Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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Whether you are traveling abroad or you are traveling domestically, you need to determine exactly what you need before you actually head out on your trip. If you are like most people, you probably have a checklist of the things that you need to remember. What many people overlook, however, is travel insurance.

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You can find online travel insurance information that will give you an idea of what you need and how much you need; however, if you aren’t insurance savvy, you may find that the excess information simply leaves your head spinning.

The problem is, there are so many options at this point that it would take a great deal of time to accumulate all of the information.

That is why it is easier to break down your travel insurance options into two categories, liability and medical. These aren’t industry terms, mind you, they just make it easier for you to visualize your travel insurance options.

For example, liability means that you are hindered by something or that you are at a disadvantage. If your trip is cancelled, your luggage is lost, you get mugged, etc., then these are things that are a liability for you financially.

Medical simply refers to your health and can include dental health as well. You will have the choice of primary or secondary medical, with secondary being the more affordable option.

Online Travel Insurance: Your Liability

Did you know that if you have an emergency while you are traveling that the airlines, your hotel, your rental car company and so on will not reimburse for the costs associated with cancelling their services?

You will probably only face small cancellation fees from your hotel and your rental car company but, if you fly, then not only are out the original cost of your plane tickets, but you are also going to have to pay a fee to change your return flight or pay for an entirely new ticket altogether.

In addition, if your trip is cancelled before you even get to take it, then you will be out the cost for your entire trip. In most cases the airline won’t reimburse you for your tickets, especially if you are near your departure date. You may still be charged fees by your car rental company and hotel as well.

Just to be clear, when you make a reservation or purchase a ticket with these types of entities, you are agreeing to these fees and as such, you are liable for them. If you refuse to pay, cancel your credit card, etc. you can be sued for the fees.

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Online Travel Insurance: Types of Coverage

Fortunately, there is travel insurance for that and it’s called trip cancellation service. Although this is one of the most expensive types of travel insurance at about $4 per $100 of the cost of your trip, it has quickly become the most popular option for travel insurance.

Trip cancellation insurance has changed a lot in recent years and you are no longer required to have a specific type of emergency in order to collect on this insurance. For example, if you are on vacation and your work calls you and tells you that they need you to come back immediately to meet with a client, your insurance will cover that. It doesn’t have to be a medical emergency to qualify for reimbursement. There are other types of travel insurance too.

Another type of insurance that would be considered coverage for a liability is lost luggage insurance. The cost is about $1 for every $100 you claim in luggage and it will cover anything that you take with you when you travel with the exception of money, gold, Berra bonds or other “money” items. These types of things will require their own type of insurance.

Airlines do provide a certain amount of lost luggage coverage, however, the provision is minimal and doesn’t cover replacement value for your items, only current market value. In addition, airlines don’t cover any electronic items, including things that can be used in electronics, such as CDs, DVDs and memory cards.

Often lost luggage insurance also covers delayed luggage as well. Delayed luggage insurance basically provides you with a change of clothing, toothbrush, soap, etc. to tide you over until your luggage arrives. If purchased separately it literally only costs a couple of dollars and is well worth considering if you are heading to a business meeting or wedding right after you land that may require an immediate change of clothing.

The downside to most of these coverage types is that you have to pay for everything out of pocket and submit them for reimbursement. If you don’t pay for them, you will not receive the money from your insurance.

A few travel insurance companies will allow airlines, hotels and insurance companies to bill them directly for any extra fees. However, most of these companies won’t actually file the paperwork, there is simply too much administrative work at the back end and these entities simply don’t have the trained personal to handle these types of things.

The exception is trip cancellation, in this case, you submit the appropriate paperwork and you are reimbursed directly. Just make sure you follow the filing instructions to the letter and submit the paperwork before your time frame expires.

Online Travel Insurance: Medical Coverage

Did you know that there are some countries that require you to provide proof of insurance before they will allow you to enter their country? Other countries won’t allow you to leave if you have unpaid medical expenses. In either case, having medical travel insurance can save you a lot of hassle as well as a great deal of money if an emergency should occur.

In addition, if you are taking a cruise that takes you out of the country, then many cruise lines will require you to carry medical insurance that is valid outside if the US. Travel insurance is an excellent choice for this need.

You have two options for travel medical insurance, primary or secondary:

  1. Primary travel insurance means that it will be your go to insurance if you have a medical emergency.
  2. Secondary means that your regular health insurance will act as your primary medical and your travel medical will pick up any extra costs that your primary medical insurance doesn’t cover.

In most cases, you will only need medical travel insurance if you are leaving the US, although you should always be aware of what your own health insurance covers before you leave your state of residence. If your insurance is super restrictive, you may find yourself without coverage even though you are only hours away from home.

Online Travel Insurance: Cost Comparison

The good news is that when you go online, travel insurance costs are easy to compare. Using a free quote tool allows you to compare the cost of travel insurance between companies without a lot of search around. You may also find travel insurance options that you had not considered before.

Travel insurance can be very affordable, but shopping around ensures that it costs even less. Whether you are flying or taking a cruise, you need to ensure that you have the appropriate insurance to cover any of your losses or medical concerns.

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