In a perfect world, every vacation would go smoothly. But in the real world, mistakes happen: bags get lost and flights get canceled. When things don’t go quite as planned, a safety net can be the next best thing. Find out what travel insurance is and why it just might be a lifesaver next time you say bon voyage.

What is travel insurance?

Travel insurance offers coverage for a whole host of costs and setbacks you could encounter while travelling or on vacation. This ranges from lost baggage and canceled flights to sickness or evacuation.

What are the different types of travel insurance plans?

There are 2 main types: package plans and travel medical insurance. While travel medical insurance covers costs associated with emergencies, accidents, and evacuations, a package plan bundles medical coverage and other potential expenses into one comprehensive plan (and can also be known as Comprehensive, Vacation, Trip Insurance, and Single Trip).

What does a package plan cover?

Trip cancellation or interruption
If you need to cancel your trip or cut it short, you can usually cover any prepaid, nonrefundable expenses for services that haven’t yet been used. This includes things like plane tickets, cruise line tickets, tour packages, and hotel bookings. Covered reasons for cancelations can include sickness or injury, hurricane damage, financial hardships, jury duty, or terrorist incidents.

Lost, damaged, or delayed luggage
If your luggage gets lost, travel insurance can reimburse you for any personal items that’ve gone missing or been damaged. And if your luggage is delayed, then it could provide money to buy goods you might need while you’re waiting for your bags.

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Flight delays and cancellations
Flight delays can be expensive — especially if you have to pay for another night in a hotel or a few extra meals. Fortunately, travel insurance often covers these types of expenses.

Medical emergencies
This is important: while your current medical insurance covers you in the U.S., it might not in other countries. Always check to see if your travel insurance covers emergency medical situations, accidents, and dental while you’re abroad.

Emergency evacuations
While evacuating may seem far fetched, it could come as the result of extreme weather or other disturbances. Costs can include things like transportation to the hospital or back home, airlifts, or other types of medically outfitted transport. Insurance is critical in these types of situations, as they can quickly become expensive.

What about the cost?

When it comes to calculating cost, there are a few things to consider: how many people are traveling with you, their respective ages, and the length of your trip. At the end of the day, you’ll likely pay 4 to 10 percent of your total nonrefundable, prepaid cost.

What else do I need to know?

Travel insurance can offer some other handy services, like 24-hour assistance. Some plans may include things like life insurance, rental car collisions, identity theft, and hazardous sports like scuba diving. Make sure you thoroughly discuss the terms of your plan with your provider.

Want more travel tips? Find out how to stay safe while traveling. 

Travel hacks | Getting there

about Chris

Chris has written everything from fiction manuscripts to pretend newsletters about pirates. He's even edited numerous volumes of work written entirely by kids. As a freelance writer at Esurance, he strives to bring out the whimsy and heart of insurance. Outside of Esurance, Chris is an audiophile, visual artist, and explorer of late-night taquerias.