Insurance and Finance

Travel Insurance 101

By Abi Grise Morgan 12.14.22

Perhaps you’re headed on an international trip to visit your extended family over the holidays, or you’re embarking on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure to an exotic, faraway land. These trips are typically not cheap — and your airline, cruise ship, or travel agency may offer to sell you travel insurance to cover unexpected hiccups along the way. It sounds good, but with so many options, how do you know what policy is best for your trip?

You’ll want to read the details of the specific policies you’re considering before making a purchase, but it helps to know the basic types of travel insurance to narrow your selection first:

Travel Medical Insurance

In most cases, U.S. medical insurance plans — whether through your employer, the marketplace, or Medicare — do not extend to other countries. This is important to know, given there are ample opportunities to injure yourself abroad due to unfamiliar traffic laws, a lack of awareness of water contamination and foodborne illnesses, and engaging in sporting activities like hiking, diving, or parasailing.

Travel medical insurance is used to treat injuries and illnesses, not routine medical care. If you contract malaria, twist your ankle catching the tour bus, or get stung by a jellyfish, travel medical insurance can take the edge off your international medical expenses. But save the annual checkups for your primary care physician. In most cases, emergency care is covered, but, as always, be sure to read the fine print of your policy, as some health insurance policies do not cover you once you leave your state.

Medical Evacuation and Repatriation

While medical insurance covers your medical care, it may not cover the costs to transport you to the nearest hospital or back home after a serious illness. This type of coverage can help if you’re traveling to remote or high-conflict destinations where the nearest doctor may be miles away.

Trip Cancellation Insurance

This type of travel insurance covers the nonreimbursable fees associated with trips. For example, trip cancellation insurance is helpful for the following scenarios:

  • You get sick before the trip begins.
  • A hurricane wipes out your vacation rental.
  • Your tour operator goes out of business.
  • Your travel companion passes away.

Some companies require proof of the cancellation factor, while others allow you to cancel your trip for any reason, no questions asked. Others allow you to add trip interruption and delay coverage to reimburse you for lodging and food purchased due to flight cancellations and delays.

Rental Car Coverage

Always call your Agent for a refresher on your auto insurance policy before booking a rental vehicle. Most U.S.-based auto insurance policies only cover you within the United States. For international coverage, you may need a supplemental policy covering damage to the vehicle due to accidents, vandalism/theft, and damage caused by Mother Nature.

Note rental car policies typically don’t include liability coverage, which covers the damage to another vehicle caused by yours in an accident. Every country handles car insurance and claims differently, so research the particular area in which you plan to drive before packing your bags.

Lost Luggage Insurance

It’s sad but true: Sometimes suitcases go unexplainably missing or get damaged during travel. It’s more than a nuisance to go without a toothbrush for the night — sometimes, those bags contain expensive electronics, camera gear, and jewelry. Lost luggage insurance can help ease the pain, but before signing up, ask your Agent whether your homeowners policy covers baggage while traveling abroad. You may already be covered!

Pack Your Bags and Your Policy

Making a long voyage takes a lot of preparation, and there’s always the risk your trip won’t exactly go as planned. Doing a little research, calling your Texas Farm Bureau Insurance Agent, and finding a good travel insurance policy to cover unexpected blips in unfamiliar places can make for happy travels.

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Coverage and discounts are subject to qualifications and policy terms and may vary by situation. © 2022 Texas Farm Bureau Insurance