Travel insurance is insurance that is intended to cover medical expenses, trip cancellation, lost luggage, flight accident and other losses incurred while traveling, either internationally or within one's own country.
Travel insurance can usually be arranged at the time of the booking of a trip to cover exactly the duration of that trip, or a "multi-trip" policy can cover an unlimited number of trips within a set time frame. Some policies offer lower and higher medical-expense options; the higher ones are chiefly for countries that have extremely high medical costs, such as the USA.
The most common risks that are covered by travel insurance plans are:
- Medical emergency (accident or sickness)
- Emergency evacuation
- Repatriation of remains
- Return of a minor
- Trip cancellation
- Trip interruption
- Visitor health insurance
- Accidental death, injury or disablement benefit
- Overseas funeral expenses
- Lost, stolen or damaged baggage, personal effects or travel documents
- Delayed baggage (and emergency replacement of essential items)
- Flight connection was missed due to airline schedule
- Travel delays due to weather
Medical expense coverage can be per-occurrence or maximum-limit.
Some travel policies will also provide cover for additional costs, although these vary widely between providers.
In addition, often separate insurance can be purchased for specific costs such as:
- Pre-existing conditions (e.g. asthma, diabetes)
- Sports with an element of risk (e.g. skiing, scuba diving)
- Travel to high risk countries (e.g. due to war, natural disasters or acts of terrorism)
- Additional AD&D coverage
- 3rd party supplier insolvency (e.g. the hotel or airline to which you made non-refundable pre-payments has gone into administration)
- Acute on-set of pre-existing conditions - This term is very different from Pre-existing conditions. It means a sudden and unexpected occurrence of pre-existing medical conditions without any prior warning from a medical professional. Travel insurance companies, especially in USA, do not offer coverage for pre-existing conditions but they do offer coverage for acute on-set of pre-existing conditions. If you have pre-existing conditions, make sure to get this coverage to protect yourself against any emergency situation that arises due to pre-existing conditions in spite of taking care.
- Pre-existing medical conditions
- Elective surgery or treatment
- War or terrorism - but some plans may cover this risk, and some do cover for acts of terrorism
- Injury or illness caused by alcohol or drug use
Travel insurance can also provide helpful services, often 24 hours a day, 7 days a week that can include concierge services and emergency travel assistance.
- Travel Insurance Advice UK from the British Foreign & Commonwealth Office
- Travel Insurance Advice USA from the U.S. Department of State
- Travel Advisories CA from Canadian Government
- USTIA US Travel Insurance Association
- Travel Insurance Advice AU from Australian Government