Depending on how you travel, you may know a lot about travel insurance — or this may be the first time you’ve considered getting a policy for your next trip. Either way, travel insurance has become more important than ever since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, where testing positive for COVID-19 can force you to scrap your plans.
A comprehensive insurance plan should cover your financial expenses for various situations that may go awry:
- Trip cancellation, interruption and delays
- Baggage delay and loss;
- Rental car collision and damage coverage;
- Medical and dental emergencies as well as accidental death and dismemberment;
- 24-hour traveler assistance;
- Emergency evacuation.
If you’re hesitant about your plans, purchasing an upgrade to cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage or „cancel for work reasons“ can be a good way to buy yourself peace of mind.
Keeping all of these parameters in mind, these are our picks for the best travel insurance companies of 2022.
Compare the best travel insurance companies
Best overall: Nationwide
- Three cruise-specific plans to choose from
- Annual travel insurance plans available
- Strong trip cancellation coverage
- Cancel for any reason coverage available
- Medical coverage is lower than what some competitors offer
- Trip cancellation coverage of up to 100% of trip costs (for cruises) or up to $30,000 (for single-trip plans)
- Cancel for any reason coverage available
Well-rounded alternative: AXA
- Generous medical evacuation coverage
- Multi-trip annual plans available
- Coverage for lost ski and golf days available
- Cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage only available for most expensive Platinum plan
- Silver, Gold, and Platinum plans available
- Trip cancellation coverage of up to 100% of the trip cost
- Trip interruption coverage of up to 150% of the trip cost
- Emergency medical coverage of up to $250,000
Best insurance plan for cruises: AIG Travel Guard
- Trip cancellation coverage of up to 100% of the cost, for all three plan levels
- Cancel for any reason (CFAR) coverage available
- Above average baggage loss and delay benefits
- High medical evacuation coverage
- CFAR option only covers 50% of trip costs (compared to the 75% most competitors cover)
- Premiums may run slightly higher than competitors
- Trip cancellation coverage for up to 100% of the trip cost
- Trip interruption coverage for up to 150% of the trip cost
- Preexisting medical conditions exclusions waiver must be purchased within 15 days of initial trip payment
- Annual travel insurance plan and Pack N‘ Go plan (for last-minute trips) available
Reputable provider: Berkshire Hathaway
- Offers up to 100% trip cancellation refund for eligible travel
- Plans are customizable with relevant add-ons
- Good customer service with speedy claim processing time, according to traveler reviews
- More affordable plans offer low caps on medical and emergency coverage
- Premiums are on the expensive side relative to comparable competitor plans
- This provider underwrites travel insurance policies for a number of other companies in addition to offering its own plans
- Travelers can file claims directly from a smartphone by using the BHTP app
Best for travelers with pre-existing conditions: Tin Leg
- Policy coverage includes most pre-existing health conditions
- Generous medical, baggage and evacuation amounts for peace of mind
- COVID coverage included by default on all insurance plans
- Offers a wide range of plans for various budgets and travel needs
- Some plans offer CFAR, “cancel for work reasons”, financial default and unemployment coverage
- Limited add-on coverage options
- Baggage loss and delay coverage is low compared to competitors
- Tin Leg was founded in 2014 by the travel insurance industry experts at Squaremouth. Designed to meet the most common needs of travelers, these policies offer comprehensive Trip Cancellation and Trip Interruption benefits, and a range of Emergency Medical and Medical Evacuation limits.
Good for backpackers, study-abroad students, and digital nomads: WorldTrips
- Affordable base plans that can be customized with add-ons including rental car, pet care, hunting and fishing, and vacation rental coverage
- Insurance plans available for international student travelers
- Trip delay coverage benefit that kicks in after just five hours
- Pre-existing conditions waiver can be purchased within 21 days of initial trip payment
- Lower medical, evacuation and accidental death limits
- Limited, secondary baggage loss coverage although baggage protection can be upgraded at a low cost
- Travel medical insurance (Premium, Group, Annual, and International Student options)
- Trip cancellation insurance
- Trip protection insurance
Best low-cost option: Trawick
- Useful for adventurous travelers headed to higher-risk destinations
- Affordable plans with varying levels of coverage
- Generous baggage loss replacement policy
- Trip delay coverage kicks in after just six hours
- Some policies allow a CFAR add-on
- Up to $1 million medical evacuation coverage limit
- Baggage and trip delay coverages don’t kick in until after the 12-hour mark
- International student policies available for temporary stints abroad
- Travel medical insurance
- Trip protection and cancellation
- International student insurance
- Visitor medical insurance (for traveling to the US)
To come up with our list of the best travel insurance companies, we evaluated each insurer based on the following factors:
A good travel insurance policy will typically cost between 4%-8% of total travel expenses, according to the US Travel Insurance Association. Anything beyond that price point should include additional benefits beyond the standard inclusions, such as CFAR protection or upgraded medical coverage. Anything below that 4% threshold may leave you lacking important or sufficient coverage in the event of an emergency.
Convenience and flexibility
Whether you’re an infrequent traveler or a suitcase warrior, a good travel insurance company should have you covered — and in many cases, you might not even have to talk to a person in order to purchase your policy.
Many people think of travel insurance in context with specific trips, but most of these top contenders sell both single-trip and multi-trip policies, also known as annual travel insurance. Some companies also offer plans specifically designed for cruisers, students abroad, and business travelers. Finally, all of these providers offer multiple options for getting the specific areas and amounts of coverage that you want.
Coverage categories and amounts
All of the companies on this list offer enough coverage in key categories to at least make a sizable dent in any out-of-pocket travel costs you may incur abroad, even though it is still up to you to purchase sufficient coverage for your specific needs. And while some companies may not offer certain add-ons or provide high category limits, all providers cover the core basics of comprehensive travel insurance.
How to pick the best travel insurance company for you
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all policy that works perfectly for every traveler. Young, healthy solo travelers can opt for much cheaper plans that offer bare-bones coverage, while families juggling complex itineraries will do best by investing in a robust policy that can help defray any costs associated with lost baggage, delayed transportation or other trip-impeding obstacles.
That being said, you can’t go wrong with a travel insurance provider that boasts a reputable history and offers a wide range of customizable plans. In some cases, you may be comparing plans that are only a few dollars‘ difference apart from each other. In such situations, you should generally opt for the insurance company that offers stronger customer service and has been favorably reviewed by other travelers, particularly if they have undertaken similar trips to yours.
An insurance aggregator like InsureMyTrip or Squaremouth is one of the best tools for searching travel insurance policies. Once you input the specifics of your travel itinerary, you’ll be able to see hundreds of search results to compare the ones that catch your eye. If the options are too overwhelming, use the filters to the left of your search page to eliminate as many irrelevant plans as possible.
Note about COVID-19: Most travel insurance companies did not cover COVID-related travel issues in the early months of the pandemic. However, many providers have evolved to offer coronavirus coverage in their medical plans.
You’ll still want to double-check the fine print on any individual plan you select, especially on lower-priced policies with limited coverage, to ensure that you have enough protection for your peace of mind. Also note that many credit card travel insurance policies still exclude COVID-related issues from their list of covered circumstances.
More about our winners
AIG Travel Guard
This well-known insurance provider is a great fit for travelers who want to ensure that they can get their money back in the event of canceled or interrupted travel plans.
While the company’s policies can be pricey compared to its competitors, the high medical and evacuation limits make AIG a solid choice for older travelers who value peace of mind and simplicity over highly customizable plans that may to be bolstered with medical upgrades.
AXA Travel insurance
AXA offers consumers a great option for no-stress travel insurance: low-priced plans, generous coverage limits on key categories including primary insurance on lost luggage, and up to 150% reimbursement for qualifying trip cancellations.
While add-ons are limited and rental car coverage is not included by default on cheaper plans, AXA is a perfect fit for travelers who don’t plan to drive (or who already hold credit cards with rental car coverage), and don’t need any additional bells and whistles.
Berkshire Hathaway Trip Protection
The best-case scenario for any trip is that your travel insurance can go unused. However, Berkshire Hathaway helps travelers make the best of bad situations by simplifying the process of filing a claim down to a simple photo snap and some basic paperwork submitted directly through a dedicated app.
Approved claims are also paid out very rapidly, making it easier to carry through with a trip when luggage has been lost or alternative travel plans need to be made on the fly.
Nationwide travel insurance
One of the largest players in the travel insurance space offers nearly endless options for any customer on the travel spectrum, including annual plans which can offer frequent travelers the flexibility to „set it and forget it“ on their insurance coverage.
Nationwide also offers some of the most affordable policies in the market compared to similar plans from competitors, which makes it a great pick for just about anyone.
Tin Leg travel insurance
Tin Leg is a great fit for travelers with medical issues in particular. Thanks to coverage for pre-existing medical conditions as well as for potential COVID-19 infection while traveling, this company offers some of the best financial investment options for travelers who are or will be exposed to higher health risks and issues.
Trawick is another medically robust insurance provider that can help higher-risk and anxious travelers find peace of mind while on the road. This company offers one of the most generous medical evacuation policies in the market, although travelers will need to remember to add on rental car coverage if they need it.
WorldTrips‘ affordable premiums, highly customizable add-ons and generous coverage for core categories of travel insurance make it a great option for digital nomads, students studying abroad and backpackers.
However, travelers should keep in mind that plans are not particularly flexible, and coverage amounts are limited unless you plan ahead to pay for the areas and amounts that you need.
Honorable mention: The credit card in your wallet
Believe it or not, several credit cards on the market today provide robust travel insurance coverage that can sometimes rival the plans offered by our top-pick providers.
The Chase Sapphire Reserve® is often considered the industry leader for comprehensive travel insurance, with the The Platinum Card® from American Express
coming in a close second.
If you’re not a fan of the sky-high annual fees on those cards, the Capital One Venture X Rewards Credit Card and the American Express® Gold Card
card offer a robust alternative for card-provided travel insurance at a mid-tier cost of $395 or $250 per year, respectively.
And don’t sleep on the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card or the Ink Business Preferred® Credit Card: Each card may only cost $95 per year, but includes hearty coverage for travel interruption, cancellations, baggage loss and delays that’s comparable or even superior to many mid-range travel insurance plans.
The travel insurance provision on each of these credit cards can yield up to $3,000 per trip for lost or damaged baggage; stipends for baggage or travel delays as short as six hours; anywhere from $2,000 to $10,000 per trip for canceled, nonrefundable travel such as flights or hotels; and primary rental car coverage.
Frequently asked questions
Who is the best travel insurance company?
There are many great providers on the travel insurance market today. Our overall winner for 2022 was Nationwide for its breadth of coverage options. AIG Travel Guard, AXA, Berkshire Hathaway, Tin Leg, WorldTrips and Trawick also made the cut.
Which international insurance is best?
The best insurance providers offer strong customer support no matter which time zone you’re in. Berkshire Hathaway allows travelers to file claims quickly and directly through a smartphone app for fast processing and payment.
Is it worth it to get travel insurance?
Travel insurance went from being a „nice to have“ to a „must have“ for many travelers during and after the COVID-19 pandemic. Many insurance providers now offer COVID-related coverage, which can greatly increase your peace of mind in case you need to cancel, quarantine or modify your trip.
Which travel insurance is best for the USA?
Depending on where you go, the travel insurance provided by your credit card may be sufficient for low-risk trips across the United States. But if you plan to do any activities such as hiking, or have a multi-activity itinerary where you might lose money if you miss a leg of travel, it might make sense to purchase an independent travel insurance plan that can pay for any rebooking or medical expenses you might incur.
How do I find the right travel insurance?
There isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution for every traveler. However, this guide can help you get a feel for some of the best companies on the market today, and allow you to determine the best fit for your needs among the plans and add-ons they offer.