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If you’ve never considered buying travel insurance before, your next big trip may be a good time to explore this kind of financial protection.
Attempting travel has been dicey, to say the least, for well over a year. But once the world opens up to American travelers again, travel insurance can rescue you in many situations—from losing money if you cancel, to illness during a trip, to luggage that never finds its way out of the airport.
Here are the top picks among 41 plans scored by Forbes Advisor.
HTH Worldwide TripProtector Preferred Plan
Why we picked it: HTH Worldwide’s TripProtector Preferred plan has generous coverage for the categories we scored, including Covid-19 coverage and up to $500,000 in emergency medical benefits.
If you need to be evacuated for a medical emergency, you will have up to $1 million in coverage. Other benefits include up to 200 percent reimbursement for a trip interruption and pet medical expense coverage if your pet gets sick or injured while accompanying you on the trip.
This plan has the option to add “cancel for any reason” coverage, which allows you to cancel the trip for any reason—even one not listed in the base policy—and receive reimbursement of 75 percent of your prepaid, non-refundable trip costs.
Potential drawbacks: First, the maximum trip cancellation coverage is $50,000, which is adequate for many travelers but may not be enough for you. And the plan only has a five-day free look period, while most competitors allow 10 to 14 days. The free look period allows you to cancel the insurance and get a refund.
John Hancock Insurance Agency Gold Plan
Why we picked it: The Gold plan offers plenty of coverage options with high levels of reimbursement.
You’ll get Covid-related coverage, emergency medical expenses up to $250,000 and up to $1 million in emergency medical evacuation coverage. For trip delay coverage, you only need three hours of delay in order to trigger an insurance payout. You can add “cancel for any reason coverage” for wide latitude for canceling.
Another feature we like is the plan’s 14-day free look period, which is more generous than most plans.
Potential drawbacks: The $250,000 for emergency medical expenses is good, but you can find higher amounts from top competitors. And the $500 baggage delay reimbursement could be better.
Related: Compare Travel Insurance Quotes For 2021
Seven Corners RoundTrip Elite
Why we picked it: The RoundTrip Elite plan checks a lot of boxes, such as Covid coverage, generous benefits and a few extra perks.
You’ll get up to $1 million in emergency medical evacuation coverage and up to $1,500 reimbursement for both missed connections and trip delay. Plus, you have the option to add coverage for lost golf rounds and ski days, along with equipment-rental reimbursement.
Potential drawbacks: $250,000 for emergency medical expenses is good, but you can find higher amounts elsewhere. And the $30,000 maximum coverage for trip cancellation is on the low side compared to top competitors.
Trawick International Safe Travels Voyager
Why we picked it: The Safe Travels Voyager plan has consistently robust coverage levels across multiple benefits.
With up to $100,000 in trip cancellation coverage and $2,000 in travel delay reimbursement, this is one of the most generous plans. You’ll also get $1 million in emergency evacuation coverage.
We also liked the 21-day period to add “cancel for any reason” coverage after your initial trip deposit. Most plans require you to add this coverage within 10 to 14 days of the first trip payment.
Potential drawbacks: The missed connection reimbursement of $1,000 is on the low side compared to top competitors.
USI Affinity Travel Insurance Services Travel Insurance Select Elite
Why we picked it: USI Affinity’s Travel Insurance Select Elite plan scores well based on its ample benefits.
The plan has the top-notch missed connection coverage with a $1,500 payout and up to $1 million in emergency medical evaluation coverage, which includes search and rescue costs. The plan also includes a service for tracking and expediting the return of your lost baggage.
Potential drawbacks: The $150,000 maximum for emergency medical benefits is lower than top competitors.
Tips for Buying Travel Insurance
- Don’t over-insure the trip. Purchase only coverage that you actually need. Insure the pre-paid and non-refundable parts of your vacation under trip cancellation insurance. If you can get a refund for something, like a plane ticket, you can’t make a travel insurance claim for it if you cancel.
- Use a travel insurance agent. A travel insurance agent can help you assemble a travel insurance policy that speaks to your main concerns. For example, maybe you want the best medical coverage available for cruise insurance. An agent can also price-shop the policies that have the benefits you want.
- Consider the perks of a policy. Some policies permit you to add children to the policy for no charge. This could be a significant savings. Some plans include concierge services that will help you with activities like dinner reservations.
- Consider a multi-trip policy. If you will travel frequently, it may be worthwhile to consider purchasing an annual travel insurance plan. This can trim costs associated with travel insurance by insuring multiple trips under one policy to get coverage for medical expenses, trip interruption, baggage and more.
Forbes Advisor analyzed 41 travel insurance plans and scored them on multiple benefits, then picked the highest-scoring plan for each company for the final ratings. Each plan on this list received the highest possible rating.
Here are benefits we examined for each policy:
- Coverage for Covid-19 under cancellation and medical expenses benefits: Having this coverage continues to be important
- “Cancel for any reason” coverage: This optional add-on lets you cancel for any reason, even if it’s a reason not listed in the base policy, such as a change of heart.
- Emergency medical expenses: Plans scored more for higher maximum coverage limits.
- Emergency medical evacuation: Plans scored more points for higher maximum coverage limits
- Trip cancellation reimbursement: Plans scored more points for higher reimbursement levels
- Free look period: If you change your mind, the free look period gives you a chance to cancel your purchase without penalty. Plans with longer free look periods scored higher.
- Baggage delay time: Plans scored more points for shorter time periods to claim baggage delay reimbursement.
Erica Lamberg is a personal finance and travel writer based in suburban Philadelphia. She is a regular contributor to USA Today and her writing credits include NBC News, U.S. News & World Report, Business Insider, Oprah Magazine and Creditcards.com.