The Most Popular Types of Travel Insurance

The Most Popular Types of Travel Insurance

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Purchasing travel insurance is so much easier when you know the type of coverage you’re looking for. With so many different plans and providers on the market today, finding ways to narrow your search can save you both time and money. 

What are the three main types of coverage?

There’s a good chance you’ll encounter the following coverage types at some point during your hunt for travel insurance:

Comprehensive travel insurance

Comprehensive plans, also referred to as cancellation policies, is the most popular type of travel insurance. Roughly 65% of all policies sold through Squaremouth are considered comprehensive. 

What makes a policy comprehensive, you ask? Plans in this category provide the highest level of trip protection. More specifically, they’re the only type of policy that can provide reimbursement if you need to unexpectedly cancel your trip. 

Most comprehensive plans will cover trip cancellations, trip interruptions, medical emergencies, travel delays, and mishandled luggage. 

Travel medical insurance 

The main reason travelers purchase insurance is so they’re protected in the event they get sick or injured during their trip. This coverage is particularly in high demand among international travelers because most U.S. healthcare plans don’t offer coverage abroad. 

Travel medical policies are primarily designed to cover unexpected medical emergencies you may encounter during a trip. This can range from a brief visit to the doctor to an emergency airlift. 

Travel medical plans are not only budget-friendly, but can save you thousands of dollars in the event you need to file a claim

Annual travel insurance

While not as common as other types of travel insurance, Annual plans provide a unique way to protect multiple trips. Rather than covering travelers for a single trip, Annual travel plans provide coverage for any number of trips within a 12-month period. 

This type of coverage can be a cost-effective alternative to purchasing multiple policies throughout a year. Most Annual plans don’t include cancellation benefits, and will provide similar coverage to travel medical policies,

Side-by-side comparison

See a bird’s-eye view of how the most popular types of travel insurance coverage compare head-to-head. 

ComprehensiveTravel medicalAnnual
Max. # of tripsSingle-tripSingle-tripNo limit
Max. trip length90 days90 days90 days
Trip CancellationYesNoNo
Trip InterruptionYesNoNo
CFAR eligibleYes, but not alwaysNoNo
Emergency MedicalYesYesYes
Medical EvacuationYesYesYes
Delay coverageYesYesYes
Luggage protectionYesYesYes
The above chart is an overview of most policies within each category. Not all policies will fall into these categories.

What type of insurance is right for you?

If you’re still unsure about what coverage makes the most sense for your next trip, that’s okay. Finding the right coverage can take time. 

To help, here are a few scenarios where one type of coverage may be more relevant than another. 

Best for travelers with expensive trips

Take a moment to think about what you may lose if you have to cancel your trip the day before you’re scheduled to depart. Are your flights refundable? Would you be able to get your accommodation expenses back?

If you have a lot of prepaid, non-refundable travel expenses, we highly recommend a comprehensive travel insurance policy. These policies provide flexibility leading up to a trip, and can reimburse your trip costs if you are forced to cancel your vacation for a covered reason. 

Best for travelers seeking international medical coverage

If all you need is a policy that will cover unexpected medical expenses, look no further than a travel medical policy. Many of these plans will include hundreds of thousands of dollars of medical coverage, and can usually be purchased for less than $100. 

Before purchasing, make sure that the plan provides adequate coverage for your trip. If, for example, you plan on participating in adventure activities while abroad, a specific Sports & Activities policy may be needed. 

Best for frequent travelers

To no one’s surprise, frequent travelers should strongly consider an Annual travel insurance plan. These plans make financial sense for travelers that plan on taking at least three trips over a 12-month period. 

Keep in mind that these plans will typically not cover pre-departure cancellations. If cancellation is important to you, either purchase a comprehensive policy or look to see if you have existing protection through a travel credit card.

The bottom line

Travel insurance comes in all shapes and sizes. The most common types of insurance you’ll come across during your search will be comprehensive, travel medical, and Annual policies. 

All types of travel insurance have their pros and cons. Your budget, coverage needs, and travel plans will all dictate what type of policy is right for you. For more information, check out our breakdown see our last coverage breakdown