What is travel insurance?

Travel insurance protects you against the financial losses and risks you might incur while traveling. Travel insurance plans cover a range of risks from minor inconveniences to major catastrophes, and it may offer reimbursement if your trip is cancelled or disrupted due to a covered peril. From lost luggage to last-minute flight cancellations or even medical emergencies, travel (or trip) insurance offers protection against unexpected events that occur leading up to or during travel.

5 min to read

Explore Progressive's editorial standards for Answers articles to find out why you can trust the insurance information you find here.

Couple walking through airport terminal

How does travel insurance work?

Travel insurance may reimburse you for financial losses typically associated with your trip's non-refundable expenses. You select a plan based on various factors, including the length of your trip, destination, method of travel, and medical concerns. If your trip is canceled or disrupted, and the incident is covered under your travel insurance plan, you file a claim with your insurer. You may be asked to submit documentation so your losses can be verified, and your benefits can be approved.

What does travel insurance cover?

Travel insurance coverage varies based on the plan you purchase, but generally, here's what's typically covered:

  • Emergency evacuation: Comprehensive travel insurance plans can arrange an emergency medical evacuation if you're hospitalized during your trip and an attending physician determines that you need to get to another hospital for proper care.

  • Medical coverage : Comprehensive plans offer reimbursement for covered medical treatment received during your trip and may be beneficial if you don't have health insurance or you're traveling internationally.

  • Trip cancellation or interruption : Reimburses your pre-paid, non-refundable trip cost if it's canceled or cut short due to a covered incident.

  • Baggage delays and losses : Covers lost, stolen, or delayed luggage and other valuable items. The amount of coverage varies by provider, and most have plan limits for the maximum amount of coverage and reimbursement.

  • Cancellations for any reason : An optional add-on coverage allowing you to cancel your trip without providing a reason why. Based on your plan, if you cancel your trip at least 48 hours before your departure, your benefits may cover 50-75% of your trip. Other eligibility requirements may apply.

What type of travel insurance should I get?

There are several types of travel insurance available to suit your needs depending on the details of your travel plans.

  • Comprehensive travel insurance: Provides the most benefits and protection for your investment, including trip interruption and cancellation, delays and lost luggage, medical coverage, and emergency evacuation.

  • Cruise insurance: Covers cancellations or if you miss a leg of your cruise and evacuations when hospitalized at a port of call, certain medical conditions, and identity theft.

  • Single-trip travel insurance: For one trip only, defined as leaving your home and then coming back. You might travel to multiple destinations within the course of a single trip, but, once you return home, single-trip travel insurance ends.

  • Multi-trip travel insurance: Designed for multiple trips throughout the course of a year, you can buy multi-trip policies annually to cover you for one calendar year. The date your policy goes into effect is determined when purchasing coverage.

  • Flight insurance: Covers accidental death and dismemberment during a flight.

Is travel insurance worth it?

You may not need it for every trip, but if you’re traveling for extended periods of time or long distances like cross-country or internationally, travel insurance may be worth it to safeguard your plans and investment.

If you're wondering if you should get travel insurance, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Are you willing to forfeit your prepaid and non-refundable plans? Let's say you booked a costly international trip several months in advance, and some aspects of your travel costs are non-refundable. If you need to cancel your trip due to an unexpected illness, damage to your home, or a death in the family, travel insurance may provide relief and reimbursement for those prepaid funds that are lost.
  • Did you book your travel during storm season? Bad weather can be a concern, causing flight cancellations and delays. If you can't get to your travel destination because of recent storm damage or you're evacuated because of weather, you could be covered under travel insurance. Keep in mind, coverage must be purchased prior to a storm being named.
  • Do you have pre-existing medical conditions? Travel insurance can cover the gaps in your health insurance coverage for medical emergencies and medical transportation when traveling out of the country. Talk with your health insurance provider to determine what is covered under your health plan.

How much does travel insurance cost?

Comprehensive plans can vary by age, the cost of your trip, and what you'd like to cover. In general, according to Forbes, a travel insurance plan may cost between 5%-6% of your total trip cost (prepaid and non-refundable). So, if your trip costs around $10,000, your travel insurance policy may range anywhere from $500–$600 in price.

What does travel insurance not cover?

While travel insurance generally covers situations that are beyond your control, there are some cases where it may not apply:

  • Extreme sports and activities: High-risk sports may not be covered unless you buy extra coverage.

  • Alcohol and drug-related activities: If you sustain an injury or become involved in an accident because you were under the influence of alcohol or drugs, trip insurance may not cover it.

  • War and civil unrest: Travel insurance typically excludes claims that arise from war, terrorism, insurrection, and civil unrest.

  • Negligence: Losses occur due to your negligence, such as leaving your belongings unattended in a public place, may not be covered.

  • Psychological or mental disorders: Claims related to mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, may be excluded unless the policy specifically covers them.

  • Work-related accidents: If you're traveling for work, some aspects of your trip may not be covered under a standard travel insurance policy without additional coverage.

  • Pandemics and epidemics: Depending on the policy and when you purchased it, claims related to pandemics or epidemics may be excluded.

  • Travel for medical treatment: Travel abroad for medical treatment is not typically covered.

How do I get travel insurance?

Many travel agencies offer travel insurance when you book your trip, but it's important to make an informed purchase. You want an affordable plan that addresses your specific concerns and situation. Progressive travel insurance from InsureMyTrip includes the industry's top travel insurance companies so you can research coverages, compare prices, and choose the best plan for your budget and itinerary.

Get a trip insurance quote online or call for expert advice

Learn more about travel insurance policies.

Please note: The above is meant as general information to help you understand the different aspects of insurance. Read our editorial standards for Answers content. This information is not an insurance policy, does not refer to any specific insurance policy, and does not modify any provisions, limitations, or exclusions expressly stated in any insurance policy. Descriptions of all coverages and other features are necessarily brief; in order to fully understand the coverages and other features of a specific insurance policy, we encourage you to read the applicable policy and/or speak to an insurance representative. Coverages and other features vary between insurers, vary by state, and are not available in all states. Whether an accident or other loss is covered is subject to the terms and conditions of the actual insurance policy or policies involved in the claim. References to average or typical premiums, amounts of losses, deductibles, costs of coverages/repair, etc., are illustrative and may not apply to your situation. We are not responsible for the content of any third-party sites linked from this page.