Helping travelers figure out when travel "insurance" is a scam, and when it can save you from a world of stress.
We used to loathe travel insurance, thinking it was spammy. We’ve since come around, realizing there are companies who do it right. We’ve also finally accepted that sh*t happens, and big plans occasionally need to change. This change is a lot easier to stomach if you don’t have to pay in full for an erased vacation.
First off, it’s important to know what is NOT legit travel insurance. Companies that offer travel “protection” are often full of it and will do everything possible to deny your claims. We’ll go so far as to say they’re scams. With that said, some companies like air and cruise lines offer travel “protection” and “coverage,” which isn’t insurance but also isn’t a scam. However, this type of coverage usually isn’t a great deal, as many of the companies offer very little reimbursement and require beyond catastrophic circumstances for you to meet their very detailed criterion.
But not to worry - there are legit travel insurance providers that cover issues like trip cancellation (one of the most common needs,) cancelled flights, lost luggage, rental car debacles, natural disasters, medical care and other circumstances that could derail your trip.
While there are no perfect options, the providers below typically offer comprehensive coverage and reimburse claims without much hassle. But they all offer differing packages and prices, which is why we recommend getting a few quotes, and reading the super fine print VERY carefully.
Just like any form of insurance, part of you will likely feel that prepaying for “what-ifs” is a waste, yet another part will receive sweet solace knowing you won’t lose out on thousands if a hurricane decides to wipe out the island you were about to have the scuba adventure of a lifetime on.
If you’re wondering what type of trip you should and shouldn’t pony up travel insurance funds for, it completely depends on your personal comfort with risk. With that said, we rarely get insurance for smaller trips, for example a quick three-day ski vacation to Mammoth that doesn’t include airfare. But when we’re going on a two-week international surf trip that includes multiple flights, rental cars, and various accommodations, you can be sure we’re covering ourselves with insurance.
Top travel insurers:
World Nomads (typically the most affordable option)