Life Insurance

How To Travel Alone Safely

By David Krug David Krug is the CEO & President of Bankovia. He's a lifelong expat who has lived in the Philippines, Mexico, Thailand, and Colombia. When he's not reading about cryptocurrencies, he's researching the latest personal finance software. 9 minute read

You’re probably familiar with the adage, “Plan for the worst, hope for the best.” No matter how you feel about the expression as a whole, you can probably agree that it’s wise to plan for the worst while keeping your fingers crossed. One unforeseeable event outside of your control is all it takes to derail your well crafted strategy.

Passengers on the road find these kinds of incidents especially inconvenient. A single unexpected occurrence, such as a storm, strike, or medical emergency, can derail a trip while far from home and result in the loss of thousands of dollars in unrealized, non-refundable value.

That is, if they don’t have travel insurance. Those that spend the time and money to do so before leaving on their trip may rest easy knowing that they will likely be reimbursed if something goes wrong.

Best Travel Insurance Companies for Americans

Finding out how much your next large trip will cost to insure, and how much you may save, requires getting quotes from different companies.

The majority of these businesses overseas travel protection insurance issued by independent insurers, some of which are household names. Except where specified, all of these companies allow you to acquire estimates, compare plans, and buy insurance entirely online, without ever having to speak to a live salesperson.

It is important to check the terms of a plan as they apply to your state of residence before acquiring insurance, as not all policies are offered in every state.

  1. Nomads of the World
  • A+ financial strength rating from A.M. Best (Superior – Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company)
  • Excellent for: High-risk travelers in isolated regions and nations with little medical care.

The Standard and Explorer plans from World Nomads are two of the most affordable options for visitors in the United States. Both plans are backed by Ohio’s massive Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and provide a wide variety of standard-issue coverages such as:

  • Cancellation and trip disruption
  • Trip delay
  • Emergency medical coverage (for overseas travel when U.S. health insurance does not apply).
  • Medical situations need evacuation and return.
  • Baggage damage or loss
  • Baggage delay (outbound journey only)
  • Travel accident insurance (accidental death and dismemberment)
  • Services of emergency and non-emergency support
  • Rental car insurance (collision and damage waiver)

When comparing Explorer and Standard coverages, you may expect to pay more for the Explorer option. However, both plans include extensive medical evacuation and repatriation benefits, an essential feature for anyone venturing to less safe parts of the world.

Also noteworthy about World Nomads is the fact that filing a claim can be done quickly and easily from virtually any location with access to the Internet. That’s a huge perk compared to other traditional carriers, with whom submitting claims while traveling might be more of a hassle.

  1. AXA
  • A (Excellent – United States Fire Insurance) and A+ for Financial Stability from A.M. Best (Superior – Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company)
  • Who It’s For: People who want to take risks; tourists who expect to have to make last-minute adjustments to their itinerary

AXA is a legitimate travel insurer supported by two financially sound underwriters, United States Fire Insurance and Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company, and was ranked the No. 1 worldwide insurance brand by Interbrand in 2017.

Standard coverages, such as those for trip cancellation or interruption, lost or delayed luggage, and medical evacuation, are available across all three tiers of AXA’s travel insurance plans. Non-emergency medical evacuation is an additional perk of the middle-tier Gold plan and the lavish Platinum plan. Cancel For Any Reason is another, which, for Platinum plan members who cancel their trips within 14 days of booking, reimburses 75% of any non-refundable costs incurred.

Travelers who are looking for an exciting experience can benefit greatly from using AXA. You may rent sporting equipment with no out-of-pocket expense with their Platinum plan, and they’ll even pay you for time you can’t use to go golfing or skiing.

While World Nomads’ claims procedure is more efficient, at least collect calling is a possibility with AXA for international travelers.

  1. iTravelInsured (IMG)
  • A Strong Financial Position, According to A.M. Best (Excellent – United States Fire Insurance)
  • People who want to explore the wilderness or foreign tourists who want to see the United States

iTravelInsured is a subsidiary of the world’s largest insurer, IMG, and it provides three policies with extraordinarily high limits on things like trip cancellation, emergency medical care, and rental car damage. Optional, but potentially important, coverages are included in more expensive policies.

  • Protection that can be terminated for any reason
  • Waivers for preexisting conditions can determine whether or not a claim is paid.
  • Important for every explorer to have: search and rescue services.

In addition to domestic health insurance, IMG also provides foreign health insurance. Anyone planning on:

  • While abroad, engage in high-risk activities.
  • Possess physical issues (with or without a prior ailment) that may necessitate medical attention overseas.
  • Spend extensive time abroad, maybe while attending a foreign institution or working a brief employment in a foreign nation.

IMG also oversees insurance policies for foreign visitors to the United States, including permanent residents with green cards.

  1. The Seven Corners
  • A (Excellent – Lloyd’s of London) from A.M. Best Company on Financial Strength.
  • Perfect for those traveling to politically unsafe regions or seeking recompense for wasted vacation time.

Loss and damage protection for rental vehicles is one common form of insurance that isn’t included here. Instead, it’s entirely up to you whether you include it in your strategy or not.

There is a lot more that may be added on if desired. Plans with higher premiums offer more protections, such as the ability to cancel for any reason, cancellation due to job, and political evacuation. There is a perk for adventure tourists called “lost recreation days.”

International medical insurance, student plans, visitor plans (Inbound USA-branded plans for visitors to the U.S.), and yearly paid frequent traveler plans are only some of the options for travel and guest coverage offered by Seven Corners. Online claim submission is simple for the majority of plans.

  1. Travelex
  • A++ (Superior – Berkshire Hathaway), A (Excellent – TransAmerica)
  • Excellent for: a la carte coverage selection

When it comes to travel insurance, Travelex has more options than others, including some very inexpensive options like flight insurance. For visits to low-cost destinations like Panama and Costa Rica, where the ticket there and back is likely to be the most expensive non-refundable price, this is a godsend.

The Basic plan from Travelex is adequate for most budget-conscious vacationers who do not expect high medical costs and do not care about a cancellation option. More affluent travelers may prefer the Select plan because of its flexible coverage options and Cancel For Any Reason provision. Products that aren’t related to insurance include temporary foreign driver’s licenses and expedited passport services.

The online claims procedure is straightforward with Travelex, but you may still need to speak with a representative.

  1. John Hancock
  • A rating for financial strength by A.M. Best (Excellent – Starr Indemnity & Liability Company)
  • Beneficial for: travelers with unique medical requirements

Three forms of travel insurance are administered by John Hancock and Seven Corners in tandem. Hancock’s policies, which are offered separately from Seven Corners’ own plans and are created by a different underwriter, provide very generous medical evacuation and repatriation coverage.

The policy’s protections are standard, but it does include some unique features, such as the reimbursement of airline ticket change expenses and coverage against terrorism. Cancel for Any Reason and rental car insurance are available as add-ons for all pricing tiers.

  1. Allianz Travel
  • A.M. Best’s rating for the financial strength of Jefferson Insurance Company is A (Excellent) and A- (Excellent – BCS Insurance Company)
  • Ideal For: Basic, economical coverage for low-risk travel

Whether you’re planning a single trip or several, Allianz Travel has a package for you. Allianz’s AllTrips yearly travel insurance packages feature prominently on the site, and they are comparably priced with other annual plans that cover many trips.

AllTrips may be modified to cover everyone in a family, even if they don’t always travel together. This is especially helpful for couples who frequently travel for business but don’t always go on the same trips.

Allianz’s mainstream single and multi-trip plans include very conventional coverages, but the company also provides a handful of low-priced niche policies that may be of interest to certain sorts of travelers. For example, the centerpiece of Rental Car Damage Protector is a comprehensive policy for loss or damage to rental cars, with supplementary protections for trip cancellation and lost luggage.

  1. Generali Global Assistance
  • Financial Stability Ranking by A.M. Best: Not Rated; Some Generali Subsidiaries Are (Excellent)
  • Who It’s For: People whose trips they might need to cut short or cancel due to health issues

Trip cancellation and interruption benefits of up to 175% of the covered cost for interruption and 100% of the covered cost for cancellation are available with either of three reasonably priced policies from Generali Global Assistance.

Benefits for medical transportation and unexpected help are also substantial. The extent of the other coverages is minimal, at best. However, the 10-day free look period is a great feature for prospective policyholders who value flexibility.

Overall, Generali is a good option for individuals who care most about recouping non-refundable costs in the event of an emergency, such as a medical or safety-related evacuation, as well as those who are planning ahead and want to avoid paying for unused hotel stays, tours, and cruises.

An online claims filing system is available from Generali, and it appears to be rather straightforward. One potential stumbling block, however, is the presence of a human element that might make the process more challenging in areas with little or no access to mobile service.

  1. Travel Security (AIG)
  • A Strong Financial Position, According to A.M. Best (Excellent – AIG)
  • Excellent For: Low-Cost Safety Nets That Can’t Be Found Online

An online travel insurance provider backed by the multinational financial powerhouse AIG, Travel Guard provides three economically priced plans: Essential, Preferred, and Deluxe. While the Deluxe plan is more suitable for longer travels and those with unique concerns, the Essential plan is better for shorter excursions and those who don’t need extras like high-limit evacuation coverage.

In case the coverages included in your plan aren’t enough, you should know that Travel Guard provides a wide variety of additional coverage options. Two notable features are a pre existing medical condition waiver that might provide coverage for medical conditions that other insurers might not, and a lodging expenditure bonus for Preferred and Deluxe customers traveling outside the U.S.

Bottom Line

There are several credit cards that provide free travel coverage that might be sufficient to offset expensive unforeseen expenses. If you can’t get approved for a travel credit card or you just don’t enjoy using them, then you might consider purchasing travel insurance from one of the companies we’ve mentioned here.

Insurance for trips can be purchased either by the trip (as in a single trip policy) or by the year. Those who travel frequently but don’t want to buy new insurance coverage for each trip might go for the second option. Coverage options include business, leisure, and multi-purpose travel. The overall cost of your trip, the number of people in your group, and your age will all affect the rate you pay for travel insurance. You could need more expensive protection in some places.

It is unrealistic to assume that your travel insurance policy will protect you from every possible risk associated with your trip unless you also purchase Cancel for Any Reason coverage (CFAR), which allows you to cancel your trip for a partial refund without providing a reason that is a covered risk.

It’s not all about the insurance, although we hope you never need to use it. The goal is mental tranquility. After all, whether you’re taking a business trip or a vacation, the last thing you want to think about is how much it will cost you to miss your second connection or have your luggage lost for two nights.

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