You’ve heard the expression, “Hope for the best; prepare for the worst.” Whatever your feelings are about the phrase itself, you’re probably willing to acknowledge that hoping for the best while preparing for the worst is sound practice. All that’s required to upend the most meticulously laid plan is one unexpected occurrence beyond your control.
Such occurrences are particularly disruptive for travelers. On the road, far away from home, a single storm, strike, or medical event may be enough to ruin a trip — wiping out thousands of dollars in unrealized, non-refundable value in the process.
For travelers not carrying travel insurance, that is. Travelers who do invest in this pre-trip essential enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing they’re entitled to compensation should plans go sideways — in many cases, at least.
Best Travel Insurance Companies for U.S.-Based Travelers
The best way to find out how much you’ll spend to insure your next big trip — and how much you stand to save — is to get quotes from multiple carriers.
Most of the companies here manage travel protection policies underwritten by third-party insurers, some of which are well-known in their own rights. Unless otherwise noted, all of these providers make it easy to get policy quotes, compare options, and purchase coverage online without ever speaking to a human agent.
Not all plans are available in all states, so make sure you’re viewing location-specific plan details before purchasing coverage.
1. World Nomads
- A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A+ (Superior – Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company)
- Great For: High-risk travelers in remote locations and countries without adequate medical care
World Nomads offers two cost-effective policy tiers for U.S.-based travelers: Standard and Explorer. Backed by Ohio-based giant Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, both policies include a range of standard-issue coverages, including:
- Trip cancellation and interruption
- Trip delay
- Emergency medical insurance (for international destinations where U.S. health insurance coverage doesn’t apply)
- Evacuation and repatriation for medical emergencies
- Baggage damage or loss
- Baggage delay (outbound journey only)
- Travel accident insurance (accidental death and dismemberment)
- Emergency and non-emergency assistance services
- Rental car insurance (collision and damage waiver)
Most Explorer coverages are higher than corresponding Standard coverages and have higher premiums accordingly. But both have particularly generous evacuation and repatriation coverage — a crucial perk for high-risk travelers in far-flung destinations.
World Nomads also stands out for a claims process that’s easy to complete from pretty much anywhere with an Internet connection. That’s a significant advantage over old-fashioned legacy providers, which may make claim-filing difficult from the road.
- A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A (Excellent – United States Fire Insurance), A+ (Superior – Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company)
- Great For: Adventure sports enthusiasts; travelers anticipating last-minute changes of plan
Ranked the No. 1 global insurance brand in 2017 by Interbrand, AXA is a legit travel insurer backed by two financially stable underwriters, United States Fire Insurance and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company.
AXA offers three distinct plan tiers with standard inclusions such as trip interruption and cancellation, baggage loss and delay, and emergency medical evacuation. The uber-generous Platinum plan and mid-priced Gold plan offer non-emergency medical evacuation as well, which is a nice option to have in your back pocket. So is the Cancel For Any Reason option, which reimburses 75% of Platinum plan holders’ non-refundable travel expenses when they cancel no more than 14 days from booking.
AXA really shines for adventure seekers. Its Platinum plan features a host of activity-related coverages, including generous sports equipment rental coverage and compensation for lost golfing and skiing days.
AXA’s claims process isn’t quite as streamlined as World Nomads’, but AXA at least offers a collect calling option for travelers outside the U.S.
3. iTravelInsured (IMG)
- A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A (Excellent – United States Fire Insurance)
- Great For: Wilderness explorers; international visitors to the United States
Backed by global carrier IMG, iTravelInsured offers three generous plans with unusually high coverage limits for trip interruption and cancellation, medical evacuation, and rental car damage.
Higher-priced plans include optional — and potentially valuable — coverages such as:
- Cancel for Any Reason coverage
- Preexisting condition waivers, which may mean the difference between an accepted and a denied claim
- Search and rescue coverage, which is essential for adventurers.
IMG offers separate travel medical and international health insurance policies. These plans are ideal for travelers who plan to:
- Engage in high-risk activities while abroad
- Have medical concerns (with or without a preexisting condition) that may make medical care necessary while abroad
- Spend long periods abroad, perhaps while studying at a foreign university or taking a temporary job in another country
IMG also manages visitor insurance plans for non-U.S. citizens, including green card holders, traveling to American soil.
4. Seven Corners
- A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A (Excellent – Lloyd’s of London)
- Great For: Adventure travelers seeking compensation for lost recreation days; travelers to politically unstable countries
Seven Corners’ RoundTrip travel insurance packages offer varying levels of protection for common coverages such as:
- Trip interruption and cancellation
- Emergency medical coverage (including medical evacuation)
- Lost or stolen baggage
- Accidental death and dismemberment
One fairly typical coverage that’s missing here is rental car loss and damage coverage. Instead, it’s optional at all plan levels.
Much else is optional too, including some potentially valuable add-ons. Higher-priced plans come with optional Cancel for Any Reason, work-related cancellation, and political evacuation coverage — ideal for those traveling to unstable parts of the world. Adventure travelers can take advantage of a lost recreation days benefit.
Seven Corners offers other types of travel and visitor coverage, including international medical plans only, student plans for students traveling abroad, visitor plans (Inbound USA-branded plans for visitors to the U.S.), and frequent traveler plans that are paid annually. Most plan types have an easy online claim-filing process.
- A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A++ (Superior – Berkshire Hathaway), A (Excellent – TransAmerica)
- Great For: A la carte coverage selection
Travelex offers a larger-than-average menu of travel insurance plans, including low-cost products like flight insurance. That’s a low-risk lifesaver for trips to affordable countries like Panama and Costa Rica, where your costliest non-refundable expense is likely to be the flight there and back.
Travelex’s Basic plan is sufficient for most cost-conscious travelers who don’t anticipate extensive medical expenses and don’t care for a voluntary cancellation option. The more generous Select plan offers customizable coverage, including rental car coverage and Cancel For Any Reason, likely to appeal to higher-dollar travelers. Non-insurance products include international driving permits and expedited passport delivery.
Travelex makes it easy to file a claim online, although you may need to connect with a human staffer to complete the process.
6. John Hancock
- A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A (Excellent – Starr Indemnity & Liability Company)
- Great For: Travelers with special medical needs
John Hancock partners with Seven Corners to administer three distinct travel insurance plans. Marketed separately from Seven Corners’ own plans and produced by a different underwriter, Hancock’s products are particularly generous on the medical evacuation and repatriation front.
Otherwise, its coverages are pretty standard, with some welcome perks including reimbursement of airline ticket change fees and coverage for terrorist attacks. Car rental coverage and Cancel For Any Reason are optional at all price points.
7. Allianz Travel
- A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A (Excellent – Jefferson Insurance Company), A- (Excellent – BCS Insurance Company)
- Great For: Basic, cost-effective coverage for low-risk trips
Allianz Travel offers multiple plans for single- and multi-trip travelers. The latter is a big focus here, with Allianz’s AllTrips annual travel insurance packages in heavy rotation on its website — and priced competitively with competing multi-trip annual plans.
AllTrips can be tailored to cover every member of a household, even when they don’t travel together — great for couples who travel for business separately, for instance.
Coverages for its mainline single- and multi-trip plans are fairly standard, but Allianz offers a couple of low-cost specialized products that may appeal to specific types of travelers. For instance, Rental Car Damage Protector is built around a generous rental car loss and damage policy, with modest additional coverages for trip interruption and baggage loss and damage.
8. Generali Global Assistance
- A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: Not rated; some Generali subsidiaries are ranked A (Excellent)
- Great For: Travelers who may need to cancel or interrupt travel for medical reasons
Generali Global Assistance offers three modestly priced plans with generous trip interruption and cancellation benefits — up to 175% of the covered cost for trip interruption and 100% of the covered cost for trip cancellation. Emergency assistance and transportation benefits are strong, as well. Other coverages are on the skimpy side. But the 10-day free look period is a nice perk for would-be policyholders looking to keep their options open.
In all, Generali is a great choice for those primarily concerned with recouping non-refundable airfare, hotel booking, tour, and cruise expenses, or those facing a costly medical or safety-related evacuation.
Generali has an online claims-filing system that seems pretty easy to use. However, there is a human element to the process that may make completing the process difficult in remote locations without reliable or affordable cell service.
9. Travel Guard (AIG)
- A.M. Best Financial Strength Rating: A (Excellent – AIG)
- Great For: Basic protection plans, some of which aren’t available online
Backed by international financial giant AIG, Travel Guard offers three competitively priced plans available for purchase online: Essential, Preferred, and Deluxe. Essential is ideal for lower-cost trips that don’t require add-ons like high-limit evacuation coverage, while Deluxe is appropriate for longer journeys and travelers with special concerns.
If your package doesn’t include everything you expected, know that Travel Guard also offers a slew of optional coverages. Highlights include a lodging expense benefit for Preferred and Deluxe policyholders traveling outside the U.S. and a preexisting medical condition waiver that may ensure coverage for medical issues that other insurers might not cover.
Travel Insurance Comparison Resources
Overwhelmed by the sheer number of legitimate travel insurance providers out there? Consider using these comparison tools to quickly home in on the best providers for your needs and budget.
Operated by DigiVentures Holdings, a licensed travel insurance agency, TravelInsurance.com aggregates policy quotes from about a dozen providers managing policies for U.S. domestic and international travelers. Each search returns an easy-to-compare rundown of policy options, with pricing, coverages, and limits clearly outlined.
When you find a policy that strikes your fancy, you can complete the purchasing process through TravelInsurance.com and receive your active policy by email — no need to navigate to a third-party site.
2. Travel Insurance Center
Travel Insurance Center aggregates quotes from about 15 partner providers, most of which provide general travel coverage for U.S.-based travelers. A few, like Medjet Assist, offer more specialized — and potentially more costly — products covering major medical expenses and security threats.
If you’re not prepared to run a full quote through Travel Insurance Center, hop over to its category-specific plan pages to compare promoted plans from top-rated providers. One covers trip protection insurance, for instance. Once you’ve chosen a plan, you can customize it through the provider’s online portal.
InsureMyTrip has one of the broadest provider databases in the business — about two dozen in all. Not all providers operate in all states, and the quality of coverage and claims can vary considerably, so you should do additional due diligence via other sources before settling on a policy found here. Still, most of the providers that made our list here are in InsureMyTrip’s database.
Aardy.com is a wonky little travel insurance aggregator with about 30 different providers in its database. Once you’ve entered basic information about your trip cost and travelers, the quote finder requires you to click a link in an auto-generated email to bounce back to Aardy’s results page. It’s likely a security measure to hinder malicious traffic, but it’s annoying nonetheless.
The results make the effort worthwhile, though. They’re clearly organized by price, with enough detail about coverages for informed evaluation. Aardy donates 10% of its proceeds to charity, but its prices don’t seem to be any higher than competitors’.
SquareMouth features two dozen travel insurance providers, including most of the top companies mentioned here. Its quote-finder interface is a breeze to use. Perhaps due to its depth of selection, SquareMouth had the best pricing of any aggregator I reviewed, although I limited my test to a single, relatively basic search.
Many credit cards come with complimentary travel protections that may be robust enough to defray unexpected trip costs. But if you’re not in a position to qualify for such a credit card , or you simply don’t like using credit cards to pay for travel, then you should probably purchase travel coverage from one of the providers listed here whenever you fly.
You can buy travel insurance on a per-trip (single-trip) or annual basis. The latter is generally a better deal for frequent travelers not keen on purchasing individual policies before every trip. Coverage can be tailored to business, leisure, or multi-purpose trips. Policy premiums generally increase with total trip cost, party size, and the age of the insured. Some destinations may require pricier coverage.
Unless you purchase Cancel for Any Reason coverage (CFAR), which allows you to cancel your trip for a partial refund without citing a covered reason, you shouldn’t expect your travel insurance policy to cover all possible travel-related perils.
But it’s not just about the coverage — hopefully, you’ll never have to make a claim. It’s about peace of mind. After all, whether you’re traveling for business or pleasure, the last thing you want to worry about is how much it’ll cost you to miss your second connection or spend two nights without your bag.