to purchase a cover for a family or a couple under one policy.  Most policies have this option, but you should always double-check.

3. Standard limits

Most people will be fine with coverage at the lowest limits. Avoid policies with higher limits because they are rarely necessary.

4. Extra coverage

Go for a coverage that includes extra coverage for things like your hotel or tour company going out of business, and airline strike, etc.  If possible, go with a plan that includes these extras without much extra cost (when compared to other plans).  It’s always nice to get the most for your money!

5. Activities

Typical travel health insurance polices cover most activities, such as sailing, walking, and most normal sports. However, if you plan to do anything more extreme such as climbing, rafting, diving, etc. then some companies require you to purchase an add-on to your package or a “rider” (as some call it).  While some insurance plans will cover these more “extreme” activities, others will not.  So it’s very important that you read the fine print and know if you need to purchase extra – so you don’t get caught injured for an activity that you thought was covered!

Paragliding in Switzerland…likely NOT covered by my insurance!

6. Evacuation / Repatriation of Remains

This consideration is not a pleasant one, but it is SUPER important.  In case of a severe emergency, or death (heaven forbid), then you will want to be sure that there is a provision in your travel insurance policy that will cover your evacuation or to bring your remains back home.  This is the last thing you would want to burden your family with, so it’s important not only that your plan covers these things, but that the limits are high enough (because these things are really expensive!).

How to Buy Travel Insurance Online

There are many insurance companies out there, but I have listed here some of the best programs that I’ve found based on what I’ve researched, online ratings, and from talking to other travelers. In general, these companies offer good customer service, value, coverage and prices.  They also allow you to book securely via their online websites.


With a variety of insurance options including trip cancellation & medical, RoamRight Travel Insurance is accredited and well known in the industry.  With different plan options that be customized to suit your needs, RoamRight allows you to search and get a quote online.  They also have staff available to chat with you live, and their support team is available 24/7.  You can also get updates to your phone and paperless claims.

RoamRight travel insurance


Insure my trip

Another popular brand is Insure My Trip.  They also offer a variety of packages and have a nice comparison tool.  From trip cancellation to medical.  24 hour assistance is also available, and they have extensive reviews on their website.

World Nomads

For those who are traveling long-term, or even living a nomadic lifestyle, then World Nomads is known to be one of the best.  World Nomads are reputable, and process claims equitably and quickly. You can purchase and renew insurance policy online in minutes. They are friendly and responsive and solve problems via social media. They have excellent customer feedback and provide an extensive coverage at a fair price.

1 cover

1cover focuses on travel insurance for new Zealanders and Australians and offers comprehensive services. Lloyds underwrite it. They offer specific policies for skiers, snowboarders, and adventure activities. You do not need to come back to Australia since you can extend your policy while abroad.

Travel Insurance is Not As Expensive As You May Think

The most important thing to remember is that insurance is not as expensive as you might think, and it can really save your butt if something were to happen.  But I understand that finding the best travel insurance for your needs can be difficult.  So I hope this post has helped you know exactly what you should look for, and how to buy travel insurance easily online.  Happy travels to you!

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