The Best Travel Insurance Companies of 2021

Planning a trip is almost as fun as being on the trip itself. If you’re like me, you’ll spend hours planning every fun activity, looking through the best hotels or Airbnb’s, and getting extra excited about finding cheap direct flights. But often, most travelers don’t daydream about something going wrong. This is where finding the best travel insurance can come in handy if something unexpected goes wrong.

What if you take a bad fall while walking alongside the pool? Or what if you arrive at your destination and your luggage doesn’t make it there? What if a hurricane unexpectedly hits? Without travel insurance, these problems will take a big bite out of your pocket to resolve. And if you’re traveling abroad, you would be in a foreign country, there may be language barriers, and it could end up costing you your entire bank account to get out of a bad situation.

Browsing through travel insurance probably isn’t something you look forward to while planning, and it may just seem like one more expense. However, it can save you from a financial disaster. In the nature of making your search easier for you we’ve centralized the best travel insurance companies below.

Table of Contents
  1. World Nomads – Most Recommended
  2. Travelex – Best for Families & Pets
  3. Allianz – Best for Seniors & Disabilities
  4. AllClear – Best for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
  5. John Hancock Travel Insurance – Best for Solo Travel
  6. Atlas – Best For Customizability
  7. Insure My Trip – Best For Finding The Best Deals
  8. American Express – Most Well Known
  9. AXA Travel – Best for Athleisure Trips
    1. Your Bank
    2. Your Credit Card
  10. What to Look For
  11. Different Types of Travel Insurance
  12. Other Tips on Travel Insurance
  13. Final Thoughts

World Nomads is one of the largest and most reputable travel insurance providers in the world. People prefer to choose World Nomads over others because it was created by real people and not a major corporation.

Here’s the basics that they cover:

  • Overseas emergency medical and dental expenses
  • Emergency medical evacuation
  • Trip delay, cancellation, or interruption due to an unforeseen event
  • Delayed, damaged, or stolen gear or bags if they’ve been checked in with a carrier
  • 24 hour worldwide assistance

It’s also important to note what your travel insurance company does not cover so that you don’t accidentally put yourself in a situation where you’re surprised that your insurance won’t go through.

Here’s what Word Nomads DOES NOT cover:

  • Expenses related to pre-existing medical conditions unless your policy says otherwise
  • Non-emergency medical expenses, such as eyeglasses or contact lenses, routine medical check ups, or cosmetic procedures
  • Items left unsupervised in a public place
  • Gear damaged while in use

World Nomads offers two different plans: the Standard Plan and the Explorer Plan.

They differ slightly in the dollar amount of what is covered. For example, meals and accommodation coverage varies from $1,500 with the Standard plan to $2,500 with the Explorer Plan. There are a few other categories in which the Explorer plan covers more as well.

They are also most popular amongst adventurers and explorers. They offer insurance for 150 high-risk activities like:

  • Scuba diving
  • Mountain biking
  • Bungee jumping
  • Skiing
  • Full list

If you’re planning on going off the grid or doing some thrill-seeking, the Explorer Plan is likely the better option. Fortunately, it’s not a lot more expensive than the Standard Plan.

If you’re a 22-year-old traveling to France for 3 weeks, you’ll pay:

  • Standard Plan: $108.60
  • Explorer Plan: $123.84

On top of this, you get all the other necessities such as baggage delay, trip cancellation, travel delay, etc.

When it comes to travel insurance, World Nomads is hard to beat, especially if you’re an adventurous traveler and always on the move. They offer great coverage at a low price including up to $100,000 in emergency medical coverage and $10,000 in trip cancellation. Plus, their plans are flexible, allowing for lots of add-ons so that you feel confident in whatever kind of trip you’re taking.

Finally, and I think this is very cool, they are a team of humanitarians and believe in giving back to the communities they travel to. They have already raised $2 million for those efforts.

 

Travelex – Best for Families & Pets

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For families traveling with children under the age of 18, Travelex is one of the best insurance options.

Their Travel Select Plan covers minors for free if they are traveling with an insured adult. So if you’ve got kids, you’ll save a ton with this company.

Travelex offers two different plans: Travel Select and Travel Basic.

Both of these plans cover the basic travel needs, but the plans are different from one another because the Travel Select Plan covers minors (17 and under) without any extra fees. The Travel Basic Plan includes a pre-existing medical conditions waiver.

But in general, here’s what they include:

  • Trip Cancellation, Interruption and Delay benefits
  • Emergency Medical and Dental coverage
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation
  • Cancel for Business Reasons Included
  • Children 17 and under covered at no additional cost
  • 24 hour worldwide assistance

Is it worth getting the Travel Select Plan over the Travel Basic Plan?

The biggest difference comes in medical coverage.

Both plans offer emergency medical and dental expenses, emergency medical evacuation/repatriation, and accidental death and dismemberment coverage.

However, there’s a very big difference in the amount covered.

The Travel Basic plan covers up to $15,000 and the Travel Select Plan covers up to $50,000 in medical and dental expenses.

Honestly, $15,000 from the Travel Basic Plan isn’t that much considering medical can be very expensive if you have a large accident in a first world country. $50,000 is more reasonable.

But the price difference between the two plans isn’t too large.

Here’s the price difference you’ll pay if you’re a 22 year old going to France for 3 weeks:

  • Travel Basic Plan: $56.00
  • Travel Select Plan: $81.00

In my opinion, health and safety come first over everything else and the extra $25 is a small price to pay for the amount of extra coverage you’ll receive.

Like any smart travel insurance company, there are some general exclusions to their plans including events that were reasonably foreseeable, problems arising from intoxication or drug use. There’s a few more so make sure you check all the exclusions in your policy document before departing from your trip.

Best insurance coverage for pets

Travelex offers awesome protection for your pet – $1,000 for emergency pet medical treatment along with $10,000 for your pet to be transported back home in case you end up hospitalized.

Check out the Travelex’s pet policy under “Active Family Pack”.

Get a quote from Travelex

Allianz – Best for Seniors & Disabilities

Allianz Travel Insurance offers 3 main plans:

  • OneTrip Basic Plan
  • OneTrip Prime Plan
  • OneTrip Premier Plan

Each of these plans covers general insurance needs such as:

  • Emergency medical and dental
  • Emergency transportation
  • Trip cancellation and interruption
  • Baggage loss/damage
  • 24 hour worldwide assistance

All of these plans offer the same insurance categories, but the amount covered changes. If you’re looking for something more specific, Allianz also offers a OneTrip Cancellation Plan and a OneTrip Emergency Medical Plan.

According to Allianz, their best seller is the OneTrip Prime Plan. All looks good, but I think the emergency medical coverage is a bit low ($25,000). It might be worth it to increase that with the OneTrip Premier Plan ($50,000).

Here’s an idea of what each plan would cost if you’re a 22-year-old traveling to France for 3 weeks:

  • OneTrip Basic Plan: $62
  • OneTrip Prime Plan: $84
  • OneTrip Premier Plan: $117

Allianz offers travel insurance for ages up to 99 years of age.

Let’s use an example of a 98-year-old traveling to France for 3 weeks. The plans do cost quite a lot more with OneTrip Premier costing $813 but a 98-year-old traveler is a big risk!

As a senior, this will get you:

  • $ 50,000 emergency medical
  • $ 1,000,000 emergency transportation

Allianz also owns Allianz Global Assistance, which offers coverage for disabilities. This allows you to customize your plan to the max, including pre-existing conditions and disabilities. This company was recommended by wheelchairtravel.org.

And like always, it’s important to check out what they won’t cover. In this case, Allianz doesn’t cover any foreseeable events such as participating in extremely high-risk activities, terrorist events or government prohibition. Click here for full list.

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AllClear – Best for Pre-Existing Medical Conditions

AllClear Logo

If you have a pre-existing medical conditions, getting travel insurance can be difficult because many policies do not cover losses due to a pre-existing medical condition. They do not have an upper age limit for annual or single trip policies and AllClear is more like a broker than a direct insurer, so they will shop around with 61 companies to get the best deal (which is also why they can offer insurance to pre-existing medical conditions.

They cover over 1300 conditions from arthritis to epilepsy to heart conditions, diabetes, and even cancer.

They currently only offer coverage to residents of the UK, Republic of Ireland, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man.

Get a quote from AllClear

John Hancock Travel Insurance – Best for Solo Travel

While traveling solo, the best thing is to have everything as simple as possible. After all, you are just one brain!

That’s why I thought John Hancock Travel Insurance would be a good fit here. Their contract is as straightforward as they come, plus their customer service is great. They give generous coverage, including $150 in meals due to delayed flights after 3 hours. Usually, companies wait until the 5-10 hour mark to offer meals or coverage for any expenses.

They offer 3 plans:

  • Bronze
  • Silver
  • Gold

All the plans cover the basic insurance needs including:

  • Trip cancellation/interruption
  • Trip delay
  • Emergency Medical Evacuation and Medically Necessary Repatriation
  • Primary Emergency Accident and Sickness Medical Expense
  • 24/7 worldwide assistance

What I also noticed about their plans, which is great for the solo traveler, is that they offer coverage for things like missed connections and a single occupancy supplement. A single occupancy supplement is a fee that hotels usually charge when only one person occupies the room instead of two.

The plans also don’t vary much in price. Again, using our example of a 22-year-old traveling to France:

  • Bronze: $67
  • Silver: $68
  • Gold: $94

So if you’re a solo traveler, John Hancock would be an awesome fit.

Get a quote

Atlas – Best For Customizability

For people looking for highly customizable plans, Atlas Travel Insurance is your best choice.

They offer 2 plans:

  • Atlas Travel
  • Atlas Premium

These cover the same things, but coverage amounts change and in most categories, you can even choose how much coverage you’d like to receive.

They both cover general medical and travel insurance needs like:

  • Travel delay
  • Loss of luggage
  • Trip interruption
  • Emergency medical
  • 24 hour worldwide assistance

But keep in mind that they do not offer trip cancellation insurance in their plans. You have to buy it separately (but they offer it).

For a 22-year-old traveling to France for 3 weeks, the two plans would cost:

  • Atlas Travel: $35.70
  • Atlas Premium: $82.53

This may seem like a substantial price difference, but the Atlas Premium allows you to double your maximum coverage amount in each category from $1,000,000 to $2,000,000.

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Insure My Trip – Best For Finding The Best Deals

Insure My Trip is a comparison site, allowing the customer to see all plans in one place based on their personal insurance preferences. This way, people can get a choice from a large variety of companies and compare them to see which one hits their target needs. This is an excellent option for seniors, as all companies have different age policies and it can get overwhelming.

What they do well is they offer a “best price guaranteed.” This way, buying through them will usually be cheaper than buying from the provider directly.

I searched for a 22-year-old traveling to France for 3 weeks. Here are the companies and prices that I found:

  • AIG Travel Guard for $145
  • Manulife for $173

Now if I go to the sites directly and get the same quote, here’s how much I’ll pay:

  • AIG Travel Guard for $191
  • Manulife for $203

So, if you’re someone looking to pinch your pennies, look no further.

Get a quote on InsureMyTrip

American Express – Most Well Known

American Express also offers travel insurance and you don’t need to be a cardholder or a member to purchase from them.

They offer 4 different travel insurance plans:

  • Basic
  • Select
  • Essential
  • Ultimate

The Basic Plan is very basic, as it only offers emergency medical coverage. And the Select Plan offers everything except emergency medical coverage. That being said, I think you would be best off with the Essential plan, which does not cover trip cancellation or the Ultimate plan which covers all the needs including:

  • Emergency medical
  • Trip cancellation
  • Trip interruption/delay
  • Baggage and personal effects
  • Flight and travel accident
  • 24 hour worldwide assistance

If you are an American Express cardholder, you have access to a ton of perks like offers and discounts. You also get free basic coverage for local and international travel after purchasing your trip through the credit card company.

Let’s look at our example, a 22-year-old traveling to France for 3 weeks:

  • Basic: $62
  • Select: $115
  • Essential:$123
  • Ultimate: $160

AMEX makes it clear that they DO NOT cover any pre-existing medical conditions.

Get a quote

AXA Travel – Best for Athleisure Trips

If you’re looking for a more comprehensive insurance solution, AXA Insurance could be for you. They have created 4 different plans:

  • Silver Plan
  • Gold Plan
  • Platinum Plan
  • Adventure Product

All of these plans offer general insurance needs, just with different coverage levels. Here are some examples of what they include:

  • Trip protection
  • Emergency medical
  • 24 hour worldwide assistance
  • Accident and sickness medical expenses
  • Baggage and personal effects

However, what these plans do not include is coverage for sports activities. That’s where the Adventure Product plan swoops in. This covers most categories that the other three cover but it’s catered to people who are traveling to play sports. This plan covers things like lost recreation days, lost diving days, sports equipment rentals, and search and rescue. Be sure to check out the full list while visiting their page.

To get an idea of how much each plan would cost, let’s use our example. A 22-year-old traveling to France for 3 weeks:

  • Silver Plan: $41.00
  • Gold Plan: $54.00
  • Platinum Plan: $66.00
  • Adventure Product: $87.00

After comparing the plans, if you’re a casual traveler, you could easily go with the Gold Plan and be comfortably covered. But like always, make sure you double-check to see what your plan includes and excludes before making the purchase.

Get a quote

Note that these comparison sites do not list all travel insurance companies, but most of them are included.

Your Bank

You may find it cheaper to go through your bank to get your travel insurance since most banks offer this. I’ve gone through mine before and got a pretty great plan. This also allows you to go in person if you’re not exactly getting what you’re looking for online.

Your Credit Card

Like AMEX, there are lots of other credit card companies that offer travel insurance. Usually, the basic plans are free for a cardholder but they can be very limited and extra coverage may cost more. If your credit card company is generous, it could end up being a lot cheaper than getting a plan from one of the companies listed above. Plus, if you already have free benefits, you could avoid duplicating them.

What to Look For

We know choosing travel insurance requires a lot of research. As with many things, you can’t just base it on cost alone. You have to know the coverages, the limits, the exceptions, and gotchas, as well as what is customary and what is custom.

The best travel insurance should include general coverage such as (not an exhaustive list):

  • Emergency medical care – this covers you in the event you need to use medical facilities.
  • Medical evacuation and repatriation – if you need to be medically evacuated back home, this coverage handles that.
  • Trip cancellation/interruption – if your trip is cancelled or otherwise interrupted, that’s separate coverage.
  • Baggage/personal item loss or delay – luggages gets lost or delayed all the time, this covers you in those instances.
  • 24/7 worldwide assistance – lastly, if you just need to talk to someone for help in your native language, this assistance will provide it.

Below is a list of travel insurance companies that offer the best overall coverage in all major categories as well as who they are best for.

Different Types of Travel Insurance

What most people don’t know is that you need two types of insurance. Travel insurance and travel medical insurance are two different policies.

Travel insurance is an effective way to protect your financial investment for your trip. The benefits can provide coverage for prepaid, non-refundable trip costs.

Travel medical insurance is used for short term medical coverage when you enter a foreign country. Your medical insurance from home does not cover you while traveling abroad. So, if you were to hurt yourself in an accident or fall ill, you might have to pay for all your medical expenses out of your pocket.

Most companies will offer coverage for both in the same package but some do not. It’s not universal. So you must know what the policy covers when choosing a travel insurance provider.

Other Tips on Travel Insurance

  1. Check the reviews before you buy your plan.
  2. Bring your insurance policy with you in a print out. Keep it in the car, your suitcase, AirBNB. You never know when you’ll need to fact check or access to the assistance number.
  3. Disclose everything. Make sure your information in your quote is accurate. Buy before you go, because you can’t once you’re there.
  4. Ask an experienced traveler. It’s likely your friend who frequently travels has dipped their toes in different insurance and knows which ones are the best.
  5. Ask about extending your plan. Some companies will allow you to apply for annual coverage or they’ll allow you to cover more than one trip. This could save money, but most importantly it will save time when it comes shopping for a new plan every trip.
  6. Know your current coverage. Check with your employee benefits, banking agreements, and any credit card you hold. You may already have coverage and need to just supplement.
  7. Play with the deductible. Sometimes if you raise the deductible, you’ll pay less for your plan. This could be a better option than paying for a basic plan with little coverage.
  8. Insure the whole family under the same company. Although this might not save you money, it will save you a lot of paperwork. It’s also nice to only have to contact one company for the entire family, in case something happens.
  9. Coverage is more important than price. You’ll likely pay a premium for good quality insurance, even if you ask the company to beat the competitor’s price. It’s especially important if you know you’ll be partaking in risky activities or you’re going somewhere treatment isn’t cheap.
  10. Check your bank or credit card for existing coverage You can purchase separate insurance or you can look towards your existing financial services companies for help – many offer insurance as part of the card benefits.
  11. overwhelmed by all the options? There are some tools available to help you compare to make sure you’re getting the best coverage – check out Insure My Trip (reviewed above) because they compare them all (almost).

Final Thoughts

There are so many travel insurance options out there, and I hope after reading through this list you are feeling more confident about which one is right for you.

Remember that the best deal won’t always get you the best coverage and in case something did go wrong, you’ll be so happy you paid the extra $50 for good quality insurance.

Thanks for reading. Safe travels!

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About Coral Ouellette

Coral is a freelance writer specializing in travel writing. Originally from Canada, she studied business tourism at Capilano University where she further nurtured her love of travel. She has visited 15 countries, including a 6-month volunteer project in Panama, and prefers to stretch her pennies to be able to travel for long periods of time. She wants to help others make good decisions to travel smarter, for cheaper and longer. You can follow her adventures on my blog www.lostfortravel.com where she shares stories of her travels as well as her adorable Aussidoodle, Elliot.

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