Travel and COVID-19: 5 Best Travel Insurance for USA of 2022

There’s never been a better time to add travel insurance to your trip plans. Whether you’re spending money on a long-awaited trip or a spur-of-the-moment getaway, travel insurance can save you money, time and frustration if things go wrong.

What is travel insurance?

Travel insurance is a type of policy that reimburses you for money you lose from non-refundable deposits and payments when something goes wrong on your trip. These problems can range from lost baggage to flight delays to medical problems.

The more you’re spending on your trip, the more you likely need travel insurance. This is especially true for international trips and cruises, where travel problems become more expensive to solve.

Best Travel Insurance Companies 2022

We take a look at the most popular travel insurance companies in US and try to assist you in deciding which gives you the best value.

Here is the list of best travel insurance companies in USA:

1. AXA Assistance USA

AXA’s Platinum plan hits all the high points for coverage that you’ll want if you’re looking for top-notch protection.

Preferred Plan: Platinum
Covers Covid?: Yes
Medical & evacuation limits per person: $250,000/$1 million

Pros:
Generous medical and evacuation limits.
“Cancel for any reason” upgrade available.
Top-notch baggage loss coverage of $3,000 per person
Generous missed connection coverage of $1,500 per person (but for cruises and tours only)
Covers lost ski days, lost golf rounds and sports equipment rental.
Includes concierge services such as restaurant and hotel referrals and reservations, luxury rental arrangements such as villas and charter planes, golf course information and more.

Con:
Travel delay and baggage coverage kicks in only after 12-hour delays

2. Cat 70

Cat 70’s Travel Plan has great medical and evacuation coverage that makes it worth a look, especially if the lower limits on certain other benefits don’t bother you.

Preferred Plan: Travel
Covers Covid?: Yes
Medical & evacuation limits per person: $500,000/$500,000

Pros:
Superior medical coverage of $500,000.
“Cancel for any reason” upgrade available.
Good hurricane and weather coverage.

Cons:
Travel delay and baggage loss coverage are both on the low side at $500 per person.
Baggage delay coverage requires a 24-hour delay and has a low $200 per person limit.
No rental car coverage available.

3. GoReady (formerly April)

While the medical coverage isn’t as robust as some other top plans, the low average prices for GoReady’s Pandemic Plus Plan make it worth considering if the medical benefit level works for you.

Preferred Plan: Pandemic Plus
Covers Covid?: Yes
Medical & evacuation limits per person: $50,000/$500,000

Pros:
“Cancel for any reason” upgrade available.
Generous baggage loss reimbursement of $2,500 per person.
Good hurricane and weather coverage.
Covers financial default of a travel supplier after a 14-day waiting period.
Sports equipment loss is included in baggage coverage.
Superior pricing for the benefits included.

Cons: 
Medical expenses coverage of $50,000 is relatively low but may be sufficient for you.
Has a small medical deductible of $50 per occurrence compared to no deductible for most other plans.
No rental car coverage available.

4. HTH Worldwide

HTH’s TripProtector Preferred Plan has luxury-level benefits at a good price.

Preferred Plan: TripProtector
Covers Covid?: Yes
Medical & evacuation limits per person: $500,000/$1 million

Pros:
Top-notch coverage limits for medical expenses and evacuation.
“Cancel for any reason” upgrade available.
Excellent trip interruption coverage of 200% of the trip cost.
Very good travel delay coverage of $2,000 per person after a 6-hour delay.
Excellent baggage loss coverage limit of $2,000 per person.

Con: 
Baggage delay coverage requires a 12-hour delay.

5. John Hancock Insurance Agency

John Hancock’s Gold plan has superior coverage but it also comes with a high average price.

John Hancock’s Silver plan has somewhat lower coverage levels but still deserves consideration because of its solid benefits.

Preferred Plan: Gold
Covers Covid?: Yes
Medical & evacuation limits per person: $250,000/$1 million

Pros:
Top-notch medical evacuation benefits.
“Cancel for any reason” upgrade available.
Travel delay benefits kick in after only a 3-hour delay.
Generous baggage loss coverage of $2,500 per person.
Excellent hurricane and weather coverage.
Includes coverage for sports equipment loss.
Includes $100,000 per person in 24-hour accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) coverage

Cons:
Pricey among the plans we analyzed but you buy superior benefits.
Baggage delay benefits require a 12-hour delay.

What Does Travel Insurance Cover?

Comprehensive travel insurance policies package together a number of valuable benefits. You can also buy policies that cover only trip cancellation or only medical expenses. With the wide variety of plans available, you can find coverage levels that will fit your budget and trip needs.

Look for these top coverage options in a comprehensive plan.

Trip cancellation insurance

You don’t book a trip with the intention of canceling it, but unexpected illness, injury, family member sickness, jury duty and more could derail plans. Trip cancellation insurance reimburses you 100% for money you lose in pre-paid, non-refundable deposits if you have to cancel for a reason listed in the policy.

If Covid is a concern, you can find travel insurance policies that cover Covid-related trip cancellation if you contract the virus right before the trip.

A good strategy is to insure the total amount you have put into non-refundable and pre-paid deposits. Don’t insure refundable amounts, like refundable plane tickets, because you can’t make an insurance claim for that.

Travel medical insurance

This is important coverage for travelers going abroad, where your U.S. health plan may have limited glocal coverage or no coverage. Travel medical insurance pays for ambulance service, doctor and hospital bills and other medical expenses during your trip. You can find generous coverage limits of up to $500,000 per person, but depending on your trip you may not need that level of coverage..

Because Medicare does not pay for health care outside the U.S., except in very limited circumstances, travel medical insurance is essential for senior travelers.

If Covid is a concern, you can find travel insurance policies that cover Covid-related medical expenses if you contract the virus during your trip.

Emergency medical evacuation coverage

This is also important coverage for those traveling abroad, especially if you’re going to a remote area where quality medical care might be hard to find. Emergency medical evacuation insurance pays to get you to the nearest adequate medical facility. You can find ample coverage of $1 million per person.
“Cancel for any reason” coverage

You may be able to upgrade your trip cancellation insurance to “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) coverage. Not all providers offer this add-on. Having it allows you to cancel your trip for any reason that’s not listed in your base policy. For example, you could cancel the trip because you simply don’t feel like going anymore. Reimbursement under a CFAR claim is often 75% of your trip costs, not the 100% that’s available under the base trip cancellation coverage.

CFAR adds an average of about 50% to an insurance plan’s cost.

Travel delay insurance

Travel delay insurance reimburses you for expenses if you’re stuck somewhere and have to buy necessities to tide you over. For example, if you’re stuck in an airport all day because of a weather delay, this coverage can reimburse you for essential purchases like snacks and toiletries. If you’re stuck for a long time, it could pay for a taxi, a night in a hotel and meals.

Trip interruption insurance

If you have to cut your trip short because of a reason listed in the policy, this is valuable coverage to have. It can reimburse you for the non-refundable parts of your trip that you miss, such as a resort stay or pre-paid scuba diving lesson. It can also pay for a last-minute one-way ticket home if you have an emergency.

Baggage and personal effects coverage

Losing your bags can really ruin a trip. Baggage coverage can at least ease the financial pain a little. It can reimburse you for the bags and clothes and shoes that never arrive, although note that reimbursement is for the depreciated value of the items, not the cost to buy new ones. It also pays out for items lost to theft.

Baggage delay coverage

Your bags may be on their own detour, but what do you do while you’re waiting? This coverage reimburses you for necessities while you wait for your luggage. For example, if you’re in Canada you may need a coat, hat and essential toiletries. Policies usually require a certain time delay before baggage delay coverage kicks in, such as six hours.

What’s Not Covered by Travel Insurance?

There are common things not covered by travel insurance. Make sure you read a policy’s exclusions so you’re not caught by surprise later.

For example, injuries from high-risk activities may not be covered, such as scuba diving. Nor are problems that happen because you were drunk or using drugs.

Medical tourism is also a common exclusion, so if you’re going abroad for a face lift or other elective procedure, travel insurance won’t cover hospital bills or aftercare.

If you lose cash, or it’s stolen, that is typically also excluded from reimbursement under most travel insurance plans.

Keep in mind that travel insurance is designed to protect you against unforeseen events and emergencies. For instance, if you want to cancel a trip because you’re afraid of flying, that’s not covered under standard trip cancellation insurance.

How Much Does Travel Insurance Cost?

The cost of travel insurance is usually mainly based on the age of travelers and the trip cost. Expect the average cost of travel insurance to be 6% of your trip cost.

The plan and provider you choose will also affect cost. Here’s an example of the costs of the top plans in our ratings.

Travel insurance cost examples

Do I Need Travel Insurance?

Here are some reasons you may need travel insurance:

You stand to lose a lot of money in non-refundable deposits if you cancel the trip. Trip cancellation is the coverage you want. It will cover 100% of the pre-paid money you’ll lose, as long as you cancel for a reason listed in the policy,

You’re traveling overseas and your health plan doesn’t have global coverage. Many health plans lack robust global coverage, or impose high out-of-network deductibles for care outside the U.S. Check your health plan details to see what it provides. Travel medical insurance fills the gap.

You’re going to a remote area. If you won’t be near any quality medical facilities, even a small injury could turn into a major medical event. Medical evacuation coverage will pay to medevac you to an adequate facility.

You want emergency backup. The 24/7 travel assistance lines that are included with travel insurance can assist you with finding a pharmacy, language translation, replacing a lost passport and much more.

How to Choose the Right Travel Insurance Policy

Here are key considerations for choosing the travel insurance plan that will match your needs.

Where you’re going. If you’re traveling outside of the U.S., a plan with travel medical insurance is important because you may have little to no coverage under your U.S. health plan. If you’re taking a domestic trip, you likely don’t need it, or you may want to buy low coverage amounts as a back-up.

If you’re taking an international trip, emergency medical evacuation coverage is important to have, especially if you’re visiting a remote area that doesn’t have top-quality medical facilities.

How you’re getting there. Travel plans can be derailed by weather, airplane mechanical issues or any number of other unexpected circumstances. If you’re worried about paying extra money for costs due to a delay, you may want to look for a plan that has a generous amount of travel delay insurance.

What you’re doing. If you have lots of prepaid, non-refundable deposits for activities, lodging and tours, it is especially important to have trip cancellation coverage. This holds true for trip interruption insurance as well.

Travelers who plan to participate in extreme sports or adventure excursions should consider buying a plan that covers these activities, as they’re often excluded.

Concerns about Covid and variants. If Covid is a travel concern for you, look for a travel insurance plan that covers Covid-related cancellations and medical costs. The best Covid travel insurance plans will also include “cancel for any reason” coverage.

How much flexibility you want. If you want the freedom to cancel a trip no matter what, opt for a “cancel for any reason” upgrade. You generally have to buy it within the first few weeks of making your first deposit. Similarly, you can also buy an “interruption for any reason” upgrade that allows you to cut a trip short and return home for any reason.

These upgrades are especially good for the traveler who has put down substantial prepaid, non-refundable deposits.

Main source: https://www.forbes.com/advisor/travel-insurance/best-travel-insurance


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