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What is travel insurance?
Travel insurance can protect you against financial loss if you are forced to cancel,
delay, or interrupt your vacation. It can protect you against the loss of non-
refundable travel costs, such as airfare, hotel, and tour expenses. Other types of
travel insurance offer you protection against loss due to medical emergencies,
damage to personal property, and even a death that may occur while on
vacation. When you are planning your travel arrangements, it’s also a good time
to evaluate your need for travel insurance.
Types of Travel insurance
• Trip Cancellation – Reimburses you for pre-paid travel expenses if you
cannot take your trip because you or a family member becomes sick or
• Travel Delay – Reimburses you for pre-paid expenses if you cannot take
your trip due to a travel delay, such as a flight delay or cancellation.
• Trip Interruption – Reimburses you for pre-paid expenses if your trip is
cut short because you or a family member becomes sick or dies, or due to
any other misfortune listed in the policy. Covered reasons might include
bad weather, airline strikes, terrorism, bankruptcy, jury duty, or fire or
flood damage to your home.
• Medical/Health – Reimburses you for emergency medical and dental
expenses because you are sick or injured while traveling. For more
information, read our fact sheet on Foreign Travel and Health
• Medical Evacuation – Provides you with emergency transportation to
take you to a hospital in the area where you are traveling, or if specified
in the policy, for transportation back to a hospital near your home.
• Accidental Death – This coverage is usually split into three parts:
1. Air Flight Accident: Covers death or dismemberment
during flight only.
2. Common Carrier: Covers death or dismemberment
while you travel on public transportation such as a plane,
ferry, train, bus, or taxi.
3. Accidental Death: Covers death, or if specified in the
policy, dismemberment at any time during a trip.
• Baggage Loss – Reimburses you for lost, stolen, or damaged personal
items. If you buy baggage insurance, review the policy for the list of
property it does not cover. Some of your property may exceed the limits
allowed. Also, if you fly, baggage loss usually doesn’t cover personal items
an airline may lose or damage.
• Rental Car Damage – Reimburses you for damage or loss to a rental
vehicle. Check with your insurer, you may already have this coverage
through your auto insurance policy. If so, you may not need the “collision
damage waiver” that rental car companies offer. This coverage does not
provide liability protection.
What you should know before you buy travel insurance
Check your other policies for coverage - Before you buy travel insurance,
review the policies you have now. If you have life, health, or homeowners
insurance, you may not need to buy certain types of travel insurance. Read
your policy and speak with your insurance company or agent to find out what
personal property and medical coverage you have to cover you while you’re
traveling. If you use a credit card to pay for your trip, ask what insurance
benefits are available through your credit card company.
Look at the refund policies - Also, before you buy travel insurance, check the
refund policies. Some policies will refund your money if you cancel months in
advance, but few will offer any refund if you cancel at the last minute.
Ask for recommendations - If you’re working with a travel agent you trust,
ask about his or her experiences with any recommended travel insurance
companies. Ask if their customers filed claims, and if the companies paid those
claims. If you’re planning an adventurous vacation, such as skydiving or scuba
diving, ask if the insurance will cover those activities.
Review the policy - Travel insurance polices are not all the same. Before you buy,
be sure to review the policy, especially the list of covered reasons for canceling
your trip. For example, a travel insurance policy may not reimburse you if you
decide not to make a trip because a conference was canceled.
Ask about pre-existing health conditions and age limits - Some policies cover
pre-existing health conditions if you buy the coverage within a week or two of
booking your trip. Others won’t pay for pre-existing conditions or they charge
higher premiums to cover them. Some insurers also charge more for older
Find out about cancellation waivers - Cruise and tour operators may offer
cancellation waivers. This means for a fee, they will reimburse you a portion
of your cost if you cancel for any reason up to 24 hours prior to departure.
Remember, waivers are not insurance policies and they are not regulated. Read
all of the restrictions before you buy a cancellation waiver.
The Office of the Insurance Commissioner can help you!
If you have any questions or need additional information about your rights,
call our Insurance Consumer Hotline at
or visit our Web site at