What is Travel Insurance?

Published by Chris Harvey October 21, 2005

Travel insurance protects a traveler’s vacation cost against cancellation and interruption while also providing medical, lost or damaged property and travel delay coverage. Travelers are reimbursed if they have to cancel or interrupt their travel, they are also covered should the need arise for emergency medical treatment, medical evacuation and a number of other situations.

Travel insurance can be broken down into the following major categories:

Trip Cancellation – Reimburses travelers unable to take their trip due to illness or death (of the traveler or a family member), weather, airline strikes, terrorism, bankruptcy, becoming unemployed, jury duty or their home being rendered uninhabitable due to fire / flood etc.

Trip Interruption – Reimburses travelers if they have to cut short their trip due to Illness or death (of the traveler or a family member), weather, airline strikes, terrorism, bankruptcy, becoming unemployed, jury duty or their home being rendered uninhabitable due to fire/flood etc.

Medical/Health – Reimburses medical and emergency dental costs. Almost all travel insurance plans work by reimbursing the traveler after they have paid locally for treatment. Claims are usually paid within 7 to 10 days. Pre-Existing conditions are covered by most policies if the policy is purchased within (at the most) 21 days from the date the traveler made the first trip payment (deposit).

Medical Evacuation – Provides emergency transportation to either a local hospital in the event the traveler is unable to get there by themselves or back to a hospital near the travelers home. If family members are covered on the same policy they can return home also.

Accidental Death – This coverage is split into 3 parts –

Air Flight Accident – Covers death or dismemberment during an air flight only. Usually provides the highest amount of coverage due to a lower risk.

Common Carrier – Covers death or dismemberment while traveling on public transport such as, plane, ferry, train, bus or taxi.

Accidental Death – Covers death or dismemberment at any time on your trip. Usually provides the lowest amount of coverage due to a higher risk.

Travel Delay – Reimburses travelers for hotel, food or clothing expenses in the event of a flight delay. Some plans also cover costs associated with catching up to a cruise should a delay cause the traveler to miss embarkation.

Baggage Loss – Reimburses travelers for lost, stolen or damaged personal items. This coverage is usually for the duration of the trip and not confined to baggage damaged or lost by the airline. There are two policy limits, total claim and per item maximum. Some policies also place limits on the type of items that can be claimed for such as jewelry, laptops and sporting goods.

Rental Car Damage – Reimburses travelers for damage or loss to a rental vehicle. It is designed to allow the traveler to decline CDW (collision damage waiver) coverage offered by the car rental companies. Liability coverage should still be purchased through the car rental company. Rental Car Damage coverage is also often included with the credit card used to pay for the car rental which is often identical to the coverage provided in the policy.

Assistance Services – Provides a 24 hour collect call advice and assistance service to travelers. This service can be used anytime a traveler needs advice.

Chris Harvey
St Pete Beach , FL 33706


Squaremouth compares travel insurance policies from every major travel insurance provider in the United States. Using Squaremouth's comparision engine and third-party customer reviews, travelers can research and compare insurance products side-by-side. More information can be found at www.squaremouth.com