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The 5 Best International Travel Insurance Companies for 2022 | Travel

by Atlanta Business Journal

With demand for international travel to destinations around the globe back in full force and many airports experiencing staffing shortages, buying travel insurance makes more sense now than ever before. Sure, prices for airfare and hotels are causing sticker shock among those who are ready to explore, but having a travel policy in place will ensure you won’t lose the money you spent if your trip is canceled or interrupted for reasons beyond your control.

While many travel credit cards offer some forms of travel insurance coverage as a cardholder perk, limits tend to be low and you typically won’t get any coverage for emergency dental or medical treatment. By purchasing insurance for international travel from one of the best travel insurance companies, on the other hand, you can get a full suite of protective benefits that can protect you against financial losses caused by trip delays, emergency medical evacuations, lost luggage and even mandatory quarantine due to COVID-19 when you’re overseas.

Which travel insurance companies offer the best coverage options for international trips? U.S. News editors compared more than 20 of the top providers to find the best travel insurance providers for trips around the world.

Best International Travel Insurance Companies of 2022

For more information on how travel insurance works, see the FAQ section.

Best for Comprehensive Coverage: Allianz Travel Insurance

Pros:

  • Buy coverage for single trips or multiple trips at once
  • Annual plans available
  • Some travel insurance plans come with an epidemic coverage endorsement
  • Tailor your coverage to your needs
  • A+ rating for financial strength from AM Best

Cons:

  • COVID-19 benefits don’t apply to every plan
  • Does not offer “cancel for any reason” coverage within its online plans

Allianz Travel Insurance offers a range of plans that can work well for international trips, whether you want to lock in travel insurance for a single trip, multiple trips or an entire year. You can use this provider to purchase a comprehensive international travel plan that includes all the major coverages you would expect, but you can also purchase specialized coverage for international medical expenses, car rentals and more.

For international trips in particular, the OneTrip Prime plan is a top choice: It includes key benefits like trip cancellation or interruption coverage as well as coverage for emergency medical situations and emergency transportation. Coverage for preexisting conditions can be added to the plan; children aged 17 and younger get covered for free when traveling with a parent or grandparent.

This plan comes with an epidemic coverage endorsement for COVID-19, as well as robust coverage limits for the following:

  • Trip cancellation coverage worth up to $100,000
  • Trip interruption coverage worth up to $150,000
  • Emergency medical coverage for up to $50,000
  • Emergency medical transportation coverage worth up to $500,000
  • Baggage loss and damage coverage worth up to $1,000
  • Baggage delay coverage for up to $300
  • Travel delay coverage worth up to $800

Individuals planning an international trip can also customize their coverage with add-ons for preexisting conditions, rental car protection and cancellation benefits that apply if getting called into work derails your travel plans.

Best for International Travel Medical Coverage: GeoBlue

Pros:

  • Purchase international travel medical insurance for individual trips, multiple trips or long-term travel
  • A- rating for financial strength from AM Best
  • Specialized plans for missionaries and expats
  • COVID-19 testing and treatment included

Cons:

  • Coverage is mostly for emergency medical expenses abroad
  • U.S. health insurance plan required

GeoBlue offers international travel medical insurance that applies specifically to health care expenses incurred outside your home country. Travelers can buy coverage for a single trip or multiple trips at once, but you can also purchase extended coverage for international travel that lasts at least three months.

The company’s Voyager single-trip plan is likely the best choice for an international trip that requires travel health insurance coverage. Not only does this plan include coverage for COVID-19 testing and treatment, but it also comes with a post-departure trip interruption transportation benefit worth up to $1,000; quarantine benefits worth up to $50 per day (for a maximum of 10 days); and your choice of medical limits and deductibles. This plan even covers preexisting conditions for medical services and medical evacuation, provided individuals already have a current U.S. health plan.

Best Optional Coverages: AIG Travel Guard

Pros:

  • Add-on coverage available for lodging expenses, preexisting medical conditions and rental cars
  • 24-hour travel concierge services included
  • A rating for financial strength from AM Best
  • Cancel for any reason coverage available as an optional add-on with some plans

Cons:

  • Coverage limits for its lowest-tier Essential plan may be insufficient
  • Add-on coverage for preexisting conditions must be purchased within 15 days of the initial trip payment

AIG Travel Guard is another travel insurance company that offers protective international plans for trips nearly anywhere around the world. Basic coverage options included in every plan span trip cancellation and interruption coverage, luggage protection, baggage delay coverage, coverage for travel medical expenses and Medevac protection for emergency medical evacuations. That said, you can also customize your coverage with any (or all) of the following add-ons:

  • Cancel for any reason coverage
  • Rental car protection
  • Lodging expense protection
  • Coverage for preexisting medical conditions

AIG Travel Guard offers three main international travel insurance plans to choose from with varying limits that can suit your needs best – a basic Essential plan, a mid-tier Preferred plan and a comprehensive Deluxe plan. These options make it easy to choose among existing plans yet also customize your coverage based on the specific limits you need for your trip.

Best for COVID-19 Coverage: Generali Global Assistance

Pros:

  • All plans include coverage for COVID-19
  • Customize your coverage to your needs
  • Cancel for any reason coverage available as an upgrade for some plans
  • Free 10-day trial period
  • A rating for financial strength from AM Best

Cons:

  • Coverage limits may be insufficient for lowest-tier plan
  • Rental car coverage only included in top-tier premium plan

Generali Global Assistance is a top provider for international trips, as well as for travel insurance plans with coverage for pandemic-related claims. This provider offers three different tiers of travel insurance coverage: a basic Standard plan, a mid-tier Preferred plan and a Premium plan. Each tier offers similar coverages, yet the limits are higher for Preferred and Premium plans.

For international trips, consider the Premium travel insurance plan from Generali. This tier of coverage includes the following:

  • Trip cancellation coverage for up to 100% of the trip cost
  • Trip interruption coverage for up to 175% of the trip cost
  • Travel delay coverage for up to $100,000
  • $2,000 per person in baggage protection
  • $2,000 in coverage for sporting equipment
  • $1,000 per person in protection for missed connections
  • Up to $250,000 in coverage per person for emergency medical and dental procedures
  • Up to $1 million in coverage for emergency assistance and transportation
  • $25,000 per person in rental car coverage
  • Accidental death and dismemberment coverage

This tier of travel insurance from Generali can also be customized with coverage that lets you cancel your trip for any reason and get 60% of your prepaid travel expenses back.

Best for Adventure Travelers: World Nomads Travel Insurance

Pros:

  • 24-hour travel assistance services included
  • Tailor your coverage options and limits to your needs
  • More than 150 sports and activities covered in every plan
  • Underwriters received an A rating or better for financial strength from AM Best

Cons:

  • COVID-19 coverage not included in every plan
  • Coverage limits within standard plans may be insufficient

World Nomads is a good option for international travelers who love adventure sports since this company intentionally provides coverage for more than 150 activities like scuba diving, mountain biking, bungee jumping, surfing, skiing and more. World Nomads also lets you tailor your travel insurance to your needs, but every plan includes coverage for trip cancellations and interruptions, emergency accidents and sickness, travel delays, delayed or lost baggage, and rental cars. Plans also include 24-hour travel assistance services, which can help you coordinate alternate travel arrangements or medical care if something goes wrong during your trip.

Many World Nomads plans also offer coverage for COVID-19, although you’ll want to read over the policy details for any plan you’re considering to make sure. With this coverage, you can be protected financially from costs involved in pandemic-related health care or quarantine if you test positive or get sick while overseas.

Coverage limits vary based on your state of residence and the plan you choose. With that in mind, you’ll need to get a free quote to see what World Nomads has to offer.

Looking for a way to compare insurance providers?

Best Comparison Site: Squaremouth

Pros:

  • Compare multiple travel insurance plans in one place
  • No added costs for using this tool to shop around
  • All plans have an A- rating or better for financial strength from AM Best

Cons:

  • Not an insurance provider
  • You’ll have to do research on individual travel insurance policies

Squaremouth is not a travel insurance company, but this website does make it easy to shop around and compare quotes for international travel insurance. This insurance platform lets you enter information about yourself and your upcoming international trip just once. From there, you can see how different plans stack up in terms of coverages, costs and any limits that apply.

The good news about Squaremouth is that it only offers plans from top insurance providers with an AM Best rating of A- or better. For example, you can use this platform to compare travel insurance policies from companies like Berkshire Hathaway, Generali Global Assistance, GeoBlue, Nationwide and more.

Just remember that, if you shop around and compare travel insurance plans on Squaremouth, you’ll still need to research individual companies and their coverage options before you settle on a plan.

How does international travel insurance work?

International travel insurance works the same as travel insurance for domestic trips. These plans include various coverage options and coverage limits, and a deductible may or may not apply. Travelers can choose to purchase international travel insurance for a single trip or multiple trips; long-term plans for missionaries and expats are available from some providers.

What should you look for in an international travel insurance policy?

While travel insurance policies can include a broad range of coverages, the main protections you’ll want for international trips include the following:

  • Trip cancellation and interruption coverage: This type of protection can reimburse you for prepaid travel expenses when a trip is canceled or interrupted for a covered reason beyond your control.
  • Baggage delay insurance: This coverage can pay for incidental expenses that occur when your bags are delayed for a specific period of time (usually six hours or longer).
  • Lost luggage coverage: This coverage can replace your luggage and your belongings or reimburse you for costs if your bags are lost by a common carrier.
  • Rental car insurance: This type of insurance may provide primary coverage when you rent an eligible rental car.
  • Emergency medical and dental coverage: This type of insurance will pay for emergency medical treatment or dental expenses that may arise during your trip.
  • Emergency evacuation coverage: This protection can pay for emergency transportation costs when you’re sick or injured during your trip.

Also note that many travelers opt to purchase travel insurance that offers cancel for any reason protection when booking an international trip. This type of coverage lets you cancel your trip for any reason at all, even if you just decide you don’t want to go.

That said, adding cancel for any reason coverage to your policy will make your travel insurance plan more expensive. Most plans also have limits on how much of your prepaid travel expenses can be refunded, which are usually capped at 60% or 70% of your trip costs.

What doesn’t travel insurance typically cover?

While coverages offered through travel insurance plans tend to be broad, keep in mind that this type of insurance won’t cover every situation that could arise. Some common issues that are not covered by travel insurance plans include:

  • Acts of war
  • Claims due to air or water pollution
  • Claims due to natural disasters
  • Epidemics not specifically included in coverage
  • Extreme, high-risk sports
  • Government regulations or proclamations
  • Nuclear radiation and contamination
  • Terrorist events
  • Travel bulletins or alerts

Should I use travel insurance from a credit card?

Many travel credit cards offer travel insurance benefits to cardholders, but you should know that these coverages have some limitations. For example, travel insurance plans from credit cards never provide meaningful amounts of coverage for medical emergencies or dental emergencies. Meanwhile, limits on other travel protections may be limited, and you have to pay for each trip with your travel credit card for coverage to apply.

With this in mind, you should make sure to research your plan and know what you’re getting before you rely on this protection for an expensive international trip.

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