Is Travel Insurance Worth It In 2024? (2024)

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What Does Trip Insurance Cover?

Most travel insurance policies offer multiple types of coverage for travel-related events, such as flight cancellations, medical emergencies and lost baggage. If you’re on a tight budget, even cheap insurance policies can provide a wide range of protection options. In the sections below, we provide an overview of what travel insurance typically covers.

Trip Cancellations and Trip Interruptions

Trip interruption and trip cancellation insurance reimburse you for nonrefundable costs when a trip is canceled or cut short due to a covered reason. Covered reasons are generally emergencies or events that are out of your control, which may include:

  • Acts of terrorism
  • Severe weather or a natural disaster
  • Sickness or hospitalization
  • Death of a family member
  • Jury duty

If you’re worried about booking a trip and then catching coronavirus, some insurers may count a COVID-19 diagnosis as a covered event. However, canceling due to fears of the virus may not be covered. As an alternative, many providers allow you to purchase cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage, a policy add-on that reimburses costs if you cancel a trip for personal reasons.

Maybe you decide to call off a trip because you have second thoughts about traveling during a pandemic or have other business to attend to. With CFAR coverage, you can get money back with fewer questions asked. However, the amount you receive is typically limited to between 50% and 75% of your prepaid expenses.

Travel Delays

Coverage for trip delays helps pay for costs incurred if you don’t make it to your destination on time. This includes meals and accommodations while waiting for a delayed flight. Your insurer might also reimburse you for the portion of your trip impacted by the delay.

For example, if a late flight causes you to miss a night of a prepaid resort stay, your provider might repay you for that sunk cost. However, insurance companies may have conditions for how long a delay has to last for your expenses to be covered. Your travel insurance provider should clearly outline these coverage rules in your policy’s fine print.

Lost, Delayed or Stolen Luggage

The Department of Transportation (DOT) requires that airlines compensate travelers for delayed, lost or damaged bags up to $3,800 for domestic flights and $1,700 for international trips. However, it could take days for the airline to locate your bag or deem it officially untraceable. Until then, a baggage delay could cause you to incur unplanned costs for clothes or toiletries, and insurance benefits may help cover incidentals the airline won’t pay for.

Travel insurance also protects your belongings at other points of your trip and can mitigate tasks like helping to replace important travel documents. However, coverage is typically limited per bag or lost item. Alternatively, possessions that travel insurance won’t pay for might be covered by homeowners or renters insurance.

Medical Expenses

If you travel abroad, your state-side health insurance may not travel with you. Medicare and Medicaid, for example, generally don’t follow and protect you out of the country. To minimize out-of-pocket costs, trip insurance may cover medical expenses like hospital visits if you get sick or injured while away.

Medical Evacuation Expenses

Travel insurance may cover transportation costs if you or someone covered by the policy falls gravely ill or becomes seriously injured and needs to be evacuated. In addition to emergency evacuation, most travel insurance plans also cover repatriation if a traveler dies during a trip and their remains need to be transported back home.

Accidental Death or Dismemberment

If you or another covered travel companion dies during a trip or loses a limb or vision, travel insurance may provide a benefit payout that goes to you or your beneficiary.

Is Travel Insurance Worth It In 2024? (5)

“When you’ve made a financial investment in your trip or need to protect your health when you travel, travel insurance is 100% worth it. Travel insurance can reimburse you for prepaid, nonrefundable trip expenses if you need to cancel or interrupt your trip for a covered reason.

– Angela Borden, Product Marketing Specialist at Seven Corners

What Does Travel Insurance Not Cover?

Travel insurance can cover unexpected trip expenses due to unforeseen circ*mstances, but a policy won’t cover everything. Here are examples of what your travel protection might not include:

  • Preexisting conditions: Medical expenses due to preexisting conditions are typically not covered unless your doctor clears you for travel and you purchased insurance within a certain number of days of paying for your trip.
  • Pregnancy: While your policy may cover medical emergencies related to pregnancy, it likely won’t include trip cancellations due to normal pregnancy symptoms.
  • Political unrest: If your visit is canceled or interrupted due to war, the resulting costs might not be covered.
  • High-risk travel: Your policy may not provide coverage for high-risk activities like skydiving or traveling to destinations that are considered unsafe.

When Is Travel Insurance Worth It?

Buying travel insurance for longer trips and nonrefundable bookings is usually worth it since policies are often affordable. According to the U.S. Travel Insurance Association, travel insurance typically costs between 4% to 8% of your total trip. And if you’ve saved up for a dream trip to Bora Bora, for example, paying a little extra to protect your travel investment makes sense.

The exact cost of travel insurance depends on where you’re going, the age of the travelers and how many people are on the policy. For example, a 35-year-old woman going to Spain for two weeks on a $5,000 trip would pay $216 for OneTrip Basic coverage with Allianz Travel. In comparison, a 25-year-old woman on the same trip would pay $171 for the same coverage. Many companies let you pull quotes on their website within seconds, so it’s easy to shop around.

When Is Travel Insurance Not Worth It?

Travel insurance may not be worthwhile if your bookings are refundable or you’re booking inexpensive trips throughout the U.S. In these situations, you can request a refund from the travel company, and if a refund isn’t possible, money lost from a cheap hotel stay could be very low.

If you book a trip with a travel rewards card, you could also forgo insurance since those cards might already offer coverage for lost baggage, trip cancellation and rental cars. It’s always a good idea to understand coverage limits before relying on trip protection through a credit card. For luxury trips or extended travel, card coverage limits may not be enough to protect your entire trip. But buying additional travel insurance coverage can fill in the gaps.

Is Travel Insurance Worth It In 2024? (6)

Argentina Aruba Australia Austria Bahamas Bali Barbados Belize Bermuda Brazil British Virgin Islands Canada Chile China Colombia Costa Rica Denmark Dominican Republic Europe France Germany Greece Iceland India Ireland Italy Japan Jerusalem Mexico Netherlands New Zealand Norway Philippines Portugal Singapore Spain Sweden Switzerland Thailand Turks and Caicos United Kingdom

So, Is Travel Insurance Worth the Cost?

Travel insurance may seem unnecessary, but when an emergency happens, chances are you’ll wish you had it. A travel insurance plan can help you recoup trip costs due to unforeseen events, offering benefits such as emergency medical care and trip cancellation coverage. If you saved up cash and plan to book a big trip several months from now, shopping for insurance can provide financial security and protection if travel plans change or an unexpected event disrupts your trip.

While most companies offer basic and comprehensive travel insurance plans, some providers also offer coverage for specific situations such as cruises, students studying abroad or travel medical insurance. We recommend you check out our list of the top providers and compare quotes from at least three companies before you purchase travel insurance.

Is Travel Insurance Worth It In 2024? (11)

Frequently Asked Questions About Travel Insurance

A downside of buying travel insurance is there’s always a chance you could pay for coverage you don’t end up needing. Ultimately, buying insurance for a trip is a gamble, but it’s one you could be happy you made if a vacation doesn’t go as planned.

Another travel insurance disadvantage is that policies don’t cover everything. Policy exclusions vary so be sure to read through your contract’s fine print to understand limits and covered events.

Travel insurance can reimburse you for costs if a trip gets canceled, delayed or interrupted. When traveling abroad, having travel insurance with medical coverage can also help pay for emergency expenses until you return home. So if you’re on a cruise line and need to visit a medical facility, for example, travel insurance could help cover the cost of your care.

Travel insurance may not be necessary for short, inexpensive trips or for trips where airfare and accommodations are refundable. However, for longer trips where you’re paying more out-of-pocket, travel insurance can provide peace of mind and minimize financial loss if you have to cancel your plans.

When traveling, it’s important to be vigilant about your surroundings and be aware of any travel advisories for your destination. Try to travel in groups and avoid bringing valuable items with you when sightseeing or touring since tourists may be attractive targets for theft. You can keep updated on international travel advisories on the U.S. Department of State website.

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If you have feedback or questions about this article, please email the MarketWatch Guides team

Is Travel Insurance Worth It In 2024? (12)

Taylor MedineAuthor

Taylor Medine started blogging about her experiences stretching a dollar in 2013 as a recent college grad. Eventually, that passion grew into a career studying personal finance topics and demystifying them for people like her — the everyday consumer. When she’s not writing, you’ll find her hunting for travel deals or trying (and often failing) at a DIY project.

Is Travel Insurance Worth It In 2024? (13)

Tori AddisonEditor

Tori Addison is an editor who has worked in the digital marketing industry for over five years. Her experience includes communications and marketing work in the nonprofit, governmental and academic sectors. A journalist by trade, she started her career covering politics and news in New York’s Hudson Valley. Her work included coverage of local and state budgets, federal financial regulations and health care legislation.

Is Travel Insurance Worth It In 2024? (2024)


Is travel insurance always worth it? ›

Travel insurance can be useful, but it's not always necessary. The key to knowing if you need travel insurance is figuring out your specific risks for any given vacation, then deciding if you can buy coverage that adequately protects you from any financial losses and pitfalls that might occur.

Is it necessary to get travel insurance? ›

If you would lose the money you paid for your flights, accommodations, rental car, or activities if you had to cancel or go home early, travel insurance that specifically includes trip cancellation and trip interruption is probably a good idea.

Is it worth claiming on travel insurance? ›

Making a claim when you get home

you're covered for what you're claiming for. how much the excess is. The excess is the amount of money that your insurer will take off the claim. It may not be worth making a claim if the amount you're claiming for is less than this.

Is travel insurance really important? ›

It's particularly important to take out travel insurance if you are travelling independently because you may find yourself stranded with no way to get home and no-one to help sort out your holiday problem. Read this page for more information on what you need to think about before you take out a travel insurance policy.

What are the disadvantages of travel insurance? ›

Cost: Travel insurance will add to the overall cost of your trip. Some may choose to forgo it to save money, especially on shorter or less expensive trips. Exclusions and Limitations: Policies may have various exclusions and limitations, so it's essential to read the fine print.

Does travel insurance actually pay out? ›

Travel insurance compensates you for money you lose due to unforeseen events before and during your trip. Just as importantly, it can pay for emergency medical care and evacuation during your trip.

What is the recommended amount for travel insurance? ›

Top Considerations. Cost of travel insurance: Travel insurance usually costs between 4-10% of a trip's price. For example, for a trip that costs $5,000, travel insurance could range from $200 to $500 depending on the coverage.

How much should travel insurance cost? ›

The average cost of travel insurance is about 3% to 5% of a trip's total value, according to quotes gathered by our research team across different travel insurance providers for various traveler profiles.

How far in advance do I need to buy travel insurance? ›

When Is the Best Time to Get Travel Insurance? If you're wondering when you should buy travel insurance, the simple answer is as soon as possible. Ideally, you'll buy coverage no later than 15 days prior to your trip.

What is the most common travel insurance claim? ›

By far, the most common and often most significant travel insurance claim is for medical emergencies. A sudden illness or injury during your trip can not only ruin your plans but also cause a severe financial strain.

What happens if you have a medical emergency abroad? ›

The nearest US embassy or consulate can help travelers locate medical services and notify your friends, family, or employer of an emergency. They are available for emergencies 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, overseas and in Washington, DC (888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444).

Does travel insurance cover if you cancel your trip? ›

Trip Cancellation Insurance will reimburse you for the amount of pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses (e.g. airline, cruise, train, hotel, etc.) that you have insured, should you cancel your trip before departure for an unforeseen covered reason.

What is an example of when travel insurance would not be necessary? ›

Buying travel insurance might not be necessary if you're traveling domestically or going on a refundable trip, or if you carry adequate coverage through a credit card.

What is the best medical travel insurance? ›

You can use a comparison site like to explore different travel medical insurance plans and their cost.
  • Allianz Travel Insurance: Best Overall.
  • Seven Corners: Best for Families.
  • GeoBlue: Best for Expats.
  • WorldTrips: Best Cost.
Jan 22, 2024

Is Allianz travel insurance good? ›

Allianz Travel can be a solid choice if you're looking to purchase travel insurance. However, it's always a wise idea to compare multiple options to ensure you're getting a good deal. For instance, AXA Assistance USA travel insurance is also a good provider.

What percent of trip should travel insurance cost? ›

The average cost of travel insurance is about 3% to 5% of a trip's total value, according to quotes gathered by our research team across different travel insurance providers for various traveler profiles.

Does travel insurance get more expensive closer to the trip? ›

Unlike other aspects of your travel experience like airfares or hotel-room rates, the price of travel insurance doesn't increase the closer you get to your travel date. There's no financial penalty if you wait to buy travel insurance (except for those bonus coverages, of course).

Is it better to get single trip or annual travel insurance? ›

Is annual travel insurance cheaper than single trip cover? This will depend on how many trips you make per year. If you know you will only go on one or two holidays abroad in a 12-month period, a single trip policy will most likely be the best option.

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