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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What is comprehensive travel insurance?

Comprehensive travel insurance is insurance that covers your trip emergencies from medical care to replacing lost luggage and everything in between when you travel. Travel insurance can be purchased al a carte or as a comprehensive package.

What is in the comprehensive package will depend on the insurance company you choose for your insurance.

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Unfortunately, even the best laid plans can be ruined. Circumstances beyond your control can change your vacation plans in the middle of a trip, cause a trip to be delayed or even cause a trip to be cancelled.

Whether you are traveling by boat, air, train or car, unforeseen things can occur. Carrying the proper travel insurance can remove the financial stress that can occur when your plans unexpectedly change.

Why should I consider travel insurance?

Many people pass on travel insurance because they think that it’s a scam or that their personal insurance will cover them in most instances. Unfortunately, this common mistake costs travelers hundreds or even thousands of dollars every year. You should never assume that your current insurance provides you with the coverage that you need.

Consider your travel insurance options first. Keep reading to learn some of the options you may have when you purchase travel insurance, what some of the common misconceptions are about travel insurance and whether you should choose a comprehensive insurance plan, purchase al a carte travel insurance options or go without coverage.

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What are your comprehensive travel insurance options?

Because every insurance company is different, there is no way to determine exactly what type of travel insurance coverage that you will receive when you purchase your comprehensive plan. Most plans, however, have at least medical coverage, lost luggage coverage and cancelled trip coverage.

Medical coverage through travel insurance is much like your own personal health insurance. You can choose a deductible and a cap on the amount of medical care costs to save money on your premiums. There is no network of doctors because the expectation is that you will only see a medical professional in an emergency situation.

When you are brought to a foreign hospital for emergency treatment, no one checks your pockets for ID, money or an insurance card. They treat you first and ask questions later. However, many foreign countries will hold your passport until you can pay your medical bills, which is why having medical insurance while you travel abroad is so important.

How does luggage coverage work?

Lost luggage coverage is one of those options that many people scoff at. After all, the airlines provide you with cash if they lose your luggage. What many people don’t understand is that the airlines only pay for the value of your luggage in its current state.

Perhaps this will give you a clearer perspective. Your best friend is getting married and she wants to borrow your Vera Wang wedding dress from your wedding 5 years ago. You check it in because it is too big to take on the plane. You arrive at your destination and no dress, 24 hours later there is still no dress. Now you can make your claim.

When you bought the dress 5 years ago, you paid $7,000 for the dress. The airlines, however, value the dress at $4,000 because it is 5 years old. Worse yet, the maximum amount an airline will pay per incident is $3,000. The airlines may not even cover the dress because many Vera Wang gowns are one of a kind and airlines do not pay for irreplaceable items.

While this is just an example, which may not even apply to you, thousands of people every day face similar scenarios with their lost luggage that was full of designer clothing. What’s more, airlines don’t pay for computers, iPods, CDs, DVDs or any type of electronics. As mentioned above, they don’t cover irreplaceable items such as family heirlooms, photos, etc.

Your travel insurance can cover everything that you travel with. What’s more, the right type can cover the cost of replacing the item, not the current value of the item. If it takes $7,000 to replace the Vera Wang dress, then that is what you will get. If, however, you claim a very high dollar item you may have to prove that you owned it in the first place so make sure you take pictures of your luggage if you are traveling with very expensive items.

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What if my trip is cancelled?

Cancelled trip coverage refers to a cancellation beyond your control. If the airline cancels your flight, they will reimburse you for your tickets. What happens, however, if you have a car accident on the way to the airport and miss your flight? Typically airlines aren’t as generous when they aren’t at fault for a trip being cancelled. Your insurance will reimburse your for the costs associated with the trip that you have to cancel.

You may also find that your insurance company provides you with delayed luggage coverage, delayed flight coverage, accidental death and dismemberment coverage and more.

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What are some common misconceptions about travel insurance?

  • As mentioned before, one of the most common misconceptions is that the travel source, such as the airline or cruise line you use, will take financial responsibility for what they lose. While to some degree they will, in most cases travelers leave dissatisfied with the reimbursement policies of these groups.
  • Another common misconception is that travel insurance costs too much. The truth is that travel insurance, even a comprehensive plan, can be very affordable. You should always get quotes before you purchase travel insurance, but you will find that the rates are far lower than other types of insurance.
  • Some people assume that travel insurance is hard to find because there aren’t many companies that advertise this service. Interestingly, it is true that you won’t see much in the way of advertising for this type of insurance; however, travel insurance is actually very easy to find online.

Should you purchase comprehensive or al a carte travel insurance?

This is an interesting question and one that can only be answered based on your current situation. You may decide that you do not need coverage for a short, local trip or if you are traveling with nothing of significant value. You need to assess your current travel plans as well as the insurance you currently carry before you make this determination. If you decide to get coverage you must decide which type best meets your needs.

There are some health insurance plans that cover you no matter where you are, domestically or internationally. If you have a good medical plan, then you won’t need to purchase comprehensive medical insurance.

In addition, if you pay for your travel with your credit card, you should check with your credit card company about the coverage they offer when you travel. All of the major credit card companies offer credit cards that cover lost luggage as well as provide you with accidental death or dismemberment coverage. Call your credit card company to see if you have one of those cards, if you do, then al a carte is right for you.

If you travelling domestically and/or traveling light, then you may not need travel insurance at all. Again, check with your health insurance company to ensure you can get care if needed. If you are taking electronic items, take them with you on the plane.

If you are traveling internationally, comprehensive travel insurance could save your life. Some policies even cover transporting you back home or to the nearest US hospital if your situation is dire.

The bottom line is that only you can determine just how much travel insurance you need. Before you buy, however, you need to get a quote first.

By using our free quote tool, you can compare costs between travel insurance companies and get the insurance that you need today. Input your zip code and compare travel insurance quotes and rates now!